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Whistler is one of the most popular places to visit in Canada. In this blog, we’ll tell you all the best things to do in Whistler, BC to make your trip amazing including must-know info before you go!
Whistler – it’s known as a winter paradise with world-class skiing and winter sports. But that’s not all Whistler is good for. In fact, there are tons of amazing things to do in Whistler all year round! The truth is, skiing and snowboarding are only just the very beginning.
We’ve spent countless days exploring Whistler over the years (we lived just down the road in Vancouver, after all), and in that time, we’ve come to realize that there’s more to Whistler than what first meets the eye. Whistler is a vibrant town that has a lot more to offer visitors than most may initially think. Some of the best activities and tours in Whistler are a little off the beaten path – and we’re here to tell you about them all!
Here are the best things to do in Whistler, Canada including both summer and winter activities to keep you busy all year round!
- 1. Relax lakeside
- 2. Hike to Joffre Lakes
- 3. Ride the world’s longest gondola
- 4. Hit the slopes!
- 5. Rent a bike and explore the trails around Whistler town
- 6. Go on an ATV or buggy tour
- 7. Go whitewater rafting
- 8. Go snowmobiling
- 9. Visit a museum
- 10. Go downhill mountain biking
- 11. Wander the "Train Graveyard"
- 12. Explore Whistler by floatplane
- 13. Hike to Garibaldi Lake
- 14. Ride the longest zipline in North America
- 15. Visit Brandywine Waterfall
- 16. Try out Via Ferrata
- 17. Explore the snow walls on Blackcomb Mountain
- 18. Hike the Ancient Cedar Trail
- 19. Enjoy a beer at Whistler Brewery
- 20. Canoe the River of Golden Dreams
- 21. Go snowshoeing
- 22. The Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola
- 23. Test your skills at axe throwing
- 24. Stuff your face at Purebread
- 25. Enjoy tacos and tequila at The Mexican Corner
- 26. Rest your legs on an e-bike tour around Whistler
- 27. Relax at Whistler Olympic Plaza
- 28. Wander the "Whistler Stroll"
- 29. Visit the Whistler Farmers Market
- 30. PARTY!
- 31. Wine and dine
- 32. Eat at the $5.95 Restaurant and Pub
- 33. Relax at Scandinave Spa
- 34. Whistler Bungee Jump
- 35. Visit Pemberton and Go Horseback Riding
- 36. Visit Alexander Falls
- 37. Visit the Whistler Sliding Centre
- Adara Hotel – Our Top Choice
- Hi Whistler – Budget-friendly Hostel
- The Listel Hotel Whistler – Mid-range Hotel
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites – Luxury Hotel
36 BEST Things to Do in Whistler, Canada
1. Relax lakeside
For both visitors and those living in Whistler, hanging out at one of the town’s beautiful lakes is a must! There are three main lakes around Whistler all within walking distance from the town center; Green Lake, Alta Lake, and my favorite, Lost Lake are accessible via easy walking trails through the surrounding pine forest.
I personally visited them all and loved each one for their own unique reason.
- Lost Lake: On a sunny day, Lost Lake becomes the best place in town to relax on the beach and have a swim but beware it is cold, around 12 Celsius (54 Fahrenheit) even in the summertime! It’s also the closest to Whistler and on a hot day, it’s a great place to catch some rays for the day even if you can’t bare to get in the water.
- Green Lake: Green Lake is much larger than the others. From the opposite side of the lake across from Whistler, you get stunning views of the mountains. It’s not as popular to swim here though and it is the furthest from town.
- Alta Lake: I loved Alta Lake because it was very quiet and peaceful. With that said, it’s not as well connected to town via the many trails, and much of the lakefront property is privately owned.
Truthfully though, if you’re visiting Whistler then checking out one (or all three!) lakes is definitely one of the best BC activities you can do! And in the winter, you might not be able to hang out at the beach, but going for a snowy walk around an ice-covered lake is a magical way to explore a winter paradise!
If you want to visit the lakes as well as many of the other best attractions in Whistler, then this half-day Whistler sightseeing tour is perfect!
It lasts 3 hours and takes you all around the Whistler Valley and your guide will give you some unique information and stories about the town and areas. It costs $105 CAD per person.
2. Hike to Joffre Lakes
If you know me then you would know that I love stunning alpine lakes (almost more than traveling itself!) Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to visit many blue lakes situated high up in the mountains. With that said, Joffre Lakes just outside of Whistler is one of the best I’ve ever seen!
Just picture it – stunning mountain peaks, a glacier, turquoise lakes, and a beautiful pine forest. Yep, I know what you’re thinking… where do I sign up?
Joffre Lakes Trail is easily one of the most popular hiking trails in all of British Columbia and the main trail leads to not one, but three lakes – the lower, middle, and upper lake. They’re all stunning, but my personal favorite is the middle lake.
The hike to the furthest lake (which is upper lake) took me around 2 hours and is 3.7 km (2.3 mi) long each way. The trail is steep almost the entire way and it’s recommended you allow 3 hours to hike up according to the signs on the trail. The hike back down is quicker as it is all downhill.
Honestly, I can’t recommend the Joffre Lakes hike enough. The trail is one of the best things to do in Whistler. If you do only one hike in Whistler, make it Joffre Lakes!
Joffre Lakes Day Pass: In order to enter Joffre Lakes Trailhead between the dates of May 6th to October 9th, 2023 a free day pass is required for each person in your group. You can get your pass on the day-use pass website two days before your visit, starting at 7 am. Simply print it or download it to your phone from your email. If you are camping this is not required (just have your campground reservation with you).
Important: At the start of the trail, there is a large car parking lot and another one a minute down the highway. These may seem large but they often fill up before lunchtime and you aren’t allowed to park on the road. My recommendation is to arrive before 9 am to start the hike. This way you can easily get parking as well as avoid the bulk of the crowds. Sometimes there are free shuttles that will take you from an overflow lot but this isn’t always the case.
3. Ride the world’s longest gondola
You may have taken a ride on a gondola before, but I can guarantee you haven’t ridden one as long as the Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler. This HUGE gondola holds the world record for not only the longest gondola but also the highest and longest unsupported span of any lift in the world.
