I recently got back from a trip to Whistler, B.C., and we had the absolute best time! Every year around this time, the summer heat starts to feel oppressive and I get an itch to travel somewhere cooler. Whistler is the perfect “summer escape” – it was in the 60s and 70s during the day while we were there, cool enough to wear sweaters and drink hot chocolate and dream about campfires and falling leaves! My mom came with me on this trip and we met up with my friend Lauren, her husband and her beautiful baby girl. We all had the best time exploring the town, being surrounded by nature and also eating to our heart’s content 🙂 If you’re interested in the outfits I wore on the trip, check out this blog post. If not, keep reading for all of the things we saw, ate and did in Whistler!
How to Get There
We flew into the Vancouver airport and rented a car. From Vancouver, it was about a two hour drive to Whistler, however don’t let this get you down – it’s a GORGEOUS drive along the Sea to Sky Highway. You will see stunning snowy mountain peaks as well as turquoise and blue lakes, as well as some wildlife! As for getting to Vancouver, there are several direct flights all throughout the United States, including Dallas, Houston, Chicago, New York (JFK), Salt Lake City, Denver, San Francisco and Seattle. I like to check Google Flights to find the best route!
Where to Stay
FAIRMONT CHATEAU WHISTLER: The Fairmont Whistler is THE place to stay in Whistler! I love Fairmont Hotels in general – I can always count on them for the best service, food and comfy beds. The Fairmont in Whistler definitely has the best location, as it’s situated right next to dozens of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops (all with a very mountain-y feel), and right out back there are a ton of activities for kids and families (we saw a putt putt course, go-carts, big bouncy things, and more). It’s also situated at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, so you can ride the chairlift up and then hop on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for the most amazing mountain views. We had the absolute best experience at the Fairmont and we’re checking our calendars to see when we can make it back this winter!
Where to Get Coffee
PORTOBELLO: The best coffee I had during our trip was at Portobello! Their vanilla latte was OUT OF THIS WORLD, as we as their “trail mix cookie” which had marshmallows baked in and may or may not have been the best cookie I’ve had in my entire life 🙂 Plus the inside of this coffee shop was really cute (see above photo) and there’s a little fire pit outside that you can sit around and enjoy the fire! Portobello was also super convenient as it was only a few steps away from the front doors of our hotel.
CAMP LIFESTYLE & COFFEE: I only ordered a tea here, but Camp is a beautiful mountain store and espresso bar that celebrates a deep love of the outdoors. You can order a coffee or tea and then peruse the store for local and sustainably sourced products like clothes, toys and books.
Where to Eat
The food scene in Whistler is simply amazing. I have been trying to eat local and organic whenever I can, and the restaurant scene in Whistler is built on these principles. A lot of the restaurants have partnered with local farms in Pemberton (a little north of Whistler) to carry local, sustainable and organic meat and produce. You can definitely taste the difference – every meal we had was impeccable!
ARAXI: The nicest restaurant we went to in Whistler was definitely Araxi! They did a special tasting menu for us with wine pairings and the chef, James Walt, was super attentive to our food preferences and allergies. The thing I really really loved about Araxi is that the chef works closely with local farmers and personally selects the freshest ingredients featured on Araxi’s menu. The fish and vegetables were outstanding, as well as the wine!
THE WILDFLOWER: We ate at The Wildflower multiple times throughout our trip and LOVED it! The restaurant was right inside of our hotel so it was really convenient – we went for breakfast several times during our trip and got the breakfast buffet each time. There’s a wagon right when you walk in that’s FULL of pastries (the lemon cranberry bread was amazzzzing), an entire juice and smoothie bar with fresh juices and smoothies, and a chef making omelettes right at the front. We also ate at Wildflower for dinner one night – I absolutely love the fact that they have an entire sustainability section on their menu with fresh and sustainably sourced seafood and produce. You could taste the difference – it was SO GOOD. And don’t forget to order the chocolate fondue for dessert 🙂
CREEKBREAD: Ok you guys know I loooove pizza, but this pizza place is extra special because the meals are prepared with organic produce, free-range chicken, nitrate-free meats and all of their pizzas are cooked in a wood fired cauldron or a hand-built wood burning oven. We had one of the “specials” that night – a jalapeno popper pizza – and it came out crispy and cheesy and absolute perfection. And the crustttt – delicious. We went early because we heard it gets crowded quickly.
