Unique and off-the-beaten-path things to do in Whistler, BC

Updated: April 9, 2024

Yes, Whistler is known for its incredible skiing, mountain action and apres-ski scene – but it’s so much more than what’s on the postcard. From scenic hikes to cultural experiences, here are some unique things to do in Whistler that are off the beaten path. From ziplining through the mountains to browsing the offerings of local galleries and museums like the Audain Art Museum, there’s truly something for everyone.

See Media Credits

Visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Are you looking for an experience that will allow you to explore the rich cultures of Canada’s First Nations? Look no further than the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC). This cultural centre is dedicated to sharing the living history and culture of two local First Nations: The Squamish and Lil’wat. With interactive exhibits, art galleries, performances and more, it’s a great place to learn about Whistler’s Indigenous peoples and their traditions.

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre
Credit: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre/Logan Swayze

The main attraction of SLCC is its interactive museum that showcases different aspects of the Squamish and Lil’wat cultures. From stories shared by ancestors aroundto traditional artefacts, visitors can explore various aspects of these two nations through guided tours, craft activities, video installations and more. In addition to exploring the past, visitors can also learn about contemporary First Nations issues such as land stewardship and language revitalization.

If you’re looking for an immersive experience in Canadian First Nations culture then make sure to check out the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre next time you’re in Whistler! With its interactive museum exhibits, Gift Shop and the Thunderbird Cafe there’s something for everyone at this unique cultural centre!

Take a scenic hike in Whistler

If you’re looking for a natural adventure this summer, why not give hiking a try? Located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is home to some of the best hiking trails in Canada. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out there are plenty of trails to explore and enjoy.

One of the most popular hikes just south of Whistler is the Black Tusk Trail. This challenging trail offers stunning views throughout with its unique volcanic formations, alpine meadows and mountain peaks all visible from the path. While many hikers complete this trail in a day, the distance and elevation gain can make for a very long day. Consider hiking to Lake Garibaldi and camping overnight before tackling Black Tusk the following day. 

Tourism Whistler/Mark Mackay
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Mark Mackay

A less strenuous option is the Cheakamus Lake Trail which still provides some beautiful views while it winds around Cheakamus Lake. It may be an easier hike than most but it’s still recommended that hikers maintain proper safety precautions such as bringing food, water and appropriate clothing.

For those wanting a more intense experience, the Wedgemount Lake Hike might be for you! It’s one of the hardest hikes in Whistler but it is also one of the most rewarding as you will get amazing views from every angle throughout your journey. The hike takes about seven hours to complete so make sure you bring enough snacks and adequate supplies before embarking on your journey!

No matter what type of hiker you are, there’s something for everyone when it comes to exploring Whistler through hiking. So if you’re looking for an invigoration escape into nature, check out all these wonderful trails!

Visit the Whistler Farmers Market

The Whistler Farmers Market is a great way to experience the local culture while you’re visiting town. Located in the heart of Whistler’s Upper Village, this vibrant open-air market runs every Sunday from May through October. Here, you’ll find local farmers and artisans offering up an array of fresh produce, cold drinks, preserves and local handicrafts. It’s a great way to sample some of the area’s best offerings while getting to meet the people behind them.

Visiting Farmers Markets in Whistler
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

At Whistler Farmers Market you can find produce that is grown locally on farms located throughout British Columbia. Fruits and vegetables that are in season make their way onto the stands here so don’t miss out on grabbing some sweet corn or freshly picked strawberries! You can also get your hands on some artisan products such as jams made with fresh fruit or handcrafted jewellery made by local artisans.

The market is also known for its vibrant atmosphere with live music often playing throughout the day. There are plenty of food vendors offering up delicious meals ranging from pizza to popcorn so bring an appetite! On top of that, there are many family-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained such as face painting, live music and more.

If you’re looking for a fun day out filled with delicious food, interesting vendors and entertainment then come visit the Whistler Farmers Market and when you are done shopping head back to your Whistler vacation rental and cook up the freshest of storms. It’s an experience not to be missed if you’re looking for something special during your visit!

Go on a scenic helicopter tour

helicopter tour in Whistler
Credit: Tourism Whistler/Karina Erhardt

Experience the stunning beauty of Whistler from a unique and unforgettable perspective – a scenic helicopter tour! Your helicopter pilot will take you on an exciting aerial adventure featuring dramatic views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks and lush forests.

