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40 Cheap and Free Things To Do in Whistler

40 Cheap and Free Things To Do in Whistler

It’s no secret that Whistler is an expensive place to visit. I’ve been visiting Whistler my whole life and currently live just down the road in Squamish, so I know all the locals’ tricks to find cheap and free things to do in Whistler.

In this list of things to do in Whistler for free or cheap, I’ve got 40 fun ideas for activities, attractions, and places to go.

Don’t you hate recommendations for cheap things to do in Whistler that include activities that cost over $25 per person? Yeah me too. You won’t find any of that on this list. Out of the 40 things I recommend, 31 of them are totally free and the rest will cost you $10 or less per person.

Planning a trip to Whistler? Check out these other posts:

Map of Cheap and Free Things To Do in Whistler

Most of the Whistler free things to do are in Whistler Village or within the town limits. But a few are a short drive away. I made you this custom Google Map to show you where to find free things to do in Whistler.

A custom google map showing the locations of free things to do in Whistler.
Click the map to zoom in.

Wander the Whistler Village Stroll

The heart of Whistler is its pedestrianized village. Wandering along the main car-free street, Village Stroll is something I do on every visit to Whistler. The paved stone path curls through the village past a picturesque creek with lots of benches to sit and take it all in.

It’s a great place to window shop at lots of boutiques and national chains. Or stop at one of the delicious restaurants, many of which have patios. The people-watching is also excellent.

Cost: Free

Where: Village Stroll, Whistler Village

Hang out in Whistler Olympic Plaza

This large grassy plaza has lots of benches and chairs for relaxing and a great playground for kids. The covered bandstand also hosts lots of free live music and events, especially in the summer.

Cost: Free

Where: 4365 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village

Get a Photo with the Olympic Rings

This is such an iconic spot that you’ll often find a short line of people waiting their turn to pose for pictures. A sign warns people not to climb the rings… but lots of people do.

Cost: Free

Where: 4163 Village Stroll, Whistler Village

Go Outdoor Ice Skating

Each winter Whistler Olympic Plaza is transformed into a magical outdoor ice rink. It’s extra special at night when it is lit up with twinkling lights.

Cost: $2 if you bring your own skates; $9 to rent skates

Where: 4365 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village

READ NEXT: 42 Things to do in Whistler in Winter

Get a Treat from Purebread Bakery

Getting a sweet treat from Purebread is my favourite way to indulge on a budget. They have a huge display case stuffed with cookies, brownies, squares, mini-cakes, and pastries. Their offerings change with the season, but their berry cheesecake bars are my favourite.

Cost: Most items are between $4 and $8 and many are rich enough that you will want to share

Where: 4338 Main Street, Whistler Village or 1040 Millar Creek Road, Function Junction

Eat a Cheap Meal at Peaked Pies

After spending a lot of time in Australia, I’m a sucker for Aussie-style meat pies. Peaked Pies is one of my favourite places for cheap eats in Whistler. They have lots of tasty options and the pies are big enough to work as a meal.

Cost: Pies are $7.50-$9.45

Where: 4369 Main Street, Whistler Village

An Australian meat pie from Peaked Pies in Whistler topped with mushy peas, mashed potatoes, and gravy
A take-out pie from Peaked Pies, topped with mushy peas, mashed potatoes, and gravy

Relax at Florence Peterson Park

This quiet forested park is a bit of a local’s secret, hidden away behind Main Street in the heart of the village. It’s a great place to have a picnic or chill out next to the pond. You can also pose for photos on a bench made from an old ski lift.

Cost: Free

Where: 4325 Main Street, Whistler Village

Admire Some Art

Whistler has several fine art galleries scattered around town. They showcase the work of local artists and the art often has a mountain or outdoors theme. Buying a piece of art will set you back thousands, but it’s always free to look.

Cost: Free

Where: Plaza Galleries – 4314 Main Street, Whistler Village; Whistler Contemporary Gallery – 4293 Mountain Square, Whistler Village; Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery – 4090 Whistler Way, Whistler Village; and Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler – 4599 Chateau Boulevard, Upper Village.

Learn About Local History at the Whistler Museum

The tiny Whistler Museum is packed with fun exhibits about local flora, fauna, and geology as well as the history of Indigenous people and early pioneers in the Whistler Valley. There are also displays about the 2010 Winter Olympics. Don’t miss a photo op in the vintage ski gondola.

