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A woman enjoying a ski day at Whistler Blackcomb

There is nothing like taking a winter trip every year where you get to enjoy your favorite winter sports whether that be skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, etc.; cozying up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of mulled wine; treating yourself to a well-needed spa day or visiting hot springs. One of the best winter trips to take is from Vancouver to Whistler in British Columbia, Canada.

Vancouver is a beautiful seaport in Western Canada. It is known to be the country’s most ethnically diverse city and it is surrounded by the beautiful North Shore Mountains. Whistler is located around two hours northeast of Vancouver and is home to the Olympic ski resortWhistler Blackcomb. In fact, the 2010 Winter Olympics took place in the ski village of Whistler. Both Vancouver and Whistler are in Canada’s British Columbia province.

A woman visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park on a Vancouver to Whistler trip

During January 2022, I did a memorable winter ski trip from Vancouver to Whistler with Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We split up our trip by spending 2 days in Vancouver and another 2 days in Whistler. Visiting this area during the winter is magical and there is so much to do from skiing to exploring the culinary scene and enjoying a spa day to hiking.

In this article, discover how to have the perfect Canadian winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia and read about the best places to stay at each destination.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Vancouver, JW Marriott Parq hosted me for two nights and I also partnered with Destination Vancouver. During my time in Whistler Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre hosted me for two nights. I was also hosted for a meal at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Raven Room in Pan Pacific Whistler.


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Vancouver to Whistler 5-Day Winter Trip

Traveling to Vancouver and Whistler, Canada:

Evergreen trees in the Pacific Northwest

Both Caitlin and I traveled to British Columbia by taking a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to Vancouver International Airport with a layover in Montréal. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

During our two days in the city of Vancouver, we mainly got around by taking Uber, since it is a larger city. The best way to get from Vancouver to Whistler is by renting a car. Even though you can get to Whistler from Vancouver without your own vehicle, I personally think it is easier to have one so that you can visit different spots within the village and along the Sea to Sky Highway that you take to get to the popular winter resort.

The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler

Overall, the Vancouver to Whistler drive time is around two hours, depending on traffic and weather. During a winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler, you will need winter tires on your vehicle to drive the Sea to Sky Highway. The road has a lot of hills and it can ice up quickly.

If you don’t plan on renting a car, you can get from Vancouver to Whistler by taking the YVR Skylynx bus from Vancouver City Centre to and from Whistler or Squamish. The Vancouver to Whistler bus is a relaxing experience where you can enjoy WiFi and it will cost you around $25 for a single trip.

Exploring Whistler during a winter trip from Vancouver

Other ways to get to and from the city to the ski resort village during a winter trip are through a small-group or private tour and a taxi or private car service. I recommend taking the bus or doing a tour if you’re just planning on doing a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver. (There is a seaplane you can take from Vancouver to Whistler, but they only run from late spring to early autumn. The Vancouver to Whistler flight is around 35 minutes each way.)

While you’re in Whistler, it is easy to get around by simply walking everywhere within the village. Whistler Village is pedestrian-only and allows for easy access to shops, restaurants, ski lifts and hotels. During our time in Whistler, Caitlin and I stayed at Pan Pacific and they offered valet parking services, which is nice and convenient for those who end up renting a car.  

Whistler Village

Whistler also has a public bus that you can use to get around the village and local neighborhoods at an affordable cost. The Whistler buses allow you to load your skis, snowboards and other winter sporting equipment. There are bike racks for you to use as well. In addition, there are taxis and Uber cars for you to take around the area.

What is also cool about Whistler is that there is also the Valley Trail, which is a car-free, paved trail and boardwalk that connects neighborhoods in Whistler to scenic outdoor spots. The best ways to enjoy the Valley Trail is by walking/running, cycling, skateboarding or rollerblading. During a winter trip to Whistler, you can enjoy cross-country skiing and fat biking in this area.

Where to Stay in Vancouver during Winter:

Lunar New Year decorations at JW Marriott Parq

From Vancouver to Whistler, Caitlin and I stayed at two beautiful properties. The best hotel to stay at during a trip to Vancouver in the winter is the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. It is a five-star, luxury hotel that is in downtown Vancouver. The hotel features stunning views of the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, the city’s False Creek and is surrounded by the lively neighborhoods of Gastown and Yaletown.

JW Marriott Parq Vancouver has beautifully-designed accommodations, world-class restaurants and lounges, a luxury spa, a fun casino and a relaxation terrace that has stunning views of Vancouver.

Staying at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver:
A queen room in JW Marriott Parq

During our time at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver, Caitlin and I stayed in the 2 Queen Guest Room that was situated on the hotel’s higher level and included a beautiful waterfront view of False Creek.

Our room had two comfortable queen-sized beds, a cozy workstation that was stocked with residential-style amenities like illy espresso makers. There was also an en-suite bathroom that included Molten Brown bath products.

Overall, I loved how luxurious and comforting our room was. JW Marriott hotels have the best robes that will keep you warm and cozy during your stay and there is always internet-connected televisions and high-speed WiFi in each room.

The other rooms at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver are the Sky Suite, Parq Villa with Patio, Guest Room with 1 King Bed, Guest Room with 2 Queen Beds, Guest Room with 1 King Bed and a Water View, Guest Room with 2 Queen Beds and a Water View, Studio Room with 1 King Bed and a Water View, 1 Bedroom Suite with 1 King Bed and a Water View, 1 Bedroom Suite with 1 King Bed and a Mountain View, 1 Bedroom Executive Suite with 1 King Bed with a Water View on the High Floor, Ivy Suite with a 1 Bedroom Suite and 1 King Bed, Sky Suite with a 2 Bedroom Presidential Suite with 1 Bedroom containing 1 King Bed and the Second Bedroom with 1 Queen Bed with a Water View and lastly, there is the Parq Villa with a 1 Bedroom Bi-level Loft that includes a King Bed and a Water View.

Dining at JW Marriott in Vancouver:
A woman enjoying brunch at Honey Salt during a Vancouver to Whistler trip

When it comes to eating at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver during your Vancouver to Whistler winter trip, there are eight renowned restaurants and lounges that are led by James Beard Award-nominated foodie masterminds – Elizabeth Blau and her husband, Chef Kim Canteenwalla.

Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq

The list of restaurants at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver are The Victor, which is a steakhouse; Honey Salt that is a farm-to-table Canadian, bistro-style restaurant; BC Kitchen, which is a comfort food lounge that features gourmet pizzas, burgers and Mexican street food; MRKT East that is inspired by Singapore night markets where chefs prepare creative dishes for diners; Centre Bar, which is a cocktail bar located on the gaming floor of the casino; Lotus Whiskey & Tea Lounge that is a great spot to sip on tea and sample whiskey; D/6 Lounge, which is a vibrant rooftop bar to enjoy cocktails and light bites; Le Doux Ciel that is a coffee house featuring comforting warm beverages and desserts and lastly, Passione Gelato, which is a gelato shop.

Breakfast at Honey Salt in downtown Vancouver

While we were in Vancouver, Caitlin and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Honey Salt. We savored a plethora of different dishes and drinks from coffee to smoothies/juices along with croissants to pancakes and eggs to the British Columbia smoked salmon board. Everything was delicious and I loved how adorable the restaurant was.

