Long gone are the days when Whistler was just a winter destination. Every year the other three seasons, once referred to as the “off-season,” have been attracting more and more tourists to the area. And, while we can’t say for sure which came first the activities or the tourists, we can say for sure that Autumn in Whistler has a lot more of each.
So with that in mind, this is our top 20 list of Fall activities for you and your family in Whistler, BC.
Number 1: Halloween (Free)
We’re putting this at the top of the list because no child wants to miss this fantastic holiday. Your kids don’t have to choose between getting their trick-or-treating fix and getting away to the mountains. Every year, the Whistler Village gets ghoulish for Halloween. You can pick up your free tote bag in the days leading up and visit participating local merchants for all sorts of sweet surprises.
Number 2: Cornucopia (Many Options, prices vary)
Every November, Whistler hosts Cornucopia, a fall festival of food and drink that takes over for eleven days. You can expect food and drink tastings, culinary demonstrations, drink seminars, chef luncheons, winemaker dinners, parties, and so much more. The Whistler Insider even published this great Cornucopia survival guide to help you select from among all the decadence on offer.
Number 3: Hiking (Free-$$)
Whistler has some of the best hiking anywhere in the world. And, possibly, the best time to explore the trail is in the autumn months when the air is a touch crisper. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the PEAK2PEAK Gondola closes for maintenance in the Spring and Fall, so some of the Alpine trails are not available until the end of November.
Number 4: Whistler Craft Beer Crawl ($$)
The Whistler Village Beer Festival happens annually in early September, and it is definitely worth making plans to attend. However, if you’ve missed the festival, there are still many things for the Beer aficionado to enjoy. Whistler has several craft breweries, and each of them releases unique autumnal brews to keep things interesting. They also all participate in the Craft Beer Crawl. For one ticket price, you get to sample between 16 and 20 different beers across four locations.
Number 5: Embrace Coffee Culture ($)
If your a bonified coffee snob or you simply enjoy a well-roasted blend, Whistler has fast become the place to be. The Village is home to a few independent roasters as well as all the chain favourites. Our favourite is, of course, the self-described coffee geeks and mountain lovers at Mount Currie Coffee. These real indy roasters embody the wild frontier that launched this world-class town and ski resort way back when.
Number 6: Ziplining ($$)
Ziplining is a great rush all season long, but in the Fall, as the leaves change and the snow slowly makes its way down the mountains, the view and the rush are incredible.
Number 7: Bear Viewing
Bear viewing tours are an excellent opportunity to visit Whistler’s famous Black bears and their cubs, safely, in their natural habitat! Of course, while the bears can be quite active in the Fall as they get set for their winter nap, these tours only run through October, after which you have to wait until Spring’s alarm goes off.
Number 8: Axe Throwing
To be fair, Axe Throwing is a fabulous activity at any time of year. Need a break for the Ski Slopes, throw an axe. Had enough summer sun, toss some hatchets. Need to work off your ThanksGiving Dinner, this is your place! Forged Axe Throwing has become a Whistler staple and annual must-do for many visitors.
Number 9: Helicopter Tours ($$$)
Getting buzzed around the Whistler area in your own private chopper is an incredible experience at any time of year. However, in the Autumn, there is a unique and magnificent scenery to see. The snow is slowly making it’s way down the mountain, getting itself set for the coming ski season, and the valley’s deciduous canopy is flush with colour. It only looks like this for the brief Fall window, and it’s absolutely stunning.
Number 10: Incredible BC Art Experience
The Audain Art Gallery is almost worth the trip to Whistler, all on its own. This fantastic collection of British Columbian art never fails to entrance anyone who wanders through. Throughout the Autumn, the gallery hosts several ‘youth’ and ‘adult’ after-dark events and of course, the well-subscribed Yoga @ the Audain, where you can ‘downward dog’ among the collection. Get there early for Yoga though, this event is always full, and space is limited.
Number 11: Golf ($$$)
Whistler has become an international golf destination. Now home to four championship-level courses, the summer season fills up quickly. That said, these courses stay open into October, or until the snow flies. And the autumn season is not quite as packed as you’ll find it in the summer. Sure, you may want to bring a sweater, but with the changing leaves and challenging play, you most definitely won’t regret hitting the links here in the Fall.
Number 12: Side-By-Side Wilderness Adventures ($$)
It’s almost like an ATV, only a lot more comfortable. You also get to ride with a friend, more like you would in a car instead of having someone strapped to your back. With miles of back-country terrain, Whistler is is THE place to go off-road. And with these Side-by-Side vehicles, the journey is a lot more enjoyable.
Number 13: Escape Whistler ($)
Some days you’re looking for something to do indoors, and Escape Whistler is just the thing. This real-life gaming experience has four different options and varying levels of difficulty. If you love a challenge and want to see how well you and your family can pull together and solve the puzzle, make sure you include Escape Whistler on your autumn itinerary.
Number 14: Whistler Film Festival
In early December, the whole of Whistler is taken over by five days of silver screen hysteria. Every year brings debut showings for several domestic and international films, not to mention, workshops, music showcases, and parties.
Number 15: Whistler Writers Festival
Every year in mid to late October, the Writer’s Festival takes over the Village. Of course, this isn’t your average book club. The Writer’s festival is a mix of speakers, authors, and how-to sessions mixed in with parties and festivities. You’ll get pointers and recipes from cookbook writers, gather for evenings of music, and take in great conversation with other readers and writers.
Number 16: Whistler Wine Walk
Every Friday, each October from 5 to 7 pm, pair art with exceptional BC Vintages. Each week, four public and private galleries mix different wines with Whistler’s wide range of artistic attractions. Featuring local, regional, and international artists, you can expect to immerse yourself in demonstrations, and enjoy fabulous conversations as you sip wines and taste local culinary wonders. Perfect for a date night, pre-dinner outing, or merely a splendid way to explore what’s happening in Whistler’s art scene.
Number 17: The Scandinave Spa
If you come to Whistler at any time of year, make a trip to the Scandinave Spa. That said, there is something magical about coming here in the Autumn. The slight crispness to the air makes the hot baths that little bit more wonderful. And, being here before winter’s bite makes the Nordic cold pools a touch more tolerable, if no less rejuvenating.
Number 18: Relax by the Fire ($-$$$)
Nothing quite complements the crispness of the Autumn air like enjoying a great fire. If you’re in the Upper Village, find your way to the Chateau Whistler, where the Mallard Lounge has two roaring fire pits. And, if you’re feeling indulgent, the Chocolate bar is worth sampling.
Number 19: Birding (FREE)
The First Saturday of every month, the Whistler Naturalists take anyone interested in searching for the area’s feathered residents on a walk through the trees. And, while birding experts will be there to guide you, you’ll also have to get up with the birds to make the 8 am start time.
Number 20: Take a walk to Lost Lake Park (Bring a Picnic) (Free)
A fifteen-minute hike from the Whistler Village, this idyllic park, on a pristine lake is just the sort of spot to sit and take it all in. Just be sure to pay attention to the weather. If the snow rolls in, you’re going to want to get yourself some cross country skis or snowshoes before you head out.
Also, be sure to check out this great little Fall promo video from tourism Whistler to get a sense of how alive the Autumn is in and around the Village