That’s three world records all in one!
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola is the ride that connects the top of Blackcomb Mountain with Whistler Mountain. It spans across the valley and offers some of the most beautiful views you’ll have ever seen. To ride this gondola, you must first take the gondola up from Whistler Village. From up there, you can connect to the Peak 2 Peak and then ride the other gondola back down.
In the winter, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola is reserved for skiers and snowboarders, so to experience it you’ll need to purchase a lift pass. However, in the summer, the gondolas are open for sightseeing! Just purchase your pass for about $85 CAD, which gives you full-day access to all of the sightseeing gondolas including the epic Peak 2 Peak!
Regardless of the fun ride up, it’s more about the views from the top! Once you reach the top you can head off and explore. Some of the best things to do at the top are:
1. Walk the Skybridge – The Skybridge is the main attraction and entry is included in your ticket price. For those afraid of heights, you may want to skip this, but if you can stomach the bridge, you can walk out to a beautiful viewpoint.
2. Walk the Snow Walls – This is such a cool activity I’ve included it on this list below but essentially it’s a short walk from the top of Blackcomb Mountain to reach these famous snow walls that can reach up to 12 meters (40 feet) in height. You just have to see it to believe it!
3. Lakeside Loop – This short but beautiful hiking trail leads to Blackcomb Lake. Here enjoy a picnic and the stunning color of the lake!
4. The Skywalk – walk along cliffs and across steep bridges while connected to a safety harness on this awesome guided tour! This is a popular option with families who are after a bit of an adrenalin rush on Whistler Mountain and of course the sights you’ll be shown by your guide are phenomenal. It costs $125 CAD or $206 CAD if you add on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola tickets (which you will need to reach the starting point for the Skywalk).
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola isn’t one of the best activities in Whistler for no reason, so you won’t want to miss this one!
Hot Tip: If you have time, wait for the special glass floor gondola on the Peak 2 Peak. This glass-floor gondola cart comes around every 15 minutes or so and offers a special view for riders below! We rode on it and it was really cool to see what was beneath our feet as we crossed the valley!
4. Hit the slopes!
I know this one probably comes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways – hitting the slopes is absolutely one of the best things to do in Whistler! Blackcomb Moutain is Whistler’s winter pride and joy with over 200 different runs, 3,307 hectares (8,171 acres) of terrain, and 36 different lifts this is one place you want to check out!
These statistics might sound daunting, especially for a beginner, but the truth is they have great beginner runs too and offer lessons. The fact that Blackcomb ski resort really suits everyone makes it one of the busiest ski fields in Canada seeing over 2 million visitors annually.
My personal favorite thing about Blackcomb is that some of the lifts start right from Whitler Village. There are some hotels in Whistler that are in the perfect location for skiing. That means that you can walk straight out of your hotel, to a coffee shop, and then onto the ski lift all in one breath. It’s so easy and convenient!
The Whistler ski season typically runs from November to March and various passes are available including single-day passes, multi-day passes, and season passes. Lift passes for adults start at $190 CAD, kids ages 7 to 12 at $95, and teenagers 12 to 18 at $160. These prices do not include any early bird discount so if you know you’re skiing Whistler Blackcomb, book in advance to save money!
If you have kids that are learning to ski, then you can opt for daily group ski/snowboard lessons at Blackcomb at a price of:
- $279 per day (ski only) for kids (5-6 years old).
- $245 per day (ski/snow lessons) for kids (7-14 years old)
If you need rental gear you can book that in advance online to avoid the hassle the morning of.
5. Rent a bike and explore the trails around Whistler town
Bicycling is easily one of the best activities to do in Whistler. We rented bikes for a few hours and explored some of the lakes around Whistler – and it was awesome!
What makes this activity so popular is the fact that the bike trails around Whistler can just about get you anywhere. It only takes a few hours to explore most of the closer trails to town and take a scenic ride around. Many of the trails around Whistler are paved and easy to ride around on a bike.
In particular, the Whistler Valley Trail is one of the most popular and it stretches 46 km (29 mi) long and connects to parks, lakes, and neighborhoods but you don’t need to worry too much about finding the perfect route for you either. The rental companies have maps and can give you great advice on where to go depending on what you want to see.
We rented our bikes from Summit Sport right in town. They had really good mountain bikes for riding around town and are very reasonably priced at $14-20 CAD per hour or $55 for the day.
Note: If you want to do some serious downhill mountain biking, you can do that in Whistler too! Keep reading to #26 on this blog to find out about downhill mountain biking in Whistler.
6. Go on an ATV or buggy tour
One of our very favorite tours in Whistler was a buggy tour! In our small 4-wheel utility vehicle, we cruised the mountain tops in the Callaghan Valley taking in panoramic views (when we weren’t splashing in the puddles, that is)!
We did this specific buggy tour and loved every minute of it. Although neither of us had ever driven a buggy before, plenty of instruction was provided before we hit any of the serious trails which made us more confident and amped to begin!
The buggy vehicle is pretty much like an ATV, except it was slightly larger and had a cage around it. We both could comfortably sit side by side, as opposed to an ATV where one rider must sit in the back. And if you were wondering, these buggies can go up to 60 mph, which is pretty fast!
We decided to take turns being the driver and on Daniel’s turn there was a super fun off-roading section across small streams and rivers where he decided that it would be a good idea to race at full speed straight into a puddle – we were soaked and couldn’t help but laugh!
Near the end of our 3-hour ride, our guide brought us up to the top of the mountain and took some scenic photos of us before we headed back down which we really appreciated!
If you prefer to take an ATV tour in Whistler, that is possible too. The same company, Canadian Wilderness Adventures, runs this specific ATV tour that takes you on an almost identical route as the buggy tour. Both are fun and have rave reviews, so you really can’t go wrong.
Buggy and ATV tours are some of the most popular things to do in Whistler in the summer, but they can also be done in the fall until around the beginning of October and in the Spring starting as early as June 1. Of course, this depends on the weather each year, so be sure to check online to see if they are still available during your planned visit.
