Top 15 Things to Do in Whistler
Even if you have been coming to Whistler for a decade, it’s good to get a little inspiration for what else there is to do besides hitting the mountain. The possible activities in Whistler are endless, and what’s more, they are always changing. Just because you did it all last year, doesn’t mean there aren’t some new experiences on the horizon for your trip this year. Because we’ve lived in the area for awhile now, and also because we tend to get bored of the same old adventures time after time, we’ve put together our top 15 favourite things to do in this little town of ours. Hopefully, you can find a little inspiration from our list!
Forged Axe Throwing
Here we are again, the number one place to be in Whistler! Perhaps the most Canadian of activities, and one which is accessible and for all levels of ability. Our enthusiastic staff takes the time to guide everyone through the art of axe throwing. Don’t worry, every hour long experience includes a thorough safety talk, step-by-step instruction, a few practice rounds, and a final round of competition. Plus, if you are lucky, you might even get to try some trick shots!
The Treetops Adventure is an excellent way to beat some of the summer heat because the adventure course is located deep in the woods, under the green canopy of an ancient forest. In our opinion, The Treetops Adventure Course, on Cougar Mountain, requires a bit more courage than the typical zip line course because each of the 70 elements all perched high in the tree tops requires participants to plant one foot in front of the other instead of just taking one leap of faith. This activity is great for kids, corporate groups, and we think it would even make a great first date.
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Take a moment to appreciate the roots of this fine land by visiting the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, located on Blackcomb Way and easily walkable from the Village. If you think museums are bit bland, we encourage you to take a chance on this one. Beautifully built, steeped in cultural history, and full of some of the most spectacular native artifacts and art. The centre is literally to place to learn about the history of Whistler, Pemberton, and Squamish. We can personally attest to the deep cultural knowledge of the guides, and the hands on approach they have to many of the exhibits.
Hike to the Train Wreck
A Whistler secret no more, the hike to the local train wreck is one of our favourite activities. It requires no planning, and is completely free – besides the bus fare down to Function Junction! The trailhead is located behind Olives Community Market and takes only 40-60 minutes to complete round trip. It’s dog and kid friendly but should be noted that there are sometimes bears in the area (as with all of Whistler!) so ensure to carry bear spray or sing a song if you are walking alone. The hike takes you under the highway and eventually along the railway tracks, be sure to stop along the way to check out some seriously beautiful waterfall action on the Cheakamus River. The train wreck itself isn’t simply a bunch of rusting old cars in the woods; it has been transformed into a graffiti art gallery. Each of the seven cars is fabulously decorated, and according to the evidence on social media, they make some great Instagram backdrops!
Whistler Bungee Jumping
Not for the faint of heart, but we all need to jump off a bridge at least once in our life right? Take a chance on Whistler Bungee Jumping, and maybe just take that final step off solid grounding and into thin air! Whistler Bungee has a perfect track record on safety and have been operating just outside Whistler for over 20 years. Plus, did you know that you can jump in June, and in December? Open every day, all year long! They cater to all, including kids, tandem jumps and even those in wheelchairs. If you can’t convince everyone in your family to jump with you, take them along as spectators, it’s still hugely entertaining!
Disc golf is the perfect lazy Sunday activity, which unlike more traditional golf courses encourages participants to dress down, bring a beverage, and use foul language if needed. The Whistler disc golf course is also completely free, besides of course the purchase of your first few discs from Whistler Village Sports. The course is set up like a traditional course in the sense it has 18 holes, but instead of ‘holes,’ it instead has metal baskets to catch your disc-in-ones. If you can throw a frisbee, you can play disc golf. The course is located just north of Whistler, near Riverside RV Resort and Campground, plan to spend at least two to three hours on a full round.
Ketel One Vodka Ice Bar
Feeling the need for something a bit fancier than disc golf, try Whistler’s very own Ketel One Ice Room at the Bearfoot Bistro. With a gourmet vodka tasting menu, expertly hosted by some amazing bartenders, and a snuggly oversized jacket to keep you warm, it makes a great date night or a start to a great corporate night out. You wouldn’t be alone if you felt a little more refined, a little fancier, after sipping on some of the 50 different varieties of vodka available. But, that might just be the alcohol talking.
