Host to ski events during the 2010 Olympics and famous for its mountains, Whistler-Blackcomb, the resort town of Whistler, is a year-round destination.
The Resort Town of Whistler
Host to the alpine ski events during the 2010 Olympic Games, the village is attractively laid out with alpine-themed buildings, picturesque shopping streets, cafes and restaurants.
There is lots to see and do in Whistler Village, plenty of wonderful places to eat and drink, and a large selection of great hotels and places to stay.
Whistler is on the traditional unceded territories of the Squamish and Lil’wat First Nations.
What to do in Whistler
There are many excellent ski equipment and outdoor fashion shops scattered around the core of the village. Of special interest to young families is the Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop at 4350 Lorimer Street in the main square. The candy there isn’t cheap, but the experience for young children is worth the premium.
If you are looking for culture and an educational experience, check out the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre located at 4584 Blackcomb Way in the Upper Village. The centre has a First Nations Longhouse, theatre, museum and art gallery.
The Whistler Museum is an affordable place to learn about the history of the area. It’s located in the heart of the village at 4333 Main Street. Admission is by donation (with $5 being the hoped for amount).
Another popular attraction in Whistler is the Scandinave Spa. It’s a salubrious Nordic-style spa facility at 8010 Mons Road, so not in Whistler Village itself, but close by. In addition to massage treatments, the place has hot pools, cold pools, a sauna, steam room, solariums and various other stations for relaxing and rejuvenating. If you want to pamper yourself, it’s highly recommended.
About a 10-minute drive north of Whistler Village is the starting point for Superfly Ziplines. The place features a series of four tracks which take about three hours to do. The longest is about 1.3 km long and the fastest reaches speeds of 100 km an hour! At the same site is Vallea Lumina (which is a cool light walk attraction through the forest), the Aerial Obstacle Course (which is a ropes course facility) and RZR All Terrain Vehicle Tours.
Whistler Special Events
Numerous special events take place at Whistler throughout normal years, including the following:
- Whistler Pride and Ski Festival – a week of skiing and LGBTQ-themed events in January. It includes a parade, parties and other activities.
- Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival – an event with snow sports on the mountain and live music and festivities in the village in April.
- Whistler Go Fest – a “Great Outdoor Festival” featuring live music, sports and arts activities during the Victoria Day Long Weekend in May.
- Whistler Summer Concert Series – FREE outdoor concerts at the Whistler Olympic Plaza on different days between July and mid-September.
- Canada Day – Whistler hosts a parade, outdoor symphony concerts and fireworks at the beginning of July.
- RBC GranFondo Whistler Bike Race – a major bike race in mid-September.
- Tough Mudder Whistler – a military-style-obstacle-course-type race, usually around the third week in June (but not always).
- Whistler Children’s Festival – a festival focused on kids up at the ski resort town in mid-July.
- Whistler Village Beer Festival – a series of events involving craft beers. The weekend part of the festival is attended by as many as 60 breweries and over 3000 people in mid-September.
- Whistler Farmers Market – the Whistler Farmers Market takes place in the Upper Village on Sundays from late May until early October, plus Wednesdays in July and August. It’s a great market and well worth checking out.
Family Day in Whistler
Family Day is a statutory holiday that takes place across British Columbia on the third Monday in February. On that date Whistler offers a number of family-friendly activities at discounted rates. Deals in 2020 included the following:
- Free snowboard or ski equipment rentals for a child per every paying adult equipment rental at Coastal Culture.
- Half price x-country skiing and snowshoeing tickets at Whistler Olympic Park.
- Kids under 13 years of age could ride free with their parents on ski-doo tours with The Adventure Group.
- Free skating at the rink at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
- Free family-friendly entertainment in the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Where to Stay in Whistler
There is a wide range of hotel accommodations in the village and surrounding area, and prices can become fairly reasonable in the slower seasons.
Luxury hotels include the almost castle-like Fairmont Chateau Whistler, the Westin Whistler Resort & Spa, the Four Seasons Resort Whistler. There is also the Pan Pacific Mountainside, Hilton Whistler Resort and other equally posh resorts. In Whistler there is everything from luxury suites for the rich and famous (of which Whistler attracts many) to popular budget accommodations like the HI-Whistler Youth Hostel.
Where to Eat and Drink in Whistler
There is also no shortage of great restaurants throughout the village. Some examples of Whistler’s wide selection of great bars and restaurants include the following:
- Alta Bistro at 4319 Main Street offers good French and Canadian cuisine in the $25 to $40 entree price range.
- Araxi Restaurant and Bar is centrally located at 4222 Village Square and is highly rated in all kinds of reviews. Entrees range from about $30 to $70.
- Aura in the Nita Lake Lodge at 2131 Lake Placid Road is a fairly good European-style restaurant.
- The Mexican Corner at 4340 Sundial Crescent is a great place for Margaritas and Mexican food.
- Rimrock Cafe at 2117 Whistler Road is arguably the best seafood restaurant in Whistler, but it is expensive. Highly rated, and serves good game too, including duck and venison.
- Sidecut at 4591 Blackcomb Way in the Four Seasons Resort Whistler is a popular steakhouse, which automatically makes it more on the expensive than cheap side. If you like steak, then this is a good place to go. Entrees are in the $30 to $70 range.
To learn more about the region see the website WhatToDoInWhistler.ca.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- Vancouver Winter Activities
- Vancouver Summer Activities
- Outdoor Recreation in the Lower Mainland
- Top Day Trips From Vancouver
- Sea to Sky Region