7. Go whitewater rafting
Who doesn’t love whitewater rafting? In summer, this activity is a no-brainer – especially on a hot day when you can enjoy the cool splash of the glacier water.
Even if you have never gone whitewater rafting before this would be an opportune time to do so because the rapids on Green River are either a class II or class III so it won’t be too intense. Plus, you will have the guidance of an expert who will go over safety tips and learn whitewater rafting techniques. They will also provide you with all the necessary equipment like helmets, paddles, life jackets, etc.
The company that runs this particular tour is called The Adventure Group and they have been in business for over two decades so they are clearly reputable! For a 2-hour ride, you can expect to pay $180 CAD per person.
It departs from the Cougar Mountain basecamp which is just a 10-minute drive from Whistler Village.
For those looking for a whitewater trip on the crazier side, another option is this rafting tour from Squamish, and although it’s around a 50-minute drive from Whistler it would be an easy stop if you’re making the drive from Whistler to Vancouver. The trip takes place on the Elaho River and offers a full-day experience with lunch on level 3-4 rapids. This is the best option for anybody looking for a full day of excitement!
8. Go snowmobiling
This is another one of those winter adventures in Whistler that you really can’t miss! Snowmobiling is not only exciting but it is also very scenic, (just imagine a winter wonderland filled with snow-covered mountains and pine trees) and on a snowmobile, you can cover lots of ground easily allowing you to see a ton of landscapes.
In Whistler, it’s best to join a snowmobiling tour as it’s very unlikely you’re arriving with you’re own snowmobile (if you are then congrats!) The Callaghan Cruiser Snowmobile Tour is a great option that takes you through the Callaghan Valley and to the abandoned NorthAir gold mine. You’ll also visit an open area known as a play area that’s perfect for seeing just what a snowmobile can do.
Even if you’ve never snowmobiled before your guide will teach you all the necessary safety procedures. Guides also know the best routes and provide top-of-the-line equipment.
In total, the tour is 3 hours long and is filled with interesting information, breathtaking views, and of course a ton of excitement. The best part is that kids as young as 5 can join the tour, however, you need to be 19+ with a full, valid driver’s license to drive the snowmobiles.
If this is something you want to do during your time in Whistler you can easily book your time slot online in advance! While not a cheap activity costing around $272 CAD per person, it’s bound to be a highlight of your trip!
9. Visit a museum
Let’s face the facts, not every day in Whistler is going to be a bright and sunny day so it’s best to have a backup plan in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Luckily, there are a few museums in Whistler you can visit to hide from the snow or rain all while learning lots about history, art, and culture!
Besides escaping the weather, these museums are important if you want to learn about Whistler’s past, present, and the different cultures that call this area home.
There are three main museums in Whistler and they are:
- Audain Art Museum – This museum features art from around British Columbia in its ever-changing exhibits and features an impressive architectural design with tactics that showcase nature outside the windows. You can buy your tickets in person or here online and the entrance is $21 CAD for adults, with discounted rates for kids and seniors. Hours of operation are Thursday-Monday 11 am to 6 pm.
- Whistler Museum – Here you can learn all about the history of Whistler and how a weekend get-a-way spot for Florence Petersen turned into the Whister known by many today. Entry is by donation ($5 is recommended.) The Whistler Museum is open Friday to Tuesday from 11 am to 5 pm, and open late until 9 pm on Thursdays.
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center – Here you can learn about the cultures of the Skw̲xw̲ú7mesh and Lílw̓at first nations people. Every hour on the hour there is a guided tour that you can join that kicks off with a hand drum welcome song and a short film before being guided around the exhibit. If you’re hungry you can try food from the Indegenious-inspired menu at the on-site Thunderbird Cafe. The entrance is $20 CAD for adults with discounts for kids and seniors. Hours are Friday-Sunday and Tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm, admission is discounted 50% if you enter after 4 pm.
All of these museums also frequently host special events. Be sure to check their websites (all linked above) for up-to-date hours and special events and exhibits that might interest you.
10. Go downhill mountain biking
Winter is for snowboarding, and spring, summer, and fall (May-October) are for downhill mountain biking! If you didn’t already know Whistler is big on mountain biking and the area is famous worldwide as being regarded as the “Mountain Bike Capitol of the World.’
In fact, some of Canada’s best downhill mountain biking events are held in Whistler thanks to the long, and varied trails.
The last time we were in Whistler though there was a huge mountain biking event, and the town was packed full of people itching to ride. It sure was an indication that this is one popular sport in Whistler for both visitors and locals!
Now I’m not going to lie, Bailey and I don’t downhill mountain bike but what I can tell you is that the main hub for all of the best mountain biking trails are inside Whistler Bike Park.
No matter where you fall on the scale of skill (or lack thereof) you will seriously never get bored of your options and as you improve your riding you can always dare to take on a new challenge!
From super technical pro-level trails like the A-Line that have mind-bending curves, narrow passes, and utterly wicked jumps to simple freeride mountain biking trails (wider than technical trails) like Ez-Does It that are perfect for beginners and children ages 5 and older.
Another aspect that set Whistler Bike Park apart from the rest is how well-maintained and detailed the elements of each of the trails are. It’s really quite impressive.
If you don’t have your own bike and safety equipment then you can rent it in town from one of the many bike rental shops or straight from Whistler Bike Park’s rentals department before making your way over to the lifts to get up Whistler Moutain.
Whistler Bike Park has 4 different lifts and gondolas to make getting around the different trails a breeze.
You can purchase a 1-day lift ticket for access to all of the lifts that will run you $88 CAD for the regular season and $78 CAD for the spring and fall. These are online booking prices that are cheaper than if you purchase at the window and you can even get discounted rates for multiple days.
If you want to book for anything longer than 4 days you will need to purchase from the season passes list. There is a 5-Day Pass for $360 CAD, a 10-Day Pass for $575 CAD, a Twilight Pass for $360 CAD that grants unlimited riding for the entire season after 4:30 pm, and an Unlimted Bike Park Pass option for $750 CAD which is valid for the entire season.
The main Whistler Village Gondola to the Whistler Moutain Bike Park is open for the 2023 mountain bike season from May 19th to September 4th and from September 5th to October 9th the Creekside Gondola will be in operation.