Paddle River of Golden Dreams
A long time Whistler tradition for a sweaty summer day, the river of golden dreams is an excellent way to head out into nature, get a little wet and explore the undeveloped side of Whistler. Rent a kayak or canoe from Backroads Whistler, and head out to the start of the experience at Alta Lake. End up a few hours later well refreshed in Green Lake. Bring some snacks and some drinks, but above all do not forget your life jacket! While you might see some other people foolishly trying to make the same trip in an Explorer 3000, we highly recommended serious watercraft only – the water is cold, and the river is long!
Peak-to-Peak Gondola BBQ
Every visitor to Whistler should experience the Peak-to-Peak Gondola, but visitors should also make a little time to enjoy the Peak-to-Peak Gondola BBQ offered at 1,800 meters on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Plan ahead because there is limited space and only two seating times, but once there the menu and the location will take your breath away. After a long day in the bike park, you might just need some serious comfort food to power you up for a night on the town. The feast and a lift pass can be combined for significant savings.
A Day at the Lake
There are five lakes sprinkled throughout our town that have everything you need to set up an epic picnic day: Alta Lake, Nita Lake, Green Lake, Alpha Lake and Lost Lake. Bring the entire family, lay out your blanket, and get ready for the perfect summer day. Each lake has a designated public park, some offer docks, some offer canoe rentals, nearly all of them have some form of a beach (sandy or pebble), and all are thoroughly enjoyable. Even if you don’t have a car, load up your friends on to the next bus, because each lake is accessible by public transit.
The best part about a beach day, besides the fact that it’s free, is that there is no-pre booking required. If all other plans fail, rest assured you can still rely on one of the lakes to provide an entire day of entertainment.
For those in the know, Sushi Village is the place to be. It’s where all the locals go for delicious, reasonably priced sushi. Sound run of the mill? You obviously haven’t been there on a Friday and Saturday night, where the legendary sake margaritas are flowing. Not only is this the go to spot for locals, but you may also be lucky enough to catch some pros and celebrities hanging from the rafters on the weekends. If you are coming in a large group, it’s best to book ahead; Sushi Village excels in group bookings!
Check your calendars in advance for this one, because no matter what month you arrive into Whistler there is sure to be some festival waiting for you. Festivals offer a myriad of ways to entertain yourself, including free public activities and exclusive events. Whatever you might be into there is a festival for you. Are you a foodie? Check out the Cornucopia Festival happening in November. If you love the mountain, the Ski and Snowboard Festival is a great end of season bash in April, and Crankworx is stoked on August. September offers the Whistler Beer and Wine Festival to help you wet your palette. Even for the outdoor enthusiasts who also are foodies at heart, check out the Fungus Among Us festival in October to get excited about the bounty the forests have to offer.
If you have been to British Columbia before and haven’t been rafting, you’ve missed something important. Around Whistler, there are rivers for all levels of ability and Wedge Rafting does them all. They cater to everyone, from family floats to Class IV rapids that will get your heart rate going and maybe just fling you head first out of the boat! Talk to Wedge Rafting about what adventure you are looking for, and they will be sure to put you on a raft, keep you safe, and provide an epic day of outdoor adventure. Don’t be afraid to get a little wet, and take home some great memories while you are at it.
If you find yourself down in Function Junction, the former industrial neighbourhood in Whistler that is now a flourishing community of like minded locals, be sure to try out the beer scene. Whistler Brewing is the original mainstay of the Whistler craft beer scene, and they have long been a favourite among locals. Coast Mountain Brewing, while new on the scene, is already upping the game by creating interesting staples and experimental new flavours. Why only try one brewery, when you can easily try both on the same day, after all, they are only one block away from each other.
Whistler Sliding Centre
Finally, if you have exhausted all other possibilities for what to do in Whistler, become an Olympic Bobsledder. While you might not win a medal, you will at least get a taste of the experience at the Whistler Sliding Centre. They will coach you into heading down one of the fastest tracks in the world, built originally for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Choose your poison, will you go bobsledding or try going face first as a skeleton racer. Both will leave you breathless and with a wild, one-of-a-kind experience to write home about.