Home to the largest ski resort in North America, Whistler is an amazing destination. In this detailed travel guide, you will find 2 days in Whistler itinerary which you can use at all times of the year. So keep reading to find out what to do in Whistler for non skiers!
2 days in Whistler Itinerary: What to do in Whistler for non skiers
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Whistler is a mountain town which is known for its alpine resorts, with world-class skiing, snowboarding, and winter activities like snowshoeing, tobogganing, and ski jumping.
Being a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Whistler doesn’t disappoint for an epic winter break. But this little town has so much to offer beyond snow-filled activities. Here is a quick snapshot
2 days in Whistler Itinerary – What to do in Whistler for non skiers
- Day 1: Breakfast at Purebread
- Whistler Blackcomb Sightseeing Gondola
- Little burn hikes (or any of the Ascent Trail – Big Burn, Heart Burn)
- Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
- Scandinave Spa Whistler
- Dinner at Alto Bistro – French restaurant
- Day 2: Breakfast at Ecologyst – Coffee and Waffle Bar
- Train Wreck Hike
- Audain Art Museum or Whistler Museum
- Fitzsimmons Accessible Nature Trail
- Go on a Village Stroll
- Dinner at Bar Oso
Whistler has a long history and dates back to the time when Whistler was used as a waypoint for First Nations trading routes (Squamish and Lil’wat Nations). You can still walk through those hiking (trading) routes today.
At the turn of the 20th century, Whistler was recognized as a fishing lodge. The 1960s saw work and passion towards establishing Whistler as a ski haven, and that is attributed to a Norwegian man – Franz Wilhelmsen. Whistler opened for skiing in 1966 and has come a long way.
Today it is home to Whistler Blackcomb sightseeing gondola which is one of the highest in the world and is a marvelous engineering feat! The cute village is the heart of Whistler, a chalet-style pedestrian village located at the very base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.
Must visit: Whistler Museum (general and Olympics history), Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (First Nations history)
Did you know? Whistler used to be known as “Alta Lake”, and Whistler Mountain used to be known as “London Mountain”. The name ‘Whistler’ denotes the “whistling” sound that marmots make on top of the mountain.
Planning for your trip to Whistler Canada
Whistler is located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is less than 2 hours away from Vancouver. Here are some of the tips on getting to Whistler Canada,
- Nearest Airport: Vancouver
- Located: West coast of Canada
- Currency: CAD
- Visa: Canada tourist visa, visa-free for United States passport holders (eTA is required)
Vancouver is the nearest airport to reach Whistler. From Vancouver, you can either travel by car, seaplane, tour, or bus (public transportation).
- Vancouver to Whistler by car: You can reach Whistler from Vancouver as fast as in 2 hours.
- Road trip from Vancouver to Whistler via Sea to Sky Highway: You can also add a scenic drive and even stop in Squamish and visit the Sea to Sky gondola (which is located 45 minutes outside of Whistler). Sea to Sky Highway aka Highway 99 is one of the most stunning drives that you can embark on, on the west coast with the Howe Sound, and the view of the cliffs.
- Vancouver to Whistler by Seaplane or Floatplane: This is a great way to explore Vancouver and Whistler from the sky and soak in those panoramic views. You can book floatplane online here
- Vancouver to Whistler by bus: You can arrive by bus in 3-4 hours. During one of my trips I utilized services via Sky Lynx, and the route was done via Highway 99 – and it was amazing. Total travel time was 4 hours. Their buses are clean, and they provided free wifi, washroom, and power points on board.
Where to stay in Whistler? Delta Hotels by Marriott Whistler Village Suites
Delta Whistler Village Suites is where I stayed during my trip, and it was an amazing place to unwind, soak in the mountain views and town vibes. The location of the hotel is very central, close to the Olympic Park plaza, and the market (tons of restaurants, museums, shops, and nature trails nearby).
I had a one-bedroom suite with a king bed, a kitchenette, living and dining space with a nice fireplace. I LOVED my balcony and sipping coffee in the morning with mountains and the sun-moon peeking at me was a wonderful feeling – very refreshing – away from the city bustle!
The staff at the Delta Suites were super helpful, and friendly too. I enjoyed my chats about Whistler and the mountains! You can check out more photos and availability here
For more hotel options in Whistler, click here
Now, let’s show you how you can explore this cute mountain resort in 2 days!
