Is Whistler Worth Visiting? Reasons To Visit & Things To Do

Are you wondering is Whistler worth visiting?

Being born and raised in Vancouver, I’ve travelled to Whistler many times for leisure or to introduce Whistler to friends who aren’t from Vancouver. Plus, it’s an easy drive as it’s located a couple of hours outside the city,

While outdoor recreation is one of the reasons why people visit Whistler, to be honest, I consider it a place that’s “one and done.” Once you’ve seen Whistler as a tourist, you don’t necessarily need to see it again — unless you’re planning on skiing, snowboarding, or mountain biking.

While it’s still a place worth visiting for more than outdoor recreation and the beautiful drive up, there are things to do while you’re visiting for a weekend or a day trip.

Is Whistler Worth Visiting

So the quick answer is yes, Whistler is worth visiting.

As I mentioned, it’s a beautiful drive, and rightfully so. It’s considered one of the best winter road trips in British Columbia and is constantly ranked as one of Canada’s most beautiful scenic highways.

The drive-up consists of beautiful ocean views of Howe Sounds, the Sunshine Coast in the distance, and other small islands and mountain ranges.

Whistler Village is pedestrian-friendly (and dog-friendly, but they must be on a leash in the village) and a fantastic place to grab a beer or some food after a long day of exploring the surrounding area or outdoor activities.

The two mountains, Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains offer excellent skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing routes for all levels of riders during the winter and hiking and mountain biking trails in the summer.

Whistler also hosts many events and festivals throughout the year, from music celebrations at the Olympic Plaza to art exhibitions at the Audain Art Museum and sporting competitions.

It’s also worth noting that Whistler is a year-round location, so no matter when you visit, there will always be something to do.

A man-made pool of murky green water (you can't swim in it) made for decoration surrounded by different shaped stones, bushes, and trees in Whistler. You can walk over it with the bridge or you can sit by it.

11 Things To Do In Whistler

Here are some things to do in Whistler.

1. Whistler Village

First and foremost, Whistler Village is the heart of Whistler. The Village’s architecture mirrors classic mountain towns. It’s mostly surrounded by accommodations and lodging with businesses underneath.

Overview shot of part of Whistler Village. there are a mix of hotels, with pools, people walking in the village, and otehr buildings. there is also the driving range in the background with a large   open green space and netting on the sides.

The Village has Canadian souvenir shops and boutique stores offering everything from outdoor gear to unique artisan crafts. There are also a couple of grocery stores if you need groceries.

When it comes to dining, Whistler Village offers a handful of places to eat, from casual comfort food to gourmet dining.

Some restaurants are Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar ($$$$), Black’s Pub ($$)—we ate here before, and it’s not bad; it has a nice view of people coming off the mountain, Longhorn Saloon ($$), and more.

The Longhorn Saloon in Whistler, there are many people sitting out under yellow umbrellas on the patio. There are also people lining up to get in.
Longhorn Saloon

My personal favourite is going to Mongolie Grill for lunch or dinner. You can choose the amount of food, ingredients, and sauces you want to use—pay by weight.

The cooks will cook your food over a larger circular blacktop. If you dislike noodles as the main base ingredient, complimentary rice is available.

Also, you can’t miss the famous COWS Ice Cream, which has been in Whistler since 1983. There are many ice cream and sorbet options, and you can also buy other cow-themed souvenirs.

I do have to warn you, though, that it’s a popular location, so it will be busy and lined up at some points.

Cows Ice Cream store in Whistler. Theres a black and white cow statue out front on the left along with racks of t-shirts and cow theme items and a sign with the top 12 flavours and more flavours you'll love.

2. Ride PEAK 2 PEAK

The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola in Whistler is a fantastic attraction that offers views and access to various activities.

It’s not only for skiers, snowboarders, or mountain bikers; you can enjoy riding the gondola and taking in the stunning scenery without participating in sports.

The Roundhouse Lodge is at the top of Whistler Blackcomb, serving as a hub for a cafeteria-style food court. The lodge offers stunning views and a convenient, relaxing spot to refuel.

A red PEAK 2 PEAK Whistler Blackcomb Gondola with nobody inside travelling over a valley with forest mountains below and cloud coverage on the left.

3. Ziplining

Experience the exhilaration of ziplining through the treetops, enjoying spectacular views of the mountains and valleys. I’ve ziplined in Whistler before, and it was fun. I remember my family friend getting stuck in the middle, and one of the guides had to go and push her.

