It’s North America’s number one ski resort but there are so many more things to do in Whistler besides hitting the slopes.
The area is an outdoor playground with world-class dining and nightlife.
Things to do in Whistler
Let me show you how to do it like a local who’s 36 years in the game! Here is my 28 favourite things to do in Whistler without skis on.
Disconnect at the Scandinave Spa
Whistler’s famous 25,000 square foot outdoor Scandinave Spa provides guests with a traditional Scandinavian hydrotherapy experience while surrounded by the area’s stunning mountain landscape.
Start out in one of their fabulous saunas, steam baths or hot tubs to get your blood flow and temperature rising. Then take a cold plunge in the Nordic waterfall, Nordic shower, or cold plunge bath!
Wind down in the relaxation area with outdoor fireplaces, hammocks, solariums and even a yoga studio.
Massages are also available.
Take a Ride on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola
For the ultimate panoramic view of Whistler Village and the surrounding Coast Mountains we recommend taking the famed Peak 2 Peak Gondola 360° Experience.
Situated 436 meters above the valley floor, this engineering marvel is able to transport guests the entire 4.4 kilometre span between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
In the Winter time this allows skiers to access two mountains for the price of one! While in the Summer it leads to a vast network of trails, lakes and even a couple of restaurants.
Want the real deal? Go for the silver glass-bottomed gondolas. They’ll offer you unparalleled views of the jagged peaks, coastal rainforest and ancient glaciers.
Make Your Own Cool Runnings
Located on the side of Blackcomb Mountain, the Whistler Sliding Centre offers visitors the opportunity to partake in slide sports such as bobsleigh, skeleton and luge.
Fly down the track at speeds of 125+ km/hr on the world’s fastest track, which was installed for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Heistating? Don’t worry, you’ll have an experienced pilot by your side to guide you on your way.
The facility even offers bobsleigh rides on wheels during the Summer, meaning it is open year round.
Tee Off at World Class Golf Courses
How many ski resorts do you know of that receive more visitors in the Summer than in the Winter?
Perhaps one of the reasons that Whistler has earned this unique distinction is due to the fact that it is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country.
World renown architects such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Robert Cupp have taken advantage of the area’s stunning mountain landscape to make Whistler a world-class golf destination.
Drink at the World’s Coldest Tasting Room
Located inside the famous Bearfoot Bistro, the Ketel One Ice Room is the world’s coldest vodka tasting room at a bone chilling -32°C (-25°F).
But don’t let the temperature scare you! You’ll be sure to warm up quickly as you to sample a wide variety of vodkas from around the world with the Vodka Tasting Experience ($48.00 all in).
Sip on this versatile spirit and make some new friends as you learn about each brand’s unique grain, distillation and filtration processes.
Then simply let the liquor work its magic.
Take Your Kids Tubing!
Located on Blackcomb Mountain, the Coca-Cola Tube Park is at the top of things to do in Whistler with kids.
Featuring over 1,000 feet of vertical drop, multiple lanes and a unique conveyor belt system to return you to the top. Your kids will simply be in heaven at this veritable winter wonderland.
You can go during the day, or for a even more extraordinary experience, visit at night. Either way the park is sure to thrill both the young, and the young at heart.
The facility is easily accessible from the village via the Excalibur Gondola. So what’s stopping you?
Check Out Some Local Art
Who says you can’t get any culture at a ski resort? These people have obviously never been to Whistler.
Situated right on the fringe of Whistler Village, the Audain Art Museum showcases some of British Columbia’s finest art, with a permanent collection comprised of pieces from the late 18th century to present.
Notable highlights include works by famous local artists such as Emily Carr, E.J Hughes, and Stan Douglas.
Tourists will likely be more interested in the extensive collection of 19th and 20th century First Nations masks.
Shop up a Storm in Whistler Village
While the area is most widely known for its abundant sports and recreational opportunities, some people are surprised to learn that Whistler Village is actually a shopper’s paradise.
The charming European-style pedestrian only village contains over 200 stores that’ll allow you to shop until your hearts content.
You’ll find everything from large international chains like Helly Hansen, the Gap, and Patagonia to tons of small local boutiques.
Try Your Hand at Catching Dinner!
If you’re fortunate enough to have a Whistler hotel, Airbnb, or apartment with an en-suite kitchen, why not attempt to catch your family dinner?
The area around Whistler is home some of the most abundant fishing grounds in North America. You can fly-fish or cast reel for; Char, Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout, Steelhead or five species of Salmon.
Or for the ultimate Canadian fishing experience, try your hand at ice-fishing!
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, Whistler is bound to have an amazing fishing experience waiting just for you.
Attend a Festival
Whistler has an inordinate amount of festivals for a town of its relatively modest size. No matter what time of year you happen to visit, there’s bound to be something exciting happening in the village.
