Whistler is spectacularly beautiful. You could spend every single day of your life outside exploring and doing outdoor activities, and you would never get bored. I promise. However, not all of us want to spend every day skiing or snowboarding, going on an epic hike, or a long bike ride. In addition, sometimes it gets pretty miserable out. I am not a total weather wimp but there are some days that I have absolutely no desire to brave the elements. That is when I start to think about all the amazing Whistler indoor activities that are offered.
Whether you are in Whistler with your significant other, friends or family, there are a lot of fantastic indoor activities to keep everyone engaged. Some involve a whole bunch of sitting while others will get your heart racing. Fortunately, most are reasonably priced. I have done every single one of them, some dozens and dozens of times, and hopefully, I will be doing them for years to come.
Here are 8 of my favourite Whistler indoor activities. I have listed them in order of cost – from least to most expensive.
My Favourite Whistler Indoor Activities
1. Whistler Public Library
The Whistler Public Library is a beautiful building in the centre of Whistler Village. It is free and open most everyday. It offers many activities for families and adults, ranging from preschool story time to evening screenings of Best Picture movies from the most recent Academy Awards. Of course, there is so much more than that. For a full list of daily activities, please look to the events page.
As expected, there are thousands of books and magazines to choose from, board games to play, free wifi to use and desktop computers to share. If you would like to check-out books, magazines or board games, you will need a library card. They are free for British Columbia residents, and a flat fee of $7.50 USD for everyone else.
Over the years, I have spent many days lounging in the over sized chairs enjoying a fabulous book. My kids have grown up exploring the stacks and finding a spot on the floor to look through their finds. I love the large, welcoming and open space, and the kind and helpful librarians.
2. Meadow Park Sports Centre
Meadow Park Sports Centre is a large indoor sports complex a 5 minute drive, 15 minute bus ride, or 45 minute walk from Whistler Village. It offers many activities and facilities. These include a skating rink, an enormous pool complex, indoor squash courts, modified basketball courts (for one on one play), and a fitness centre and studio. For as little as $3.50 USD for children (between 4 years -12 years old) and $6.50 USD for adults per visit, you can enjoy almost everything. The schedule changes regularly so I recommend checking the website the morning you wish to visit. There are lockers for rent and a pro shop in case you forget something at home.
When my kids were little, my two favourite Whistler indoor activities were the indoor skating rink and the pool as they guaranteed to knock the energy out of them. Even without little ones, I love to go back. Luckily, the schedule is such that you can often do both on one visit.
Indoor Skating Rink
The Indoor rink is open all year. There are usually daily opportunities for drop-in ice skating or pick up hockey. In addition, rental skates are available for a nominal fee. Don’t forget to dress warmly, regardless of the time of the year – it’s cold in there. For beginner skaters, there are free helmets and support systems to lean on while learning how to skate.
Indoor Pool Complex
This place is amazing. For serious swimmers, there is a 25 metre, six-lane lap pool, and for the not so serious swimmers, there is an eight-foot slide and a basketball net. For those looking to relax, there is a huge hot tub, steam room and sauna. Furthermore, a separate kids’ pool with a lazy river is just steps away.
3. Movie Theatre
The Village 8 Cinema is a multiscreen movie theatre in the middle of Whistler Village. Tickets cost between $8.00 USD for children and $11.00 USD for adults. For some reason, watching a movie, eating popcorn and drinking a massive soda are always better in Whistler than almost any where else in the world. Why? I think because by the time you hunker down into your comfy chair at the theatre with your junk food in hand, you know you have absolutely earned it. Whether you have gone on long walks, challenging hikes, beautiful or exhilarating bike rides, or spent a day or two on epic ski or snowboard runs, by the time you lose yourself in the thrill of a movie, you have already spent many hours enjoying the outdoors.
4. The Audain Art Museum
Located across the street from Whistler Village, a visit to the Audain Art Museum is a “must see” experience for every traveller to Whistler whether you are looking for Whistler indoor activities or not. This is so for a number of reasons.
- The building is award winning and absolutely beautiful. Even if you are not interested in viewing the art, I would still encourage you to walk around the building, into the lobby and through the gift shop. All of that is free. The architect, John Patkau, created an incredible space that blends the indoors with the outdoors. You feel as connected to nature inside the museum as out.
- The permanent collection celebrates world famous British Columbia artists. It houses an enormous amount of first nations art, many with momentous historical and cultural significance. In addition, it has the largest Emily Carr collection in the world. All of the art is presented in breathtaking fashion, with lots of opportunity to learn for those interested.
- Every day at 1:00 pm, there is a free one hour tour. I have done it twice, and will do it again. Each time, I have learnt something else significant about the art, history of British Columbia or the culture of First Nations whose art is celebrated there.
