Planning a trip to Canada? This Whistler Travel Guide will tell you everything you need to know before hitting the mountains and slopes. First and foremost, for those of you that aren’t familiar with Whistler, let us start by saying how breathtaking, welcoming and tranquil this quaint ski village is. Arriving in Whistler after a heavy snow storm felt like walking inside a snow globe. With snow pilled up as high as the street signs, driving through the freshly snow covered village transported us into a Disney fairy-tail. It’s the type of place that you immediately forget about any work stresses or relationship problems, and are instantly pulled into the present moment, surrounded by glowing pine trees and endless mountaintops. The best part? Knowing that there are even better views to come at the very top of Whistler Blackcomb.
Tell Me More
Whistler is home to Whistler Blackcomb, known as one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Given it is on the West Coast of British Colombia, the weather and snow is some of the best for skiers and snowboarders. Better yet, it is included as one the resorts on the Epic Ski Pass, which we highly recommend investing in if you plan to ski more than one weekend a season. If booked in advanced and done smart, Whistler can be a pretty affordable vacation, especially compared to some of the other popular ski destinations like Aspen and Vail.
WHEN TO VISIT
Whistler is located about an hour and a half to two hours outside of Vancouver. The easiest way to get to Whistler is to drive from Vancouver across the Sea-to-Sky highway, which is filled with breathtaking views of British Colombia. There are a few different shuttle services you can take, all of which are reasonably priced. We opted for Epic Rides, which has direct routes from downtown Vancouver to Whistler Village, as well as Vancouver International Airport to Whistler. Round-trip prices are $35 from downtown and $55 from the airport. The airport transportation is more expensive due to the added time and the added convenience, as the shuttle will drop you off directly at your accommodations.
What To Expect
Like everywhere else in the world, COVID is popping back up in Canada like that unwanted ex you just can’t get rid of. Although COVID has increased some of the restrictions in Whistler, like indoor dining and bars, the mountains and village remain as lively as ever. Be prepared to show proof of vaccination to enter the country, as well as for entrance into any restaurant or bar. Canada also requires proof of a negative molecular test (PCR) taken within 72 hours of your scheduled flight to Canada. At this time, rapid antigen tests are not accepted. With COVID variants and the ever-changing regulations around it, we recommend reviewing the latest updates from the Government of Canada prior to your trip.
IS IT SAFE TO VISIT?
Given the close in proximity everything is to one another in the Whistler Village, you can actually walk to most places! Additionally, the BC Transit is a seasonal shuttle service available in Whistler. The shuttle is free and runs from early morning to late evenings every 15 minutes.
WHAT TO PACK?
Where We Stayed
GLEN EAGLE RENTALS
Located just a short 10 minute walk from the Upper Village, this Airbnb rental great and cozy! We highly recommend this spot for groups larger than four people, as there is plenty of space for everyone. The only downside – there isn’t a hot tub.
Things To Do
In addition to the numerous ski & snowboard trails across Whistler Blackcomb, there’s also numerous hiking trails! The best time to go hiking is in the Spring and Summer, when the snow is all melted. There are even trails for half-day, full-day, or multi-day treks through glaciated valleys.
SCANDINAVE SPA WHISTLER
WHISTLER BUNGEE JUMPING
Believe it or not, you can actually go bungee jumping in Whistle over the Cheakamus River! Located near the village, the Bungee Jumping Experience is 160-foot drop and is one of the highest year-round bungee jumps in British Colombia. While we would need at least five tequila shots before doing this, it’s something we have on our bucket list for our next visit! If you’re going to bungee jump, might as well do it with the scenic mountains of Whistler to distract you, right?
AUDAIN ART MUSEUM
The Audain Art Museum is a private museum that opened to the public in 2016, housing the private art collection of Michael Audain. It also displays up to three temporary exhibitions a year and is currently showcasing Riopelle: The Call of Northern Landscapes and Indigenous Cultures.
The Whistler Museum, centered in the heart of the village, hosts extensive exhibits, interactive activities, events, multi-media presentations and displays including a complete original gondola cabin. The on-going and one-off exhibits are centered around Whistler and it’s local history. The current exhibit is Pride & Progress: From the Grassroots Altitude to the Fearless Whistler Pride and Ski Festival.
Restaurants And Bars
Whistler Village and the Upper Village are buzzing with restaurants and bars. There’s so many options, it’s almost overwhelming! We’ve included a variety of spots that we think are worth checking out in our Whistler travel guide below! We also want to mention a few of our favorite nightlife spots to check out, including Buffalo Bills, Moe Joe Whistler’s, and Garfinkel’s.
Garibaldi Lift Company
One of the best spots in Whistler for après skiing, this lounge-style restaurant packs up quickly on the weekends. Try to get here early for cocktails and live music after a few runs.
Rimrock is one of the fanciest places in Whistler. With upscale seafood and wine, this fine dining experience boasts amazing food and an intimate vive.
This local favorite pizza spot is casual dining meets quality food. Creekbread is a great place to stop by for lunch or dinner after a long day on the slopes. You can dine in or call ahead for take out.
The Raven Room
Another popular bar in Whistler, located in the lobby of the Pan Pacific Village Centre Hotel, that offers seriously hip décor! The lounge-style vibe is great for relaxing cocktails and happy hour drinks.
Araxi Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Centered in the heart of the village, Araxi has consistently been named one of the best restaurants in Whistler. The warm and inviting ambience tied together with the fresh and flavorful food makes this place a must-not-miss.
There is nothing more enjoyable than a cup of hot coffee and a warm muffin. This family bakery takes it to a whole new level with their baked goods. Stop in for a morning coffee or afternoon treat, you wont be disappointed!
Must-No-Miss: The Longhorn Saloon
Whistler is such a magical place! As we mentioned before, there are shuttles that bring you directly from the airport with Epic Rides making transportation to the mountain fairly easy. Not to mention, Vancouver is only a two hour flight from San Francisco, making the trip just four hours in total! We also recommend spending a day or two in Vancouver before or after heading to Whistler. Check out our Vancouver Travel Guide for what to do with your time in this beautiful city. Thanks for reading our Whistler Travel Guide and stay tuned for more skiing guides!