Whistler travel guide

Whistler Tourism | Whistler Guide

You're Going to Love Whistler

Set within spectacular scenery, Whistler Blackcomb is one of the biggest ski resorts in North America. Over the last four decades, Whistler has grown from a small mountain community to a bustling resort village that sees millions of visitors come every year for world-class skiing and winter sports.

The Whistler village is nestled at the foot of the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, full of picturesque chalet-style accommodations along cobbled streets. The base camp area is relatively small as compared to a larger city, but it is packed with bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels.

There's no shortage of things to do when you're off the slopes, and while it obviously caters to the ski crowd, the mountains also offer summer visitors exciting outdoor fun.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Whistler

1. Winter Sports, of Course!

As a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Whistler is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Along with alpine skiing and snowboarding, you can try snowshoeing and tobogganing down the slopes, cross-country or Nordic skiing in nearby Lost Lake or the Olympic Park.

2. The Nightlife

The après ski scene is definitely hot, with live music, cocktail bars and much more. You can eat tapas until the wee hours, curl up next to a fireplace at a stylish lounge, and dance with your ski boots on at a club.

3. Breathtaking Scenery

From snowy peaks in the winter to the lush green forests that surround Whistler, your camera app will get a serious workout here. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which spans the dizzying height between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, runs all year round for the most spectacular views from above.

4. Summer Fun

The area is surrounded by forests to hike in, rivers for whitewater rafting, swimming at Lost Lake municipal park, and several golf courses. Mountain biking is another favorite activity on the trails when the snow is gone.

5. World-Class Dining

From high-end gourmet fare to affordable family meals, you can dine mountainside or in the Village, with an emphasis on local ingredients and cuisine.

What to do in Whistler

1. Whistler Blackcomb: A Whistler Winter

Blackcomb is the reason to visit Whistler during ski season - it is North America's largest and foremost ski resort. The village is nestled in the valley between two epic peaks, both host to a spectacular maze of well-groomed runs for all skill levels. With jaw-dropping mountain ranges in every direction as you coast down pristine slopes, this resort is a paradise for snow lovers.

2. Peak 2 Peak Gondola: To the Top!

This record breaking ski lift has brought Whistler Blackcomb international fame, and with good reason: the views across British Colombia from 1,000 feet up never get old. There are always new runs to explore now that this remarkable feat of engineering carries visitors across the 3 mile stretch between the two marvelous peaks. The gondola cabins offer a serene break for some, while those with glass floors offer views just as thrilling as shooting down the slopes.

3. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre: Heritage of the Land

Surrounded by glorious natural wonders, the Squamish Lil'wat Center celebrates those people among First Nations who originally called this remarkable landscape home. Take a break from skiing to appreciate the history and culture of the pioneering environmentalists, the tribes who live off of and preserve the land. There are always art exhibitions and performances going on in the modern building, all unforgettable educational experiences.

4. Whistler Mountain Bike Park: Year-round Thrills

Snow sports are not the only adrenaline packed activities on the slopes of Whistler mountain. For year-round fun, this Mountain Bike Park has fun-filled trails for experts and beginners alike. Cruise through mossy forests or past shimmering lakes. Appreciate the fresh air and take in the wide open northern sky. For less strenuous flights through nature, explore the nearby zip-line parks and alpine slide.

5. Whistler Olympic Park: Go for Gold

This recreational paradise invites visitors of all ages to hit the slopes for an endless selection of snowy activities. Slow down the pace with some serene snow-shoeing, or pick it up in a classically Canadian toboggan sled! The terrain boasts miles of cross-country skiing trails, baseboarding hills, and perfectly curated adrenaline-filled ski-jumping zones. The Olympic Park is also a great place to take a day off, explore the history of snow sports on a guided tour, or watch the professionals in action.

1. Whistler Blackcomb: A Whistler Winter

Blackcomb is the reason to visit Whistler during ski season - it is North America's largest and foremost ski resort. The village is nestled in the valley between two epic peaks, both host to a spectacular maze of well-groomed runs for all skill levels. With jaw-dropping mountain ranges in every direction as you coast down pristine slopes, this resort is a paradise for snow lovers.

2. Peak 2 Peak Gondola: To the Top!

This record breaking ski lift has brought Whistler Blackcomb international fame, and with good reason: the views across British Colombia from 1,000 feet up never get old. There are always new runs to explore now that this remarkable feat of engineering carries visitors across the 3 mile stretch between the two marvelous peaks. The gondola cabins offer a serene break for some, while those with glass floors offer views just as thrilling as shooting down the slopes.

3. Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre: Heritage of the Land

Surrounded by glorious natural wonders, the Squamish Lil'wat Center celebrates those people among First Nations who originally called this remarkable landscape home. Take a break from skiing to appreciate the history and culture of the pioneering environmentalists, the tribes who live off of and preserve the land. There are always art exhibitions and performances going on in the modern building, all unforgettable educational experiences.

4. Whistler Mountain Bike Park: Year-round Thrills

Snow sports are not the only adrenaline packed activities on the slopes of Whistler mountain. For year-round fun, this Mountain Bike Park has fun-filled trails for experts and beginners alike. Cruise through mossy forests or past shimmering lakes. Appreciate the fresh air and take in the wide open northern sky. For less strenuous flights through nature, explore the nearby zip-line parks and alpine slide.

5. Whistler Olympic Park: Go for Gold

This recreational paradise invites visitors of all ages to hit the slopes for an endless selection of snowy activities. Slow down the pace with some serene snow-shoeing, or pick it up in a classically Canadian toboggan sled! The terrain boasts miles of cross-country skiing trails, baseboarding hills, and perfectly curated adrenaline-filled ski-jumping zones. The Olympic Park is also a great place to take a day off, explore the history of snow sports on a guided tour, or watch the professionals in action.