Sporting events such as the popular World Ski and Snowboard Festival, RBC Granfondo and Crankworx Whistler mountain biking festival are natural fits for this former Olympic venue.
But food and wine lovers will prefer popular events like Cornucopia, Dine Out Whistler and the Whistler Village Beer Festival.
Toss in cultural events like the Whistler Film Festival, Whistler Pride and Ski Festival and Whistler Writer’s Festival, to name but a few, and there’s bound to be something for everyone.
Check out the Whistler Events Calendar to see what’s on while you’re in town.
Tour the Backcountry by Snowmobile
Get a firsthand look at the stunning beauty of BC’s rugged backcountry wilderness on an exciting snowmobile adventure.
Choose amongst a variety of tours that are catered to riders of varying levels of experience and ages. Beginners and families will prefer the wide, winding trails of the pristine Callaghan Valley.
Intermediates can opt to travel on narrow trail through the densely forested backcountry.
The greatest thrill of all is reserved for advanced riders, who can climb up the infamous staircase to alpine country. There they can fly through mounds of virgin powder through the most breathtaking mountain vistas imaginable.
Cool Off In a Lake
You may call BS here, but just trust me!
It can get quite hot in Whistler, so during a summertime vacation you’re going to need a good cool off.
My favourite remedy for the heat is any of Whistler’s 5 local lakes (Alta, Green, Lost, Nita or Alpha) for a jump in the cool mountain water.
There are a number of beaches and docks in the area, but I usually opt for Alta Lake’s Rainbow Park.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, there are also a number of postcard perfect glacial lakes within an hours drive. The most popular include Garibaldi Lake, Cheakamus Lake and Joffre Lakes.
If jumping off of a dock doesn’t quite give you the rush you’re looking for, then why not try jumping off a bridge? Since 2002 Whistler Bungee has been providing adrenaline junkies the opportunity to do just that.
Feel the ultimate rush at BC’s highest year-round jumping platform, located 50 meters (160 feet) above the glacial waters of the Cheakamus River.
Voted by locals as the most extreme activity in town, the stunning location is surrounded by ancient old-growth rainforest, rugged basalt column cliffs and breathtaking mountain vistas.
There is simply no better location to take the plunge.
Visit the Historic Britannia Mine Museum
Halfway between Whistler and Vancouver and along the Sea to Sky Highway lies this award-winning museum and national historic site on the site of what was once the largest copper mine in the British Empire.
You can rumble through the dark in an underground mine train, learn about the mine’s history and even pan for real gold! You’ll want to cover your ears for their newest multi-sensory experience, fittingly called BOOM!
The Britannia Mine Museum is a perfect destination for a day trip or for a quick visit on your way to Whistler.
Indulge in Some of Canada’s Finest Cuisine
Uniquely for a ski resort, Whistler is situated within 40 minutes of some of the most fertile farmland in the country.
Combine this with the resort’s close vicinity to the ocean (they aren’t called the Coast Mountains for nothing), and you the recipe for a culinary scene that is able to rival the finest restaurants in Vancouver.
With over 170 restaurants in town you’ll have your pick of Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, steak and seafood, and more.
Check out Whistler’s Dining and Restaurant Guide for a list of the best.
Learn About Whistler’s History
The Whistler Museum is tasked with collecting, preserving and interpreting the natural and human history of the Whistler region.
Learn about the towns dramatic transformation from a small pioneer outpost to a world-class ski resort destination and host of the 2010 Olympic Games.
The by donation entry fee gives you access to kids activity books, interactive exhibits and the opportunity to take your photo with the real Olympic torch!
Situated right in the heart of the Village, adjacent to the public library, this small museum is the perfect foil to a rainy day.
Get the Heart Racing Whitewater Rafting!
When the snow melts the glacial waters of the area’s rivers begins to run hard and fast.
Combine this with a changing elevation and stunning mountain scenery and you’ve got some of the best whitewater rafting opportunities in the world.
There is a full complement of whitewater rafting tours available just minutes from the village. If you’re looking for a relaxing class II or III float with the family I recommend a tour on the Green River on Whistler’s Northern edge.
Looking to really get the blood pumping? Head South to the Squamish-Elaho River, with its more challenging class III and IV rapids.
Learn About the Area’s Rich Indigenous History
History buffs are sure to enjoy a trip to the award-winning Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which recounts the history and traditions of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Lil’wat people who’ve called the Whistler area home for time immemorial.
You’ll be welcomed with a traditional song and a short film before you inspect the exhibits where you’ll encounter expertly crafted masks, instruments and tools.
We strongly recommend taking one of the free hourly tours, where you’ll take a walk through the forest with a local First Nations ambassador, who’ll recount a variety of ancient stories and legends.