Pro-tip: Plan to start early in the morning from Vancouver to get to Whistler to enjoy the full day. Or do what I did, I arrived a day early and then checked into Delta Whistler Village Suites (04:00 pm local time).
Day 1 of 2 days in Whistler Itinerary: Blackcomb Sightseeing Gondola, Little Burn Hike, Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, Scandinave Spa Whistler
For your first full day of exploration in Whistler, head to the Blackcomb mountain top, go on a little hike, visit the Squamish Lil’ wat Cultural Centre, and finish the day with relaxing baths at the Scandinave Spa Whistler.
But coffee first!
Breakfast at Purebread
Purebread is one of the popular places to eat breakfast and sweet treats in Whistler. It is only a short walk away from the Olympic Rings and Delta Whistler suites.
My favorites: Latte, Gone Bananas (sweet), and Corn Chili Bread (sour).
The food was amazing. Highly recommend it! Pure Bread is a pick-up-only cafe. There are picnic tables/sheds in the Village, where you can sit down to eat your snacks.
Whistler Blackcomb Sightseeing Gondola
After a quick breakfast, make way to the Whistler Blackcomb mountain base. It will take you a 10-12 minute walk to the entrance where you can get tickets to access the sightseeing gondola.
It is important to know that there are two Sightseeing Gondolas in Whistler – one is the Whistler Village Gondola, and Blackcomb Gondola. You can choose to upload and download depending on the hours they are open. I enjoyed my ride on the Blackcomb gondola.
Whistler Blackcomb’s sightseeing gondola is known as the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola 360 Experience. This includes access to the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola via the Whistler Village Gondola and/or Blackcomb Gondola.
The Whistler Village Gondola takes you to the top of Whistler Mountain and the Blackcomb Gondola takes you to the top of Blackcomb Mountain and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects the two peaks.
Whistler Blackcomb’s world record-setting PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola is a major feat of engineering. It is the highest lift of its kind at 436 metres (1,427 ft) above the valley floor.
On completion, the lift broke a lot of world records, including being the longest continuous lift system on the globe, connecting 3 gondolas. This has transformed the high alpine experience as it gives you awe-inspiring vistas as it bridges the gap between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains – it’s like you love the mountains, and they LOVE you back!
The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola takes you to the top in 11 minutes (22 minutes round trip), with a stop at one peak, and then to the Rendezvous Lodge, and access to Whistler Blackcomb’s high alpine for sightseeing, and hiking trails.
And if lucky, you might meet some friends – such as marmots (in the photo) in the alpine, or deers and bears on the mountain hiking routes, and the valley.
During my visit, I had a cable car all to myself and it was a thrilling experience – reaching the top! I took some pictures with my dress and then changed into my hiking clothes to hit one of the short alpine trails.
I highly recommend adding this bucket list attraction to your Whistler itinerary.
Whistler Blackcomb: 4545 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V8E 0X9
- Summer sightseeing passes starts at $78 CAD for adults
- Bike passes starts at $78 CAD a day
- Day passes start at $340 CAD, with 1-10 day worth of visit. Check here
There is a beautiful restaurant and dining area at Blackcomb, where you can grab a bite to eat whilst soaking in those views!
If you wish to stay closer to the gondolas, consider Pan Pacific Mountainside, which has been dubbed “Whistler’s best address”, as it is located at the base of both the Blackcomb and Whistler mountain gondolas.
Go on a hike – Blackcomb Ascent Trail
You can go on short/easy hikes as well as moderately difficult ones from the base of the mountain, or once you reach the top.
If you are at the base of the mountain, opt for the popular Ascent Trail. The Blackcomb Ascent Trails are three interconnected uphill hiking trails. These three trails are easy to difficult (rated by AllTrails).
The trail starts at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and goes through beautiful old growth coastal rainforest terrain from Whistler’s valley bottom to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain. In total, the trails gain 1,200 metres over 6.2km (3.85 miles).
Once at the top, you can choose to continue your adventure along the alpine hiking trails or download back to the base using the lift system. To get down by the lift is $15 CAD.
