A Family Guide to Vancouver and Whistler

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Advisor - Dahlia Swerdloff
Curated By

Dahlia Swerdloff

  • Canada

  • Vancouver

  • Whistler

  • City Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Hiking

  • Adventure

  • Kid-friendly

people stand on rock cliff at the peak of a mountain on a clear sunny day
Curator’s statement

City and culture mixed with beauty and nature; meet Vancouver and Whistler. Vancouver is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Located in the Pacific Northwest the city sits right between the ocean and the mountains. The city is relatively new, clean and full of activities for all ages. The drive to Whistler has some of the most breathtaking views, and has been named the Sea to Sky highway.

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Where to stay in Vancouver & Whistler

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Things to do in Vancouver & Whistler

light blue lake at the base of a mountain and forest

Vancouver Activities

  • Capilano Suspension bridge: Just a few minutes from the city in North Vancouver this incredibly long suspension bridge sits 70 meters above the river. Immerse yourself in nature and culture at this park.

  • Stanley Park: Located on the water in downtown Vancouver this stunning park is not to miss. Rent bikes at one of the local bike shops and cruise around the park...make sure you stop at the lily pond!

  • Granville Island: Take a water taxi over from Yaletown (more fun and you don't need your car). Spend a few hours waling through the unique shops, many of which are local. Go hungry because the food market is beautiful enough to be photographed, and there is something to eat for everyone.

  • Science World in Vancouver is not to be missed, especially if you have kids! Always new attractions and fun for the family.

  • Fly Over Canada is a simulated flight experience that is a must do! This is a relatively short excursion, but located at Canada Place right by the downtown waterfront, so can be incorporated into most days.

Whistler Activities

  • Go look for bears! Whistler Discovery Tours know where the bears are and you will be sure to see them. You may very well see some on your own, but this is super fun!

  • Rent canoes or paddle boards on Alta lake and go for a refreshing swim (Whistler lakes don't get that warm even in summer!).

  • Learn about the history and culture of the area at the Squamish Lil'Wat Cultural Center.

  • Make sure you check out Whistler Adventure Group for Zip-lining, White Water Rafting, an Ariel Obstacle Course, and more!

  • Hiking: There are plenty of hikes for ALL levels in and around Whistler. Some of my favorites for the family are: The Train Wreck hike, Joffrey Lakes, and alpine hiking on top of Whistler.

  • Whistler Farmers' Market is every Sunday in the Upper Village and is not to be missed! Local vendors for Arts & Crafts, local food vendors and rides at the mountain base for the kids.

Day Trips

  • Shannon Falls Park: This is actually on your drive up from Vancouver to Whistler. A nice stop on the way, you can take the gondola up or hike. The hike can be short to the bottom of the falls, or you can go all the way up which will take approximately 3 hours and is pretty challenging. There is a casual mountain top restaurant as well. Because this is close to Vancouver, it gets very busy in summer! Try to go early if you can.

  • Take a drive to Pemberton, about 30 minutes north of Whistler. North Arm Farm is as picturesque as any place I have been. You can pick your own berries, visit with the animals, and have lunch right there.

Places to eat & drink in Vancouver & Whistler

entrance to a market with a sign that reads, "public market".
  • Granville Island Public Market: Anything and everything, fresh and local!

  • Flying Pig Van: Make a reservation and go here for dinner! Farm/Sea-to table, relaxed but lively atmostphere. Homestyle and delicious. Located in Yaletown.

  • Small Victory: Best Croissant, EVER. Everything else is amazing too. There are a couple locations in Vancouver.

  • Joe Fortes: There are only 2, one in Whistler and one in Vancouver. The original is in Vancouver. Traditional Canadian Steak and Seafood, fun crowd, family friendly, always a good meal.

  • Hunter Gather: Great BBQ! This is an easy spot for kids, or a larger group. It is very casual, with indoor and outdoor seating. You order at the counter, and your server brings you your food. Fresh, large portions, very good. They do a nice take-out as well.

  • Cow's: Do not miss the ice cream here! Located on Main street in the village, not far from the Olympic Rings. Beware, there is ALWAYS a line!

  • Rocky Mtn Chocolate: A trip to Whistler would not be complete for my kids without one of the famous candy apples from here...there are maybe 20 kinds to choose from! Right in the main village square.

Need to Know

For more Whistler travel tips, check out my guide, Ultimate Summer Adventures in Whistler, BC.

Advisor - Dahlia Swerdloff

Travel Advisor

Dahlia Swerdloff

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Canada.