The snowy foothills of the mountains surrounding the town of Whistler, in Canadian British Columbia, is the largest and best-endowed winter sports area in North America.
A list of things to do in Whistler can be endless, from skiing, dog sledding, and fishing on the rivers and lakes, to visiting museums, tasting craft beers, and eating at great restaurants. These are 30 of the most fun and exciting things you can do.
Top 30 things to do in Whistler:
1. Ski at Whistler Blackcomb Resort
This resort offers the possibility of skiing practically all year round, as it has access to the Horstman Glacier, where you can ski in the summer.
The 2 peaks of the town of Whistler, Whistler Mountain (2,182 meters high and Blackcomb Mountain, 2,284 meters) boast the most magnificent skiing in all of North America and the Whistler Blackcomb resort has over 3,300 hectares of space with about 200 tracks and 37 lifts.
There are so many snow trails to ride at the Whistler Blackcomb resort that many guests take vacations of more than a week to see all the slopes.
The ski trails are dotted with restaurants with cozy fireplaces to warm up frostbitten athletes.
2. Take the Peak 2 Funicular
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are connected by a cable car that makes for a wonderful ride in an air-conditioned environment, with superb views of the snow-capped peaks, mountains, Whistler Village and even bears foraging for berries along the trails.
The 4.4km funicular ride takes 11 minutes, and on clear days the view stretches out to vast coniferous forests and alpine lakes. At one point, the cabin is 500 meters above the valley floor.
The Peak 2 funicular is the favorite route for hikers who like to practice their favorite entertainment at high altitudes between spring and autumn. In winter, the funicular is mainly boarded by skiers and snowboarders .
3. Have fun at the Whistler Olympic Park and Sliding Center
Among the funniest things to do in Whistler, you can’t miss a visit to these facilities that were built for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The slopes are open to the public and the unusually shaped ski jump points remain in place, as do the Olympic rings that symbolize the games.
During the winter, cross-country skiers trek up the slopes of the mountains where athletes traversed in search of medal glory, while those heading to Alexander Falls toil away on their snowshoes.
The Sliding Center is also free to enter and was the site of the skeleton , luge , and bobsleigh during games.
If you want to pump blood in abundance and generate adrenaline in gushes on a cold winter day, dare to slide down the almost kilometer and a half long track, with a drop of almost 153 meters and 10 dizzying curves, a route in which you will be able to reach more than 100 KPH without being powered by gasoline.
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4. Stroll through the village of Whistler
Located at the foot of the mountains, the town of Whistler is a meeting point for locals and visitors and a site with multiple accommodation options.
In Village Walk there are several shops where you can buy articles for skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports, and this commercial area has bars and restaurants where you can enjoy a drink or a good meal.
The Whistler Olympic Plaza is a space that displays memorabilia from the successful 2010 games and has a children’s playground.
In winter, the square becomes a popular and free ice skating rink and during the summer open-air concerts take over the place, also free.
5. Learn to ski at the Whistler Blackcomb Snow School
If you want to acquire the best skills in skiing and snowboarding , this school (located on Blackcomb Way) is one of the most reputable in North America.
It offers individual and group classes for children and adults, with trained instructors who take care that the participants properly grasp their teachings. Children’s classes are limited to a maximum of six per group, to ensure maximum attention and performance.
The Whistler Blackcomb Snow School also organizes adventure rides, clinics and camps.
In the exclusive “Ski or Ride with an Olympian” program, participants have the opportunity to spend time with an Olympic medalist in skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports.
6. Visit Lost Lake
Lost Lake can be visited year-round, as there is something to do in every season, such as bird watching and mountain biking in the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Trails start from the body of water and wind their way through the dense and tranquil forests teeming with wildlife.
The beach of the lake tends to gather many people (with their coolers of beer) who go to bathe and share with friends on hot summer days. The mobilization is facilitated by a transport service from Whistler.
The beach was the nudist sandbank for sunbathing in the town until the hotels developed spaces for this activity.
Lost Lake Park covers 500 acres and features 15 miles of trails, from which there are majestic views of Blackcomb Mountain.
7. Walk the Valley Trail
The Valley Trail is a paved pedestrian-only promenade that runs 40 km alongside the Mar al Cielo highway.
It is frequented by people from all the neighborhoods along the Sea to Sky, who come to walk, run, skate, bike and walk the dogs.