Little Burn: This is the initial part of the Ascent Trail, and this is something I did. It took 30+ minutes. It is located between ski runs up to Base 2 of Blackcomb.
- Length: 0.8km (0.5mi)
- Time: 30 minutes
- Elevation Change: 74m (243ft)
Big Burn: This is the next section of the Ascent Trail that climbs to Blackcomb Gondola Mid station. You can transfer to Whistler Blackcomb’s lift system for upload or download from here.
- Length: 2.2km (1.4mi)
- Time: 75 minutes
- Elevation Change: 494m (1621ft)
Heart Burn: Just like the name suggests this really burns (and increases your heart rate) and it takes you to the last section of the Ascent Trail to the Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb through an old-growth forest and treats you to spectacular views close to the summit.
- Length: 3.1km (1.9mi)
- Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Elevation Change: 607m (1991ft)
Don’t forget to pack: Hiking shoes, hiking poles, water, camera
Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre or SLCC is the first centre of its kind in Canada, where you can learn about not one, but two First Nations cultures – Sk̲wxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation, Coast Salish) and Líl̓wat7ul (Lil’wat Nation, Interior Salish) Nations.
There is an entry fee of $20 CAD, and once in you can explore the cultural space and check out the Squamish Longhouse and Lil’wat Istken (earthen dwelling). SLCC complex is open and very welcoming.
There is music, celebration, learning, and a place to appreciate traditional cultures. Plus a cute forest trail sprinkled with hearts!
At SLCC, you can also tune into a 15-minute video presentation, buy souvenirs from the gift shop, and then grab a bite to eat at The Thunderbird Café, which serves indigenous-inspired cuisine. I sat down for a nice warm chili and bannock as it rained outside!
Address: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V8E 0Y3
Tickets: $20 CAD+ for adults
Hours: Plan your visit
Finish the day with relaxing baths at the Scandinave Spa Whistler
Scandinave Spa is a Nordic-inspired outdoor day spa, nestled within a spruce and cedar forest, and overlooking Whistler’s white mountain vistas.
You will love to unwind after a day of sightseeing and hiking. When I visited it was slightly raining, and I made the most of a rainy grey day in Whistler by wrapping myself in the warm waters of Scandinave Spa.
The entire place is very calm and soothing. At the spa, using phones is prohibited, and you are recommended to maintain silence to enjoy the rejuvenating experience. To make the most of your visit,
- Allow at least two hours to follow the cycle of hot (10-15 minutes), cold (5-10 seconds), and relax (10-15 minutes) to soothe tired muscles, eliminate toxins and improve circulation.
- Hot cycles take place in eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor hot baths, Finnish wood-burning sauna or dry sauna. I did the steam rooms, and dry sauna – it was rejuvenating!
- Outdoor hot baths were my favourite, especially in the rain!
- You can enjoy a cold cycle at any of the Nordic waterfalls, rain showers or cold plunges.
- After that, the best part – close your eyes and relax beside an outdoor firepit, or in one of the solariums. Ahhh!!! Bliss!
Do remember to pack your swimsuit and sandals. Robe, towels, and drinking water are provided at the complex.
Note that photography is not allowed at the baths, my photos were taken with permission (media visit).
Dinner at Alta Bistro
It featured the finest local and naturally-raised food, hand-crafted cocktails, wines, and micro-brewed beer. Because it is all fresh and depends on the seasonal produce availability, the menu changes.
We tried a sampler of appetizers and main course with a margarita, and white wine, followed by dessert. The food not only tasted wonderful, but it also looked so beautiful and appetizing!
Favorites: BBQ Octopus & Cured Halibut Risotto, Seared Albacore Tuna, and delicious Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart! Yum!
The bistro ambiance is cozy and warm. They are open until late.
Address: #104 – 4319 Main Street, Whistler, BC V8E 1B1
Day 2 of 2 days in Whistler Itinerary: Train Wreck Hike, Audain Art Museum or Whistler Museum, Fitzsimmons Accessible Nature Trail, Village Stroll
Today is all about easy hikes, nature trails, and museums!
Quick breakfast at Ecologyst – Coffee & Toast Bar
I started my day with a latte (my favorite) and Liege Waffles with whipped cream at the Ecologyst – Coffee and Toast Bar. They serve freshly baked bread, treats, and coffee in their sustainable clothing store which is attached to the cafe.
