Your layover at Vancouver International Airport or YVR is a chance to turn waiting time into adventure time.
In this guide, we'll unveil the top things to do near YVR so you can make the most of every minute between flights.
Shop at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet
This outlet is a great choice if you have some free time to spare and are looking for a convenient shopping option.
At McArthurGlen, you'll find designer brands and stores that offer clothing, accessories, footwear, and home goods, all at discounted prices. It's a place where you can hunt for stylish finds without straying too far from the airport.
The outlet's layout features cobblestone walkways and a European-inspired atmosphere, which is quite appealing to those looking for an out of the ordinary experience.
Because McArthurGlen is within the same island that the airport is on, you can explore the outlet, find great deals on designer items, and still have enough time to return to catch your next flight.,
There are cafes and eateries within the outlet where you can grab a quick meal or snack. This makes it convenient for travelers to refuel and continue their journey with minimal hassle.
Spend Time in a Park
One nearby park that’s worth exploring is Larry Berg Flight Path Park, located just around 6 minutes from the airport terminals.
This charming park offers a unique aviation-themed experience, with aircraft taking off and landing overhead, providing a captivating view for aviation enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Larry Berg Flight Path Park features walking paths, benches, and informative displays about aviation history and the airport’s operations.
You can take a leisurely stroll, relax on a bench while watching the planes, or even have a picnic amidst the picturesque backdrop of aircraft in motion.
Bring a pair of binoculars to get an up-close look at the aircraft as they take off and land to really appreciate the synergy between nature and at Larry Berg Flight Path Park.
Bike around Stanley Park
Exploring Stanley Park on two wheels not only provides a great workout but also connects you with the essence of Vancouver.
Stanley Park’s extensive network of biking trails is your gateway to Vancouver’s natural beauty. The seawall route, easily accessible from the park, promises breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, dense forests, and the city’s captivating skyline.
In just 2 to 3 hours, you can switch between walking and biking, both of which are recommended options for seeing the sights along the seawall.
As you pedal along, don’t forget to pause at iconic landmarks like Siwash Rock and Totem Poles, which offer a glimpse into the park’s rich cultural and natural heritage.
Visit Steveston Village
You’ll be greeted by a quaint fishing village atmosphere, where historic buildings and vibrant shops line the streets.
Explore the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site to learn about the area’s fishing heritage. Wander through exhibits that showcase the canning industry that once thrived here.
Steveston is renowned for its seafood, and you’ll find a plethora of seafood restaurants offering fresh catches of the day. Savor delectable dishes while enjoying waterfront views.
If time allows, consider joining a whale-watching tour departing from Steveston’s harbor. It’s a fantastic opportunity to spot magnificent marine life, including orcas, humpback whales, and sea lions.
Dine Outside the Airport
Eating outside the airport is one of the best ways to experience Vancouver’s diverse flavors and soak in its stunning surroundings.
Richmond is famous for its outstanding dim sum restaurants. Head to popular spots like Kirin and Sea Harbour, or Chef Tony for a traditional dim sum feast. Delight in an array of dumplings, buns, and delectable small dishes served on rolling carts.
If you’re a sushi enthusiast, Richmond offers an abundance of sushi restaurants. Try Ichiro Japanese Restaurant for fresh and flavorful sushi rolls, sashimi, and more.
Explore Richmond’s international cuisine with options like Korean BBQ at Samsoonie Noodle & Rice, Indian delicacies at Tandoori Kona, or Vietnamese pho at Pho Lan.
If your layover coincides with the summer months, don’t miss the Richmond Night Market. It features a wide range of international street food vendors, offering everything from bubble waffles to skewers.
Visit Vancouver Aquarium
If you’re faced with a 10 hour layover, consider a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium for a unique experience, especially if you have children in tow.
The aquarium offers a fascinating underwater adventure, which includes a 4D Movie experience that you and your kids may enjoy.
Explore captivating exhibits showcasing a diverse array of aquatic creatures, from colorful fish to majestic sea lions. The highlight of your visit may well be the mesmerizing jellyfish displays.
Take your time to immerse yourself in the wonders of the underwater world and learn about marine conservation efforts.
It takes approximately 28 minutes to go from Vancouver International Airport to the Vancouver Aquarium on Avison Way by car.
While it may not be a short distance, it remains a manageable and worthwhile option for those with a layover of 10 to 24 hours. You can explore the aquarium before enjoying a bike ride through Stanley Park to make the most of your time.
Shop on Granville Island
During your layover in Vancouver, consider exploring the vibrant shopping scene on Granville Island, a unique and artsy enclave located less than 20 minutes from the airport by car.
As you stroll through this creative hub, you’ll discover a diverse array of locally crafted goods. Explore boutiques showcasing handmade jewelry, pottery, textiles, and one-of-a-kind artworks. If you’re a fan of unique souvenirs, this is the place to find them.
Don’t miss the Granville Island Public Market, a bustling emporium of fresh produce, gourmet treats, and artisanal foods. It’s the perfect spot to grab a quick bite or pick up some edible souvenirs to savor later.
Hop aboard the Canada Line and get off at Waterfront Station.
From there, proceed to the Olympic Village Station, where you can catch a bus from a nearby stop or opt for a ride on the Aquabus, a small passenger ferry that traverses False Creek to Granville Island.
Spend the Night out
If you wish to make the most of your evening, the city offers a variety of options for a memorable night out. Whether you prefer vibrant nightlife or a leisurely evening of fine dining, there’s something for every traveler.
Begin your evening by strolling through Gastown, Vancouver’s historic district known for its charming cobblestone streets and iconic Gastown Steam Clock. You can savor a delicious dinner at one of the area’s acclaimed restaurants or pubs.
For those seeking nightlife, Gastown and Granville Street offer a variety of nightclubs, bars, and lounges (lounge Vancouver). You can dance the night away, enjoy live music, or sip on craft cocktails in the city’s vibrant entertainment districts.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore the city’s scenic parks or venture to Stanley Park for a nighttime stroll. The park’s seawall offers stunning views of the city lights.
You can also visit the nearby River Rock Casino Resort, which offers a range of entertainment options, including gaming, dining, and live performances. It’s a convenient and exciting way to enjoy your evening near Vancouver International Airport.
Watch the Sunset
Seize the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles – a stunning sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Vancouver is known for its picturesque sunsets, and there are several perfect vantage points for this experience.
You can head to English Bay Beach (english bay), a popular sunset-watching spot in Vancouver, or consider a trip to Grouse Mountain, where you can take the Skyride aerial tram to the summit to witness the sunset.
Consider booking a sunset cruise to witness Vancouver’s stunning skyline as the sun sets over the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a picturesque way to experience the city’s beauty.
The Stanley Park Seawall is an iconic path that offers unobstructed views of the ocean, making it an excellent place to admire the sunset. You can find a cozy bench or simply pause by the water’s edge to soak in the breathtaking moment.