In winter, some sections of the Sendero del Valle are suitable for cycling with fat bikes in the snow and cross-country skiing.
8. Meet Squamish
59km south of Whistler is the coastal logging town of Squamish, now a popular destination for rock climbers, hikers and mountain bikers.
The main climbing site is the Stawamus Chief, popularly known as “El Jefe” (The Chief), an impressive granite massif with cliff-like walls, in which there are some 300 ascent routes.
At Stawamus Chief there are steep trails to the three peaks that make up the massif, with views of the mountains and the Pacific coast.
In Shannon Falls Provincial Park is a 335-meter-high waterfall, the third largest in British Columbia.
The town of Squamish sits on the Sea to Sky Highway, making it a natural stopover en route to Whistler.
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9. Visit Pemberton
Also on Highway 99 (Sea to Heaven) is this city, 33 km from Whistler. One of its great attractions is the Music Festival, which brings together popular performers and bands from Canada and North America in the genres of rock , hip hop , indie rock , electronic music, and heavy metal .
Among the musicians and groups that have passed through the Pemberton Music Festival are Nine Inch Nails, Jay-Z, Coldplay, The Tragically Hip, Vampire Weekend, Metric, Gordon Lightfoot, Spirit of the West, Bruce Cockburn, Missy Elliott, Jane’s Addiction and Weezer.
In Pemberton you can enjoy a variety of outdoor entertainment, including hiking, hiking, golf, mountain biking, horseback riding, heli-skiing, and snowmobiling.
The routes near Pemberton are visually recreated by the fields of potatoes, vegetables, blueberries and other vegetable species.
10. Meet Lillooet
130 km northeast of Whistler, on the banks of the Fraser River, is Lillooet, a town that emerged in the mid-19th century during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.
Gold hunters and adventurers came to the place in their canoes, which they exchanged for ox carts to go into the mining areas.
In the middle of the 20th century, there was another mining boom in Lillooet, this time for jade present in the rocky mantles of the edges and river beds.
Although jade mining is no longer relevant in Lillooet, the invention of a saw with a rotating diamond blade to cut through the hard rocks by local farmer and craftsman Ron Purvis has gone down in history.
The testimonies of this legendary mining past are visible in the town, especially in the Lillooet Museum.
Lillooet was also a forced labor center where people of Japanese descent were sent during World War II.
The new adventure undertaken in the town is the production of wine. The Lillooet-based Fort Berens Winery sold its first wines from local grapes in 2012; the results have been encouraging.
11. Dinner at Basalt Wine & Salumeria
This world-class restaurant (with a cozy room and patio) provides excellent service in an elegantly casual atmosphere.
Located in the heart of Whistler town, at the end of the Village Walk, it offers exquisite Alpine and West Coast cuisine, marinated with the best British Columbia and international wines.
Menus vary with the seasons and focus on regional food, not forgetting Old World cuisine.
Their cheese and charcuterie selections are spectacular, and their salads with caramelized grilled components are delightful.
The “Artisan Basalt” stands out on the menu, a delicious order that includes duck liver, bacon mousse and cured duck breast with orange sauce.
On Saturday and Sunday, Basalt Wine & Salumeria offers a happy hour menu between 3 pm and 5 pm, with accompanying wines and beer at discounted prices.
12. Taste the craft beers
The craft beer craze has also reached the snow-capped villages, and in Whistler there are several houses that brew these frothy, the product of small-scale brewing ingenuity and art, including Whistler Brewing, Whistler Brew House and Coast Mountain Brewing.
Whistler Brewing is a family business (its slogan is “Join the Family”) that offers guided tours of the craft brewery, with tastings of its beers, which have been awarded in industry competitions.
It is located at 1045 Millar Creek and some of its creations are Grapefruit Beer, Pineapple Wheat Express, Hazy Trail Pale, and Chocolate Milk Beer.
Whistler Brew House offers lunch and dinner until after midnight, properly washed down with its craft beers, at its location at 4355 Blackcomb Way, Whistler.
Coast Mountain Brewing, located at 1212 Alpha Lake, Whistler, opened in the summer of 2016 and is geared towards brewing complex beers with well-defined flavors based on traditional European recipes.
It has a comfortable tasting room where it serves its classic, sour and boutique beers in handcrafted bottles garishly illustrated by local artists.