Cost: By donation (Suggested donation is $5/person.)

Where: 4333 Main Street, Whistler Village

A vintage ski gondola at the Whistler Museum
The vintage ski gondola at the Whistler Museum

Curl Up With a Book at the Whistler Library

The Whistler Public Library is affectionately known as “Whistler’s Living Room”. Housed in a beautiful timber and glass building, the library has lots of books to borrow, free wifi, and a great lounge area. They also host lots of community events.

Cost: Free

Where: 4329 Main Street, Whistler Village

Eat for Cheap at El Furniture Warehouse

If you’re on a budget, head to El Furniture Warehouse for the cheapest food in Whistler. Every single item on their food menu (from burgers to tacos) is under $9.45. They also have a different drink special every day of the week and Power Hour every day from 2 to 5 p.m. with heavily discounted drinks.

Cost: $5.95 to $9.45 per dish

Where: 4314 Main Street, Whistler Village

See a Movie on Tuesday Nights

Head to the Village 8 Cinemas to catch a movie including new releases. On Tuesdays, tickets are only $10!

Cost: $10/person on Tuesdays

Where: 4295 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village

Catch the Whistler Blackcomb Fire and Ice Show

Head to Skiers Plaza every Sunday night in winter to watch this free show. The entertainment includes fireworks, fire spinners, and talented skiers and snowboards hitting trick jumps and big air.

Cost: Free

Where: Skiers Plaza, Whistler Village

Hit the Fitzsimmons Creek Bike Skills Park

If you want to hone your bike handling skills, head to this community park between the parking lots and Fitzsimmons Creek. You can do laps on the pump track, practice on obstacles, or hit the BMX-style dirt jumps. There is also a skateboard park.

Cost: Free

Where: 4330 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village

Chill Out at Rebagliati Park

Named for Whistler local Ross Rebagliati, the winner of the first-ever Olympic gold medal in snowboarding, this park next to Fitzsimmons Creek is a great place to relax. Sprawl out on the grass, grab a seat on one of the many benches, or take photos at the covered bridge.

Cost: Free

Where: 4540 Blackcomb Way, Whistler Village

The view from the covered bridge at Rebagliati Park in Whistler. One the best Whistler free things to do.
The view from the covered bridge at Rebagliati Park.

Stroll Through the Whistler Farmers’ Market

Admire local produce, crafts, baked goods, and lots more at the Whistler Farmers Market. It runs every Sunday and select Saturdays from May to October.

Cost: Free

Where: Upper Village Stroll, Upper Village

Watch the Action at Whistler Sliding Centre

You can’t really appreciate how fast a bobsleigh goes until you see it in person. The Whistler Sliding Centre hosted the bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge events at the 2010 Olympics. Today the training centre is open for public viewing – you can walk along the track as athletes from around the world train.

Cost: Free

Where: 4910 Glacier Lane, Upper Village

Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour

Download the free Go Whistler Tours app to get access to 10 different self-guided walking tours. You can take nature-focused tours, food tours, one that explores the legacy of the 2010 Olympics, or a tour that takes you to six different cultural centres.

Cost: Free

Where: Throughout Whistler

Go Jump in a Lake

Whistler is home to several lakes, perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. Lost Lake and Alpha Lake are smaller and warmer. But swimming in Alta Lake is fun too. Each lake has a beachfront park.

Cost: Free

Where: Lost Lake Park – 4700 Lost Lake Road, Upper Village; Rainbow Park (Alta Lake) – Rainbow Park Road, Alta Lake; Lakeside Park (Alta Lake) – 3375 Lakeside Road, Alta Lake; and Alpha Lake Park, Lake Placid Road, Creekside

Walk the Trails at Lost Lake Park

Lost Lake Park has over 25 kilometres (15.5 mi) of trails. Most are shared use, so expect to see bikers as well. The easiest option is the 1.7 km (1.1 mi) loop around the lake. Use maps throughout the park to plan longer routes. From December to March the park turns into a paid cross-country ski area.