11. Wander the “Train Graveyard”
Whistler is home to some pretty unique things to do and one that surprised me the most was the Train Graveyard.
This unique attraction is a graveyard of train carriages that derailed back in the 1950s. In order to get the train tracks open as fast as possible after the derailment, they moved the carriages off the tracks and left them in the forest nearby.
That was some 50 years ago, and well, they’re still there today! Nowadays, the trains are covered in graffiti and murals which makes them all the more interesting.
On the way to the trains, you’ll also pass a beautiful suspension bridge that crosses the Cheakamus River. There are a total of 7 carriages to explore with 5 being just after the suspension bridge and the other two a little further on.
The official trail to the graveyard starts on Jane Lakes Road near the Whistler Olympic Village. The trail to the trains takes around 30 minutes each way and is a very easy hike.
If you have a car and want a shorter hike then you can also reach the trains from a small parking lot just off the Sea to Sky Highway. This trail is a little less maintained but only takes about 10 minutes to reach the trains. You can find the location of both the trails and the parking lot to start the trail on Google Maps.
Alternatively, you can visit the Train Graveyard on this guided sightseeing tour of Whistler that includes a visit to a “hidden” waterfall.
12. Explore Whistler by floatplane
Whistler by land is stunning but there’s no better way to explore Whistler than from the sky. It’s beautiful, exciting, and sometimes a little scary, but one thing is for sure, it’s unforgettable!
In Whistler, you have an even more unique way to fly versus a typical plane and that’s via floatplane. On a floatplane, the lakes will become your airport in what I would call one of the most unique experiences I have had to date.
Taking off in the water was the scariest because you honestly feel like you’re not going fast enough as you slowly run out of lake! Once we were in the air though I was just in awe at the surrounding landscapes that included glaciers, bright turquoise alpine lakes, wilderness, and mountains – I loved every minute of my 30-minute flight.
Although fun, scenic flights around Whistler are not cheap but if you’re able to splurge you can get the 30-minute scenic flight around Whistler we did for around $200 CAD.
If you can afford a little bit more I also have to mention that you can even do a helicopter flight with an alpine lake landing for around $250. Just imagine the feeling of your pilot taking small dips over ridges, it would be so exhilarating!
Although scenic flights are not the cheapest tours in Whistler they are certainly exciting and guaranteed to make lifelong memories!
You can book your Whistler scenic flight in advance and save the worry of it booking out!
Related Read: Seaplanes are also among the best Whistler tours from Vancouver. You get transportation and sightseeing all in one!
13. Hike to Garibaldi Lake
Garibaldi Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in Canada. But despite its natural beauty, it remains rather unvisited compared to other lakes in Canada. The reason?
It’s the grueling 9 km (5.6 miles) hike to the lake and 900m (2,950 feet) gain in elevation that keeps people away. This is enough to turn most away, but for those willing to tackle the tough incline, the reward at the top is worth every sore muscle!
Once at Garibaldi Lake, you can head off onto two other trails to viewpoints. They are the Blacktusk and Panorama Ridge lookout. Both are another 5.5 km (3.4 mi) and 7 km (3.4 mi) further and both incline more than 500 meters (1,640 feet), so it’s best to only tackle these if you consider yourself fit.
To make it easier though, you can spend the night camping at Garibaldi Lake. The campsite at the lake has over 50 campsites, toilets, and cooking shelters. Campsites are $10 CAD a person per night plus a $6.30 CAD reservation fee and need to be booked online prior to arrival.
If you’re having trouble booking you can ask the Squamish visitor center to book it for you (as we did!)
The trail starts around 30 minutes outside of Whistler around halfway between Squamish and Whistler. There is a large parking lot that has just been upgraded to help deal with the larger numbers of hikers on the weekends.
14. Ride the longest zipline in North America
Ziplining is super fun but to be honest, after completing the Gibbon Ziplining Experience in Laos (2 days of 30 Ziplines some over 1 km (0.62 mi) long) I hadn’t come across another zipline worth doing that would top that. That is until I came across the Sasquatch zipline in Whistler.
The Sasquatch is the longest zipline in North America at over 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long! Now that is impressive!
This huge zipline will have you reaching speeds of well over 100 km/hr (62 mph) and the last time we were in Whistler we got to experience this for ourselves, it was an adrenaline rush for sure!
This zipline experience starts at $145 CAD per person and can even be done in Spring, Summer, and Fall (until mid-October.) It is only one zipline but for me, going ziplining in Whistler is a no-brainer for anyone wanting to add a little (or a lot) of excitement to their visit to Whistler!
You should book this ziplining tour in advance as it is one of the most popular activities in Whistler and often books up.
In Whistler, there are also plenty of other types of ziplines if the Sasquatch sounds a bit too extreme for you. I would recommend the popular Eagle Tour, which departs from the same location as the Sasquatch.
It isn’t quite as dramatic as the height and length of the Sasquatch but it has its own unique thrills on 5 different ziplines and 4 treetop bridges. It lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours and because it is a longer tour than the Sasquatch it costs a little more at $157.50 CAD.
15. Visit Brandywine Waterfall
Brandywine Falls is a must-visit either on your way to or from Whistler. It’s located just on the outskirts of Whistler about a 15-minute drive from the village towards Vancouver. It’s one of the best stops on any road trip from Vancouver to Whistler.
It’s an easy 5-minute walk to the falls and once there you’ll be amazed at not only the 70-meter (230 ft) waterfall but also the stunning valley lookout.
For an even better view of Brandywine just keep waking past the first falls lookout (another 20 m or so) and even further, a beautiful view of Garibaldi Lake!
This is such a short trip but the natural scenery here is absolutely breathtaking and it’s a great easy activity to do in Whistler.
Related Read: Check out other hikes in the area – the best easy hikes in Vancouver!
16. Try out Via Ferrata
One of our favorite mountain climbing experiences is right here in Whistler – the Via Ferrata tour!
So you might be curious, what is Via Ferrata? The words “Via Ferrata” actually translates from Italian to “the iron path,” which is a great description. Iron ladder rungs and poles are used along a cliff face to make climbing to the top of a mountain easy!