You’ll then have the opportunity to shop for local artwork at the gift shop or try traditional and fusion dishes at the popular Thunderbird Cafe.
Get Wild on the Whistler Club Crawl
Looking to blow of a little steam after the slopes? There’s no better way to indulge in the Village’s legendary night life then by jumping on the legendary Whistler Club Crawl.
You’ll skip the lines with an entire crew of new friends at four of Whistler’s most popular clubs. Once in you’ll receive 2 for 1 drink specials at each venue!
The best part? No cover charge.
Hike the Local Trails
If you purchase a sightseeing ticket on the Whistler Village or Blackcomb Gondola you’ll receive access to a vast network of mountain trails.
Whether you’re on the lookout for a short family friendly jaunt or a more advanced climb into the alpine country, there is bound to be a trail for you.
Whichever one you pick, you’ll be granted with breathtaking views of lush coastal rainforests, ancient glaciers and spectacular waterfalls.
Check the Whistler Hiking Guide for more information.
Take a Tree Top Canopy Walk
You can keep your feet on the ground as you walk upon bridges suspended up to 200 feet high in the area’s stunning old-growth forest. You’ll be granted stunning panoramic views of the forest and the surrounding mountain valley.
As you pass the magnificent cedars, firs and hemlocks your professional guide will illustrate the difference between the ancient old-growth and second growth forests present in the region.
But above all you’ll have an abundance of fun on this family friendly eco-adventure.
Achieve Holiday Harmony by Doing Yoga
With its laidback aura, stunning views, and active lifestyle it should come as no surprise that Whistler has become a yoga Mecca.
Yogacara, Whistler Core Climbing and Fitness Centre and Lululemon are the most popular spots in the Village. But not wanting to be outdone, many of the the area’s top hotels now offer classes of their own.
In the Summer the show moves outside, with classes at Alta Lake, Rebagliati Park and along the snow walls of an ancient glacier.
For more details visit Whistler’s guide to Yoga in the Mountains.
Real Life Gaming at Escape Whistler
At Escape Whistler you and a group of up to 6 people will be placed into a room and presented with a variety of puzzles, riddles and clues.
You’ll be forced to work together to come up with a solution to escape the situation you’re in.
Each room has a different theme (pirate ship, pinball, buried cabin, rabbit hole) that is ranked by level of difficulty from beginner to advanced.
Voted Whistler’s best rainy day activity, Escape Whistler is most definitely a thrill for visitors of ages.
Visit the World’s Biggest Mountain Bike Park
The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is indisputably the best and biggest Mountain bike park in the world.
With over 70 bike trails that cover over 70 kilometres and 4,900 vertical feet, it is simply without parallel.
The park has four zones each of which caters to different levels of difficulty.
To learn more about the park, bike rentals and more, visit the Whistler Mountain Bike Park website.
Knock Back a Few Pints
After a long day of skiing, hiking or mountain biking there are few things that are as rewarding as an ice cold pint.
Thankfully Whistler has three craft breweries to serve you.
In the village locals head to the Brewhouse, a brewpub best known for its award winning 5 rings IPA and comprehensive beer list.
Each location offers tasting rooms, giving you the opportunity to sample the entirety of their product lines.
Try Your Hand at Ziplining
Ziptrek offers you the opportunity to fly high above Whistler’s ancient coastal rainforests and glacier fed rivers on this one of a kind high-wire adventure.
You can choose treks suited for beginners and families, or if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie you can opt to choose the legendary Sasquatch – the longest zip line in North America at a heart pumping 2 kilometres long!
This can be done in summer or the depths of winter.
Create Your Own DIY Cultural Crawl
This will provide you with a comprehensive guide to all of Whistler’s cultural attractions, including; the Audain Art Museum, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Maury Young Arts Centre and Whistler Museum.
If you follow the route provided you’ll learn about the resort’s indigenous history, see works from the area’s finest artists, and relive the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Play Johnny Canuck at Forged Axe Throwing
Place yourself in the steel-toed boots of our nation’s most famous lumberjack with this thrilling and prototypically West-coast activity.
After a lesson and safety briefing you’ll have the opportunity to take aim at the bullseye, just like in darts. Except in this case you’ll be carrying an axe!
After some practice you’ll be ready for a competitive showdown between yourself and your group.
This unique activity is perfect for team building, couples, families (aged 10+) and groups. Just remember, flannel jackets and beards are sold separately.
Need More Things to Do?
I’ve given you a padded list of things to do in Whistler but maybe I missed something? As always, please get at me if you need any custom holiday advice.
If you’ve got any additional questions about Vancouver don’t be afraid to hit me up on our Facebook page, or in the comments below.
I’ll get back to you ASAP with a response.