Ziplining tours in Whistler last different lengths of time, ranging from one and a half to three hours.

4. ATV Tours

If you’re looking for something adventurous in Whistler, you can book an ATV tour. You ride on trails led by experienced guides who make it safe and fun.

The trails cover various terrain, from forests to rocky areas, and you can see amazing views of mountains and valleys. Sometimes, you might even spot wildlife like bears and deer. The ATV tours are only open during the warmer months of the year.

5. Snowmobiling

If you missed out on an ATV tour, don’t worry. Whistler also offers snowmobiling tours during the winter months, a fun way to enjoy the snow-covered surroundings.

Guided by experts, you can explore various terrains, from snowy forests to open spaces. Families can join, too, with kids riding for free on mini snowmobiles and with options for single or double riders.

Group of five people on snowmobiles, two people are in the front leading the group. it's and overhead shot of them and they are surrounded by snow and sparce trees.

6. Skiing

As I previously mentioned, Whistler is one of the best places to visit outside the city for snow-related activities if you visit Vancouver during the winter. Skiing in Whistler is the most popular experience, attracting ski enthusiasts from all over the world.

It’s one of the more expensive places to ski outside Vancouver because it’s a ski resort. So, if you’re looking for more reasonably priced places, I suggest going to Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, or Seymour Mountain.

People waiting on the top of the mountain for other, group of people talking about something before they ski, and other people who just got off the gondola and are starting to ski down the snow covered mountain in Whistler.

7. Snowboarding

Snowboarding in Whistler was later added as an option because of its popularity among people looking for places to snowboard.

For beginners or those looking to practice their skills, Whistler offers a variety of ski schools and snowboarding lessons. Experienced instructors guide all ages and levels, ensuring everyone can make the most of their time on the slopes.

8. Mountain Biking

One of the biggest things to do in Whistler during the summer is mountain biking. Being a popular mountain biking destination in British Columbia, Whistler offers many mountain trails and has a lively and passionate biking community.

Some competitions happen in Whistler, most notably the mountain bike competition held by Red Bull during the last week of July.

Is Whistler worth visiting? Yes, one of the reasons is for mountain biking. Many people in mountain biking gear and with their bikes walking in the line between metal barriers to go on the gondola to take them up the mountain.

9. Hiking

Hiking in Whistler, BC, is a fantastic way to enjoy the natural beauty of the mountains and scenic surroundings. There are trails for everyone, whether you’re a beginner hiker looking for easy hikes or a more experienced hiker.

Here’s a list of some hikes in or around Whistler:

  • Lost Lake — easy, in Whistler
  • Garibaldi
  • Brandywine Meadow Trail
  • Ancient Cedars Trail

10. The Audain Art Museum

The Audain Art Museum in Whistler is a special place that showcases various art pieces. It’s known for collecting Indigenous art from the Northwest Coast, including masks and carvings that tell stories of the region’s native peoples.

The museum also features artworks by modern and contemporary artists from British Columbia.

11. Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre shares the heritage of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. It’s a beautiful building inspired by their traditional longhouses, showcasing artifacts, art, and stories from their history.

You can take guided tours to learn more, participate in workshops to experience their culture firsthand, and even try Indigenous-inspired cuisine at the café. The centre hosts community events and has an ethical gift shop with indigenous crafts.

It’s a unique opportunity to learn about the traditions and history of these indigenous communities, offering a meaningful and respectful experience.

How Many Days Should You Spend In Whistler?

If you plan to go to Whistler but don’t do activities other than walking around the Village, a day is all you need. It’s a must-visit location if you’re visiting Vancouver for a week.

Suppose you plan on doing activities in Whistler, such as skiing or mountain biking. In that case, people typically stay for a weekend or three to four days.

What Is The Best Month To Go To Whistler?

Whistler is a year-round destination, so when you go will depend on what you plan on doing. Regardless, Whistler is always a busy destination, depending on the time of year or events.

However, if you plan on skiing, snowboarding, or any snow activity in the winter, December to February will be the best months to visit Whistler. Snow conditions may vary.

In addition, May to August would be the next best months to travel to Whistler if you’re not interested in winter activities. These are also the best times for mountain biking in Whistler.

How To Get To Whistler

Getting to Whistler is easy from Vancouver. There are a couple of ways to get to Whistler.

By Car

The most flexible and convenient option is to drive to Whistler. Take the scenic Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) from Vancouver..

The drive takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on traffic and road conditions, and without stops.

