Whistler’s reputation as a leading winter ski resort and summer playground often leads the fall season to get overlooked. The months of September through November provide a respite from extreme temperatures, a more laid-back pace and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors ahead of the busy winter season. There are plenty of travel deals to be had too.
Whistler has become a culinary cornerstone and foodie paradise in recent years, helped by an endless supply of organic produce grown locally in Pemberton Valley. Armed with a bounty of delicious ingredients, Whistler’s finest chefs are able to serve up an array of dishes from the numerous restaurants and eateries. With the autumn harvest in full swing, the months of fall are best if you’re looking to truly enjoy a taste of British Columbia.
Here’s our foodies guide to fall in Whistler.
Aura restaurant is located in one of Whistler’s most beautiful spots. Nestled next to Nita Lake and part of the stunning Nita Lake Lodge hotel, the restaurant also has an open concept kitchen so you’ll be able to watch on as busy chefs prepare a variety of dishes. Led by Executive Chef James Olberg, the restaurant combines traditional French cooking techniques with a love of west coast ingredients. Free parking is available at Aura for those who wish to drive, or a free shuttle bus operates from Whistler Village to Nita Lake Lodge.
No list of Whistler restaurants would be complete without mentioning Araxi. As one of the earliest pioneers of authentic farm-to-table dining, it’s hardly surprising that harvest time is one of the best times to visit. The restaurant also champions west coast fishermen and is a great choice for seafood lovers. Freshly shucked oysters are available each day between 3 and 5pm in Araxi’s oyster bar. Executive Chef James Walt has even written a book, Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes, showcasing how Araxi’s famous Longtable Dinner events and dining room classics can be adapted for home cooked favourites.
Bearfoot Bistro is another leading Whistler restaurant worth adding to your list. Try your hand at sabering a bottle of Champagne or visit the Ketel One Ice room, the coldest vodka tasting room in the world. From a dedicated oyster-shucker to sommeliers, a friendly and experienced bar team to an extensive live music program, Bearfoot Bistro is perfect for apres-ski, dinner, drinks or late-night dancing. The iles de la Madeleine lobster is a hot addition to the menu comprising a seared scallop, Thai green curry, charred gai Ian, crispy ginger and chilli.
Ideal for breakfast
With so much to do in Whistler during the fall months, you’ll need a good breakfast to set you up for the day ahead.
Purebread has three locations, Whistler Village, Function Junction, and Gastown in Vancouver, and all are notable thanks to their delectable selection of baked goods. Not only are Purebread’s sweet and savoury creations delicious, but they’re also affordable. Over 20 different loaves are baked here too, from the classic baguette to lavender rosemary bread, and you can grab a coffee too.
Street food selection
For a taste of Mexico in the heart of Canada, head to La Cantina. Mexican street cuisine includes delicious tacos starting at just $2.50, and their burritos are among the best in Canada. Beers are served here too, perfect for washing down tacos or burritos and a great latino vibe exudes from this Whistler hotspot.
Best for dessert
For that afternoon pick-me-up head to COWS. Located in the village, this much loved establishment serves homemade ice cream made to an old family recipe from Prince Edward Island. 32 varieties are out at all times and their waffle cones are made in-house. An ice cream is the perfect way to pass a warm and sunny fall afternoon.
Head to Il Caminetto to enjoy the best of Italian cuisine. The expert team of chefs blend local flavours with traditional Italian style and a host of hearty pasta dishes adorn their fall menu. Check out the extensive wine list too, designed to complement the seasonal menu.
On the journey from Squamish to Whistler, you’ll be treated to some of the best views Canada has to offer. You’ll also find Functional Pie in the heart of trendy Function Junction. Functional Pie serves up delicious New York inspired pan pizzas and the “Train Wreck” pizza comes highly recommended. The pizza is named after a local hike and popular tourist site – the Whistler Train Wreck. The site is home to an abandoned rail cars now colourfully painted by local artists. The pizza version is equally as colourful, loaded with capocollo, pepperoni, mushroom, and pecorino.
Work it off…
After all that great food, check out the many fall activities on offer in Whistler. While in Function Junction, pay a visit to Forged Axe Throwing and try your hand at this exciting party pastime. Yes, axe throwing is Canada’s exciting alternative to darts. The team at Forged have all you need to get started and will provide a full safety and training briefing to get you started. Expect things to get competitive as you test your aim hurling axes at a wooden target in true lumberjack fashion.
No visit to Whistler would be complete without a little sightseeing. Ziplining in Whistler is one of the best ways to view the changing autumnal landscape and the reds and oranges of the old growth forests. You’ll be strapped to a zipline and sent soaring above the trees and valleys. The unique harness setup means you can also ride side-by-side, perfect for sharing the opportunity with a friend or loved one.
The fall months are your final opportunity to access the miles of winding trails before the first snow of winter arrives. Guided hikes in Whistler are one of the best ways to enjoy the wilderness safely as well as enjoying some of the most breathtaking vantage points with the help of a local. While mountain biking in Whistler is largely seen as a summer activity, the fall months still provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy fun on two wheels whether taking to the trails or enjoying the bike park.
Getting to Whistler: Fly to Vancouver International Airport from where Whistler is a two hour drive. Frequent daily shuttles depart daily from the terminal building.