A must-do activity for any Whistler visitor, these breathtaking helicopter tours are available year-round and offer amazing sightseeing opportunities. Depending on your budget and itinerary there are various packages to pick from ranging from 15-minute experiences up to multi-hour adventures with picnics and hiking. 

As you soar over some of Whistler’s best landmarks such as Blackcomb Mountain and Rainbow Lake keep an eye out for wildlife including bears, eagles and other animals. In some instances, you’ll also get amazing views of Brandywine Falls, Wedgemount Glacier, Green Lake and much more!

Enjoy a relaxing soak

The Scandinave Spa near Lost Lake Park offers a more luxurious getaway with saunas, steam rooms and several outdoor baths as well as onsite massage services.

Scandinave Spa near Lost Lake Park
Credit: Scandinave Spa/Joern Rohde

Try your hand at ziplining

Are you looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure? Then ziplining in Whistler is the perfect activity for you! From soaring high up in the trees through the temperate rainforest to views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, these incredible lines offer a birds-eye perspective of some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery.

Whistler offers several different zipline tours ranging from a short but exciting one-hour tour on North America’s longest zipline to an epic three-hour experience featuring multiple lines, suspended bridges and platforms. All guided tours include a safety harness and safety briefing before taking off.

Be prepared to take your adventure to new heights as you soar over rivers and streams hundreds of feet below. Looking for something more thrilling?

Superfly Zipline in Whistler
Credit: Superfly Ziplines Whistler

Take a scenic drive: 

Have you ever wanted to explore the Canadian west coast at its finest? Then travelling along the Sea-To-Sky Highway is a must! This iconic route stretches from Vancouver to Whistler and will take you through some of Canada’s most spectacular landscapes. From coastal inlets and mountain tops, this highway has it all.

The highlights along the Sea-To-Sky Highway include Shannon Falls Provincial Park, where you can witness one of British Columbia’s tallest waterfalls; Squamish Estuary Nature Reserve, an ecological preserve with seasonal migratory birds for bird watchers; Stawamus Chief Mountain, home to some of the world’s best rock climbing areas; and Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park where thousands of bald eagles congregate each winter.

Whether you choose to make a day trip out of it or spend more time exploring what this route has to offer, there’s no doubt that your time spent on the Sea-To-Sky Highway will be unforgettable. So grab your camera and get ready for an adventure like none other!

Visit the Audain Art Museum:

The Audain Art Museum is a treasure trove for art lovers located in Whistler, British Columbia. Founded by philanthropist Michael Audain and opened to the public in 2016, the museum houses one of Canada’s largest collections of Northwest Coast Indigenous art as well as an impressive selection of historical and contemporary Canadian and international works.

Visiting a museum, an unique thing to do in Whistler
Credit: Tourism Whistler Justa Jeskova

Among its many masterpieces, visitors can explore an array of sculptures, photographs, paintings, prints, drawings and textiles. Standout pieces include Emily Carr’s iconic ‘Four Masks’ as well as some contemporary pieces from Robert Davidson and Brian Jungen.

The highlight at the Audain Art Museum is definitely the collection of Northwest Coast Indigenous art which features traditional objects such as masks, rattles, bentwood boxes and totem poles. The museum also offers educational programming in partnership with local First Nations communities to share their knowledge of indigenous culture in a respectful way.

These are just a few of the many unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences that await you on your next Whistler getaway. Whether you’re an adventurous traveller or a culture buff, there is something for everyone in this beautiful mountain town.

Media Credits:

Assets (116849, 116853, 92396, 116624, 116630, 93752, 93743, 93447, 92434, 93440, 92443, 116907, 116908, 92402, 116892, 93751) – Credit: Tourism Whistler / Mike Crane | @GoWhistler

Assets (152007, 70994, 67392, 70999) – Credit: Tourism Whistler / Origin | @GoWhistler

Assets (150549, 150544) – Credit: Tourism Whistler / Ryan Regehr | @GoWhistler

Assets (152953, 152946, 152957) – Credit: Tourism Whistler /Kris Dontas / @GoWhistler

Accommodation Accommodation local guide activities Alta Vista axe throwing Bears bobsled campout contest children christmas christmas activities christmas in whistler climbing Creekside dining In Whistler escape room fall activities Fall in Whistler family family activities family apres family fun fitness holiday guide holidays local guide neighbourhood neighbourhood guide Nicklaus North romantic getaway santa skating skiing Spring Activities Summer in Whistler swimming Thanksgiving Thanksgiving activities Thanksgiving in Whistler Upper Village Whistler Bike Park winter winter activities Winter in Whistler ziplining