13. Immerse yourself in Whistler nightlife
The cold and snow of Whistler do not prevent its nightlife from being very hot. Buffalo Bills and Maxx Fish are established establishments that travelers keep coming back to.
Buffalo Bills Bar & Grill offers craft beers and spirits produced by Deep Cove in Vancouver and its DJs will keep you moving on the dance floor most of the night.
Buffalo Bills enthusiastically participate in the Whistler Beer Festival, an event where you will drink, eat, dance and enjoy yourself for a week in September in the town.
The main event of the festival takes place in Whistler’s Olympic Plaza, with tastings of more than 140 beers and ciders.
Maxx Fish is a club with some crazy nights, making it easy to buy deeply discounted tickets online.
14. Stop by El Rincón Mexicano
Can you imagine the sound of mariachis in a cozy living room, while outside the mountain wind beats and a snowstorm is unleashed?
You can live the experience at El Rincón Mexicano, a restaurant located on the second level of the Sundial Hotel, at 4340 Sundial Crescent, in downtown Whistler.
The place is warm and cheerful, with Mexican details in the decoration and large tables to share, which stimulate conversation among customers.
The food combines the typical dishes of the Mexican culinary art, with some creations of Mayan and Aztec gastronomy enriched with ingredients that are not commonly used in Mexico.
The cochinita is one of the most demanded dishes, although the achiote has to be brought from Mexico. The Revolution 1810 Salad is a creative mix of vegetables, poblano peppers, sherry-dressed pear chunks, dried cranberries, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese.
In drinks, they offer excellent tequilas and are ingenious in the preparation of Margarita cocktails.
15. Have fun throwing axes
Ax throwing to hit targets is a mountaineering entertainment, and bars and clubs have become popular throughout North America.
All you need is an axe, a wooden target and maybe a beer to start having fun trying to make a dartboard.
The atmosphere in the venues is enlivened by the constant sound of sharp blades slamming into wood and the shouts of joy from the pitchers as they hit the target.
The enthusiasm for throwing axes began in Canada and has spread throughout the United States.
In Whistler, the most popular venue is Forged, located at 1208 Alpha Lake, so much so that even people who haven’t been into the entertainment go there to watch the guys and gals hit their one-handed and two-handed shots.
At Forged they teach beginners and organize events related to this new sport of marksmanship, which already has a local league.
You can throw as many axes as you like for an hour for 35 CAD. The minimum age is 10 years.
16. Go at full speed in a dog sled
If you’re looking for something truly intense to do in Whistler, there’s probably nothing more wildly exciting, authentic and wintery than hurtling forward at breakneck speed on a sled pulled by six mighty dogs.
You can live this experience in Whistler with the company Blackcomb Dog Sledding, whose excursions cost approximately 220 CAD per person in the two-seater sleds.
The races take place in the Callaghan Valley, south of Whistler, and before you get off to a fast start, you participate in the organization of the sled and receive basic training to handle the commandos.
Blackcomb Dog Sledding has five daily departures (the first at 9:30 am and the last at 3:30 pm) to the territory of these exciting races.
Another operator is Canadian Wilderness Adventures, which is dedicated to various adventure sports in both winter and summer.
Their dog sleds also ply the open and winding trails of the Callaghan Valley. Tours stop at the abandoned camp of a trapper who used a dog sled to set his traps.
17. Catch a trout
The energetic and experienced guys and gals at Trout Country Fishing Guides take you on a memorable trout and other fish fishing tour of Whistler’s rivers and lakes.
All of the operator’s guides have previously been first-class fishermen and have the ability to impart teachings on fly fishing and other arts and to “read” on the surface of the water and identify the best places to ensure multiple catches.
You can contact Trout Country in Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton. The price of the excursion is 219 CAD for a single fisherman, which drops to 139 per person if two or more go.
To legally fish in British Columbia you must have a license. You can easily obtain this permit in some parts of the village by simply presenting your passport.
18. Enjoy a fire and ice show
Every Sunday in winter, roughly between mid-December and late March, Whistler hosts a fire and ice show at nightfall.
In The Fire & Ice Show, Whistler’s most skilled skiers and snowboarders hurtle through fiery, fire-lit rings. The meeting point to see these free exhibits is Skier’s Plaza.
Music from DJs and fireworks complete the entertainment. It will be cold, so you should dress suitably warm.