This Via Ferrata Tour in Whistler is suitable for beginners and involves climbing up a mountain peak (right next to a glacier!) with the help of safety cables. That’s right, no experience is required!
Your guide will get you geared up in safety gear before beginning a bit of a hike to the beginning of the Via Ferrata route. Then, it’s time to climb up! At the end, you’ll have climbed up the 2160-meter (7,087 feet) summit of Whistler Mountain.
We actually did this Via Ferrata tour ourselves, and we would highly recommend it to anybody who is up for a bit of a challenge.
I’m not going to lie, it is a little nerve-wracking looking down from way up high on a cliff face, but it was also so much fun, too! And once we got to the top, the scenery was indescribable!
This particular tour is 4 hours in duration and costs from $185 CAD per person.
Note: You will need a Peak 2 Peak gondola sightseeing pass to get yourself to the starting point of the tour. This pass can be bought when you purchase your Via Ferrata tour for an additional $80 CAD or you can also purchase it separately. For this reason, Via Ferrata is a great add-on activity for those already planning on checking out the Peak 2 Peak Gondola.
17. Explore the snow walls on Blackcomb Mountain
It’s summer and outside temperatures are almost 30 degrees Celcius, but did you know that you can still check out the Snow Walls for most of the summer?
Once the winter season wraps up, Blackcomb Mountain opens for sightseeing, and at the top of the gondola are the famous Snow Walls that tower over the access road on the mountain.
Depending on the year, these can tower some 12 meters (40 feet) high! With that said, they do get smaller as the days go by so this activity is best suited to late spring or early summer. When we visited they were only a fraction of the size they can be.
As mentioned above, you’ll need to buy tickets and take the gondola up Blackcomb Mountain to reach them but from there, it’s only a short hike to the snow walls!
18. Hike the Ancient Cedar Trail
If you’re looking for a short but beautiful trail near Whistler with amazing views then the Ancient Cedar Trail is perfect. This hike is 5 km (3.1 mi) round trip, and only takes around 2 hours to complete at an easy pace.
The path is a hike-in, hike-back trail that leads to a beautiful viewpoint (pictured above), and just past that viewpoint is the Ancient Cedar Forest. This is one of the few areas left that weren’t logged and is quite rare nowadays.
The trail starts just north of Whistler at the end of Sixteen Mile Creek Forrest Service road up Cougar Mountain. The road to the trailhead is unpaved but almost all vehicles should be able to make it up without trouble in the summer. It will however be rougher than a ride with a low-sitting vehicle.
19. Enjoy a beer at Whistler Brewery
If you love craft beer as much as I do then you simply must visit Whistler Brewing Co. This small craft brewery makes a selection of tasty beers and they are all very well-priced!
A 20-ounce beer costs $7 CAD and there is a huge range to choose from. You can also get takeaway growlers or six packs of beer to take with you.
We also had lunch at the brewery and shared the “as big as your face nachos”. This dish really is huge and it’s certainly a lot bigger than your face.
The brewery is located to the south of Whistler. Although a little out of the main area of town, this is a great Whistler activity rain, hail, or shine!
If you’re a real craft beer lover (like we admittedly are), then you can join a craft beer tour in Whistler. That way, you can experience all the best beer that Whistler has to offer without having to worry about a designated driver.
In particular, I recommend this Whistler Distillery Tour & Tasting Experience because not only will you visit craft breweries in one of Whistler’s most unique neighborhoods but there will also be the opportunity to visit Montis Distilling to sample their small-batch spirits. It’s perfect for those of you who are coming in groups with different taste preferences.
If you’d like to snack on something during the tour you can add on a curated charcuterie box or wait until the end of the tour to take advantage of an exclusive food and drink discount at Raven Room which is one of Whistler’s coolest cocktail bars. The cost per adult is $88.25 CAD and the tour lasts around 2 hours.
Related Read: Visiting Vancouver before or after your time in Whistler? The food tours in Vancouver are a must for any true foodie!
20. Canoe the River of Golden Dreams
What could sound better than canoeing the River of Golden Dreams? This very unique tour in Whistler is really relaxing. On the trip, you can enjoy nature from a kayak or canoe.
This tour travels between two of Whistler’s biggest lakes starting at Alta Lake. From here, you’ll head off down the river mouth while floating along casually paddling in the currents.
The most exciting thing about this tour is that the waters are a haven for all kinds of wildlife, plants, and flowers. You seriously never know what you might see but it’s likely to come across geese, navigate past beaver dams, and watch the birds dance in the sky. If you’re lucky, you could even happen upon bears playing in the water!
The end of the tour finishes in Green Lake where you’re picked up and taken back to where you started. Another thing I love about this tour is that it’s self-guided so you can go at your own pace without worrying about keeping up with the group or waiting up for those who are lagging behind.
The level of difficulty that you will face on the river is a good mix of leisurely paddling and parts that require more effort and precise steering but nothing the average person can’t figure out! If you’re a beginner at canoeing just take your time and you’ll catch on quickly.
It will cost you about $139 CAD for 3 hours on the lake with all of your equipment included.
You can book your kayaking tour down the River of Golden Dreams in advance online or find out more information.
21. Go snowshoeing
I have mentioned lots of hikes on this blog, and that’s because hiking is definitely one of the best ways to enjoy Whistler. However, in the winter months, the snow can make hiking a lot more challenging – that is unless you have snowshoes!
Snowshoeing is a popular winter activity all around Canada. Not only is it kind of a novelty if you’ve never snowshoed before, but it is also a practical way to conquer a hiking trail that is covered in snow.
In Whistler, you can either rent snowshoes from ski rental shops like Whistler Sport Legacies and check out one of the different trail options they can recommend to you there are located inside the nearby Whistler Olympic Park, or join a guided snowshoeing tour. Shoe rentals will cost you about $16 CAD per day, whereas a tour will be upwards of $125 CAD.