They have seating outside the store. As compared to Pure Bread, Ecologyst is not super crowded so if you are really in need of coffee – step in here – they are located next to each other!
Address: 125 + 126 – 4338 Main Street, Whistler, BC V5V 3P9
Train Wreck Hike
The Train Wreck Hike was on my bucket list since I heard about it. This is an easy hiking trail that takes you to a Suspension Bridge over the Cheakamus River, leading to a Train Wreck site.
The trailhead is located near the Cheakamus River just south of Whistler. You can access it in the following ways,
- Car: Drive 10 minutes to get there. There is a parking lot, right outside the trailhead
- Cab: Same duration. Costs $10 CAD one way
- Bus:Take bus 20 or 20x towards Cheakamus
It will take you about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the first painted train box, after crossing the suspension bridge. You will love the scenic views of the Cheakamus River, and the forest along the way.
The colorfully painted box cars that you see here have sat in the woods for decades. It was derailed and left in 1956. There are seven wrecks in total that are spread over an area about 400 metres long.
Outside the hiking trails, is Cheakamus Crossing, which is a self-contained resident community, and this is where athletes from all over the world stayed during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Address: Whistler Quarry Rd, Whistler, BC V0N 1B1 (Parking lot)
Additional sightseeing: From the Train Wreck Hike, you can head over to Function Junction if you prefer, and enjoy axe throwing at Forged Axe.
Audain Art Museum or Whistler Museum
From nature to culture, Whistler has it all. For your 2 days in Whistler itinerary, you can choose between an art museum or a history one. I was able to visit both and enjoyed each of them.
- If you like art and paintings, and want to check out Emily Carr’s work then Audain Art Museum is the place to be (Tickets: $10 CAD)
- To understand Whistler’s history from its humble origins as a fishing lodge to a world class ski resort, head to the Whistler Museum. This complex is small, but allows you to appreciate the beginnings, and the becoming of Whistler as a skiing destination! (Tickets: Entry by donation)
Audain Art Museum is located in the heart of Whistler Village. There are paintings from renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr, Edward John Hughes (for pretty Saanich art – Vancouver island), and more contemporary painters. The painting named, Last Light by Kim Dorland is beautiful with heavy paint/brush strokes.
This museum opened in 2016 and was founded by Vancouver philanthropist Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa. The Museum’s permanent collection showcases the art of British Columbia from the late 18th century to the present and begins with an exhibit of First Nations masks (from the 19th and 20th centuries).
Must visit for art lovers in Whistler. Set aside 1.50 to 2 hours to completely explore the museum. You will find a gift shop and washrooms on site.
Address: 4350 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, British Columbia V8E 1N3
Tickets: Book tickets here online
Whistler Museum is located pretty close to the hotel, where I stayed Delta Whistler Village Suites. This is a small museum, but it is a wonderful place to learn about Whistler’s past. Plan to spend an hour or so here.
There are furniture, kitchen items, and clothes from Rainbow Lodge (a fishing lodge that was set up by Myrtle and Alex Philip) and the beginnings of the ski resort to the Olympics and Paralympics (2010). You will also find a cable car from the old gondola (from the 1960s), and you can sit and take pictures inside.
During my visit to Whistler, I found colorfully painted retired ski chairs, part of the ‘LIFTing the Community’ exhibition.
Address: 4333 Main St, Whistler, BC V8E 1B3
Fitzsimmons Accessible Nature Trail
Fitzsimmons Creek Accessible Nature Trail is a cool short route taking you through the biodiversity of Whistler’s first accessible nature trail. This trail moves alongside Fitzsimmons Creek, and you can hear the water gushing as you take a walk through the woods.
If you are starting from the Village via the Valley Trail (near parking lots 2, 4 & 5), you will also find a skate park and beautifully painted murals alongside the creek.
This skate park area was once called “Munsterville”. It was home to Andy Munster’s abode, who used to squat in this area back in the 1970s as accommodation in Whistler was a struggle.
When you pass the State Park, and the bridges you will find signs to start the Nature Trail. I installed the Go Whistler Tour App to help me get there. This is a free app with maps (stops with photos and descriptions) to help you enjoy the trail.
