Free Parking in Whistler, A Local’s Guide
You’ve bought your lift tickets, packed your skis and boots and you’re headed up the Sea to Sky highway. Driving is one of the easiest ways to reach Whistler, especially if you’re arriving late at night or early in the morning. Just make sure you know your stuff before you head out, especially in winter. To help you out, we’ve put together an easy guide to how to get to Whistler, wherever you’re coming from.
Once you’ve got the route figured, the next step is to find somewhere to park your vehicle. That way, you’ll waste no time off the road and onto the slopes. In fact, if you know your stuff, you can nab one of Whistler’s free parking spots and save yourself some cash too. But those free parking spots aren’t always easy to find.
To make it all a bit easier, we thought we’d share some of Whistler Adventures’ best tips and tricks for finding parking in Whistler. By the end you’ll be parking like a local!
An Overview of the Whistler Parking Regulations
The first thing to know is that there is plenty of parking available in Whistler. In fact, you can check out a full map of Whistler parking options online. Some of the spots you should know are:
- Whistler Village Day Lots
There are eight major parking lots in Whistler village (creatively named Lots 1 – 8). There are also plenty of other private and municipal parking lots and street parking around the village. We’ll tell you more about which one to choose later. For now, we’ll just say there’s plenty of parking options right in the centre of the village.
- Whistler Creekside
If you’re driving from Vancouver and want to get up the hill asap, stop at Creekside and bag free underground parking for the day.
- Short-term parking
While not suitable for a full day on the hill, there are plenty of parking spots available for a few hours at Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Public Library, Main Street and Marketplace. Most of these only cost a few dollars to stay for an hour or two, so they’re a great choice if you’re popping in for a quick dinner. In fact, if that’s your plan, we’ve also got some great ideas for affordable places to eat out in Whistler.
Parking Rules You Should Know
Being a mountain town, there are a few parking rules in Whistler that might be different from back home. When choosing your parking spot, bear in mind:
- Whistler allows for no overnight parking in winter in any of the surface level lots at any time, to allow for snow clearing
- If you’re staying in one of the local Whistler neighbourhoods, remember that all cars must be moved between 9am and 5pm every day. Again, this is so the snow ploughs can do their great work.
- Camping in cars and vans overnight is prohibited in Whistler too. That’s to protect our resident black bears from being attracted to campsites and coming to look for food. But don’t worry, there are plenty of campsites in and around Whistler that you can make home instead.
To avoid a ticket, have a quick read of the full winter parking regulations in Whistler.
Best Places to Park for Whistler Mountain
When you’re planning a ski day with the family, the last thing you want to include is a long walk in your ski boots at the end of the day. If you’re planning to ski Whistler mountain, here’s some of the best spots to choose.
- Day Lots 1,2 and 3
The three closest lots to Whistler mountain are Day Lots 1,2 and 3. It’s $10 per day to park your vehicle there, or $2.50 per hour. And if you’re just coming in to the village for the evening, parking is free after 5pm. There’s even an easy way to pay on your phone, so there’s no chance you’ll risk a parking ticket. Remember, maximum stay is 24 hours and all vehicles should be moved between 3am and 6am in winter for snow clearing.
- Day Lots 4 and 5
Day Lots 4 and 5 are a little further from the ski hill, but they are serviced by a free shuttle bus during the peak ski season. Plus, you’ll save some cash by parking there – it’s only $5 per day, or $2.50 per hour. Day Lots 4 and 5 are also free after 5pm, and also in the off-peak seasons (spring and fall).
- Whistler Creekside Parking
Another great option is to park in Whistler Creekside and head up the mountain on the Creekside Gondola. There’s a free underground parking lot here for everyone with ski or bike park tickets. This lot does get busy on the weekends, so plan to get here early if you want to be sure of a spot.
- Extra Parking in Whistler Village
If you find the main lots full, don’t despair. There are still plenty of other options. Lots of hotels and businesses have parking lots that are open to the public, including Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Public Library and the Westin Resort and Spa. For a small fee, you can get secure, underground parking only a few minute’s walk from the mountain.
Best Places to Park for Blackcomb Mountain
When you fancy a day skiing on the “dark side” of Blackcomb Mountain, there are a few great parking options that will take you right to the slopes.
- Day Lots 6, 7 and 8
These are some of the best parking lots in Whistler. They’re free and you can practically ski right from your trunk onto the slopes. Again, these lots are popular on the weekend, so plan an early breakfast and get out before the crowds to get the best spot. It’s worth it though: from these lots you’re just a stones throw from the ski hill, and you can ski straight to the new Blackcomb Gondola which will have you at the top of the mountain in 15 minutes. And remember, these lots are only open during the ski season, so don’t rely on them in summer.
- Day Lots 1 – 5
Although they might seem closer to Whistler mountain, you can still park in Day Lots 1 – 5 and catch Excalibur Gondola up Blackcomb mountain from the village. It’s a little longer, but the queue for Excalibur is often short so you might just get to skip the lineups.
Where to Park for Free in Whistler
At first glance, it might seem like free parking in Whistler is a thing of the past. But there’s a surprising number of spots available, especially if you do your research and you’re prepared to get up a little earlier than everyone else. Here’s some of our favourite spots.
- Day Lots 6, 7 and 8 – Like we said, these free lots at the base of Blackcomb mountain are a great choice if you can blag one of them
- Day Lots 4 and 5 – During the slow seasons (September 16 to December 14 and April 16 to June 14) these lots close to Whistler village are free too
- Whistler Creekside – One of the best free options if you’re heading up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver or Seattle
- Whistler Neighbourhoods – If you’re staying outside the main village, you might find some free parking around the corner from you. Check with your hosts or the owner of your apartment to see where you can park and where you can’t.
Where to Park Overnight in Whistler
Parking overnight in Whistler can be one of the most challenging parts of bringing your car to Whistler. But there are solutions to be found if you know where to look.
- Find Accommodation with Parking Included
Our best advice is to look for accommodation in Whistler with overnight parking included, and then head to the slopes with your car or on the public transit bus instead. Most of the major hotels offer parking included, and often have a valet service too. There are free shuttle buses from most of the closer hotels – the number 4 and 5 are great options – so you can leave the car at home and not worry if you have an apres beer or two at the end of your day on the slopes.
- Pay for Overnight Parking in the Village
If you really need overnight parking in the village, you can try one of the overnight parking spots at the Conference Centre or Whistler Public Library for $5 per night. These are limited though, so don’t rely on them. Or, in the summer (April 1 to October 31), you’re allowed to park overnight in Day Lots 1 – 5 up to a maximum of a 24 hour stay. For only $5 per day, parking overnight in Lots 4 and 5 is one of the best options.
- Buying and Renting a Parking Stall in Whistler
If, like us, you’ve fallen in love with Whistler and plan to visit several times every season, buying or renting a parking stall could save you time and hassle. There are several parking lots in prime locations close to the mountains that offer monthly parking stall rentals. The Westin Hotel, Pan Pacific Lodge, Glacier Lodge and Delta Village Suites are all right in the heart of the village. You can purchase a monthly parking pass for any of them, and be guaranteed your own spot every time you come to stay. Plus you’ll be grateful that your ski days don’t start and end with the gruelling task of clearing snow and ice from your car!
More Parking in Whistler than Meets the Eye
While at first glance, it might be hard to get your head around parking in Whistler, with a few locals tips we hope you can see there’s plenty to choose from. The best way to make sure parking doesn’t ruin your day is to make a plan, get an early start and know where you’re going. You’ll get your day off to a great start, and be able to focus on what’s really important: exploring the beautiful Coast mountains with your favourite people in the world.