While you may have heard or looked up, is the drive from Vancouver to Whistler safe? It is. However, accidents are inevitable, so do drive with caution. There are a couple of tight turns along the Sea to Sky Highway, so keep that in mind if you drive.

From October 1st until March 31st, snow tires are required to drive the Sea To Sky Highway.

Shuttle Services

Various shuttle services operate between Vancouver and Whistler. These shuttle services provide convenient and comfortable transportation, and they’re an excellent option if you’re getting around Vancouver without a car.

The journey takes two to three hours and offers several daily departures from Vancouver, with drop-offs in Whistler Village.

If you’re coming from Vancouver International Airport, the Skylynx shuttle service goes directly to Whistler with a few stops in Downtown Vancouver and vice versa.

Whistler Shuttle is another option from YVR Airport to Whistler, but there are no stops in between.

Epic Rides is another company that only does pick-ups in Downtown Vancouver and not at YVR Airport.

💡 Note: All shuttle services offer a one-way or round-trip option.

Harbour Air Seaplane

If you’re looking for the quickest way to Whistler, Harbour Air in Coal Harbour in Downtown Vancouver is a seaplane company that will fly you there in 45 minutes. However, it’s the most expensive option.

Where To Stay In Whistler

Here are some of the best overall hotels in Whistler. I also want to mention Whistler isn’t the cheapest destination to travel to, but there are accommodations that are budget-friendly.

✅ Outstanding & Friendly Staff
✅ Excellent Facilities

The Four Seasons Resort Whistler is a luxurious hotel with beautiful rooms and suites with mountain views, exceptional dining options, a renowned spa, and family-friendly amenities.

Enjoy relaxation by the outdoor pool and hot tubs, or stay active in the fitness center. The resort’s concierge services are available to assist with various needs.

✅ Excellent Location
✅ Family-Friendly

The Crystal Lodge is a hotel in the center of Whistler Village. Its prime location makes it perfect for skiers and snowboarders, as it’s within walking distance of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains ski lifts.

The hotel offers various room options, some with mountain views. It features amenities like an outdoor pool and a fitness center. It’s family-friendly with a focus on comfort and convenience. Also, they spoil your furry friend when they stay at The Crystal Lodge.

✅ Budget-friendly
✅ Free WIFI

The Pangea Pod Hotel is a budget-friendly and innovative place to stay in Whistler Village. It offers individual sleeping pods that are small but comfortable and focus on functionality and privacy.

Despite the compact size, each pod has a comfortable mattress, linens, and space for your belongings.

The hotel has shared spaces for socializing, a lounge, a bar, and a rooftop patio. The Pangea Pod Hotel is modern and urban, particularly appealing to budget-conscious travellers seeking a unique experience in the heart of Whistler.

These are some of the best Whistler ski-in ski-out hotels, conveniently located near the bottom of the ski hill or at the surrounding entrances of Whistler Village.

If you’re looking for the best pet-friendly hotels in Whistler, a handful of hotels will pamper and spoil your furry friend.

Is Whistler Worth Visiting – FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about is Whistler is worth visiting.

Should You Go To Whistler If You Don’t Ski?

Yes! You should go to Whistler even if you don’t ski. There are many other things non-skiers can do in Whistler in winter. 

Is Whistler Dog Friendly?

Yes! Whistler is dog-friendly. Dogs must always be on a leash when entering the Whistler Village area. Almost all restaurants in Whistler have outdoor patio seating so your furry friend can enjoy sitting with you during any meal of the day.

There is an off-leash dog park called Canine Cove at Lost Lake. Outside of Whistler is a large dog park called Bayly Park, where your dog can run on obstacles. Spruce Grove Park is another location where your dogs run off-leash.

Is Whistler Walkable?

Whistler Village is small, so it’s walkable. It’s also easy to walk to Lost Lake and the neighbourhoods around the area. 

What Is The Busiest Month In Whistler?

Whistler is busiest during winter (December to February) because of the skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities.

Usually, the weekends in the summer (June to August) are also busy because people have the time off to travel for the day.

Is Whistler A Difficult Ski Resort?

Whistler’s ski mountains offer various levels of ski runs, from beginner green runs to expert double black diamonds.

Even though people have different skill levels, if you’re a beginner, I recommend learning how to ski at one of Vancouver’s local mountains first and then working your way to Whistler.

Conclusion

As you can see, whether you ski or not, Whistler is worth visiting for its beautiful natural beauty, year-round outdoor recreational activities, and vibrant village atmosphere.

Have a good day 🙂