The Medicine Trail Snowshoe Tour navigates an old trapper’s path (you’ll even pass by an old trapper’s cabin) in the Callaghan Valley known as the Medicine Trail, as the name of the tour states. Along the snow-covered trail, you’ll snowshoe through rows of giant cedar, fir, and hemlock trees and your guide will be there to provide information on the mysteries that lie here.
22. The Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola
I wasn’t sure whether to include this on my list because it is a little bit far from Whistler, but I honestly loved it so much I just had to include it! The Sea to Sky Gondola is actually 40 minutes from Whistler in the town of Squamish and sits next to the Chief hiking trail.
Both the Chief and the Sea to Sky Gondola give you fantastic views of the Howe Sound.
I loved the Chief as it’s an amazing hike and a good place to warm your legs up for some much harder hikes around Whistler. The hike takes around 3 hours to complete there and back and finishes on top of the Stawamus Chief. There are three peaks to climb but completing peak one is all I did and it was enough.
I also loved visiting the Sea to Sky Gondola and it actually takes you much higher than the Chief trail. From the top of the gondola, you can explore a few other trails and enjoy stunning views.
You can also have lunch or even join the Via Ferrata climbing tour up there (if you don’t get around to doing the Whistler Via Ferrata that I mentioned earlier in this blog) and there is actually a tour that includes both the Via Ferrata Climbing and Gondola pass!
I recommend doing both the Chief and Sea to Sky Gondola, but if you only have time for one then just ask yourself if you feel like hiking up or spending the $70 CAD on the gondola or would rather tackle the challenging climb on the Chief. If you do want to do the gondola, be sure to buy your ticket in advance.
This gondola and hike are also only about an hour’s drive from Vancouver. This makes it one of the best things to do in Vancouver too!
23. Test your skills at axe throwing
Axe throwing was something I never thought about doing before coming to Canada. To be honest, though, I didn’t even know it was a thing to do! But as it turns out, it’s super popular and there are actually places all over Canada to test your skills at hitting a target with an axe.
Let me tell you though, it’s super fun and the hour we had booked went by so fast! As a first-timer, it took a few throws to get the hang of it but after that, we were keeping scores and getting super competitive.
If you’re wondering what it’s like, Bailey put it best, “it’s like bowling but way more dangerous”. This is true but with the safety rules and training, it’s actually super safe and there’s nothing to worry about!
I highly recommend giving this activity a try in Whistler or at least once while you’re in Canada! You can book your Whistler axe throwing experience ahead of time here at no extra cost for $45 CAD!
24. Stuff your face at Purebread
Move over Tim Hortons, there’s a better bakery in town – Purebread! Purebread is a Canadian company with only 5 locations (3 in Vancouver and 2 in Whistler.) These guys have made a name for themselves by having the best, you guessed it, bread and pastries!
Purebread on Mainstreet in Whistler is often so busy that a line-up forms out the door. If this doesn’t tell you how delicious this place is then I’m not sure what will! It is easily one of the best cafes in Whistler.
Try their Zucchini Lime Carrot Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, or anything really, it’s all good. They also offer savory breakfast items and freshly brewed coffee.
You can find Purebread on Mainstreet or at Function Junction in Whistler.
25. Enjoy tacos and tequila at The Mexican Corner
If you haven’t filled up on Purebread already then you’re in for another treat in Whistler. The Mexican Corner is going to be our new go-to restaurant in Whistler for authentic Mexican food!
The decor, style, and colors are super cultural too and it really brought us back to all the time we’ve spent in Mexico. We recently are here and this restaurant is so good so much so that there is often a wait, so try and book a table in advance!
The cocktails are delicious and they offer a selection of premium tequila and mezcal to choose from. From their food menu, we ended up trying a bit of everything! From starters like fresh guac with jalapenos and gooey cheese dip to Chicken Enchiladas, Beef Barbacoa Tacos, and the Baja Cauliflower Tacos for entrees – we loved it all!
We also liked the fact that you can order single tacos, so you can try a few different types instead of being restricted to the same flavor!
On top of it all, the service was also top tier so there is really nothing to complain about! If you are looking for a fun night out, a romantic dinner, or a special celebration, this is one of the best restaurants in Whistler to visit!
26. Rest your legs on an e-bike tour around Whistler
Whistler seems flat…that is until you decide to mountain bike around the many trails in the area. To make it easier you can actually do an e-Bike tour around Whistler instead.
On the e-Bikes, you won’t have to work nearly as hard as on a normal bike and you’ll be able to glide up the hills with ease! They are one of Bailey and I’s favorite ways to be active when we need a more relaxing type of day.
In particular, there is this awesome e-Bike tour that goes for around three hours and covers much of the greater Whistler area including the three major lakes, all three golf courses, a real bear den (fingers crossed you’ll see some bears along with it!), and lots more. It’s quite the inclusive ride and as far as numbers are concerned you’ll ride for 27 km (17 mi) but it will be more enjoyable than it is a struggle!
Tours are $137 CAD and include a guide who will give you information about the Whistler Valley! You can book your tour here in advance!
27. Relax at Whistler Olympic Plaza
You’ll recognize this park by the huge Olympic rings! It is located at the end of the main walking street in Whistler and features a large grassy area, a playground, and is surrounded by shops and restaurants.
This park was created to remember Whistler’s involvement in the 2010 Olympics. Of course, don’t forget to get a cheesy tourist pic posing in front of the rings too!
Often there is live music or performances on the stage and people set up chairs or picnics in the grass. In the summertime when people are always looking to get outside the annual Whistler Summer Concert Series is hosted inside Olympic Plaza.
From the end of June through August on most Thursday and Friday evenings this is the place to be to listen to local artists and various rotating styles of music. It’s completely free, just bring a picnic blanket and some snacks and enjoy! You can check the schedule here and keep updated with what artists are playing as they are announced.
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Whistler in December, be sure to visit the Olympic Plaza and spend a couple of hours ice skating and if you have kids that can enjoy playing around in the Snow Zone.
28. Wander the “Whistler Stroll”
The “Whistler Stroll” is the main walking street in Whistler. Personally, I love just wandering around aimlessly here as it is so relaxed, yet vibrant. The walking street is always full of people and surrounded by boutique shops, restaurant patios, and a seemingly endless number of cafes.