Rejuvenating Experiences at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver:
A woman enjoying a spa day at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver

In addition to a great dining experience, JW Marriott Parq Vancouver has a spa with services that are designed for your well-being ranging from massages to facials along with manicures/pedicures to body scrubs.

JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver also has a fitness studio and the Aqua Lounge that features a hydrotherapy tub, yoga space and lounge seating. What is cool about the Aqua Lounge is that it features gorgeous views of the city.

Where to Stay in Whistler during Winter:

Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

The hotel that Caitlin and I stayed at during the second part of our winter trip was Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre.

There are two Pan Pacific Hotels in Whistler, BC. In addition to the Village Centre, there is also Pan Pacific Mountainside. The difference between the two hotels are in their names. Pan Pacific Village Centre is in the heart of Whistler Village and Pan Pacific Mountainside is situated at the base of Whistler Mountain. No matter which hotel you choose to stay at, both are in walking distance to the ski lifts at Whistler Mountain.

Overall, Pan Pacific Whistler was nominated for Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel and there are numerous reasons why, which I will explain below:

Staying at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre:
A woman enjoying a cozy ski trip in Whistler and Vancouver

As we made our way from Vancouver to Whistler, we arrived at Pan Pacific earlier in the day and were able to check into our room right away, which was awesome! Both Caitlin and I stayed in the Two Bedroom Upper Floor Suite that included two bedrooms with private balconies and en-suite bathrooms. This was amazing because sometimes it is hard to have two women share one bathroom.

Since our suite was situated on one of the upper floors of the hotel, we had scenic views of Whistler Mountain and the Village Centre. Our suite also came with a gas fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, dining table and a living room area. It was cozy and the perfect spot to warm up to after a day out on the slopes.

A suite at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

The other ski suites you can stay in at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre are the Studio Lower Floor Suite, One Bedroom Lower Floor Suite, One Bedroom Upper Floor Suite, One Bedroom & Den Suite, Two Bedroom Lower Floor Suite, Two Bedroom & Den Suite, Canuck Place Suite, Two Bedroom Penthouse (Whistler Suite), Three Bedroom Penthouse (Tantalus & Sunridge Suite) and Three Bedroom & Den Penthouse (Blackcomb Suite).

Dining at Pan Pacific Whistler in Winter:
Breakfast at Pan Pacific Whistler

Every morning, Pan Pacific Whistler has a complimentary continental breakfast service that gets delivered to your room in the morning at a time that works best for you between 6:30 to 10:30am.

The continental-style breakfast offered at Pan Pacific will help get you fueled for your ski day as it offers everything from cereal to bagels and eggs to Belgian waffles. With your breakfast, you either get milk or fresh juice along with freshly baked pastries and fruit. There is also a coffee and hot water maker in the room for you to enjoy a fresh brew or cup of tea. I had the waffles with Nutella and they were delicious!

Located inside Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre is The Raven Room, which is Whistler’s premier cocktail bar and seasonal restaurant. Inspired by Whistler’s beautiful scenery, Chef Erin Stone whips up the finest locally sourced ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. The menu is seasonal!

Caitlin and I had dinner at The Raven Room on our last night in Whistler and everything we ate was incredible!

Cocktails from The Raven Room in Whistler

Since The Raven Room is known for its crafted cocktails, both of us had the Adios Pantelones, which was a mezcal that included Alvear Med Dry, St. Germain Elderflower, grapefruit, agave and Prosecco. For our second drink, I enjoyed a local British Columbia craft beer.

Dinner at The Raven Room in Whistler, Canada
A fish dinner from British Columbia
Flourless almond orange cake from The Raven Room

Our dinner first started with a bunch of amazing appetizers such as beet tartare, crispy cauliflower, spicy Thai fried chicken and potato puffs. For our main meal, we had the Vancouver Island Ling Cod with apple tarragon salsa, risotto al vongole and arugula. Dessert was a mouthwatering flourless almond orange cake!

At Pan Pacific Mountainside, there is another great restaurant and bar called Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and Patio where you can enjoy hearty pub fare and live music.

Perfect Winter Amenities at Pan Pacific Whistler:
A woman enjoying a Vancouver to Whistler ski trip

During a winter escape to Vancouver and Whistler, there is nothing like enjoying a relaxing mountainside vacation experience such as doing a spa day!

Pan Pacific Whistler has a day spa where you can do therapeutic treatments and esthetic services like massages, facials, waxing, manicures/pedicures and more. There is also a heated saltwater pool and hot tub at both hotels that you can enjoy from 10am to 10pm every day. While you’re at the pool, you can admire pretty views of Whistler Mountain.

In addition, Pan Pacific has a fitness center, sauna and is pet friendly!

Vancouver to Whistler Winter Trip Itinerary:

A Vancouver to Whistler winter trip

My trip to Vancouver and Whistler was five days and four nights. Below is the itinerary that Caitlin and I followed. This itinerary offers the top things to do in Vancouver in winter and you can discover all the fun things to do in Whistler.

Vancouver in the Winter:

Day 1: Arrive in Canada and Discover Places to go in Vancouver in Winter

Vancouver during winter

When you travel to Vancouver, I recommend taking an early flight so that you have as much time in the city as possible. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed at both Newark Airport and Montreal, so we didn’t arrive in Vancouver until the evening.

Have Lunch at Miku:
Aburi sushi from Miku in Vancouver

After arriving at Vancouver Airport, we took an Uber to JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, checked into the hotel and got settled. If you get in around lunchtime, I suggest grabbing lunch at Miku.  Vancouver is known for its incredible Asian food and most of the restaurants we ate at on this trip were Japanese.

Located on the Burrard Inlet, Miku is a waterfront restaurant that features gourmet Aburi cuisine. If you’ve never heard of Aburi before, it is the innovation of flame searing seafood, or pressed sushi, made into the shape of a rectangle. It is suggested to enjoy this type of sushi without soy sauce because it usually includes a special sauce.

During lunch or dinner at Miku, I recommend getting the Miku Signature Selection that offers a chef’s selection of traditional sushi and sashimi as well as Aburi Oshi, which is made with fresh salmon. This is what I got during my time at Miku and everything on the plate was incredible!

In addition to sushi, Miku also has a great cocktail, sake, wine and beer list. Caitlin enjoyed the cold sake and I had the Bergamot Sour, which included earl grey amaretto, yuzu, lemon, egg white and togarashi.

Stroll around Stanley Park:
Stanley Park in Vancouver

After lunch, one of the best things to do is to stroll around Vancouver’s largest parkStanley Park. Visiting Vancouver in winter can be a bit tricky. Even though it is closer to Whistler for winter sports, Vancouver itself doesn’t get much snow due to its climate.

Instead, the city gets a lot of rain due to its location in the Pacific Northwest. Since it was rainy during our trip to Vancouver, we didn’t get to see Stanley Park. I will admit that I was bummed about that because it is beautiful!

Stanley Park is a 400-hectare West Coast rainforest where both locals and visitors can enjoy beautiful nature and the iconic Seawall. Throughout the park are peaceful beaches, walking and hiking trails. There is also an aquarium, restaurant and cafés in Stanley Park.