- There are weekly events offered that are also covered in the cost of admission. These include evening art and yoga classes for people of all ages. Here is a link to the events calendar.
Admission to the Audain Art Museum is $13.00 USD for adults. Anyone 18 years old and younger is free.
5. Whistler Racquet Club
The Whistler Racquet Club is a tennis facility next to Whistler Village which has 3 indoor courts (as well as several outdoor courts). Most every day, it offers social mixers, drill and play, and casual and competitive play for which anyone can register. Here is a link to the most current schedule. Depending on the activity, each class or social mixer costs between $15 USD – $24.00 USD per session. Tennis rackets are available to rent.
Most recently, pickleball was added. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is played on a small court and games are very quick. I recently joined my first pickleball drop-in and loved it. It was easy to learn and brought out an older and very social crowd. Rackets are provided for free. The drop in social mixer only cost $7.50 USD for two hours of play.
In the summer, after school and during school holidays, the Whistler Racquet Club also offers tennis camps for children, often with the ability to simply drop in. You should contact the tennis club if you are interested in these.
6. The Core
The Core is located underground near the the Conference Centre in Whistler Village. It is fundamentally an indoor climbing centre but also has other Whistler indoor activities like fitness rooms with exercise equipment and weights, and a studio for fitness classes.
The Core offers a range of activities, from the ability to drop in and climb on your own, to signing up for climbing lessons. It has separate programs for children and adults, with evening events such as child minding with climbing to allow parents a night out alone. The cost to climb starts around $14.00 USD and increases from there, depending if you need to rent equipment (usually a few dollars depending on what you need) or want a lesson.
I recently tried my first climbing session ever. I bouldered which essentially means I climbed up short walls with tricky hand and foot grips, without equipment, but with soft safety mats below. It was pretty tough, but also a lot of fun. My oldest daughter loves climbing so it was an opportunity to experience something that has become a part of her life. One warning though – pretty much every muscle in my body hurt for days after! I consider myself a reasonably good athlete but none of my regular sports prepared my muscles for the workout they got when I climbed. It didn’t seem too crazy when I was actually climbing, but boy, that was not what my body was telling me a couple of days later!
7. Escape! Whistler
Escape! Whistler is located underground in the Whistler Village near the base of Whistler Mountain. It is a real-life gaming experience where groups of 2 to 6 people are placed inside a themed room. Your group is then presented with puzzles, riddles, and clues related to the themed room for which you must solve together within 45 minutes in order to “escape” the room. There are 4 themes of various difficulty levels from which to choose. Children of all ages are welcome, although children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. It costs $25 USD per person to play for anyone over 5 years old.
Four of us recently tried the “Buried Cabin” escape room and had a blast. We managed to escape with 13 minutes to spare but only because each of us was able to solve at least one thing (and that was exactly my contribution – one thing!). It was fast paced and a very exciting way to spend an hour. It requires limited physical ability – someone needs to be able to lean over to lift small items, unlock locks or kneel to examine items on the floor. You are keenly aware that time is flying by and my heart was racing the whole time!
8. Forged Axe Throwing
Forged Axe Throwing is located in Function Junction, a 10 minute drive or 20 minute bus ride away from Whistler Village. It costs $28 USD per person for one hour and you must be a minimum of 10 years old to play.
At first glance, this might seem like a very bizarre thing to do. Most of us do not wake up and say, “Geez, do I ever feel like throwing an axe today”. But, believe it or not, it is a ton of fun, very safe (provided you follow the rules – like always), and depending on how competitive your group is, can be a bit of a work out!
I have done this a couple of times with my whole family (14-22 years old) and we have loved it. It is very challenging to throw the axe, hit the target, and also have it stick in the target. There are different techniques and challenges like two handed throws, one handed throws, and two axes in two different hands, just to name a few. You have your own guide for the hour who teaches you technique, comes up with and monitors games, and generally makes sure that you are having a lot of fun. If you are ready to get in touch with your inner lumberjack, then you are ready for axe throwing.
There are lots of Whistler Indoor activities from which to choose. Some are relaxing or interesting, while others are fun or exhilarating. All work for adults and most would work for families. Most importantly, none of them will break the bank! If you are looking for a day inside and a way to entertain yourself or your family, look no further. Some, if not all, of these eight activities should satisfy everyone.
If you are interested in other articles about Whistler, please see the list below:
For dining options:
- Whistler Restaurants: Budget Friendly Choices!
- Whistler Treats: 5 Amazing Places To Wreck Your Diet
- Fine dining in Whistler: My Four Favourites
For summer activities:
- A Whistler Summer in Canada: 10 Of My Favourite Things To Do
- 4 Whistler Summer Activities That Make You Go Wow!
For winter activities:
- A Whistler Winter in Canada: 7 of My Favourite Things
- Whistler Ski Resort: 10 Tips For The Best Ski or Snowboard Day
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