The Ultimate Guide to Whistler Village
Walking through the main square of Whistler Village in the winter makes you feel as though you’ve landed in Europe. Whistler Village is picture perfect with quaint street lights and cobblestone streets winding around shops and hotels. In a snow flurry, it feels a little bit out of a fairy tale. The love that went into creating Whistler Village is obvious as you explore every nook and cranny.
The atmosphere in the village is buzzing in the late afternoon with people coming down from the mountain. Après ski in Whistler Village is a festive event daily. This energy is genuinely part of the charm of the village.
The History of Whistler Village
Back in the 1960’s, there was hope of Whistler getting to host the Winter Olympics. They lost the bid but developed and opened Whistler Mountain regardless. The people came, and Alta Lake was the first to see significant development. There were a lot of ski bums who were squatting in Whistler at the time. Kind of what you’d imagine California to be like back around the same time.
In 1974, the Canadian government became invested in the idea of developing BC tourism which affected Whistler substantially. It resulted in the creation of the first resort municipality in Canada. A community plan was envisioned in 1977 while development proposals for Blackcomb Mountain were processed. The vision for the village was that it would be located at the base of where Whistler and Blackcomb came together. This is why the Whistler Village is where it stands today. Perfectly nestled in the middle of two epic mountains.
Where to Stay in Whistler Village
Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa
The Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa is a large hotel that boasts all the luxury services expected from a five-star establishment. It’s also conveniently located right in the middle of Whistler Village. It has been given many accolades, including being named one of the top luxury resorts and spas for the whole province of British Columbia.
Most of the rooms have a jet-propelled soaker tub, and some rooms are fully equipped with a kitchenette for those who like to have dinner at home from time to time. Nearly all the rooms come with a view, one of the beauties of this central location.
The hotel has a heated swimming pool and hot tub outside, perfect for relaxing after a big day out. There is an in-house spa that offers many services to relax and rejuvenate. They also have places for après ski at the Cinnamon Bear Grille. Even the locals come here to have a few drinks. It’s about $200 per night during the shoulder season, but spikes quite dramatically to $600 in January.
The Westin Whistler is another centrally located resort in the village. From its main entrance, you can quickly access both mountains. They have residential-style suites, which means you can enjoy the convenience of a fully equipped kitchen plus many suites come with a cozy fireplace and soaker tub.
The Avello Spa and Health Club is located inside the Westin, and it is one of Whistler’s finest. Treat yourself and advantage of a massage after a day on the hill. The Grill and Vine is a spectacular restaurant offering you a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Prices during the offseason are similar in range to that of the Hilton, starting at around $200 per night, but rise to over $800 after Christmas.
Vacation Rental in Whistler Village
If the prices of these luxury hotels are not in the budget, you may want to opt for a vacation rental in Whistler Village, usually found on services like Airbnb or Town Plaza. There are plenty of great suites offered over the storefronts in the Village.
The advantage of a vacation rental in the Village is that it comes with all the amenities of a home and usually can house more than one couple at a fraction of the price. Many come with similar comforts expected from a hotel (cleaning service, indoor hot tub, etc), but without the price tag. Prices vary drastically with the snow, standard rates in December start at $300 per night but will dip to as low as $100 in the shoulder seasons.
Entertainment in Whistler Village
Whistler Village is pretty much where all the action is in this resort municipality unless of course, you head out to Function Junction to see us at Forged Axe Throwing! The Village was built to be pedestrian-only, which creates fairly relaxed and leisurely vibe. There’s plenty to see and buy around every corner, and down every street. One of the best activities is simply going for a stroll. During the summer months, street performances, outdoor patios, and markets are all something you can experience in the heart of Whistler.
Shopping in Whistler Village
If you love to shop, you will enjoy Whistler Village. Although most stores cater to higher-end brands, there is still something for everyone, including souvenirs and mountain equipment.
Taking the time to explore the fine-art galleries, bath and body services, and high-end outdoor apparel can easily waste an entire afternoon, day, or week.
As expected, being a mountain town, if you happened to forget any ski or snowboarding equipment, many shops are solely for outdoor apparel and equipment. Any number of stores like Showcase or CAN-SKI will have what you need. They sell high-quality gear and top-end outdoor fashion.
Can’t find what that special piece of equipment you are looking for? Check out top-notch equipment available at Helly Hansen and Arcteryx. The sporting goods stores will all have expert staff available. They have specialist boot fitters and an in-store tuning center so you can get all your skiing and snowboarding needs dialed in
Dining in Whistler Village
For the true foodies visiting Whistler, give the Whistler Tasting Tour a go. This tour company takes you around Whistler Village to visit all the best restaurants and all in one night. Each course taking place at a new venue, it’s a great way to get local knowledge and sample many tasty treats in one evening.
Looking for more ambiance than a tasting tour can provide? 21 Steps has views, incredible food, and food fit for any budget (they have huge portions and a big drink menu). They are capable of seating big groups, but also have areas more suitable for a romantic date night. It’s a great space and always exceptional service staff.
For people looking for less elegance, but good portions the Amsterdam Café and Pub is in the heart of the village. You can’t miss it, especially because the patio is always packed. Its a great place for après ski and people watching, and typically attracts a younger crowd.
Seeking high-end decadence? Araxi offers high-end dining with a menu that celebrates the West Coast in a contemporary style. They pride themselves on fresh local ingredients and have an internationally awarded wine list. It’s an elegant spot but still relaxed, like almost all restaurants in Whistler. Araxi is situated right in the middle of the village.
Late Night Whistler Village
For clubbing or late night partying, there’s Moe Joe’s, Maxx Fish and Tommy Africa’s. On the weekends, you might want to get there before 10 pm. The lineups get pretty long if you go any later, and sometimes they waive the cover charge if you show up early. You can also arrange to be put on the guest list if you have a bigger group. This will fast track you through any lineups.
Transportation to and From Whistler Village
If you’re staying in Whistler Village, you won’t need a vehicle. You can explore the surrounding areas by bus, taxi, or walk. Most hotels or tours will offer to shuttle you into the village for free.
BC Transit has bus routes that connect the Village to all the areas of Whistler.
The single trip fare is $2.50 – make sure to have correct change. If you need a transfer, ask your driver. Learn more about bus fares, tickets, and passes including where to buy them in Whistler from BC Transit
Free Village Shuttle Services
BC Transit has a seasonal shuttle to help people get around Whistler Village, and it’s free!
Route 4 – Marketplace Shuttle to and from the Gondola Transit Exchange (mid-November to April)
Route 5 – Upper Village/Benchlands Shuttle from the Gondola Transit Exchange to the Benchlands and Blackcomb Base Lodge (year round)
There are two taxi companies in Whistler, although arguably not enough cabs. Due to the perceived shortage, always arrange your taxi ahead of time to avoid a long wait during peak times. Both are open 24 hours a day. When in doubt and in need of a cab in the Village, head to the Taxi Loop to flag one down. They also have minivans and full-sized sedans so all the gear and all your people can fit in comfortably.
Even for the locals, getting into the action in the Village is a magical experience. During a snowstorm, or in the twilight hours, it really does feel like a Winter Wonderland. It’s got a great energy while retaining a totally relaxed vibe that BC is well known for.