Visit a Vancouver Museum:
The Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit

If the weather is too rainy to enjoy the outdoors in Vancouver during winter, there are plenty of awesome indoor museums to check out!

With Destination Vancouver, you can enjoy unforgettable experiences like FlyOver Canada, which utilizes state-of-the-art technology to feel like you’re flying over the world. It is a great way to learn more about Canada and see beyond Vancouver.

Another one of the best indoor things to do in Vancouver in the winter is to visit the new Moon & Back Gallery. This gallery is a dreamy and immersive experience that allows you to enjoy 16 mirror light installations.

Visiting Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition during a winter travel experience in Vancouver is another great thing to do. I visited the Van Gogh museum in New York City during summer 2021 and it was incredible!

Overall, the Van Gogh Exhibit is one of the top selling shows in the world and it will take you back to Vincent Van Gogh’s time. The immersive experience was created by Massimiliano Siccardi who is a renowned master of digital arts in Italy. He is known for his installations in Paris.

In addition, Vancouver is recognized for its music scene and there are plenty of awesome venues for you to enjoy live entertainment. Theater is also big in Vancouver and there are numerous shows for you to see during your winter trip. Click here to learn more.

Enjoy Dinner and Karaoke at Kamei Royale:
A shrimp tempura dish

A fun spot to enjoy dinner at on your first day in Vancouver is Kamei Royale. There are two locations – on Broadway and in the Richmond area of the city.

At Kamei Royale, you can savor delicious Japanese dishes like sushi rolls, gyoza, rice and udon dishes, plus more. This restaurant also has a great cocktail menu!

In addition to the restaurant, there is also a lounge that has karaoke where you can have fun with friends and sing along to the latest worldwide hits!

Day 2: Admire British Columbia’s Beauty in Winter

Brunch at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq:
Honey Salt restaurant in Vancouver

Like I mention above, Caitlin and I enjoyed a lovely brunch at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, situated in downtown Vancouver. It is a place that cannot be missed during a Vancouver to Whistler winter trip.

Explore through the Enchanting Forest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park:
A woman walking over the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

My favorite part of my winter trip to Vancouver was exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver with Destination Vancouver. It is located 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

During your time at the park, you can admire the beautiful totem poles and learn about British Columbia’s indigenous culture and history. In fact, the name Capilano is indigenous, belonging to the Squamish Nation. It was originally spelled Kia’palano, which means beautiful river. (It was also the name of the chief of the tribe.)

Totem Poles at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Overall, you cannot miss out on visiting this incredible spot during a first-time trip to Vancouver and if you go during the holiday season or around Valentine’s Day, the bridges are decked out in pretty lights.

A woman exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The original Capilano Suspension Bridge was built in 1889 with hemp ropes. Nowadays, it is held with cables strong enough to hold a fully loaded 747 airliner. When you cross the bridge, you will enter into an enchanting evergreens and cedar-scented rainforest.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in the Pacific Northwest

Located inside the forest are Treetop Adventures that include seven suspended footbridges with beautiful views. It is dreamy! At this park, there is also a Cliffwalk that you can enjoy, which consists of labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms.

Also located at the park are cafés and gifts shops to enjoy. When you visit Capilano Suspension Bridge you will see why it is considered one of the best landmarks in Canada!

Explore Granville Island:
A woman exploring Granville Island in Vancouver

One of the coolest spots to discover in Vancouver, British Columbia all year round is Granville Island. It is a fun area for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

At Granville Island, there is a public market that is open daily for you to enjoy shopping, food and drinks, culture and history, plus more. It is like Pike Place in Seattle with floral displays, fresh fruit and produce to pick out and art galleries to explore.

Flowers from Granville Island Public Market

Also located at Granville Island for you to enjoy during Vancouver winter travel is a brewery, distillery and various coffee shops. You can also walk along the waterfront and catch up with friends at the public spaces within Ron Basford Park.

Capture 360-degree Views of Vancouver:
Top of Vancouver - top things to do in Vancouver and Whistler in the winter

Another cool thing to do during your first-ever trip to Vancouver and Whistler in winter is to enjoy incredible 360-views at Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant.

It is a restaurant and bar that moves slowly in a clockwise direction. It takes around an hour to circle around the entire restaurant and you will see all of Vancouver’s incredible landmarks and buildings. (On a clear day, you will also see the nearby mountains and Pacific Ocean.)

Top of Vancouver offers continental dining at 553 feet. The windows in the restaurant are specifically angled for incredible viewing of the city below.

A calamari appetizer

During our time here, we met up with Elaine of The Classy Traveller, who is from Vancouver. We enjoyed some Cabernet Sauvignon and the delicious calamaro dish, which featured charred humbolt squid, sun dried tomato pesto and arugula.

Savor Delicious Japanese Tapas at Kingyo:

The best restaurant we visited during our Vancouver to Whistler trip was Kingyo. It is an upbeat izakaya, which is a Japanese bar specializing in small dishes with drinks.

A delicious Japanese dinner from Kingyo in Vancouver
Snow crab fried rice

Kingyo was the first izakaya restaurant I’ve ever been to and I was amazed by how tasty the food was. During our evening at this awesome spot, we split a bunch of Japanese tapas. We got the shrimp tempura, mackerel sushi in Aburi style, uni miso udon (which is sea urchin udon noodles) as well as the kani meshi, which is a snow crab fried rice. Everything was incredible and also beautifully presented.

Check Out the Gastown Steam Clock:
The Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver

A trip to Vancouver is not complete without seeing the whistling Steam Clock in the famous area of Gastown. It is partially run by a steam engine and is one of the only few in the world to still exist.

Gastown is a touristy area within Vancouver, but was one of the city’s first settlements. It is a charming place to stroll through and enjoy boutique shopping, trendy restaurants, quaint cafés and fun dessert spots.

Whistler in Winter:

Day 3: Drive to a Winter Wonderland in Whistler

Head to Whistler Early for a Ski Day:
A woman enjoying skiing during her Vancouver to Whistler trip

On our third day of our Vancouver to Whistler winter trip, we woke up early at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver to pick up our rental car and drive to Pan Pacific Whistler.

Like I mention above, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler is a little over two hours and for most of the journey, you are driving along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, which features some of the best views in Canada. If you have time, I recommend stopping at one of the scenic overlooks along the way and making a pit stop in the town of Squamish. You can enjoy incredible mountain views on the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Skiing in Whistler - an Olympic Ski Resort

Once you arrive in Whistler, I suggest checking into the hotel first and then heading over to the mountain to go skiing. A reason why you want to get to Whistler Blackcomb early is because the big ski lifts stop running at 3pm. This is because staff members want to make sure that no one gets stuck at the top when the sun goes down. (Night skiing is more common on the East Coast of North America because the mountains aren’t as big.)

Another reason why you always want to hit the slopes earlier in the day is because by the afternoon a lot of the hills become icy, which makes skiing and snowboarding more dangerous.

What is great about staying at Pan Pacific Whistler is that they give you a discount off of ski and snowboard rentals with your stay. You also get a free storage locker as well! At Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, there is a ski shop called Salomon where you will pick up your rental skis, snowboard, poles, helmet, shoes, etc. You can also purchase gloves, scarves, jackets, hats and other winter gear at this store.

Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler

Known as North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The actual ski resort, which is part of Vail Resorts, includes two mountains – Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain and it features the famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which is the world’s highest lift.

Overall, Whistler Blackcomb has 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers combined. There are numerous green, blue and black diamond trails and the resort also has a few double black diamond trails, a terrain park, heli-skiing and backcountry skiing. Just like most other ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb also has beginner slopes and tubing as well.

Whistler was the first, out of two, Olympic ski resort towns I visited in January 2022. A little after my Canada trip, I visited Lake Placid, New York.

Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia

(Just to reference, green trails are for beginners, blue trails are intermediate and black diamonds are steep slopes for advanced and expert skiers.)

If you’re spending a week in Whistler and want to learn how to ski or perfect your skills, I recommend taking a lesson with a professional ski instructor.

The ski slopes at Whistler Blackcomb in Canada

Depending on when you visit Whistler Blackcomb, a typical adult lift ticket (ages 19-64) ranges from $189 to $92 CAD; for teenagers (ages 13-18), it costs anywhere from $161 to $78 CAD; a child’s ticket (12 and younger) costs anywhere from $95 to $46 CAD and senior tickets (ages 65 and older) costs anywhere from $170 to $83 CAD.

Caitlin and I had a wonderful time skiing at Whistler. The snow was perfect and the views were incredible!

A 5-day winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler

If you’re not a skier, you can still enjoy winter fun at Whistler. You can make memories zip lining, bobsledding on the Olympic track, do snowmobile tours, participate in a snowshoe walk and more! Click here to discover more to do at Whistler in winter.

Aprés Ski at Whistler:
Mulled cider at apres-ski in Whistler

After a fulfilling ski day, there is nothing like having fun with friends at an après-ski. In case you don’t know what après-ski is, it is the party after a fulfilling day on the slopes. Whether you are celebrating at a bar or restaurant, your hotel or accommodation, it is ensured that you will have a good time partying away at après-ski!

The best spot to enjoy après-ski in Whistler, Canada is at The Longhorn Saloon & Grill. Located at the base of Whistler Mountain, The Longhorn Saloon is an epic spot to enjoy a heartwarming mulled wine or cider, local craft beer, wine, cocktails or hot chocolate. You can also savor wood fire pizzas at this spot.

Pizza at apres-ski

Both Caitlin and I had a blast at the après-ski at The Longhorn Saloon in Whistler; it was a lot of fun! There is also a live band always playing at this spot too!

Dine at One of Whistler’s Renowned Restaurants:
Pasta dinners from Il Caminetto in Whistler

Whistler Village is home to fine dining and casual restaurants and bars. One of the best places to enjoy a delicious meal is at Il Caminetto. Chef James Walt is one of Canada’s leading chefs and he was once the Executive Chef to the Canadian Embassy in Rome. His experience at the embassy helped shaped the way he cooks today and that is why Il Caminetto is one of the best Italian restaurants in Whistler.

During our evening at Il Caminetto, Caitlin and I enjoyed a Chianti wine. For our main meals, I had the lobster and saffron linguine dish and Caitlin had a Caesar salad with the local squash and taleggio mezzaluna. Our meals also came with delicious rosemary focaccia and sourdough bread to enjoy with fresh olive oil.

Day 4: Enjoy Winter Activities in Whistler

Wander through Whistler Village and Enjoy the Heated Pools at Pan Pacific:
A woman relaxing at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

On your fourth morning, enjoy breakfast at Pan Pacific and then stroll around Whistler Village. I love how charming this ski town is and there are a lot of great stores and boutique shops to walk through and purchase souvenirs for loved ones back home.

I recommend also relaxing in Pan Pacific‘s salted heated pools and hot tub while admiring the gorgeous views of Whistler Blackcomb.

Relax at Scandinave Spa in Whistler:
Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Canada

Another one of the best things to do in Whistler in winter besides ski is to enjoy a relaxing spa day at Scandinave Spa.

This wonderful spa is snuggled up in the mountains and includes Scandinavian baths, surrounded by forests, to disconnect in peace and quiet. With reserved baths access, which costs anywhere from $140 to $160 CAD, depending on what time of the year you visit, you will be given a specific time slot, robe, two towels and a locker to store your belongings.

This spa is only open for adults ages 19 years and older and you cannot bring your phones, cameras, etc. into the spa. It is the best place to completely go off the grid during your winter trip to British Columbia.

In addition to the baths, there is also a sauna, steam room and cold pools to enjoy. You can also book a massage! The therapies that are provided at Scandinave Spa in Whistler are Swedish Relaxation, Deep Tissue, Registered Massage Therapy and Prenatal.

Scandinave Spa Whistler also has a café where you can savor fresh fruit juices and smoothies, coffee and tea, soups, salads, sandwiches and vegan desserts. There are also water stations and spots to get warm herbal tea all throughout the spa.

Sip a Tipsy Snowman:
A woman enjoying a winter trip

Not only does winter sports help me get through the colder months, so does my favorite heartwarming treat – hot cocoa!

During our winter trip to Whistler, Caitlin and I visited Four Seasons Whistler after our spa afternoon to enjoy their hot chocolate caravan and complimentary s’mores bar. What is cool about the hot chocolate caravan is that you can get it with your favorite liquor. Since I’m huge on peppermint and chocolate together, I got the hot cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps that came with the Four Seasons’ adorable Tipsy Snowman.

Tipsy Snowman at Four Seasons Whistler

Located around the caravan are fire pits to sit at, warm up and enjoy your comforting hot chocolate! There are also stringed lights all around, which I loved. If you’re looking for something chill to do during Whistler in winter, make sure to visit FS Whistler!

Eat Dinner at Pan Pacific’s The Raven Room:
Cocktails from The Raven Room

During your last full evening in Whistler, enjoy a delicious meal with great crafted cocktails at The Raven Room, which is in Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. It is a restaurant and bar that cannot be missed during a Vancouver to Whistler trip.

Day 5: Fly Home

Whistler Village at Night

Depending on what time your flight is out of Vancouver, I recommend enjoying breakfast again at Pan Pacific and if you have a later flight, hit up the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb one last time.


Vancouver to Whistler Winter Trip

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best 5-day Vancouver to Whistler winter trip itinerary. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Canada:

Currency: Canadian Dollar, Capital: Ottawa, Ontario, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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  1. Kim Deer on February 4, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    This was such an inspiring blog on Vancouver and Whistler. After reading this guide, it makes me want to go there to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, snow covered mountains ~ lovely forests with snow capped trees~ the views look amazing, the outdoor spas, hot chocolate, fire pits and so much more! Definitely on my bucket list for a wonderful winter vacation. So many great activities to enjoy! Fabulous photos of beautiful you and beautiful western Canada! Awesome blog ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩♥️⚘

    • Taylor Deer on February 8, 2022 at 9:38 am

      Thank you mom! It was such a beautiful place. I loved my ski trip there. <3

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A woman enjoying a ski day at Whistler Blackcomb

There is nothing like taking a winter trip every year where you get to enjoy your favorite winter sports whether that be skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, etc.; cozying up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of mulled wine; treating yourself to a well-needed spa day or visiting hot springs. One of the best winter trips to take is from Vancouver to Whistler in British Columbia, Canada.