This route can be done in 1.50 hours. Along the way, you will find trees, ones with bear marks, birds, and the sounds of the creek nearby. There are interpretive signs that explain the ecological significance of each biozone and more.
Go on a Village Stroll
The pedestrian-only Whistler Village is beautiful night and day. The centre was established at the base of both the mountains – Whistler and Blackcomb.
There are restaurants, shops, museums, hotels, and the iconic Olympic Rings. The Whistler Olympic Plaza is a nice green space with a play area and an events venue. In the winter the plaza is converted to an ice skating rink with live music and pretty festive lights!
So be sure to take the time and go on a lovely stroll and soak in the alpine mountain vibes.
It is completely safe to walk at night. You can enjoy your dinner (many are open until late), and then go on a stroll.
Dinner at Oso Bar – Spanish inspired tapas/meals
Finish your 2 days in Whistler itinerary with dinner and drinks at the Village. I tried the Chorizo Sausage and the delicious Firecracker Margarita at the Oso Bar. This bar is super cozy, and you can actually watch the chefs/cook preparing the dishes!
Oh! And I finished my meal with a decadent Chocolate Tart. Try Oso Bar on your next visit.
More things to do in Whistler for non skiers and non hikers
There are more things to do in Whistler summer months, fall, and then winter. Let’s look at the summer and early fall attractions,
Free Go Whistler Tours
If you are not into hikes, opt for easy nature walks and cultural strolls in the Village. Download the Go Whistler Map, and choose a trail. During my visit, I did 2 of them, and it was amazing. The app is free and it makes it easy for first-time visitors or solo travelers to navigate and explore more of Whistler.
- Fitzsimmons Creek Accessible Nature trail: This is a short walk going alongside the creek, exploring the biodiversity of Whistler (same as trail on day 2 of the itinerary).
- Natural Wonders:. This route explores the biodiversity and geology of Whistler, best enjoyed on a bike or E-bike (rentals available at the Village).
- History & Heritage: Discover Whistler’s past from 1914 – 1965 in this tour.
- Whistler’s Cultural Connector: Loved this one and followed all the yellow signs and checked off five out of the six cultural institutions to learn more about Whistler’s culture.
Go paddleboarding at the Alta Lake
Stand-up paddleboarding is a popular summer activity in Whistler. There are many lakes and rivers where you can go paddle boarding.
You can choose your own adventure – BYOP, or join an excursion to enjoy it on calm lake water to extended river trips. Alta Lake is a great place for first-timers to try stand-up paddleboarding.
Relax at the Nita Lake Lodge
Located at the Creekside (tucked away from Whistler Village) is Nita Lake Lodge, another popular accommodation option. This lodge is known for its relaxed vibe, with lake views and a spa onsite.
Although away from the Village, it is only a 10-minute shuttle ride away.
Enjoy mountain biking
Whistler is home to so many bike trails, so take advantage of it. Join a mountain bike tour or better yet e-bike excursion to explore the wilderness. I plan on enjoying some mountain biking in the Whistler mountains next summer!
At the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, you can also take lessons, go on tours, and rent bikes. Note that there are separate passes for bikes
Now, for nonskiers activities in the winter, here are some options,
Ski Callaghan – Whistler winter activities
Head to the Callaghan Valley for snowshoeing, tobogganing, etc. Of course, you can still go cross country skiing, Nordic skiing, ski jumping, and more. There are rentals available for everything plus you can also sign up for lessons.
Snowmobiling with Canadian Wilderness Adventures
Canadian Wilderness Adventures conducts a ton of excursions in the summer as well as in the winter. Join a snowmobiling tour with them (they are located in the Village). You can ride through the remote backcountry and across frozen lakes of the Callaghan Valley to a rustic cabin for a quick break.
Other winter excursions include dog sledding in the snowy wilderness.
In the summer, opt for a forest bathing session. Learn about their excursions here.
Whistler Sliding Centre
Enjoy bobsledding in style and in a world class complex – at the Whistler Sliding Centre – this is where bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge competitions were held during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
Did you know that this is the fastest bobsleigh track in the world?
So that’s a wrap! I hope you found this post on the 2 day Whistler itinerary useful in planning your trip!
Disclaimer: I was graciously hosted during my stay by Tourism Whistler. As always the opinions and ideas are my own.