19. Visit the Craft Market
It is the ideal place in Whistler to buy a souvenir. Local artisans sell jewelry, pottery, art objects, clothing, home goods, and gourmet foods , all made by hand.
It works on Saturdays, between December 16 and March 31, at 12 noon. to 6 pm, at the Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler.
20. Fill yourself with adrenaline with extreme sports
The most popular summer entertainment in the village is mountain biking and legions of cyclists are seen everywhere heading for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
This park has 70 mountain biking routes that run through the three mountainous areas that surround Whistler and where natural viewpoints with extraordinary views follow one another.
The park’s downhill trails attract intermediate and experienced cyclists from around the world, who come to enjoy the full force of gravity on a bike.
In the park there is a mountain biking school for cyclists of all levels, including beginners. Apart from the routes through the mountainous areas, the park also has green trails, jump trails and even indoor biking.
Other extreme sports that you can practice in Whistler are:
- Bungee jump over the Cheakamus River
- Rafting during the spring high water season
- High-speed zipline through the forested valleys.
- Tour of log trails with off-road vehicles.
- Light sled and skeleton sled.
2 1. Visit the Squamish Cultural Center – Lil’wat
The Squamish and Lil’wat peoples are two of the first indigenous nations of Canada and this cultural center located at 4584 Blackcomb Avenue in Whistler, collects a sample of the history and culture of these aboriginal civilizations.
The museum works in a modern and beautiful building and offers a sample of the art, gastronomy, languages, textiles and traditions of these native Indian peoples, in a magnificent forest and mountain environment that allows an authentic setting about their daily life. .
This exhibition will allow you to genuinely capture the history of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations in the British Columbia Territory, as well as their relationship to the land, waters and the entire natural environment.
The museum has an 80-seat cinema where you can see audiovisual projections that highlight the cultural traits and achievements of these peoples.
On your visit to the cultural center, which opens between 9:30 am and 5:00 pm, you will be greeted with an indigenous song and will likely end up singing and dancing in the traditional way of the Squamish and Lil’wat nations. You will also be invited to make a traditional craft.
22. Walk and hike
If you are looking for what to do in Whistler in summer, hiking is one of the first options, since the towns of British Columbia are distinguished by their many paths to practice this entertainment.
In Whistler you can go from an easy and invigorating walk around Lost Lake to high mountain trails with different degrees of difficulty.
The foothills of the Whistler Mountains are dotted with trails that stretch from low to high, providing wonderful views of the surrounding countryside along the way. Seasonal alpine wildflowers add color to the trails.
There are several trail routes leading from north of Whistler and Squamish, reaching Garibaldi Provincial Park, an almost untouched territory made up of rugged mountains, glaciers and dense forests of spruce and red cedar.
Garibaldi, Cheakamus and Wedgemount lakes can be reached by these trails.
23. Play golf on courses designed by celebrities
Whistler’s golf courses offer the chance to practice this sport in an incomparable environment, among exuberant coniferous forests and majestic lakes, with the snow-capped mountains as postcards in the background.
Whistler Golf Club was designed by Arnold Palmer, known as “The King”, a famous golfer who won seven major tournaments, including four Augusta Masters.
The Nicklaus North was designed by Jack Nicklaus, the popular “Golden Bear”, top winner of major tournaments (20) and one of the world’s great golf course builders.
In any of these 18-hole courses, with their magnificent conditions for playing golf, you will surely be able to improve your average. During the high season it is not easy to get the courses, so make your reservations in time.
24. Tour the Whistler Museum
This small but comprehensive museum reviews the history of the Whistler Valley and Mountains, from the pioneers who developed the first settlements to establishing the place as one of the world’s leading snow sports centers, including the legacy of the winter olympics.
The museum is located on the main street of the town, behind the Public Library. It was founded in 1986 by Whistler historian and one of its pioneers, Florence Petersen.
Open daily, it contains a photographic, documentary and artifact exhibition and has spaces for both children and adults.
Kids have interactive exhibits, games and areas for educational activities, while adults have access to a movie collection and participate in valley walking tours, arts and crafts and spiritual development programs.
The museum showcases early settlers and local greats, the town’s leading artists throughout history, and world-class athletes who have trained in Whistler.
25. Enjoy Rainbox Park
It is a popular park, located in front of Lake Alta, which has charming green areas, a sandy beach and a picturesque dock.
From the park there are great views of the Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. On the lawn there are always people relaxing or enjoying a snack. In summer it has a food concession and food trucks.