Vancouver is a beautiful seaport in Western Canada. It is known to be the country’s most ethnically diverse city and it is surrounded by the beautiful North Shore Mountains. Whistler is located around two hours northeast of Vancouver and is home to the Olympic ski resortWhistler Blackcomb. In fact, the 2010 Winter Olympics took place in the ski village of Whistler. Both Vancouver and Whistler are in Canada’s British Columbia province.

A woman visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park on a Vancouver to Whistler trip

During January 2022, I did a memorable winter ski trip from Vancouver to Whistler with Caitlin of My Darling Passport. We split up our trip by spending 2 days in Vancouver and another 2 days in Whistler. Visiting this area during the winter is magical and there is so much to do from skiing to exploring the culinary scene and enjoying a spa day to hiking.

In this article, discover how to have the perfect Canadian winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia and read about the best places to stay at each destination.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in Vancouver, JW Marriott Parq hosted me for two nights and I also partnered with Destination Vancouver. During my time in Whistler Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre hosted me for two nights. I was also hosted for a meal at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Raven Room in Pan Pacific Whistler.


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Vancouver to Whistler 5-Day Winter Trip

Traveling to Vancouver and Whistler, Canada:

Evergreen trees in the Pacific Northwest

Both Caitlin and I traveled to British Columbia by taking a flight from Newark Airport in New Jersey to Vancouver International Airport with a layover in Montréal. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner.

During our two days in the city of Vancouver, we mainly got around by taking Uber, since it is a larger city. The best way to get from Vancouver to Whistler is by renting a car. Even though you can get to Whistler from Vancouver without your own vehicle, I personally think it is easier to have one so that you can visit different spots within the village and along the Sea to Sky Highway that you take to get to the popular winter resort.

The Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler

Overall, the Vancouver to Whistler drive time is around two hours, depending on traffic and weather. During a winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler, you will need winter tires on your vehicle to drive the Sea to Sky Highway. The road has a lot of hills and it can ice up quickly.

If you don’t plan on renting a car, you can get from Vancouver to Whistler by taking the YVR Skylynx bus from Vancouver City Centre to and from Whistler or Squamish. The Vancouver to Whistler bus is a relaxing experience where you can enjoy WiFi and it will cost you around $25 for a single trip.

Exploring Whistler during a winter trip from Vancouver

Other ways to get to and from the city to the ski resort village during a winter trip are through a small-group or private tour and a taxi or private car service. I recommend taking the bus or doing a tour if you’re just planning on doing a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver. (There is a seaplane you can take from Vancouver to Whistler, but they only run from late spring to early autumn. The Vancouver to Whistler flight is around 35 minutes each way.)

While you’re in Whistler, it is easy to get around by simply walking everywhere within the village. Whistler Village is pedestrian-only and allows for easy access to shops, restaurants, ski lifts and hotels. During our time in Whistler, Caitlin and I stayed at Pan Pacific and they offered valet parking services, which is nice and convenient for those who end up renting a car.  

Whistler Village

Whistler also has a public bus that you can use to get around the village and local neighborhoods at an affordable cost. The Whistler buses allow you to load your skis, snowboards and other winter sporting equipment. There are bike racks for you to use as well. In addition, there are taxis and Uber cars for you to take around the area.

What is also cool about Whistler is that there is also the Valley Trail, which is a car-free, paved trail and boardwalk that connects neighborhoods in Whistler to scenic outdoor spots. The best ways to enjoy the Valley Trail is by walking/running, cycling, skateboarding or rollerblading. During a winter trip to Whistler, you can enjoy cross-country skiing and fat biking in this area.

Where to Stay in Vancouver during Winter:

Lunar New Year decorations at JW Marriott Parq

From Vancouver to Whistler, Caitlin and I stayed at two beautiful properties. The best hotel to stay at during a trip to Vancouver in the winter is the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. It is a five-star, luxury hotel that is in downtown Vancouver. The hotel features stunning views of the beautiful mountains of British Columbia, the city’s False Creek and is surrounded by the lively neighborhoods of Gastown and Yaletown.

JW Marriott Parq Vancouver has beautifully-designed accommodations, world-class restaurants and lounges, a luxury spa, a fun casino and a relaxation terrace that has stunning views of Vancouver.

Staying at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver:
A queen room in JW Marriott Parq

During our time at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver, Caitlin and I stayed in the 2 Queen Guest Room that was situated on the hotel’s higher level and included a beautiful waterfront view of False Creek.

Our room had two comfortable queen-sized beds, a cozy workstation that was stocked with residential-style amenities like illy espresso makers. There was also an en-suite bathroom that included Molten Brown bath products.

Overall, I loved how luxurious and comforting our room was. JW Marriott hotels have the best robes that will keep you warm and cozy during your stay and there is always internet-connected televisions and high-speed WiFi in each room.

The other rooms at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver are the Sky Suite, Parq Villa with Patio, Guest Room with 1 King Bed, Guest Room with 2 Queen Beds, Guest Room with 1 King Bed and a Water View, Guest Room with 2 Queen Beds and a Water View, Studio Room with 1 King Bed and a Water View, 1 Bedroom Suite with 1 King Bed and a Water View, 1 Bedroom Suite with 1 King Bed and a Mountain View, 1 Bedroom Executive Suite with 1 King Bed with a Water View on the High Floor, Ivy Suite with a 1 Bedroom Suite and 1 King Bed, Sky Suite with a 2 Bedroom Presidential Suite with 1 Bedroom containing 1 King Bed and the Second Bedroom with 1 Queen Bed with a Water View and lastly, there is the Parq Villa with a 1 Bedroom Bi-level Loft that includes a King Bed and a Water View.

Dining at JW Marriott in Vancouver:
A woman enjoying brunch at Honey Salt during a Vancouver to Whistler trip

When it comes to eating at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver during your Vancouver to Whistler winter trip, there are eight renowned restaurants and lounges that are led by James Beard Award-nominated foodie masterminds – Elizabeth Blau and her husband, Chef Kim Canteenwalla.

Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq

The list of restaurants at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver are The Victor, which is a steakhouse; Honey Salt that is a farm-to-table Canadian, bistro-style restaurant; BC Kitchen, which is a comfort food lounge that features gourmet pizzas, burgers and Mexican street food; MRKT East that is inspired by Singapore night markets where chefs prepare creative dishes for diners; Centre Bar, which is a cocktail bar located on the gaming floor of the casino; Lotus Whiskey & Tea Lounge that is a great spot to sip on tea and sample whiskey; D/6 Lounge, which is a vibrant rooftop bar to enjoy cocktails and light bites; Le Doux Ciel that is a coffee house featuring comforting warm beverages and desserts and lastly, Passione Gelato, which is a gelato shop.

Breakfast at Honey Salt in downtown Vancouver

While we were in Vancouver, Caitlin and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Honey Salt. We savored a plethora of different dishes and drinks from coffee to smoothies/juices along with croissants to pancakes and eggs to the British Columbia smoked salmon board. Everything was delicious and I loved how adorable the restaurant was.