Where to Eat in Whistler

If you're craving some comfort food, 21 Steps Kitchen + Bar offers big portions in a location with great views. Main dishes start at about C$25. The name may suggest casual eating, but the Bearfoot Bistro is a French bistro-style restaurant with a sophisticated menu of fine dining - it may also be the only place you'll be able to order Dom Pérignon by the glass. A three-course menu starts at C$98 per person. For high-end vegetarian dining with a view, you can try Raven's Nest, with a scenic location at the top of the Creekside Gondola on Whistler Mountain. Mains start at C$11. If you're looking to eat on the go at value pricing, try the Roundhouse Lodge, a huge restaurant that's a leftover from the 2010 Olympic Games set 6,069 feet above sea level on Whistler Mountain next to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. There are three food court areas with prices that start at about C$10 for a main dish.

When to visit Whistler

Whistler in July
Estimated hotel price
C$ 244
1 night at 3-star hotel
Whistler in July
Estimated hotel price
C$ 244
1 night at 3-star hotel

Naturally, the most popular season to visit Whistler is the winter, but that period is less limited than you might think. The skiing season runs from November, (with the opening usually timed to coincide with American Thanksgiving,) to mid-May. The summers in Whistler are dry and warm, though, and prices are at a discount, making it an alternative for fans of the great outdoors.

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Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
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How to Get to Whistler

Plane

If you're arriving from an international location, you'll be landing at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), located about 84 miles from Whistler. The Whistler Shuttle company runs a service from that Airport at C$69 for adults and C$32 for children 6 to 12. Children 5 and under ride free. Departures are flexible based on your flight. Pacific Coach Lines is another option, with a bus service from the airport and a number of stops in downtown Vancouver to Whistler. The bus runs door-to-door service to hotels and condos for C$55 from downtown Vancouver and C$74 from the airport.

Train

The Whistler railway station connects to North Vancouver via the Rocky Mountaineer Whistler Sea to Sky Climb, a privately run tourist railway company. The vintage-style trains run a scenic three-hour tour during the winter tourist season on. Regular rail service is available from the east via Jasper, Alberta by the CN (Canadian National) Railway.

Car

The 78-mile drive to Whistler from the Vancouver area is spectacular. It follows British Columbia Highway 99, also known as the "Sea-to-Sky highway," and it also connects to the interior of the province.

Bus

You can catch a bus from Pemberton, to the north, with Greyhound or The Whistler and Valley Express company. Epic Bus is a private company offering budget trips at C$24 one way and C$35 return from downtown Vancouver to Whistler. Bus service in the winter depends on the weather, and may be delayed in the event of storms or other bad weather events.

Airports near Whistler

Airlines serving Whistler

United Airlines
Good (2,856 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,393 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,189 reviews)
KLM
Good (355 reviews)
Air France
Good (403 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,065 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,337 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,442 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,222 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (975 reviews)
Iberia
Good (927 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,458 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (284 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (337 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (549 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (102 reviews)
Finnair
Good (703 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,650 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,300 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Whistler

Whistler Village - this is the main tourist area, open to pedestrian traffic only. It's where you'll find a range of accommodation, and the streets are lined with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. It's the hub of activity in this resort town.

Popular Neighborhoods in Whistler

Upper Village/Benchlands - this area is located less than a third of a mile from the Village at the base of Blackcomb Mountain. It is home to a weekly farmers market along with many ski lodges and some of the area's iconic hotels.

Creekside - this is an alternative to the busy Village area, and is the site of the original ski resort at the foot of Whistler Mountain. Here, you'll find shops, restaurants, and accommodations including lodges and hotel rooms in a family-friendly environment.

Where to stay in popular areas of Whistler

Most booked hotels in Whistler

Four Seasons Resort Whistler
Excellent (9.1, Excellent reviews)
C$ 558+
Fairmont Chateau Whistler
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
C$ 478+
Crystal Lodge
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
C$ 289+
The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
C$ 344+
Aava Whistler Hotel
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 205+
Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 341+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Whistler

Public Transportation

There is bus service to most areas of the town, and in spring and summer, there are convenient bike racks on each bus. The cash fare for a single ride is C$2.50, with a day pass available at C$7. Most of the hotels operate free shuttles between the hotels and the ski lifts. During the summer, there is a free shuttle service between Whistler Village and Lost Lake, a municipal park nestled between the mountains with swimming, hiking, and biking trails.

Taxi

Taxi service is fairly plentiful in Whistler, with three companies available. Fares run about C$8 for a trip of about two miles.

Car

The Whistler Village is open to pedestrian traffic only, so a car won't help with getting around in that area. However, a car will let you explore the scenic area. Rentals - with companies like Avis and Alamo - from Vancouver International Airport start at only C$15 per day.

The Cost of Living in Whistler

Shopping Streets

Whistler Village is definitely the place to buy top-flight mountain and outdoor gear from a variety of retailers, such as Patagonia and the Whistler Blackcomb Outlet Store. For summer needs, there is Garbanzo Bike And Bean, stocked with world-class biking gear, and clothing, and a repair shop to get you back on the trails as soon as possible if you run into problems.

Groceries and Other

There are a couple of good options when it comes to supermarkets in Whistler, both located within the Village resort area. The IGA Plus is well stocked with a range of grocery items at reasonable prices. The Whistler Grocery Store is a bit smaller, but also offers a good range of items. A gallon of milk should run about C$5, and a dozen eggs about C$3.50.

Cheap meal
C$ 15.30
A pair of jeans
C$ 60.83
Single public transport ticket
C$ 2.56
Cappuccino
C$ 4.37
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