From the grandeur and adventure of the Coast Mountains to a village offering cuisine and nightlife on par with the city, Whistler is arguably the most famous mountain town in North America, and a contender worldwide. It’s a locale that sends people home wanting more. You want to go. Here’s how to do it best.
Whistler activities come in many forms.
Adventure comes first. From mountain biking and hiking to ziplining and lake swimming, Whistler’s summer options are deep and plentiful. Winter activities abound with skiing, snowshoeing, dogsledding, and more. Allow yourself adequate time for relaxation and recovery—a visit to a spa or hot tub can help ease overworked muscles.
Good food and drink rank a close second, with even deeper options. From inexpensive pizza joints to elegant fine dining, Whistler has you covered. Insider hint: the further you go from the Village center, the more likely you are to find the hidden gems.
Music takes third spot. Pick up a copy of Pique Newsmagazine to discover a fresh rotation of DJs playing every single night. Whistler loves DJs. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch Whistler’s favourite cover band, The Hairfarmers, during après.
Perhaps the most notable hidden gem is the neighbourhood of Function Junction, just south of the Village. Originally an industrial area, “Function” has found new energy, thanks to local businesses. Wild Wood Café is a breakfast go-to. Purebread bakery offers an impressive selection. Coast Mountain Brewing adds to the craft beer scene, but show up early—the shoebox bar seats only 27 people. Get caffeinated at Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. and be alert for the trip home.
When it comes to places to lay your head in Whistler, there are many options. Most of the resort accommodation options are centred around the Whistler Village, Upper Village, and Creekside areas, with additional condo rentals scattered throughout the resort’s neighbourhoods. If you choose a hotel in the Village you can easily ski, dine, explore, and kick back without driving your car, but if you choose an option further afield, public transit is available, as well as an extensive valley trail system.
Considering Whistler’s location deep in the Coast Mountains, it’s surprisingly easy to get here. Fly into Vancouver International Airport, and travel the picturesque Sea-to-Sky Highway, a 2- to 2.5-hour journey. There are myriad buses, private car services, and rental car agencies at Vancouver’s airport.
If you’re driving, take Highway 99 from Vancouver, and follow the speed limit on its many curvy sections. Since the base of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are pedestrian villages, parking is not always convenient. This is one reason you may want to consider taking a shuttle. Another is that the views of Howe Sound and the Stawamus Chief in Squamish are worthy of your full attention.