Rejuvenating Experiences at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver:
A woman enjoying a spa day at JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver

In addition to a great dining experience, JW Marriott Parq Vancouver has a spa with services that are designed for your well-being ranging from massages to facials along with manicures/pedicures to body scrubs.

JW Marriott Parq in Vancouver also has a fitness studio and the Aqua Lounge that features a hydrotherapy tub, yoga space and lounge seating. What is cool about the Aqua Lounge is that it features gorgeous views of the city.

Where to Stay in Whistler during Winter:

Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

The hotel that Caitlin and I stayed at during the second part of our winter trip was Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre.

There are two Pan Pacific Hotels in Whistler, BC. In addition to the Village Centre, there is also Pan Pacific Mountainside. The difference between the two hotels are in their names. Pan Pacific Village Centre is in the heart of Whistler Village and Pan Pacific Mountainside is situated at the base of Whistler Mountain. No matter which hotel you choose to stay at, both are in walking distance to the ski lifts at Whistler Mountain.

Overall, Pan Pacific Whistler was nominated for Canada’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel and there are numerous reasons why, which I will explain below:

Staying at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre:
A woman enjoying a cozy ski trip in Whistler and Vancouver

As we made our way from Vancouver to Whistler, we arrived at Pan Pacific earlier in the day and were able to check into our room right away, which was awesome! Both Caitlin and I stayed in the Two Bedroom Upper Floor Suite that included two bedrooms with private balconies and en-suite bathrooms. This was amazing because sometimes it is hard to have two women share one bathroom.

Since our suite was situated on one of the upper floors of the hotel, we had scenic views of Whistler Mountain and the Village Centre. Our suite also came with a gas fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, dining table and a living room area. It was cozy and the perfect spot to warm up to after a day out on the slopes.

A suite at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

The other ski suites you can stay in at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre are the Studio Lower Floor Suite, One Bedroom Lower Floor Suite, One Bedroom Upper Floor Suite, One Bedroom & Den Suite, Two Bedroom Lower Floor Suite, Two Bedroom & Den Suite, Canuck Place Suite, Two Bedroom Penthouse (Whistler Suite), Three Bedroom Penthouse (Tantalus & Sunridge Suite) and Three Bedroom & Den Penthouse (Blackcomb Suite).

Dining at Pan Pacific Whistler in Winter:
Breakfast at Pan Pacific Whistler

Every morning, Pan Pacific Whistler has a complimentary continental breakfast service that gets delivered to your room in the morning at a time that works best for you between 6:30 to 10:30am.

The continental-style breakfast offered at Pan Pacific will help get you fueled for your ski day as it offers everything from cereal to bagels and eggs to Belgian waffles. With your breakfast, you either get milk or fresh juice along with freshly baked pastries and fruit. There is also a coffee and hot water maker in the room for you to enjoy a fresh brew or cup of tea. I had the waffles with Nutella and they were delicious!

Located inside Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre is The Raven Room, which is Whistler’s premier cocktail bar and seasonal restaurant. Inspired by Whistler’s beautiful scenery, Chef Erin Stone whips up the finest locally sourced ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. The menu is seasonal!

Caitlin and I had dinner at The Raven Room on our last night in Whistler and everything we ate was incredible!

Cocktails from The Raven Room in Whistler

Since The Raven Room is known for its crafted cocktails, both of us had the Adios Pantelones, which was a mezcal that included Alvear Med Dry, St. Germain Elderflower, grapefruit, agave and Prosecco. For our second drink, I enjoyed a local British Columbia craft beer.

Dinner at The Raven Room in Whistler, Canada
A fish dinner from British Columbia
Flourless almond orange cake from The Raven Room

Our dinner first started with a bunch of amazing appetizers such as beet tartare, crispy cauliflower, spicy Thai fried chicken and potato puffs. For our main meal, we had the Vancouver Island Ling Cod with apple tarragon salsa, risotto al vongole and arugula. Dessert was a mouthwatering flourless almond orange cake!

At Pan Pacific Mountainside, there is another great restaurant and bar called Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and Patio where you can enjoy hearty pub fare and live music.

Perfect Winter Amenities at Pan Pacific Whistler:
A woman enjoying a Vancouver to Whistler ski trip

During a winter escape to Vancouver and Whistler, there is nothing like enjoying a relaxing mountainside vacation experience such as doing a spa day!

Pan Pacific Whistler has a day spa where you can do therapeutic treatments and esthetic services like massages, facials, waxing, manicures/pedicures and more. There is also a heated saltwater pool and hot tub at both hotels that you can enjoy from 10am to 10pm every day. While you’re at the pool, you can admire pretty views of Whistler Mountain.

In addition, Pan Pacific has a fitness center, sauna and is pet friendly!

Vancouver to Whistler Winter Trip Itinerary:

A Vancouver to Whistler winter trip

My trip to Vancouver and Whistler was five days and four nights. Below is the itinerary that Caitlin and I followed. This itinerary offers the top things to do in Vancouver in winter and you can discover all the fun things to do in Whistler.

Vancouver in the Winter:

Day 1: Arrive in Canada and Discover Places to go in Vancouver in Winter

Vancouver during winter

When you travel to Vancouver, I recommend taking an early flight so that you have as much time in the city as possible. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed at both Newark Airport and Montreal, so we didn’t arrive in Vancouver until the evening.

Have Lunch at Miku:
Aburi sushi from Miku in Vancouver

After arriving at Vancouver Airport, we took an Uber to JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, checked into the hotel and got settled. If you get in around lunchtime, I suggest grabbing lunch at Miku.  Vancouver is known for its incredible Asian food and most of the restaurants we ate at on this trip were Japanese.

Located on the Burrard Inlet, Miku is a waterfront restaurant that features gourmet Aburi cuisine. If you’ve never heard of Aburi before, it is the innovation of flame searing seafood, or pressed sushi, made into the shape of a rectangle. It is suggested to enjoy this type of sushi without soy sauce because it usually includes a special sauce.

During lunch or dinner at Miku, I recommend getting the Miku Signature Selection that offers a chef’s selection of traditional sushi and sashimi as well as Aburi Oshi, which is made with fresh salmon. This is what I got during my time at Miku and everything on the plate was incredible!

In addition to sushi, Miku also has a great cocktail, sake, wine and beer list. Caitlin enjoyed the cold sake and I had the Bergamot Sour, which included earl grey amaretto, yuzu, lemon, egg white and togarashi.

Stroll around Stanley Park:
Stanley Park in Vancouver

After lunch, one of the best things to do is to stroll around Vancouver’s largest parkStanley Park. Visiting Vancouver in winter can be a bit tricky. Even though it is closer to Whistler for winter sports, Vancouver itself doesn’t get much snow due to its climate.

Instead, the city gets a lot of rain due to its location in the Pacific Northwest. Since it was rainy during our trip to Vancouver, we didn’t get to see Stanley Park. I will admit that I was bummed about that because it is beautiful!

Stanley Park is a 400-hectare West Coast rainforest where both locals and visitors can enjoy beautiful nature and the iconic Seawall. Throughout the park are peaceful beaches, walking and hiking trails. There is also an aquarium, restaurant and cafés in Stanley Park.

