Whistler is our favourite weekend getaway! It’s an hour and a half drive from downtown Vancouver and it feels like our back yard. There’s a sense of calmness and home when we are there that is so intangible. Maybe it’s the crisp mountain air in the winter or the fresh water lakes in the summer. Whatever it is, Whistler has captured our hearts!
We are both avid skiers and love getting on the slopes, but Whistler has so much more to offer! Here are the must see’s (touristy) and must do’s (localista) things to do in Whistler…
First, where to stay… Our two faves (by far) are the Four Seasons and the Fairmont Chateau. The Four Seasons is more mountain modern and has a great pool area. The Fairmont Chateau is slope side, has the best hot tub scene and our favourite lounge (we’ll get to that below). Both are great spots!
Any season in Whistler you MUST SEE the top of the mountain. Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder or just a cute slope bunny get up the top of the gondola on Whistler and take the Peak to Peak ride to Blackcomb and back. Enjoy lunch up there. If you’re a hiker, there are so many trails to set out on for a great day of hiking and beautiful views. If you’re a mountain biker, hit up the terrain park with all your gear! Don’t miss it.
The Innukshuk at the top of the Peak of Whistler
For those that love the slopes as much as we do, on that perfect blue bird afternoon in Spring time you MUST DO the Horstman Hut. You can see the view below and how spectacular it is. The barbecue gets set up and the drafts start flowing. We usually arrive late morning (sometimes mid morning…shhhh…) and stay all day. It makes for a two or three run ski day but the beauty of the patio and fun times with friends is so memorable!
From the patio at Horstman Hut
If you really want to earn your patio time and you are an advanced skier, get your hike on up Spanky’s Ladder on Blackcomb Mountain. On the other hand, if you find yourself on Whistler Mountain, (and don’t feel like hiking), we lust over Doom and Gloom as well as Ratfink (provided you’re the mogul type!). If you really want to escape the crowds for sure hop on a Cat or Heli; they will take you to all of the very best hidden places and it sure beats touring up the mountain!
Hunting for a few fresh tracks
In Whistler any time of the year you MUST SEE the apres scene. Usually the term apres is associated with skiing or snowboarding, but in Whistler it’s literally a year round activity! The Longhorn, the Garibaldi Life Company, and Dusty’s are the hot spots you need to get to. They are across the plaza at the base of the mountain from one another and both have great patios and phenomenal Caesars – in Canada you MUST have a Caesar!
Apres Caesars at the Garibaldi Lift Company
You MUST SEE the Village. It’s a great (and family quick) walk through shops and boutiques and restaurants with outdoor patios which are great in the evening in the summer and totally heated in the middle of winter! The Village has lots to see and usually a funky live performance of some sort. Check out the Olympic Rings at the far end, it’s a cliche photo, but an iconic one. For a longer walk, check out the Valley Trail on a map and really get your stroll on! We also love the loop around Lost Lake – totally doable for anyone.
Walking the Valley Trail
For dinner, you MUST DO one of our two favourite spots. We love Araxi for the tuffle popcorn served in the bar and the best Jalapeño margaritas we’ve ever had. The food in the restaurant is next level. The patio there is so romantic in the summer time. Our other fave is Il Caminetto. It’s classic Italian food with a romantic and cozy feel to the space. Burrata anything there is highly recommended as is the tuna appetizer. The endless selection of red wine there will lull you into a wonderful Whistler sleep! For a less extravagant option, our friend Pepe has an amazing little Mexican restaurant called The Mexican Corner.
Charcuterie platter at Araxi
You MUST DO the Mallard Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau. There’s live music there, the best Hot Toddy’s and such a fun scene. If you’re looking for something a little more Aussie-chic (there’s a lot of that in Whistler) then check out Buffalo Bills. If we’re not fireside at the Mallard Lounge, we’re dancing in the cage at Buffalo Bills. True story.
If you’re looking for an escape from the slopes, or an escape from life in general, you MUST SEE the Scandinave Spa. It features a series of outdoor tubs of varying temperatures in a no-talking environment. As you can maybe imagine, we have trouble keeping quiet there, but the shush’ers aren’t shy to remind us to keep quiet! A hint…at the very top are the most amazing hammocks in the trees. Such a great spot for a mid day nap!
Hitting the slopes
Michelle & Samantha