At the southern end is Barking Bay, a dog-friendly space where pets can roam freely off-leash across the lawn.
Rainbox Park can be accessed by foot and bike from the Valley Trail and by car, although parking is not very large.
Some of the activities you can do are swimming in Lake Alta when the weather permits, playing beach volleyball and picnicking , for which there are tables available.
The park is open every day, from dawn to dusk.
26. Enjoy Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
Whistler is famous the world over for its snow slopes, but once summer hits and things heat up, winter sports give way to outdoor activities, nature exploration and pet walks. .
10 miles southwest of downtown Whistler is Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, with a beautiful 230-foot waterfall of the same name.
It has several trails and places to admire the red-tailed frogs, a local species under threat.
Some trails are used in winter for snowshoeing and in summer for mountain biking.
The park has an area for picnics , is free to use, opens from 7 am to 11 pm and can only be reached by car. You must take the foresight to bring enough water since it is not available in the place.
27. Stroll through the Whistler Train Wreck
It is an exclusive hiking area of almost 5 km in length, in which there are some train cars that were brought to the place in the middle of the 20th century, after a derailment on a nearby track. The carriages have been painted by local artists with eye-catching graffiti.
The access point is in a gravel parking lot off Jane Lakes Road and the trail is crossed by a suspension bridge with fine views of the Cheakamus River.
Whistler Train Wreck is approximately halfway between the town of Whistler and Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, en route to the Sea to Sky Highway.
The trail is used for hiking and mountain biking and has a free dog area. You have to go by car and parking is also free.
28. Admire Alexander Falls
This sensational 43-meter-high waterfall that falls off a charcoal-colored rock wall, is located 15 km from the town of Whistler and around its observation deck there are picnic tables so that your time in intimate contact with this natural beauty more comfortable and enjoyable.
The wooded surroundings are a hiker’s paradise, as are the formidable rock formations around the Callaghan Valley.
It has a public transport service and is open every day of the year, with free access. Next to the observation deck there is a courtesy parking lot.
On the same street that gives access to Alexander Falls is the Whistler Olympic Park, so you can plan your visit to both places in the same trip.
29. Visit the Audain Art Museum
Among the things to do in Whistler related to art, an excellent option is a visit to this museum that permanently houses the artistic collection of the Canadian businessman and philanthropist Michael Audain and, occasionally, temporary exhibitions from different parts of the world.
Audain’s show encompasses pieces of British and British Columbian art, including First Nations-inspired masks and objects by renowned artists such as EJ Hughes and Emily Carr.
The museum opened in 2016 and the building was designed to facilitate movement through its spaces and achieve perfect harmony with the beautiful natural environment.
The museum is accessed on foot from Whistler via a Blackcomb Way bridge that crosses a forest, ending near the entrance hall. It can also be reached using buses 3 and 4.
Open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from 10 am to 5 pm, with extended hours, depending on the season.
30. Stop by the Whistler Public Library
The first thing that strikes you is the design of the building, conceived as if it were a mountain refuge in a wild area that abounds in Whistler.
It has an area of 1,115 m 2 and is located in the center of Whistler, with access through the Paseo de la Aldea, the most popular pedestrian street in the town.
The library houses nearly 50,000 books and documents, including works of fiction and nonfiction, both classic and modern, and best sellers, audiobooks, and films.
Its large reading room excellently illuminated by the sun and other spaces, receive the visit of some two hundred and fifty thousand people a year, between locals and tourists.
Other activities in the library include film screenings, cultural conferences, and writing and children’s workshops.
The Public Library is a welcoming option in Whistler when the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor activities or when you want a break from skiing and other winter and summer sports.
Admission to the library is free and it is open from 10 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday, with slight adjustments to the hours from Friday through Sunday.
What to do in Whistler in summer
Whistler is a place well known for the presence of snow and, in general, for its cold weather. However, this impressive Canadian space also offers you many options for you to have a great time in summer.
In this sense, you can choose between taking helicopter trips, spotting bears through tours , jumping on a zip line, visiting the Audain Art Museum, dining on the top of the mountain, enjoying the magnificent landscape while cycling, visiting the glaciers, etc.
Have you already been to this wonderful ski center or would you like to go for the first time? Share this article with your friends on social media so they too know what to do in Whistler and its splendid winter and summer sports venues.
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