There is also often live music and street performers scattered throughout the stroll with the most popular time being weekends. Events also frequently take place here and when Dan and I were in Whistler in 2019, we managed to catch the annual Canada Day Parade!
Wandering the Whistler Stroll is one of those typical “must-do” activities in Whistler, and even if you don’t plan on it, you’ll likely find yourself here at one stage or another.
29. Visit the Whistler Farmers Market
If you happen to be visiting Whistler on a Sunday between the months of May and October then you’re in luck! The Whistler Farmers Market operates every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm showcasing the best homemade and freshly grown items the area has to offer.
When I was last there they had a selection of fresh fruits and veggies, handmade crafts and clothing, and a huge selection of food trucks! To me, this is the perfect place to visit for your Sunday lunch or even just for an afternoon snack!
You can find out more information about the market in Whistler including vendors and the location on their website.
Whistler is a town FULL of working holidaymakers, so the population is full of young travelers, therefore it’s very vibrant and a super fun place to party all year long!
In the winter the bars are loaded with Apre Skiiers who love to turn up all night long and when the summer tourism booms, visitors enjoy starting a night out earlier in the day on one of the many patios all over the village. Once night falls they transition into lively hubs with music, DJs, and dancing.
Merlin’s Bar and Grill and The Longhorn Saloon & Grill are two must-visit patios for all-around fun and good vibes when partying in Whistler!
For a more casual setting to chat watch sporting events, or play pool or darts with friends Buffalo Bill’s Bar & Grill is a great choice.
Located inside the Blackcomb Lodge is the underrated Apres Apres. This is a classier setting that features a dance floor and great music from every genre!
Looking for a crazy good time? Garfinkel’s Whistler located inside the Delta Hotels by Marriot is probably the most popular nightclub in Whistler. It’s a high-energy atmosphere with well-loved bartenders who are super quick at making drinks. The lines won’t be too bad if you get there around 10 pm and you can reserve booths and do bottle service for special occasions!
An excellent way to get your party on and meet other locals and travelers is through this weekly Whistler Bar Hop that happens every Friday and Saturday night. You’ll be shown by your guide to 4 different bars and clubs and your tickets include express entry and free drinks and food for $89 CAD per adult!
If you happen to be visiting Whistler during one of its many annual festivals, even better!
To name a few, there’s April’s Whistler World Ski & Snowboard Festival with nonstop events, July is Crankworx Whistler Mountain Bike Festival where the crowds get amped for the races and events going on, and September is for the beer lovers where you can sample brews from over 60 different breweries at Whistler Village Beer Festival.
Related Read: Vancouver is only a short drive away, and it’s also a great place to visit. Check out our 1-day Vancouver itinerary to plan a quick visit, or if you’re traveling with your loved one, our guide to planning the most romantic Vancouver honeymoon!
31. Wine and dine
Whistler has some world-class restaurants that foodies will absolutely love. The Bearfoot Bistro is one of the best restaurants in Whistler. This romantic restaurant doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to food or wine.
Try their 4-course tasting menu for a romantic and special dining experience. From the main menu the Wagyu beef, Perigord truffles, and Berkshire pork are outstanding!
They even offer specials during their daily happy hour from 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm for their oysters and drinks specials.
Head to the restaurant’s underground wine cellar and try to saber the top of a champagne bottle off, a tradition that dates back to the Napoleonic era. In the cellar, you will be surrounded by over 20,0000 bottles of wine, so take your pick of the bottles and see if you can successfully saber it!
For an even better experience, join this highly-rated fine-dining tour that visits the Bearfoot Bistro for a 3.5-hour-long dinner with plenty of dishes to sample. At the end of the night, you’ll head over to Roger’s Chocolates for some more samples and confections! This tour begins at $185 CAD per person but you can also upgrade to include wine pairings. You are guaranteed to be stuffed after this!
32. Eat at the $5.95 Restaurant and Pub
Who says that Whistler is expensive?! Okay, well it might be for a lot of things, but this little gem of a restaurant proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a nice sit-down meal in Whistler Village.
El Furniture Warehouse is a restaurant and pub that’s menu is entirely made up of $6.25-$9.75 CAD items! You can get a poutine, chicken strips, nachos, all of your typical pub food, and more for around $8.50 CAD each. Want a burger? They have those too for only $9.50 CAD.
Also, the food is delicious. I had their grilled cheese sandwich (with brie and cranberries) at least once on three different occasions when I was in Whistler last.
While this may not necessarily be a typical “thing to do in Whistler”, I do think it’s important to mention for those traveling on a budget. You can easily go to El Furniture and spend less than $20 CAD per person on a meal, drink, tax, and tip.
33. Relax at Scandinave Spa
Sometimes you just need to treat yourself! And this is the perfect place to do it – total luxury, silence, and relaxation.
Scandinave Spa is located just outside of Whistler Village and offers a silent retreat with luxurious thermal and cool baths, massages, and areas to lounge and rest. They have a eucalyptus sauna (pure bliss) and a cedar and Finnish sauna. The rest areas have hammocks, lounge chairs, solariums, and even a yoga studio!
To preserve the peace of the area, you cannot use cell phones in the baths and are asked to remain quiet throughout your stay – it’s about real relaxation!
A day at the baths costs $105 CAD, and massages are extra (it may be covered under some health insurance plans).
They also offer couples’ treatments, perfect for anybody visiting Whistler on a honeymoon with their loved one. open Scandinave Spa is open from 10 am – 9 pm daily.
The spa is the place to go and relax after enjoying a few of the best outdoor activities in Whistler! You’ll love the peaceful atmosphere and gorgeous surrounding mountain views.
34. Whistler Bungee Jump
Ready for an adrenaline rush? This will definitely be one of the most memorable parts of your Whistler trip!
Whistler Bungee was voted as Whitler’s most extreme activity and has you jumping 50 meters (164 feet) down over the Cheakamus River. It’s a thrill like nothing else!
They have very high safety and quality standards, with expert staff talking you through the entire process. You can go by yourself or in tandem with someone else!
You’ll get the option to buy a professional picture as a souvenir along with a free t-shirt to remember it by! The cost is $130 CAD/person and it’s located a 30-minute drive away from Whistler.