Cost: Free

Where: 4700 Lost Lake Road, Upper Village

Go Mountain Biking

Whistler’s famous (and expensive) Whistler Blackcomb mountain bike park gets all the attention. But there are tons of free mountain bike trails around Whistler. You will just have to ride uphill to get to them instead of taking a gondola. Use the Trailforks app to decide which trails to ride.

Cost: Free

Where: Lost Lake Zone – 4700 Lost Lake Road, Upper Village; Westside/Sproatt/Rainbow Zone – Alta Lake Road, Alta Lake; Whistler South/Cheakamus/Jane Lakes Zone – 1011 Highway 99, Function Junction

Paddle the Lakes and Rivers

If you have your own canoe, kayak, or SUP, a float down the River of Golden Dreams is a fun free activity on a summer day. This natural lazy river flows through forest and wetlands between Alta and Green Lakes. Keep an eye out for hazards. In times of low water, there is a mandatory portage section. You can also paddle around Alta and Green Lakes.

Cost: Free

Where: Start from Rainbow Park – Rainbow Park Road, Alta Lake; Lakeside Park – 3375 Lakeside Road, Alta Lake; or Green Lake Boat Launch – Summer Lane, Green Lake

Paddling at Green Lake in Whistler. One of the best free things to do in Whistler.
Paddling at Green Lake at the end of the River of Golden Dreams

Walk, Run, Bike, or Cross-Country Ski the Valley Trail

This car-free, paved trail network runs for more than 46 km (28.6 mi) throughout the Whistler Valley. There are lots of great parks and viewpoints to stop at along the way. Or you can use it to get between attractions. In the winter, part of the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing.

Cost: Free

Where: Throughout Whistler. Use the Valley Trail map to find your way.

Play Disc Golf

Also known as frisbee golf, Whistler has two free disc golf courses. You just need to bring your own disc. The Lost Lake Park course is well-known and has 27 holes. But Whistler also has a semi-secret disc golf course with 12 holes in the Kadenwood neighbourhood.

Cost: Free

Where: Lost Lake Park course – 8999 Mons Road, Green Lake; or 40 Kadenwood Drive, Brio

Swim or Work Out at Meadow Park Sports Centre

Whistler’s huge rec centre has a swimming pool, fitness centre, squash courts, indoor skating rink, and group fitness classes.

Cost: $9.25/adult. There are also discounted $7 admission times early in the morning or midday on weekdays.

Where: 8625 Highway 99, Alpine Meadows

Hike to a Ghost Town

Just north of Whistler is the abandoned logging town of Parkhurst. It’s a moderate 3-hour loop hike to reach the town where you can explore the area to find rusting cars, falling down buildings, and lots of cool historic junk. Use my Parkhurst hiking guide to find your way.

Cost: Free

Where: Riverside Drive, Wedge Woods

A hiker peers in the window of an abandoned building at the Parkhurst ghost town in Whistler
Checking out the abandoned buildings at Parkhurst ghost town

Explore the Whistler Interpretive Forest

Tucked away in the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood, the Whistler Interpretive Forest is a bit under the radar. It’s one of my favourite places to go for an easy hike or snowshoe. Well-marked trails ramble along both sides of the Cheakamus River. You can also hike a little higher up to viewpoints on the Crater Rim Trail. (In the winter use my Cheakamus River Snowshoe Guide.)

Cost: Free

Where: 1011 Highway 99, Function Junction

Hike to a Train Wreck

The Train Wreck Trail is the most popular easy hike in Whistler – for good reason. The well-groomed trail leads downhill to a fun suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River. On the other side, you can explore seven graffiti-covered train cars from a derailment in the 1950s.

Cost: Free

Where: Jane Lakes Road, Cheakamus Crossing

A hiker explores abandoned train cars on the Whistler Train Wreck Trail
Exploring the abandoned train cars at the Whistler Train Wreck

Use Whistler Bites to Find Deals on Food and Drink

Lots of Whistler bars and restaurants have happy hour deals or weekly specials. Visit the Daily Deals section of the Whistler Bites website, to see where to score cheap food and drink.

Cost: Variable, but generally cheap

Where: Throughout Whistler

Play in the Snow

You don’t have to buy a lift ticket to enjoy the snow. From December to March (depending on conditions) you can play in the snow right in Whistler Village. Popular spots for snow play include Whistler Olympic Plaza, Rebagliati Park, or anywhere along the Valley Trail.

