I love Whistler resort’s Euro-village streets, where you can walk from bar to bookstore in just a few steps. I love the joyful atmosphere — it seems like there’s always a film festival, children’s art fest or apres-ski happening. I love the outdoor activities — nowhere else is it as easy to ski, snowshoe, skate, and swim within just a few miles.
Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is an accessible, playful, family-friendly town where it feels like anything can happen — and if you haven’t yet visited, you might be missing out.
What to do with kids in Whistler, year-round:
- Hold on tight and coast from one mountain to another in a glass-bottom gondola on the Peak 2 Peak. Even if you don’t ski, a trip in a gondola up Whistler, on the Peak 2 Peak, and back down Blackcomb is a heart-pounding adventure. Don’t forget to stop for a cup of hot chocolate. In summer, you may even spot a bear from your perch inside the gondola — bring binoculars.
- Pick out a trinket, activity book or board game at Whoola Toys, a Whistler mom-owned toy store literally packed from floor to ceiling with great, eclectic choices. It’s a good place to pick out a special in-hotel play set or cool hand-held toy for the drive home.
- Browse the paperbacks and pictures books at Armchair Books, which is well stocked with both classic and brand-new titles.
- Hold your breath and jump into the lazy river at Meadow Park Sports Centre; the Centre also boasts a slide, a six-lane lap pool, a vortex and hot tubs for mom and dad. If your Whistler resort hotel doesn’t have a fantastic pool (or that pool is just too darn cold), head here — you won’t be disappointed.
- Fill your bag with candy at the Great Glass Elevator Candy Shoppe, which offers bins of jellybeans, chocolates and sweet ‘n’ sours to scare a dentist. Yum.
- Fly through the air with the greatest of ease at Bounce Acrobatic Academy, which boasts a giant indoor trampoline, padded walls and a foam pit. Drop-in rates available.
- Rainy day in Whistler? No problem. Catch a flick at Village 8 Cinemas. Visit the website to grab some coupons for this Whistler favorite.
- If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands along with your toddler at a Whistler Public library storytime, or just sit and snuggle up with a good book.
- Learn to weave at Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre; this culturally rich museum is best for older kids who’d like to learn more about the First Peoples of the area.
- Enjoy the swings, slide and ramps at Whistler Inclusive Playground, a 13,000-square-foot outdoor play area with innovative spinning disks, swings and carved structures. I love all the smooth, formidable wood here – it’s one of the most aesthetically appealing playgrounds I’ve seen in the Pacific Northwest. Read this Whistler.com post on Whistler playgrounds for more information. If it’s cold? Just bundle up and grab a coffee, because your kids will want to play here.
- Let the kids climb the walls at The Whistler Core, which offers rock-climbing classes for big kids, evening climb/dinner childcare options and fun Whistler summer camps.
What to do with kids in Whistler in summer:
- Nosh your way from stall to stall at the Whistler Farmers Market, where you’ll find hand-picked local berries, mushrooms and veggies. You’ll find crafts here too (although those are not nosh-able).
- Bounce on the bungee trampoline, drive a mini-car or walk the rope course at the Family Adventure Zone, where tickets purchase rides scaled for all ages: toddlers through teens. A super-fun summer Whistler activity with kids, and near the Blackcomb-side lifts.
- Ollie at the Whistler outdoor skate park.
- Navigate the waters along the grass-lined River of Golden Dreams. Bring binoculars, a camera, snacks and a sense of adventure; on calm days, lazing along the river, mountains in sight… it’s Northwest travel at its best. If you’re not sure your kids are ready for this, try paddling Lake Alta. In any case, we rented (and got great advice) from Backroads Whistler’s family self-guided tours. You could also hire a guide, but I don’t have any experience with that (and the self-guided is the less expensive option).
- Sing through the treetops on a Ziptrek Tour; children as young as six years old can go on these bird’s-eye-level trips through the evergreens.
- Watch the street entertainers — bring a Loonie or a Toonie to drop into the busking cases of your favorites. One of my favorite (free) forms of entertainment in the summer.
- Hike or bike your way along some of the region’s stunning trails. See this map of hiking and biking trails in the Whistler area; I recommend trails near Lost Lake in particular.
What to do with kids in Whistler in winter:
- Coast on giant inner tubes down the Whistler Blackcomb Tube Park snow. Best for parents of older preschoolers and up — you must be 3 years old to ride here.
- Slip along kilometres of cross-country groomed paths at Lost Lake Park, when in season; pick up your toddler-friendly chariot carrier at Cross Country Connection. Even very young children can snowshoe or ski for short distances, and Cross Country will be able to suggest good ski paths and destinations.
- Play Wii at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge; there are two lounges, one located on Blackcomb, the other on Whistler mountains.
- Sign the kids up for ski or snowboard school or daycare. Check the kids’ ability charts online before you enroll them, to make sure you’re signing them up for the right class. Don’t miss the children’s play areas on the mountain if you’re going it alone.
- Chill out on the ice skating rink (winter only), which only accommodates 150 skaters at a time.
- Wow even hard-to-impress teens at the Fire and Ice Show, which runs from December through March. Snowboards dive through fiery hoops and acrobats juggle flaming torches; do not try this at home.