THE GREEN MOUSTACHE: The Green Moustache is a 100% organic, plant-based cafe with whole food meals, desserts, juices and smoothies. My mom and I went here for lunch on our last day and wished we had discovered it sooner – we both got Buddha Bowls with “liquid gold” dressing and they were so good, and we didn’t feel stuffed or bloated afterwards.
I’m sure there are TONS more good restaurants in Whistler, and we wished we could have stayed longer to experience them all!
What To Do
There are so many outdoorsy and sports-related activities to do in Whistler, I don’t think the pictures we took are a very accurate representation of all that you can do there! While you can certainly take it easy and go to the spa and nice restaurants (which we did), you can also go hiking, biking, skateboarding, ziplining, skiing (in the winter), take a sea plane or a helicopter, and tons more. There is plenty to experience for everyone. Here’s a little bit of what we did:
SCANDINAVE SPA: It was raining one day in Whistler, so we spent the entire morning at Scandinave Spa – a GORGEOUS spa nestled deep in the mountainside and surrounded by nature. Both Lauren and I got massages and then we tried out the Scandinavian baths – you are supposed to go in a hot bath for 20 minutes, followed by a dip in a cold bath, then head to a “relaxation room.” Known as hydrotherapy, the baths are supposed to cleanse the skin, improve physical conditioning and promote a sense of well-being. There’s also a no talking rule in the baths, so it’s nice and quiet. We all felt so relaxed afterward and really enjoyed the experience. One of the nicest parts was buying a mint tea and sitting near the windows just taking in the view! (See above photo.) They do give you a robe and towel, but I wish I had brought my own sandals since they don’t give you any footwear.
PEAK 2 PEAK GONDOLA: All of the photos from the beginning of this post were taken on the Peak 2 Peak – this might have been our favorite activity and is definitely a must-do while in Whistler. Suspended 436 meters above the valley floor, the gondola offers stunning views of the nearly 3 mile span between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. During the winter, skiers and boarders can easily take advantage of the terrain, and during the spring/summer, sightseers can enjoy terrific views of the region’s glaciers and peaks and grab lunch or a drink at one of the many peak restaurants. It was incredibly convenient, too, we just hopped on the chairlift right outside of our hotel and it took us up the mountain where we could transfer to the Peak 2 Peak.
ENJOY THE WILDLIFE: On the chairlift down Blackcomb Mountain, we spotted a black bear! She was making her way up the mountain and just enjoying herself. I tried to get a picture but was too late!! It was such a cool experience. Black bears are super common in Whistler and you can spot them many places including when you drive along the Sea to Sky Highway.
GREEN LAKE: Green Lake is located just north of Whistler Village and is a beautiful glacier-fed blue-green lake. There’s a path that goes all the way around the lake and is an easy hike, although takes a couple of hours to complete. We went here and it was so pretty to admire and walk around!
THE FARMER’S MARKET: On Wednesdays and Sundays, there’s a farmer’s market right outside of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler featuring local goods, jewelry, fresh vegetables and cheese. It’s fun to peruse and taste-test!
HIKE: There are sooo many hikes to do in Whistler, but the ones we really wanted to we didn’t have time for or we realized too late in the day (some of these you will want to do early in the morning). There are some really pretty turquoise lakes near Whistler, including Garibaldi Lake (look up pictures – it looks GORGEOUS), Lost Lake, Joffre Lake, Cheakamus Lake, and Wedgemount Lake. We were also told the Train Wreck Hike is pretty and not too strenuous.
SHOP: You definitely have to stroll through Whistler Village, even if you don’t plan on buying anything. But if you do want to shop, Whistler Village has a ton of options! From local boutiques to favorites like Lululemon, there are a lot of shops nestled in between cafes and restaurants. Plus the village is so cute and mountain-y, it’s a great place for photo opps.
If you’ve been to Whistler before and want to recommend something that I left out, definitely let us all know in the comments! 🙂