Whistler is not a budget destination. But there are a few ways to save when visiting the BC ski resort, and catching some free events and no-cost activities is a classic go-to for savvy travelers. Here are a few free things to do in Whistler this winter:
- Ice-skating in the Olympic Plaza: An outdoor rink provides a free opportunity to skate, though skate rentals cost extra.
Dates: Open Dec. 20, hours vary by day
Where: Whistler Olympic Plaza
- Sunday Fire and Ice Show: Skiers and boarders jump through rings of fire, while fire spinners and other entertainers impress the crowds in Skiers Plaza.
Dates: Every Sunday Dec. 16-March 31 at 6:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. from March 10-31)
Where: Skiers Plaza
- Holiday lights: The Village Stroll is designed for walking, and there's no prettier time than when it's decorated with holiday lights and the eaves are heavy with fresh snow. Just wear warm boots.
- Whistler Library: Built in 2008, the library is a lovely, light-filled space. It's easy to while away a few hours in this local hangout.
Dates: Open year-round, closed Sundays
Where: 4329 Main St.
- Tobogganing: A toboggan ride is generally a low-tech affair, and any snowy slope in a safe spot can offer a fun winter activity. But you can also don a helmet and rent a sled (or bring your own) to tackle the 100-meter hill at Whistler Olympic Park -- though access to the park costs $10 per vehicle.
- Art Galleries: Whistler is home to many superb artists and the village art galleries are open most days. Explore along the Village Stroll as well as in high-end hotels. You may even spot the perfect vacation memento.
- Waterfalls: Impressive in spring and summer, but surrounded by winter snow and ice waterfalls can take on different personalities. Brandywine Falls, Nairn Falls, and Alexander Falls are all a half-day trip from the village.