Cost: Free

Where: Throughout Whistler

Visit Alexander Falls

The Sea to Sky corridor has plenty of waterfalls, but Alexander Falls is never crowded since it is a little off the beaten path. You’ll have to drive up the scenic Callaghan Road to reach it. The viewing platform is right next to the parking lot.

Cost: Free

Where: Callaghan Road, Callaghan Valley

Alexander Falls near Whistler - one of the best free things to do in Whistler
Alexander Falls

Cross-Country Ski or Snowshoe on Wednesday Nights

Head to Whistler Olympic Park for cheap cross-country skiing or snowshoeing every Wednesday night from 3 to 9 p.m. Glide through the snow by headlamp or stick to the lit trails.

Cost: $10/person

Where: 1500 Callaghan Road, Callaghan Valley

Walk to Brandywine Falls

The short trail to Brandywine Falls is well worth it. From the viewing platforms, you can see the spectacular waterfall plunging off the lava rock cliff into the canyon below.

Cost: Free

Where: Highway 99, between Squamish and Whistler

Brandywine Falls near Whistler
Brandywine Falls

Drive the Scenic Sea to Sky Highway

The twisting curves of Highway 99 between Vancouver and Whistler are worth spending a day or two exploring. Along the way, you can stop at hiking trails, viewpoints, the picturesque Sea to Sky Gondola, the cute town of Squamish, and lots more. Check out my Sea to Sky Highway Road Trip Guide for more info.

Cost: Free

Where: Highway 99 from Vancouver to Squamish

Visit the Town of Squamish

Maybe I’m biased because I live here, but Squamish is pretty awesome. Our little downtown has lots of great restaurants and boutiques. And there are great trails for walking, hiking, and mountain biking. Enjoy the views of the Stawamus Chief granite peak and don’t miss a visit to Shannon Falls.

Cost: Free

Where: Cleveland Avenue, Squamish

Aerial view of Squamish from the top of the Stawamus Chief
An aerial view of the town of Squamish from the top of the Stawamus Chief

Hike to Nairn Falls

The easy hike to Nairn Falls near Pemberton is a great day outing from Whistler. The hike takes you along the side of the Green River Canyon. It ends at a crashing waterfall in a narrow granite gorge.

Cost: Free

Where: Highway 99 between Whistler and Pemberton

Nairn Falls just north of Whistler at the Nairn Falls campground
Nairn Falls

Visit the Town of Pemberton

Located just 30 minutes north of Whistler, the tiny town of Pemberton is known for farming, horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking. The cute downtown has a few good restaurants and cafes. Don’t miss fresh produce and baked goods at North Arm Farm and craft spirits at Pemberton Distillery.

Cost: Free

Where: Pemberton Portage Road, Pemberton

Hike to Joffre Lakes

The three turquoise Joffre Lakes north of Pemberton are social media-famous for their beauty. The hike to get there is moderate, with some steep climbs, but the views are spectacular. In the summer, you may need to reserve parking in advance through the BC Parks website, but there is no charge.

Cost: Free

Where: Highway 99 north of Pemberton

The view from Upper Joffre Lake near Whistler
The view from Upper Joffre Lake

Take a Hike

I’ve highlighted some of Whistler’s most popular hikes already, but there are dozens more hikes around Whistler, and nearby Pemberton and Squamish. Use my guides to the Best Hikes in Whistler and the Best Hikes in Squamish to find a trail.

Cost: Free

Where: Throughout the Sea to Sky region

View from Panorama Ridge near Whistler
Enjoying the view from the top of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Go Snowshoeing

If you already have your own snowshoes, this is one of the best free things to do in Whistler. You need to buy a pass for some of the trails, but there are lots of free snowshoeing options in Whistler and nearby Squamish. Use my guides to Snowshoeing in Whistler and Snowshoeing in Squamish to choose a trail.

Cost: Free

Where: Throughout the Sea to Sky region

Snowshoeing along the Cheakamus River in Whistler
Snowshoeing in on the Riverside Trail near Whistler

So that’s my big list of cheap and free things to do in Whistler. With these tips, you can save some money on your next trip to Whistler while also exploring some parts of the town you might not have known about.

Do you have other free Whistler activities to recommend? Leave them in the comments.

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Taryn Eyton