This things to do on a budget blog was last updated in February 2024.

You can have a whole load of fun in Whistler without blowing the budget. Having lived the ski bum dream myself, I’m no stranger to getting creative for maximum fun, with minimum spend. Here are my tips and secrets for taking full advantage of the best deals this town has to offer.

Aerial view of Whistler.
There are deals hidden all throughout this valley if you know where to look. PHOTO MEGAN WILSON


Whistler’s events calendar is stocked with endless options, and quite a few of them are free. Here are a few of my favs, mixed in with what’s coming up for this season.

Whistler Blackcomb’s Fire & Ice Show

Every Sunday night in winter (until March), the Fire & Ice Show lights up the sky at Skier’s Plaza. The free show features skiers and snowboarders jumping through flaming hoops accompanied by music and live performances. The best viewing spot is right in Skier’s Plaza, at the base of Whistler Mountain.

If you have a bit of budget to spend, I recommend catching the show from the heated patios of the Longhorn Saloon, or Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC). Their slopeside tables make it possible to enjoy dinner and drinks during the show, but they fill up quickly, so arrive well in advance to secure prime seating.

Skiers and boarders jump through a ring of fire.
Fire, ice and everything nice. Bring the whole family for the show. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

INSIDER TIP: Don’t forget to make dinner reservations for before, or after, the show as restaurants fill up quickly. For more tips on keeping everyone happy at mealtime check out – Know Before You Go: Dining in Whistler.


World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF)

If you’re lucky enough to be here from April 8 – 14, 2024 you’ll get to take part in the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, a celebration of snow sports, music, arts and mountain culture. The schedule is jam-packed with events including art shows, afterparties and film and photography nights.

The ticketed shows sell out quickly, so I recommend getting those early if you want to go — look out for early bird and bundle pricing on multiple tickets.

skiers plaza full of a waiting crowd for the Bir air competition.
This is what the athletes see as they drop in…no pressure. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Outdoor Activities

Tube Park

A morning or afternoon at the Whistler Blackcomb Coca-Cola Tube Park is such a blast, starting at $30 for adults and $19 for kids. When you’re at the park, you’re given a tube (it looks like a big doughnut), and you ride up the magic carpet (a conveyor belt on the snow) to the lane gradient of your choice as many times as you can fit in! A bonus to visiting the Tube Park is the free gondola ride from Skier’s Plaza to Base II where the Tube Park is located — the ride over the river, ski slopes, and chalets can feel like an activity in itself.

people sliding on tubes
Snowy fun for the whole family. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA


Snowshoeing is essentially winter hiking, so with a bit of gear and trail access, you can spend the whole day exploring some incredible terrain. The best places to go are Lost Lake Park ($13 for an all-day adult pass, $26 for a family) and Whistler Olympic Park ($20 for an adult, $11.50 for youth, and kids 6 and under are free). Both have rentals (ranging from $10 — 20) available on site, and their marked trails make navigation easy.

If you have your own gear, or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the Cheakamus area has some great options. Some of my favourite trails are Whistler Interpretive Forest, Train Wreck, and Crater Rim. They’re all fairly easy to navigate, but make sure to have a good map, let people know where you are going, and pack plenty of snacks and water. For more suggestions, take a read of this blog post by fellow contributor Nikkey Dawn: Insider’s Guide to Snowshoeing in Whistler.

People walking in a snowy field on snowshoes as a budget friendly activity.
Walking in a winter wonderland. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Ski Lessons, Sliding Experiences, and XC Skiing

There are certain times of the year to look out for great deals on learning to ski and snowboard. In December, Whistler Blackcomb has what they call “Never Ever Days” where you can get a full day, level one, Max4, beginner package (including a lift ticket, rentals, and instructor) for just $25. The exact dates fluctuate year over year, but it’s typically over one weekend, and historically it’s in December.

A program that Whistler Sports Legacies runs is their Discover Skeleton and Discover Bobsleigh programs, which encourage Canadian residents aged 14/16-25 to have a go at sliding sports for $55.