35. Visit Pemberton and Go Horseback Riding
The small town of Pemberton is close to Whistler (30 km away) and worth a visit in its own right. One of the most popular activities here is to go horseback riding! Pemberton actually has more horses per capita than anywhere else in British Columbia. The area has tons of trails that will take you through forests, meadows, and rivers.
We recently did this 2-hour horseback riding experience in Pemberton and loved every second of it. Our guide was super knowledgeable and very good with the horses. We each got saddled up on a horse that followed our instructions with ease.
We followed our guide along a trail through forests, across a river, and through meadows. Along the way, we saw breathtaking views of Mount Currie and stopped several times for photo opportunities. Oh, and did I mention that we also saw 3 black bear cubs?!
If two hours sounds like too much time, you can also opt for a shorter 1-hour experience. Tours start from about $93 CAD per person. Honestly, this is a super unique activity and one I would highly recommend to all animal lovers. Be sure to book in advance as they have a limited number of rides available each day.
Hot Tip: After your horseback ride, head down the road to The Beer Farmers for a craft beer with a view. In the summer, they also have a sunflower maze here which is perfect for taking photos!
36. Visit Alexander Falls
Alexander Falls are the most spectacular waterfalls located in the Callaghan Valley region. The falls themselves plunge 43 meters (141 feet) down and are 12 meters (40 feet) wide – pretty impressive!
The best time to visit is in May or June, when all the snow from nearby mountains has melted and is feeding into the falls. This is when you see them at their largest and most spectacular. With that said, in the winter the falls freeze which is also pretty neat to see.
The falls are visible from a platform viewpoint and are accessible to everyone. There aren’t many hiking options immediately in the area, but the drive is very scenic and you’ll enjoy getting lost out in the forest! It’s the perfect spot to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy some time out in nature.
37. Visit the Whistler Sliding Centre
To get into the spirit of the 2010 Winter Olympics, go check out the Whistler Sliding Centre and see some of the most interesting sports around – bobsled, skeleton, and luge. These sliding sports are exciting and speedy, definitely for those looking for an adrenaline rush!
You can visit the center for free year-round and go on a self-guided tour to learn more about the history of the sport. If you visit during the winter months (October-March), you can actually observe athletes sliding on the track!
Or if you dare, you can ride on the bobsled with a professional pilot on this bobsled experience. It is the only public bobsled of its kind in Canada, and you’ll reach speeds of up to 125 km/hr (78 mph)!
In the summer, you have the option to purchase a sliding experience on a bobsleigh with wheels, driven by a professional pilot. The cost is $119 CAD for those looking for an adrenaline rush!
The center is located just outside Whistler Village.
Note: In 2023, the summer bobsled experience begins in July.
Related Read: Want to go on an epic road trip? Check out the best stops on the drive from Whistler to Banff!
Where to Stay in Whistler, BC
There are tons of choices when it comes to hotels in Whistler, below are some of my very favorites:
Adara Hotel – Our Top Choice
Our go-to hotel in Whistler is the Adara Hotel. For us, it is the perfect mix of luxury and affordability with everything you need for a comfortable stay. They offer underground parking and are only a one-minute walk from the Whistler Stroll, so you can park your car and leave it while you explore Whistler Village. They also have a beautiful outdoor pool and hot tub offering mountain views – perfect for relaxing in the evening. The loft rooms are our favorite, and most also offer mountain views from the upstairs patio.
You can check prices, availability, and book Adara Hotel on Booking.com here.
Hi Whistler – Budget-friendly Hostel
For those travelers on a budget, the Hi Whistler is one of the only budget options. Although a hostel, the place is very clean and comfortable and they also have private rooms. They also have Cheaky’s Café which serves coffee, snacks, meals, beer, cider, and wine. It’s a great place to meet travelers and enjoy your time in Whistler. A single bunk in a mixed dorm room averages $56 CAD.
You can check availability on Booking.com or Hostelworld.
The Listel Hotel Whistler – Mid-range Hotel
The Listel Hotel is a beautiful place to stay in the heart of Whistler. It has an almost unbeatable location close the village and to the gondolas which is convenient if you are planning to ski! I still consider it a budget option for Whistler but the hotel has lots of luxuries including a spa, restaurant, and bar. Rooms on average cost $300 CAD.
You can check availability on Booking.com
Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites – Luxury Hotel
For a luxury hotel in the heart of Whistler, the Whistler Village Suites is my top choice. For Whistler, it’s still a great value hotel and has a swimming pool, 3 hot tubs, a bar, a fitness center, and a restaurant. The rooms a very nice and for groups they have 2 bedroom apartments. Some of the suites even have balconies with mountain views!
You can check availability on Booking.com
Those are just a few of the many amazing places to stay in Whistler – read our blog for more info!
Renting a Car in British Columbia
If you’re arriving in British Columbia via plane, then I can’t recommend getting a rental car enough. British Columbia is a large province and traveling between the best places to visit in BC requires transport. Although you can use public transport on some occasions, this means your trip will not only require more time but more planning.
Car rental in Canada isn’t relatively cheap, but it’s not that expensive either, especially if you get a budget car. The cheapest car with a pick-up and drop-off in different locations is around $100 CAD per day. The price does vary though, depending on the time of year. For car rentals, I use the website Discover Cars. It’s a search engine with lots of deals with good customer service. In fact, I’ve used Discover Cars all over the world, including in Chile, New Zealand, and Australia.
Another popular option is to rent a campervan or motorhome (only for the brave in winter.) Using Motorhome Republic, you can search hundreds of deals across multiple companies to pick a great vehicle and the cheapest price. Having a motorhome is a stunning way to see Canada, and using crown land and campsites, you can often camp for free or very cheap in the most beautiful places imaginable!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Whistler isn’t just a place to visit in winter. As you can see, summer is just as amazing (and as busy) and made our visit one to remember. With all of these amazing things to do in Whistler, you’re sure to have a great time too!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our guide to the best things to do in Whistler. If you found this blog helpful then be sure to check out all our Canada blogs here or check out these related articles below!