Photo: Moment Factory/Vallea Lumina

Whistler's Museums Deliver on Art, Indigenous Culture, and Magical Light Shows

Whistler Museums
by Matador Creators Feb 16, 2023

Whistler is the biggest ski resort in North America, but the fun does not stop when the snow melts — the rest of the year, the area is busy with mountain bikers, hikers, golfers, whitewater rafters, and more. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that most things in Whistler cater to this athletic crowd: There are stores for just about every outdoor brand in the world, and a huge après-ski scene of bars and restaurants. What’s more surprising is that Whislter is also home to some very solid museums, spanning topics like art, Indigenous culture, and history. So, next time you’re in Canada’s most famous ski town, carve some time in between runs to check out its cultural offerings — Whistler’s museums are worth stopping at.

Where are Whistler’s museums located?

Whistler Museum for art: Audain Art Museum

Entrance to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler

Photo: Carolyne Parent/Shutterstock

Opened only since 2016, the Audain Art Museum has quickly become a must-see cultural institution in British Columbia. Located in Whistler Village, the museums whose architecture is strikingly beautiful, invites locals and visitors to explore its impressive permanent collection of nearly 200 works from coastal British Columbia. From nineteenth century Northwest Coast masks to legendary Emily Carr pieces, it is a window into BC’s art scene at its finest. The Audain Art Museum hosts around three temporary exhibitions per year, showcasing art pieces from a wide range of movements and disciplines, from museums around the world.

Address: 4350 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC V8E 1N3, Canada

Hours of operation: Thursday to Monday from 11 AM to 6 PM.

Cost: Adults pay $14.90 (20 CAD); seniors (age 65 or more) pay $13.40 (18 CAD); young adults (between the ages of 19 and 25) pay $7.45 (10 CAD); children under the age of 18 enter for free.

Whistler Museum for history: Whistler Museum and Archives

Inside the Whistler Museum and Archives

Photo: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

Take a journey through history and explore the development of Whistler, and skiing as we know it today, at the Whistler Museum and Archives. Stroll around the captivating permanent exhibition featuring stories accompanied by historical photographs, interactive multi-media presentations, and displays that include an original gondola cabin. Additionally you can also gain insight on other interesting topics such as Whistler’s Olympic bids record, and the history of ski racing. Finally don’t forget to check out the gift store for special local keepsakes.

Address: 4333 Main St., Whistler, BC V8E 1B3, Canada

Hours of operation: Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM; Friday to Tuesday from 11 AM to 5 PM.

Cost: Admission to the museum is by donation.

Whistler Museum for Indigenous culture: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

Inside the Squamish Lilíwat Cultural Centre in Whistler

Photo: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

While the Audain Art Museum displays a large collection of Indigenous art, if you want to learn more about the people whose land Whistler was built on, you must visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre is located on the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation and Lil̓wat7úl (Lil’wat) Nation, and the exhibits includes displays from the two nations. There are objects like baskets, blankets, canoes, carvings, drums, tools, and traditional clothing for visitors to see, as well as presentations on language, ceremonies, and more. Even the building that hosts the cultural center is a combined representation of the two nations’ traditional dwellings. Take one of the one-hour, hourly guided tours that is included with your admission for the full experience.

Visitors would be remiss to pass on the on-site restaurant, the Thunderbird Café, serving meals inspired by traditional Indigenous foods, such as bannock tacos, venison chili, and salmon chowder. Know that you can have a meal at the café without paying admission to the cultural center. The gift shop is also a worthy stop.

Address: 4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC Canada V8E 0Y3, Canada

Hours of operation: The museum and the gift shop are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. The Thunderbird Café is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM.

Cost: Adults pay $14.90 (20 CAD); Children (between the ages of six and 18) pay $5.20 (7 CAD); children under the age of six enter for free.

Whistler’s magical light show: Vallea Lumina

People attending the Vallea Lumina shows in Whistler, Canada

Photo: Moment Factory/ Vallea Lumina

While not technically a museum, Vallea Lumina is an art experience you should not miss while in Whistler. Vallea Lumina is a unique and captivating night walk and light show just outside of town on Cougar Mountain. Visitors embark on an enchanting journey following the story of two hikers — a young girl and her beloved grandpa who have gone missing while exploring the forest. Light artworks and beautiful music take you on the path to discover their moving story. Free shuttle buses take guests from Whistler bus station (Gateway Loop) directly to this unforgettable adventure — it’s only 15 minutes away!

Address: Sixteen Mile Creek Forest Service Rd, Whistler, BC V0N 1B8, Canada

Hours of operation: It is strongly recommended that you purchase your ticket in advance to book a time for this experience.

Cost: In winter (from November until April), adults pay $26 (34.99 CAD), youth (between the ages of six and 15) pay $22.35 (29.99 CAD); children under the age of five enter for free. In summer (June to October), adults pay $29.80 (39.99 CAD) or $37.25 (49.99 CAD) with transportation; youth (between the ages of six and 15) pay $26 (34.99 CAD) or $33.50 (44.99 CAD) with transportation; children under the age of five enter for free.

Where to stay in Whistler

Whistler is a very small place, so no matter where you choose to stay, you’ll be close to the museums mentioned above and the organized bus that gets you to Vallea Lumina.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend in Whistler! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Four Seasons Resort Whistler


The Four Seasons Resort Whistler is located in Whistler Upper Village, and is a quick walk from all the action — and the museums.

The hotel has rooms, suites, and even full residences available for potential guests, all of them decorated in a sleek and elegant style for a contemporary version of the classic mountain lodge. Request an accommodation with your preferred view: mountain, forest, or courtyard — no matter what you choose, it won’t disappoint. Being a luxury hotel, there is a fitness center with scheduled classes, a heated outdoor pool, an outdoor sauna, and a full spa with treatements ranging from massages to pedicures. There is also a steakhouse on site, as well as a bar and a café with coffee and pastries to go.

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Summit Lodge


Located on the main street of Whistler Village, Summit Lodge is only 0.4 mile away from the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre — the perfect location to check out the museum and enjoy a meal at the Thunderbird Café.

Summit Lodge offers guests modern, clean, and beautifully decorated studios and suites of varying sizes. Both suites and studios have kitchenettes; the suites are fitted with fireplaces and the studios have balconies. There are two restaurants on site, Elements Urban Tapas Parlour and Sachi Sushi, if you don’t feel like cooking or exploring the town’s options. There is a spa, offering a variety of treatments, as well as a heated outdoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, a fire pit, a barbecue, and a natural cedar dry sauna indoors. Summit Lodge is pet friendly.

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Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside


As its name indicates, the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside is at the very foot of the slope, steps away from the lift, but it’s also right in the heart of Whistler Village, making it easy to walk everywhere. From the heated saltwater pool to its eucalyptus steam room and fitness center, The Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside offers a range of amenities for all types of guests. The hotel’s free shuttle service allows you explore nearby destinations such as Scandinave Spa or Green Lake with ease.

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