Public skeleton at the Whistler Sliding Centre
Public skeleton at Whistler Sliding Centre. PHOTO WHISTLER SPORTS LEGACIES

Indoor Activities

Axe Throwing

For a truly Canadian experience, it’s well worth the short trip down to Function Junction to try axe throwing at Forged! At first glance, throwing axes can seem like a pretty intimidating sport to try, but their staff are pros at making sure you’re having fun while staying safe. You don’t need to pack any special gear for this activity other than closed-toed shoes, everything else you need is included in the reasonable $37.99-per-person price.

While you’re down there, make sure to stop in next door for a cold one at Coast Mountain Brewing. They’re constantly trying out new flavours, and their staff are an endless source of brew knowledge.

Man throws an axe at a target at this budget friendly activity.
Live out your lumberjack/jill dreams. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA

Whistler Public Library

Our beautiful library is a hidden gem well known by locals, but often off the radar for visitors. Not only is it a great place to snuggle down with the latest thriller, but it’s got a robust events calendar that’s great for families, kids, teens, and adults with film screenings, games nights, guest lectures, and craft and story times. Most of these events are free or have a very minimal charge.

Good Value Eats

El Furniture Warehouse

With all food items on the menu only costing $5.95, El Furniture Warehouse is hugely popular for a tasty dinner for less. The portions are big for the price, so I’ve found ordering two items is usually plenty.


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The Old Spaghetti Factory

To feed the whole family on a budget, it’s hard to beat the Old Spaghetti Factory. Families have been filling that place for years because every main comes with bread, soup or salad, ice cream, and tea or coffee to finish. Seriously, you may need to loosen your belt a notch or two on your way out.


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 La Cantina

Another favourite spot of mine for great food for less is La Cantina. Located in Marketplace Shopping Centre next to IGA, they feature authentic Mexican dishes in generous portions leaving you full and happy. You can enjoy your meal in the restaurant, or outdoors at the adjacent Olympic Plaza.


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Learn more about fast and good value options for dining in town – Whistler’s Best Budget Bites.


Drinking can be one of the fastest ways to blow your budget in Whistler. If you’re anything like me, once that cold frothy drink hits my lips, all thoughts of sticking to a budget go out the window. The best thing you can do is plan your après at a location with great deals.

It goes without saying, but it’s important, so I’ll say it anyway. Don’t forget to plan a designated driver, choose accommodation that’s central and walkable if this is a big focus of your trip, or take a look at our transit system schedule to make sure you’ve got a plan to get home safe and sound.

Stinky’s On The Stroll

Stinky’s On The Stroll has fast become a favourite hotspot for locals. Owned and operated by local man Jeremy Peterson (Stinky himself), and beloved for its affordable prices and laid-back vibes, this cosy bar makes for an easy choice for a snack and a drink with friends.

Crystal Lounge

Crystal is by far my favourite après location when I’m looking to go easy on my wallet. They always have a wide range of daily specials on beer, wine and cocktails. I highly recommend their beer and burger combo for great value and large portions. This bar is a little bit hard to find, it’s at the bottom of the stairs behind Lululemon in the Crystal Lodge and Suites. They host karaoke nights, local bands, and the odd comedian, so there’s always something going on!


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For how nice this place looks you would think that having après at Earls would be pricey, but it never ceases to amaze me how great their specials are. Their deals on drinks and bites vary by the day of the week, but I can tell you that the Wing Wednesday deal has become a local favourite. For even more savings, they have happy hour from 3 – 5 PM and 10 PM until close.


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THE HAPPIEST HOUR💛 3-5:30 and 10-close. Because it would be rude not to 🤷🏼‍♀️ Right @whistler_memes ?

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If you’re a BC or Washington resident, it’s worth signing up for Whistler Rewards (it’s free) as you get deals, perks, and special savings on accommodation and activities that can’t be found elsewhere. vacation experts can help you navigate all there is to do in Whistler so let them help you plan your trip to the mountains. See you soon!


Megan is a mountain adventurer guilty of breaking the golden rule, telling everyone her mountain secrets (ok, maybe she keeps a few to herself). Ontario by birth, and now Whistler by choice, even a decade later, the mountains still take her breath away.