Best Places to Visit in Whistler
Canada’s most famous ski resort, Whistler, is located at the foot of two high mountains: Whistler and Blackcomb. Together, these impressive peaks make up the largest winter sports arena in North America, and the always bustling village of Whistler provides instant access to some of the best ski areas nearby.
Whistler certainly had an international reputation before hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics along with Vancouver, which is just a 90-minute drive from Vancouver, but the Olympics only cemented the mountain resort’s reputation as a recreational destination.
Since the world loves to ski and visit, the village has a variety of comfortable tourist accommodations, from apartments to luxury hotels, all topped with the cozy Village Stroll, a pedestrian-only trail filled with great food to countless fun things to do. Experience shopping at the many restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and gift shops.
This rugged area around the village blends pristine rivers, turquoise lakes, vast forests and volcanic peaks. With a single major road connecting area attractions and communities, Highway 99 (also known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway), this scenic drive has been named one of Canada’s most spectacular road trips. For more ideas to add to your BC itinerary, check out our list of the top attractions and things to do in Whistler, Canada.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Whistler`and make your trip enjoyable.
Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Whistler
Here are the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Whistler:
1. Whistler Blackcomb
Two peaks above Whistler village, Whistler Mountain (2,182m) and Blackcomb (2,284m), have some of the best skiing in North America. Whistler Blackcomb Resort has 3,307 hectares of the integrated ski area with more than 200 pistes accessible by 39 lifts, including a brand new chairlift in Blackcomb.
Indeed, there is a lot to cover in one day, so many tourists plan to spend a week or so on the slopes. Blackcomb Resort in Whistler offers the longest ski season of any resort in Canada, thanks to summer ski opportunities at Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier.
Some hotels offer ski access to both mountains, and there are several restaurants and country eateries (ski racks outside the door, cozy fireplaces inside) within ski boat walking distance from the base of the cable car. Snowmobile rides and heli-skiing are also popular winter pastimes at Whistler Blackcomb Resort, and for those traveling with kids, the bustling Metro Park offers endless downhill fun.
Besides glacier skiing, in the summer the mountain is packed with mountain bikers as well as hikers taking to the challenging trails of Whistler Mountain Bike Park. As you board the gondola, watch out for bears roaming the trails in search of berries.
One of the top things to do in Whistler at night is to visit Vallea Lumina, a fascinating multimedia light show that illuminates parts of the forest surrounding Cougar Mountain.
Address: 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia
Official website: www.whistlerblackcomb.com
2. Peak Gondola
Peak Gondola offers a high ridge between two mountains. The distance traveled is a record 4.4 kilometers, but the ride takes only 11 minutes. On a clear day, the views over snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes and lush coniferous forests are spectacular. The view of Fitzsimmons Creek is also breathtaking – in some places, the gondola is about half a kilometer from the bottom of the valley.
It is part of the Whistler-Blackcomb Sightseeing Experience from spring to fall, with guided mountain hikes and many photo opportunities. At its peak, the Looped Hiking Trail introduces alpine terrain, and the new Cloudraker Skywalk, with incredible 360-degree views of the Coast Mountains and Black Ivory, is not to be missed. There is also a tea house to warm up as the temperature is lower at higher altitudes. In winter, skiers and snowboarders can use the Peak 2 Peak gondola to jump between Blackcomb and Whistler.
3. Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Center
Whistler’s beautiful and modern Aboriginal museum, the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Center (SLCC), houses a collection of carvings, weaves and stories about the history and culture of the local Squamish and Lil’wat people. Both countries included Whistler in their traditional territories and lived on this land for longer than they can remember. The on-site cafe offers an interesting menu of Aboriginal food, and the gift shop sells some handmade souvenirs.
One of the main things visitors do in Whistler at night is to enjoy one of the museum’s magnificent Aboriginal feasts and show experiences that take place every Tuesday and Sunday night. The event starts with traditional local food, followed by performances by local cultural ambassadors (reservation recommended).
Address: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler
Official website: http://slcc.ca/
4. Hiking and Climbing
British Columbia is known for its many hiking trails, and Whistler is no exception. Trails range from easy nature walks around Lost Lake to high-altitude mountaineering. An unusual hiking network extends from the lookout at Whistler Peak. A cable car takes hikers above the tree line, and the trail is especially beautiful during mountain wildflower season.
Mountains also border much of the inaccessible land in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The state park’s five entrance areas are accessible from various locations between Squamish and north Whistler. The trail includes great day trips to Lake Garibaldi, Lake Cheakamus, and Lake Wedgemount.
