Whistler is a perfect Car free Girl’s Getaway on a Budget

For an affordable girl’s getaway without a car, it’s hard to beat Whistler. I had been to Whistler for day trips and camped in the area but never stayed overnight. There are many hotel and restaurant deals in the spring, both the Village and Creekside are walkable with access to walking and biking trails and lakes, and the local bus service is excellent. We took local BC Transit to Creekside and Funktion Junction. Local bus fares are $2.50 for adults, $7 for day passes and books of tickets are also available.

We boarded the Epic Rides bus in downtown Vancouver beside Burrard station. The trip takes two hours and drops off by the Visitor Centre in the Village and costs $44 each round trip. The view is spectacular and it is a relaxing stress free journey.

Whistler is a perfect Car free Girl’s Getaway on a Budget

We stayed at Blackcomb Spring Suites north of the North Village. The rooms or suites have full kitchens, balconies, a pool and two hot tubs, a gym, and ski storage. The hotel was clean, the staff were pleasant and it was quiet at night. The hotel is great for families or skiers and snowboarders as it is a ten minute walk to Blackcomb Mountain Gondola. The downside is the Village is a half hour walk and there are no bars or restaurants onsite. There was a free shuttle outside the door to the Village which ran every half hour.

Our biggest splurge was a four-course dinner at Araxi for $43 per person. We opted for the wine pairings which perfectly complemented meal of roasted tomato soup, and oysters. Arctic char and duck, with cheesecake and petit fours for dessert. Our waiter Ramon was attentive but we did not feel rushed as we enjoyed a leisurely two and a half hour dinner. It has an elegant interior and excellent service and we would definitely go back.

Even in the off-season the Village has a lively party atmosphere. I was surprised by the diversity in dining choices from fast food to fine dining and the range of shops. Our favourite shops were Armchair Books and Ruby Tuesday for jewellery and accessories.

Whistler is a perfect Car free Girl’s Getaway on a Budget

The next day we explored Creekside which is much quieter than the Village. Our first stop was funky Rockit Coffee for iced tea. We enjoyed the 70s and 80s memorabilia. We walked part of the car-free Valley Trail to Nita Lake and Alpha Lake. The entire trail is 46km, and some sections are open in winter for cross-country skiing. The lakes were quiet and peaceful and had beautiful mountain views. Nita Lake Lodge is located right on Nita Lake and has a café, patio, restaurant and spa onsite in a tranquil setting. We were surprised at the pizza food truck at Alpha Lake charging over $50 for a pizza!

For a change of pace we went to Funktion Junction, an industrial neighbourhood with small businesses including two brew pubs, a café, a thrift store and a chocolate factory. We enjoyed a beer flight and cider at Whistler Brewing Company. Both patios were full even though it was a weekday lunchtime. The staff were friendly and no one was in a hurry.

Whistler is a perfect Car free Girl’s Getaway on a Budget

We also sampled delicious free trade chocolate at Turner’s Chocolates. The owner was very knowledgeable and passionate about chocolate.

For dinner, we headed back to the Village to watch the hockey game on Black’s patio, which is part of the Gibbons group of restaurants. The pub is child and pet-friendly, and we enjoyed the food and relaxed service. Once we returned to the hotel, we were thrilled to see the Northern Lights for the first time.

The next day we took the free shuttle to Lost Lake and walked along a 1.9 km forest trail to the lake. It is the closest lake to the Village and was much busier than the other lakes.

For dinner we went to Bar Orso in the Village for tapas, sharing a cheese plate, olives and wine. The restaurant has a sophisticated European aesthetic and staff were attentive. The front of the restaurant is open and is a great place for people watching. We finished our evening at Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub for a set of Irish and popular music. The pub filled up once the music started and had a fun party atmosphere with dancing and singing alongs.

On our last day, we checked our bags at Whistler Bag Storage in the Village. For $20 it saved us having to travel back and forth to the hotel. We walked ten minutes from the Village to the Audain Art Museum. The museum is beautifully designed to fit in with the landscape. Admission is very reasonable at $22 for adults. One of the main exhibits is a unique collection of Native masks which are approximately 100 years old. We also enjoyed the Emily Carr and E.J. Hughes paintings. The museum only exhibits BC artists from the late 18th century to the present and offers art classes and events for all ages. Their gift shop has a range of affordable gifts including jewellery, books, and tote bags. The museum is open from Thursday to Monday.

Whistler is a perfect Car free Girl’s Getaway on a Budget

For brunch, we found a patio seat in the North Village at The High Mountain Brewing Company Brewhouse with a beautiful mountain view by the Olympic Park. We enjoyed a tasting flight and a cider with a chopped cobb salad and breakfast skillet. The food was tasty and the portions were generous. We made a last stop at Cows for handmade ice cream which was popular in the 26 degree heat.

We are already planning a return trip to explore more of the walking trails and lakes in this beautiful mountain destination. For more information, visit the Tourism Whistler website.