Visit a Vancouver Museum:
The Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit

If the weather is too rainy to enjoy the outdoors in Vancouver during winter, there are plenty of awesome indoor museums to check out!

With Destination Vancouver, you can enjoy unforgettable experiences like FlyOver Canada, which utilizes state-of-the-art technology to feel like you’re flying over the world. It is a great way to learn more about Canada and see beyond Vancouver.

Another one of the best indoor things to do in Vancouver in the winter is to visit the new Moon & Back Gallery. This gallery is a dreamy and immersive experience that allows you to enjoy 16 mirror light installations.

Visiting Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition during a winter travel experience in Vancouver is another great thing to do. I visited the Van Gogh museum in New York City during summer 2021 and it was incredible!

Overall, the Van Gogh Exhibit is one of the top selling shows in the world and it will take you back to Vincent Van Gogh’s time. The immersive experience was created by Massimiliano Siccardi who is a renowned master of digital arts in Italy. He is known for his installations in Paris.

In addition, Vancouver is recognized for its music scene and there are plenty of awesome venues for you to enjoy live entertainment. Theater is also big in Vancouver and there are numerous shows for you to see during your winter trip. Click here to learn more.

Enjoy Dinner and Karaoke at Kamei Royale:
A shrimp tempura dish

A fun spot to enjoy dinner at on your first day in Vancouver is Kamei Royale. There are two locations – on Broadway and in the Richmond area of the city.

At Kamei Royale, you can savor delicious Japanese dishes like sushi rolls, gyoza, rice and udon dishes, plus more. This restaurant also has a great cocktail menu!

In addition to the restaurant, there is also a lounge that has karaoke where you can have fun with friends and sing along to the latest worldwide hits!

Day 2: Admire British Columbia’s Beauty in Winter

Brunch at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq:
Honey Salt restaurant in Vancouver

Like I mention above, Caitlin and I enjoyed a lovely brunch at Honey Salt in JW Marriott Parq Vancouver, situated in downtown Vancouver. It is a place that cannot be missed during a Vancouver to Whistler winter trip.

Explore through the Enchanting Forest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park:
A woman walking over the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver

My favorite part of my winter trip to Vancouver was exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver with Destination Vancouver. It is located 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

During your time at the park, you can admire the beautiful totem poles and learn about British Columbia’s indigenous culture and history. In fact, the name Capilano is indigenous, belonging to the Squamish Nation. It was originally spelled Kia’palano, which means beautiful river. (It was also the name of the chief of the tribe.)

Totem Poles at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Overall, you cannot miss out on visiting this incredible spot during a first-time trip to Vancouver and if you go during the holiday season or around Valentine’s Day, the bridges are decked out in pretty lights.

A woman exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The original Capilano Suspension Bridge was built in 1889 with hemp ropes. Nowadays, it is held with cables strong enough to hold a fully loaded 747 airliner. When you cross the bridge, you will enter into an enchanting evergreens and cedar-scented rainforest.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in the Pacific Northwest

Located inside the forest are Treetop Adventures that include seven suspended footbridges with beautiful views. It is dreamy! At this park, there is also a Cliffwalk that you can enjoy, which consists of labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms.

Also located at the park are cafés and gifts shops to enjoy. When you visit Capilano Suspension Bridge you will see why it is considered one of the best landmarks in Canada!

Explore Granville Island:
A woman exploring Granville Island in Vancouver

One of the coolest spots to discover in Vancouver, British Columbia all year round is Granville Island. It is a fun area for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

At Granville Island, there is a public market that is open daily for you to enjoy shopping, food and drinks, culture and history, plus more. It is like Pike Place in Seattle with floral displays, fresh fruit and produce to pick out and art galleries to explore.

Flowers from Granville Island Public Market

Also located at Granville Island for you to enjoy during Vancouver winter travel is a brewery, distillery and various coffee shops. You can also walk along the waterfront and catch up with friends at the public spaces within Ron Basford Park.

Capture 360-degree Views of Vancouver:
Top of Vancouver - top things to do in Vancouver and Whistler in the winter

Another cool thing to do during your first-ever trip to Vancouver and Whistler in winter is to enjoy incredible 360-views at Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant.

It is a restaurant and bar that moves slowly in a clockwise direction. It takes around an hour to circle around the entire restaurant and you will see all of Vancouver’s incredible landmarks and buildings. (On a clear day, you will also see the nearby mountains and Pacific Ocean.)

Top of Vancouver offers continental dining at 553 feet. The windows in the restaurant are specifically angled for incredible viewing of the city below.

A calamari appetizer

During our time here, we met up with Elaine of The Classy Traveller, who is from Vancouver. We enjoyed some Cabernet Sauvignon and the delicious calamaro dish, which featured charred humbolt squid, sun dried tomato pesto and arugula.

Savor Delicious Japanese Tapas at Kingyo:

The best restaurant we visited during our Vancouver to Whistler trip was Kingyo. It is an upbeat izakaya, which is a Japanese bar specializing in small dishes with drinks.

A delicious Japanese dinner from Kingyo in Vancouver
Snow crab fried rice

Kingyo was the first izakaya restaurant I’ve ever been to and I was amazed by how tasty the food was. During our evening at this awesome spot, we split a bunch of Japanese tapas. We got the shrimp tempura, mackerel sushi in Aburi style, uni miso udon (which is sea urchin udon noodles) as well as the kani meshi, which is a snow crab fried rice. Everything was incredible and also beautifully presented.

Check Out the Gastown Steam Clock:
The Gastown Steam Clock in Vancouver

A trip to Vancouver is not complete without seeing the whistling Steam Clock in the famous area of Gastown. It is partially run by a steam engine and is one of the only few in the world to still exist.

Gastown is a touristy area within Vancouver, but was one of the city’s first settlements. It is a charming place to stroll through and enjoy boutique shopping, trendy restaurants, quaint cafés and fun dessert spots.

Whistler in Winter:

Day 3: Drive to a Winter Wonderland in Whistler

Head to Whistler Early for a Ski Day:
A woman enjoying skiing during her Vancouver to Whistler trip

On our third day of our Vancouver to Whistler winter trip, we woke up early at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver to pick up our rental car and drive to Pan Pacific Whistler.

Like I mention above, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler is a little over two hours and for most of the journey, you are driving along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway, which features some of the best views in Canada. If you have time, I recommend stopping at one of the scenic overlooks along the way and making a pit stop in the town of Squamish. You can enjoy incredible mountain views on the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Skiing in Whistler - an Olympic Ski Resort

Once you arrive in Whistler, I suggest checking into the hotel first and then heading over to the mountain to go skiing. A reason why you want to get to Whistler Blackcomb early is because the big ski lifts stop running at 3pm. This is because staff members want to make sure that no one gets stuck at the top when the sun goes down. (Night skiing is more common on the East Coast of North America because the mountains aren’t as big.)

Another reason why you always want to hit the slopes earlier in the day is because by the afternoon a lot of the hills become icy, which makes skiing and snowboarding more dangerous.

What is great about staying at Pan Pacific Whistler is that they give you a discount off of ski and snowboard rentals with your stay. You also get a free storage locker as well! At Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside, there is a ski shop called Salomon where you will pick up your rental skis, snowboard, poles, helmet, shoes, etc. You can also purchase gloves, scarves, jackets, hats and other winter gear at this store.

Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler

Known as North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The actual ski resort, which is part of Vail Resorts, includes two mountains – Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain and it features the famous Peak 2 Peak Gondola, which is the world’s highest lift.

Overall, Whistler Blackcomb has 200 marked runs, 8,171 acres of terrain, 16 alpine bowls and 3 glaciers combined. There are numerous green, blue and black diamond trails and the resort also has a few double black diamond trails, a terrain park, heli-skiing and backcountry skiing. Just like most other ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb also has beginner slopes and tubing as well.

Whistler was the first, out of two, Olympic ski resort towns I visited in January 2022. A little after my Canada trip, I visited Lake Placid, New York.

Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia

(Just to reference, green trails are for beginners, blue trails are intermediate and black diamonds are steep slopes for advanced and expert skiers.)

If you’re spending a week in Whistler and want to learn how to ski or perfect your skills, I recommend taking a lesson with a professional ski instructor.

The ski slopes at Whistler Blackcomb in Canada

Depending on when you visit Whistler Blackcomb, a typical adult lift ticket (ages 19-64) ranges from $189 to $92 CAD; for teenagers (ages 13-18), it costs anywhere from $161 to $78 CAD; a child’s ticket (12 and younger) costs anywhere from $95 to $46 CAD and senior tickets (ages 65 and older) costs anywhere from $170 to $83 CAD.

Caitlin and I had a wonderful time skiing at Whistler. The snow was perfect and the views were incredible!

A 5-day winter trip to Vancouver and Whistler

If you’re not a skier, you can still enjoy winter fun at Whistler. You can make memories zip lining, bobsledding on the Olympic track, do snowmobile tours, participate in a snowshoe walk and more! Click here to discover more to do at Whistler in winter.

Aprés Ski at Whistler:
Mulled cider at apres-ski in Whistler

After a fulfilling ski day, there is nothing like having fun with friends at an après-ski. In case you don’t know what après-ski is, it is the party after a fulfilling day on the slopes. Whether you are celebrating at a bar or restaurant, your hotel or accommodation, it is ensured that you will have a good time partying away at après-ski!

The best spot to enjoy après-ski in Whistler, Canada is at The Longhorn Saloon & Grill. Located at the base of Whistler Mountain, The Longhorn Saloon is an epic spot to enjoy a heartwarming mulled wine or cider, local craft beer, wine, cocktails or hot chocolate. You can also savor wood fire pizzas at this spot.

Pizza at apres-ski

Both Caitlin and I had a blast at the après-ski at The Longhorn Saloon in Whistler; it was a lot of fun! There is also a live band always playing at this spot too!

Dine at One of Whistler’s Renowned Restaurants:
Pasta dinners from Il Caminetto in Whistler

Whistler Village is home to fine dining and casual restaurants and bars. One of the best places to enjoy a delicious meal is at Il Caminetto. Chef James Walt is one of Canada’s leading chefs and he was once the Executive Chef to the Canadian Embassy in Rome. His experience at the embassy helped shaped the way he cooks today and that is why Il Caminetto is one of the best Italian restaurants in Whistler.

During our evening at Il Caminetto, Caitlin and I enjoyed a Chianti wine. For our main meals, I had the lobster and saffron linguine dish and Caitlin had a Caesar salad with the local squash and taleggio mezzaluna. Our meals also came with delicious rosemary focaccia and sourdough bread to enjoy with fresh olive oil.

Day 4: Enjoy Winter Activities in Whistler

Wander through Whistler Village and Enjoy the Heated Pools at Pan Pacific:
A woman relaxing at Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre

On your fourth morning, enjoy breakfast at Pan Pacific and then stroll around Whistler Village. I love how charming this ski town is and there are a lot of great stores and boutique shops to walk through and purchase souvenirs for loved ones back home.

I recommend also relaxing in Pan Pacific‘s salted heated pools and hot tub while admiring the gorgeous views of Whistler Blackcomb.

Relax at Scandinave Spa in Whistler:
Scandinave Spa in Whistler, Canada

Another one of the best things to do in Whistler in winter besides ski is to enjoy a relaxing spa day at Scandinave Spa.

This wonderful spa is snuggled up in the mountains and includes Scandinavian baths, surrounded by forests, to disconnect in peace and quiet. With reserved baths access, which costs anywhere from $140 to $160 CAD, depending on what time of the year you visit, you will be given a specific time slot, robe, two towels and a locker to store your belongings.

This spa is only open for adults ages 19 years and older and you cannot bring your phones, cameras, etc. into the spa. It is the best place to completely go off the grid during your winter trip to British Columbia.

In addition to the baths, there is also a sauna, steam room and cold pools to enjoy. You can also book a massage! The therapies that are provided at Scandinave Spa in Whistler are Swedish Relaxation, Deep Tissue, Registered Massage Therapy and Prenatal.

Scandinave Spa Whistler also has a café where you can savor fresh fruit juices and smoothies, coffee and tea, soups, salads, sandwiches and vegan desserts. There are also water stations and spots to get warm herbal tea all throughout the spa.

Sip a Tipsy Snowman:
A woman enjoying a winter trip

Not only does winter sports help me get through the colder months, so does my favorite heartwarming treat – hot cocoa!

During our winter trip to Whistler, Caitlin and I visited Four Seasons Whistler after our spa afternoon to enjoy their hot chocolate caravan and complimentary s’mores bar. What is cool about the hot chocolate caravan is that you can get it with your favorite liquor. Since I’m huge on peppermint and chocolate together, I got the hot cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps that came with the Four Seasons’ adorable Tipsy Snowman.

Tipsy Snowman at Four Seasons Whistler

Located around the caravan are fire pits to sit at, warm up and enjoy your comforting hot chocolate! There are also stringed lights all around, which I loved. If you’re looking for something chill to do during Whistler in winter, make sure to visit FS Whistler!

Eat Dinner at Pan Pacific’s The Raven Room:
Cocktails from The Raven Room

During your last full evening in Whistler, enjoy a delicious meal with great crafted cocktails at The Raven Room, which is in Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. It is a restaurant and bar that cannot be missed during a Vancouver to Whistler trip.

Day 5: Fly Home

Whistler Village at Night

Depending on what time your flight is out of Vancouver, I recommend enjoying breakfast again at Pan Pacific and if you have a later flight, hit up the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb one last time.


Vancouver to Whistler Winter Trip

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best 5-day Vancouver to Whistler winter trip itinerary. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

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Currency: Canadian Dollar, Capital: Ottawa, Ontario, Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on February 4, 2022 at 9:55 pm

    This was such an inspiring blog on Vancouver and Whistler. After reading this guide, it makes me want to go there to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, snow covered mountains ~ lovely forests with snow capped trees~ the views look amazing, the outdoor spas, hot chocolate, fire pits and so much more! Definitely on my bucket list for a wonderful winter vacation. So many great activities to enjoy! Fabulous photos of beautiful you and beautiful western Canada! Awesome blog ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩♥️⚘

    • Taylor Deer on February 8, 2022 at 9:38 am

      Thank you mom! It was such a beautiful place. I loved my ski trip there. <3

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