Also in the park is Black Ivory, a magnificent volcanic peak rising 2,319 meters above sea level. You can easily spot it from the comfort of your car as you speed along the Sea to Sky Highway, famous among climbers. Or, if you’re physically fit, you can reach Black Tusk on a 26km (round trip) hiking trail. This is not a track to be taken lightly, you will climb quite vertically and the track ends with slippery shale.
Not far from Garibaldi (and you’ll pass along the way) is Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, a great photo spot with a 70-foot waterfall view. Also worth seeing on this day trip, the “Train Wreck” is the site of a group of abandoned boxcars from the 1950s and is accessible via a relaxing trail that includes a cool suspension bridge over the Chicamus River.
5. Mountain Biking in Whistler
Mountain biking is undoubtedly the most popular summer sport in Whistler Village, and visitors will see legions of armored bikes riding gondolas on the slopes leading to Whistler Mountain Bike Park. But the area also offers many other adrenaline-pumping activities. The zipline is one of the most exciting, with zip lines reaching highway speeds as they traverse forested valleys.
Another high-speed option is the toboggan and skeleton track at Whistler Ski Resort. Built for the Olympics, the center is also open for self-guided tours. Bungee jumping on the Cheakamus River, navigating log trails in an all-terrain vehicle, rafting in the high waters of spring freshwater and more local excitement.
6. Whistler Olympic Park
Another facility built for the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler Olympic Park now offers easy access to winter cross-country ski trails. The unusual-looking ski jump is still available at the resort, along with a number of Olympic rings. In winter, Nordic skiers follow groomed trails, while snowshoes follow the path to Alexander Falls and other attractions.
A variety of hands-on tour options are available, some of which include sports such as biathlon (rifle shooting), mountain biking, and guided hikes.
Address: 5 Callaghan Road, Whistler, British Columbia
Official website: www.whistlersportlegacies.com/.
7. Audain Art Museum
One of Whistler’s newest cultural attractions, the beautifully designed wood-framed Audain Art Museum opened in 2016 and has quickly become a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The museum’s permanent collection from the late 1700s is sure to be impressive.
Highlights include Dancing Screen, a large-scale piece sculpted from cedar wood by artists James Hart, and Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes. Significant Aboriginal art is also on display, including various historical masks.
The facility regularly hosts traveling exhibitions, as well as lectures, educational programs (for children and adults), and cultural events and events. Also worth a visit is the Maury Young Art Centre, which has a community gallery featuring works by local artists, some of which are available for purchase.
8. Whistler Museum
This small but ambitious museum tells the story of Whistler’s early days and should definitely be added to your activity list. The museum’s interesting exhibits include local figures, including early settlers and hotel owners, eccentric regional artists, and many world-class athletes trained on the slopes. Various interactive exhibits allow visitors to dress up or touch Whistler’s history with a focus on Olympic memorabilia.
The museum also offers regular guided walking tours, nature excursions, children’s craft projects and educational workshops on historic sites around the resort.
Address: 4333 Main Street, Whistler, British Columbia
Official website: www.whistlermuseum.org
9. Cloudraker Skybridge
Cloudraker Skybridge is located at the highest point of Whistler Mountain, near the top of the Peak Tram. This new attraction has probably some of the best views in British Columbia. Open only in the summer months, the metal-framed bridge is 130 meters long and spans a massive valley from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge.
Raven’s Eye deck atop West Ridge offers uninterrupted views of Black Fang, Whistler Village, Blackcomb and the Coast Mountains in Garibaldi Regional Park. The summit seat is equally exciting, as it climbs several very high sections steeply.
Participants must be 1m tall and have a reasonable level of fitness to complete the 0.6km walk on gravel pavement at a height of 63m.
The ancient tree-cutting town of Squamish, located in a magnificent setting at the head of Howe Sound, is now a destination that offers exciting activities and outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and kitesurfing.
Stawamus Chief Mountain (Stawamus Chief Provincial Park) on the edge of town is a granite dome that attracts outdoor enthusiasts, especially mountaineers. It is also the most popular (albeit very challenging) hiking spot with excellent panoramic views. Gondola hiking in the Sea-to-Sky Gondola offers a more diverse mountain path.
The town itself has a beautiful waterfront as well as lots of retail and restaurants. For a bit of local history, head to the Britannia Mining Museum.
Squamish is located on the Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy 99), making it a scenic stop on road trips to and from Whistler. Also nearby, Shannon Falls Provincial Park is the most popular recreational area, and the third highest waterfall in British Columbia (335 meters high) is a 5-minute walk from the parking lot.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Whistler. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Whistler, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.