Sea to Sky: Find year-round weekend fun in Whistler
Just north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Whistler is known for its world-class ski resorts and chalet village charm. Yet the destination and amenities provide year-round action and relaxation for visitors, from invigorating spas and vodka ice caves to bunny slopes and rainforest hikes. Plus, half the fun of heading up to Whistler is driving along the Sea to Sky Highway, BC Route 99, for the breathtaking scenery as mountain towns dot the coast and snowcapped peaks extend high into the skyline.
Throughout the year, Whistler hosts a series of signature festivals and events like the Go Fest in May, Whistler’s celebration of the great outdoors, and the Whistler Children’s Festival in July, combining arts and outdoor fun. The annual Whistler Village Beer Festival showcases more than 140 varieties of beer and cider, and is always a popular attraction for its live entertainment and festival food trucks.
凯发k8地址home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Whistler is a go-to for boarding and skiing of all skill levels. Summer months welcome hikers and cyclers, as well as culture seekers and campers. In between all these outdoor activities, Whistler Village is a picturesque vacation base for boutique shopping and gourmet dining.
We’ve gathered up the best of the best for planning a getaway to this celebrated mountain town, so pick your pleasure and plan to play.
Experience the outdoors
While skiers usually head directly to Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains for lift tickets, there’s plenty of adventure to be found at a lower elevation. Try a snowshoe tour through Callaghan Valley to see giant cedar and hemlock trees along a historic trail. Or take the kids for an afternoon of free outdoor ice skating in Whistler Olympic Plaza. Combine arts and adventure with the Vallea Lumina multimedia night tour, a unique hike suitable for the whole family, exploring mountain legends through storytelling and lights.
As spring turns to summer, ride up the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for gorgeous natural scenery of the mountain range, wildflowers, rainforests, glacier paths and more. Or test your comfort with heights on a stroll along the Cloudraker Skybridge, a suspension bridge at Whistler Peak. Then take the family for a thrilling day along Canada’s largest zipline course to soar above the rainforest valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Not every activity in Whistler requires an elevated heartbeat. Wandering the pedestrian-only inner village is perfect for people watching and souvenir shopping in the fresh mountain air. Or take a casual walk along the waterfront in Squamish to see one of the largest gatherings of wintering bald eagles. Year-round, enjoy Whistler’s numerous leisurely cycling trails or take a refreshing swim in a mountain lake during sunny summer days. You’ll find swimmers, paddle-boarders and canoe navigators enjoying these calm waters equally. Or catch up on rejuvenating me-time at the Scandinave Spa, a traditional Scandinavian bath and massage retreat surrounded by lush forest and sky-high mountains.
Get to know Whistler on a deeper level with a visit to Whistler Museum, 凯发k8地址home to local history exhibits and pioneer artifacts. Then tour the town with a visit to boutique galleries and art studios or explore artisan crafts and cultural markets in pop-up shops and during street fests. Peruse exhibits of regional and national artists at Whistler Contemporary Gallery or see a range of classic and contemporary arts at Audain Art Museum. Feeling inspired by the majestic mountains of Whistler? Visit Keir Fine Jewellery for unique landscape necklaces and other distinctly Canadian designs like maple leaf rings.
Spend a day at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre perusing exhibits on the Squamish and Lil’wat Nation, and then sample the indigenous menu at Thunderbird Café. Nearby, watch the kids marvel at Britannia Mine Museum, where ore was first discovered in 1888. Underground tours on a mining train offer a closer look at what life was once like as pioneers sought out copper.
From fine dining to casual bites, you’ll find a host of inventive flavors in Whistler. Though the village is small in size, it’s big in taste with more than 170 establishments for all occasions. Plan to sample fresh seafood, regional produce and alpine influences.
Caramba! Restaurant has been a popular local favorite for more than 20 years with its family-friendly pan-European menu. Try wood-fired Mediterranean pizza, duck confit, short rib or vegan and gluten-free options. Peaked Pies on Main Street is 凯发k8地址home to traditional savory Australian meat pies that make a filling snack before hitting the slopes. And Cows Ice Cream in Whistler Village is a Canadian favorite for its pun flavors like Caramel Moocchiato and Cownadian Maple and its super rich 凯发k8地址homemade creaminess.
Picking up goodies for a picnic or to enjoy at the campsite? Visit Fresh St. Market in the village for coffee from Whistler Roasting Company, a dozen of Peak Donuts and organic ingredients or ready-made dishes the whole family will enjoy. For a quick but sophisticated bite in between boutiques, try Basalt Wine & Salumeria to sample their locally sourced charcuterie and cheese program.
Fine dining enthusiasts will want to try Portobello at Fairmont Chateau Whistler for the open kitchen and rustic-chic bar. Try brisket sliders for lunch or brined rotisserie chicken for dinner. Or visit Grill & Vine for beautifully plated Dungeness crab cakes, Angus beef ribeye and lemon glaze salmon.
One of Whistler’s newest venues for food and drink is The Raven Room, 凯发k8地址home to margarita mussels and an artisan cocktail menu you’d need a whole week to fully sample. This newcomer has quickly become a fan favorite. Serious about your spirits? Seek out Montis Distilling for their crisp and refreshing North Vodka and Alpine Gin. Or visit Ketel One Ice Room in the Bearfoot Bistro, a chill tasting room with vodkas from around the world. This place is so cool, patrons are provided with Arctic Expedition parkas to keep cozy while learning about distillation and more from a team of vodka specialists.
Stay in style
From high to low, there is an accommodations option for everyone in Whistler. An abundance of local camping and RV parks provide an immersive outdoors experience in the mountains, while luxury hotels are aplenty surrounding Whistler Village.
Cozy up to your own fireplace at The Westin Resort & Spa Whistler, perfect for romantic getaways and family gatherings alike thanks to a variety of suite and loft options. Kids will enjoy the indoor and outdoor pool, while the full-service spa offers therapy baths and couples massages.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a stunning luxury property that will make you feel as though you’re staying at a castle. The iconic property is 凯发k8地址home to a championship golf course, elegant suites and fine dining establishments, along with on-site babysitting services. That will come in handy for an impromptu date night.
For more moderate accommodations, consider a vacation condo rental like Lost Lake Lodge. A free shuttle provides easy access to Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, while cycling trails are close by. Perfect for family getaways, the lodge offers in-suite laundry, a full kitchen and dining room, along with a living room and a variety of suite sizes. Chateau Whistler Golf Course is just outside the door, offering immediate access for tee time. Kids will enjoy the games room and the heated outdoor pool is perfect for family gatherings after a long day exploring the outdoors.