MLK Day In Whistler 2020 | Your Go-To Guide
What is a whistler college weekend? A respectful, civilized weekend to celebrate the most visible leader in the Civil Rights Movement? Probably not the most accurate description.
MLK Jr.’s “dream” was a little bit different than the dream weekend that the late-January long weekend has become in Whistler. MLK weekend in Whistler, to be straightforward, is a all-out-party-weekend to beat all parties.
Know Before You Go
- It’s an All-Out Party
Flocks of 19-20-year-old college students, typically entire frats and sororities, take advantage of the extra day off, but more so of Canada’s drinking age. Coming from the US, most of the weekend-goers are not of legal drinking age in their own home.
They are here to party, and party harder than most can maybe handle.
This weekend is a true Whistler college weekend and it’s a ton of fun, but you’ve been warned! The bars and village, in general, are packed, loud, and glorious. Dare we say, a tad bit obnoxious?
If you’re ready to embrace the kids and relive your college days, come on down and get ready for endless jager bombs!
- It’s Cold in January
Don’t judge the weather by the attire you see around the village. Even though MLK weekend in Whistler is in late January, easily one of the coldest times, most will be scantily clothed.
The negative temperatures don’t stop the young from forgetting their jackets, hats and winter boots. Coats? Who needs em’!
- You must have two pieces of ID.
You will get ID’d everywhere you go, no exceptions (all hospitality staff will be extra strict this weekend). You need a government-issued photo ID and a second supporting piece with your name on it. If you want the best experience, don’t roll your eyes when you get asked for it. Bartenders, servers and bouncers are protecting their jobs – especially if your license says 2000 on it!
What MLK Weekend in Whistler Cost?
The Whistler college weekend is in high demand, which means higher prices than usual. With Whistler prices, drink totals add up when you start drinking at 9 am and don’t finish until the early hours of the following morning.
You can save on covers and pay upfront for a Gibbons All Access Wristband (on sale soon) which will get you into the day and night time parties (keep reading for the details on these venues). Just remember, if you instigate the round of shots, it’s going on your tab!
Where To Stay for MLK Weekend in Whistler
There are some good value hotels if you know where to look! Crystal Lodge, The Aava, and The Pangea Pod Hotel are all right in the village and have all the basic comforts you need. Location is key when you aren’t going to wear a coat. If you have a big group, consider checking out Air BnB’s nearby.
Where To Party in Whistler on MLK Weekend
As mentioned, the Gibbons All Access Wristband is what a lot of party-goers opt for. Ranging from $130-300 CAD (Remember to do the conversion if you are American), it offers access to four venues: Tapley’s Pub, Buffalo Bills (Bills) Longhorn Saloon (Longys) and Garfinkel’s (Garf’s).
Great for all sports, Tapley’s has dartboards, skeeball, 15 HD TVs, an outdoor fire and the most reasonable prices in town. Tapley’s opens at 11 am, so is great for day drinking, which flows well into the night.
Live music on Fridays and Sundays, it is a pub turned above-ground club at night. Chill vibes and more locals than tourists, Tapley’s is a staple in Whistler and will be for MLK weekend in Whistler as well.
Commonly referred to as “Longy’s,” Longhorn boasts one of the largest patios in Whistler with picturesque views of the mountain. If you manage to get up the mountain to ski (you really should) you can ski right out to the entrance of Longhorn.
Known for its epic patio parties often featuring world-renowned DJs, special “bulldog” drinks and sturdy patio tables (wink wink), Longhorn is a place to party, especially during the day. Nothing beats a sunny patio party in the middle of January.
Right across from Tapley’s, Bills has the infamous “dancing cage.” Featuring top 40 on Fridays and complimentary champagne for ladies before 10 pm, Bill’s is a great place to sing and dance. Pool tables and old-school arcade games make Bills the perfect place to spend the night. They also feature apres deals of burgers and beers. The All-Access Wristband is worth it simply for Bills, as the cover can be as much as $18.
It’s just called Garf’s, pretty simple. Garf’s is more of an electronic dance music vibe, hosting a massive dance floor and multiple bars. Local’s night falls on Thursdays, but Garfs takes the cake on Saturdays too. Get in early!
To Sum Up The All-Access Wristband:
- Tapley’s on Friday afternoon until the band finishes
- Hop over to Bill for singing and dancing (it’s close enough that you actually don’t need a coat).
- Saturday morning Longy’s sesh for mimosas and breakfast.
- Hangout at Longy’s for the day, go for a nap and a refresh before pre-drinking back at Tapley’s.
- Head to Garf’s for a big day!
- If you can stomach it, caesars at Tapley’s or Longy’s for some Sunday NFL action.
- Then back to Tapley’s for their epic Sunday Local’s night with live music from 10 pm.
4 Places To Get Breakfast (Or More Realistically, Brunch)
Nothing more dangerous than drinking on an empty stomach, so make sure you fill up in the morning. It’ll keep you going!
Party tip: Hair of the dog: informally defined as an alcoholic drink taken to cure a hangover. Don’t forget to order your Ceasar with your pancakes!
Dublin Gate Irish Pub
Dublin offers breakfast early and booze to go along with it. Situated picturesquely at the base of Whistler mountain and right near Longys, it’s a great place to meet the crew and start your day.
A bit more on the expensive side, but large portions to match, Stones is the go-to breakfast and brunch place for most locals. Often featuring cheap mimosas, the menu will give you your appetite back.
Try the banana bread french toast! Thank us later.
Right in the middle of the village, Bras is a perfect spot to grab a classic breakfast and people watch. Grab a seat on the heated patio and plan out the antics of the day to come.
4 Activities To Do During MLK Weekend
While a large majority of visitors on MLK weekend in Whistler will spend their time drunk, hungover and then drunk again, Whistler has much more to offer than just the party scene. If you’re looking for a more balanced weekend that is still packed with excitement, check out these activities.
- Bungee Jumping Definitely not an activity you’d want to do hungover, but definitely an activity you should do! Before hitting the booze on Friday, grab your group and watch each other jump off a bridge at Whistler Bungee. Then, you can toast your bucket list later (and have a story that you remember!
- Forged Axe Throwing Take out some of your energy by literally throwing machete-like tools. Again, drinking before this one isn’t the safest, or even allowed, but it’s a good few hours if you’re wanting some sober fun. Check out Forged Axe in Function Junction, who often offer group rates.
- Scandinave Spa A great Sunday afternoon activity to help you “cleanse” and sweat out some toxins! Home to several hot and cold pools, cozy fires, a sauna, steam room and multiple areas to relax, The Scandinave Spa is the perfect hangover cure. Bonus: no one is allowed to talk! Perfect for those who may have a headache.
- Ski or Snowboard Seriously, you’re at one of the best resorts in the world, in prime time. Take advantage of where you are and hit the slopes. Luckily for you, there are even bars at the top of the mountain. Just save the shots of Longy’s when you get down.
Let Loose for a Big Whistler College Weekend
Let’s be honest, no one wants to take care of their friend who is throwing up and no one wants to be kicked out of the bar at 9 pm. Clubs have responsibilities too, and won’t hesitate to cut
you off, kick you out, or even confiscate your wristband. At the end of the day, safety is the priority even when partying hard. Be respectful, pay your tab (tip your servers and bartenders!) and be polite. You’ll be way more likely to get hooked up and enjoy your Whistler college weekend even more.