Your Detailed Guide to the Whistler Olympic Plaza
The Whistler Olympic Plaza is located in the heart of Whistler Village and thanks to the legacy of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games what once was a swath of trees is now a state-of-the-art outdoor performance facility and community space.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Whistler Olympic Plaza was the site for nightly medal ceremonies and today, you can view the Olympic rings, Paralympic Agitos, totem poles, the Olympic Cauldron, and panels that commemorate every athlete who participated in the 2010 Winter Games.
Along with Olympic mementoes, it boasts a beautiful grassy field in the summer and family adventure zone in the winter. It is the perfect spot to grab a coffee and relax in one of the Adirondack chairs or build a snowman with your kids or chill with your pup (on a leash). If you are visiting Whistler, it’s impossible to miss a visit to the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Amenities In & Around the Whistler Olympic Plaza
It is so easy to get to the Whistler Olympic Plaza – you might just stumble upon it as you follow the pedestrian-only path through Whistler Village. For most folks staying at a hotel in Whistler Village, it’s only a short walk away to the plaza and even if you’re staying in the Upper Village it is but a five or ten-minute stroll.
Those staying a bit further out in the Blackcomb Benchlands can take advantage of Whistler’s free shuttle into the Village, or if you’re in Creekside and beyond, hop on Whistler’s public transit ($2.50/trip and kids are free). There are also taxi cabs and Uber in Whistler, and many hotels now offer hotel shuttles.
If you have a car, the Whistler Village Day Lots are right across the street from the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Park at lot 4 for the closest access to the plaza. The day lots are free to park in after 5:00 PM year-round, or cost between $5 – $10 per day.
The Whistler Olympic Plaza is a great spot for a picnic on a warm summer’s night, with lots of excellent grab-and-go options nearby. Fresh Street Market is the local grocery store where you could grab all the ingredients for a beautiful charcuterie spread.
Peaked Pies will introduce you to an Aussie classic – the savoury meat pie (complete with the toppings of gravy, mashed potato, and mushy peas). Hunter Gather can deliver a solid BBQ experience. Corner Deli is the place to go for the best sandwich in town and La Cantina will cure your craving for tacos, burritos, and guacamole.
Fancy a cup of tea or the most perfectly frothed cappuccino? Whistler Olympic Plaza has plenty of options to keep you caffeinated. Whether you’re enjoying your beverage sitting on the cafe’s patio people-watching or grabbing it to-go to drink in the plaza on a bench, it is probably the best place in Whistler to do so.
Mount Currie Coffee Company is behind the plaza on Main Street and has been voted the ‘Best Coffee in Whistler’ four years in a row by readers of the local newspaper, The Pique.
New to the scene and specializing in toast (sourdough by Ed’s Bred in Creekside, to be exact) and one of the tastiest lattes in town is Ecologyst – located within Olympic Plaza – perfect for espresso aficionados.
And lastly (but not least), Blenz Whistler. While it is a coffee chain in Western Canada you can’t beat their extremely friendly staff, node to the environment (they let you borrow actual mugs to prevent waste), and best hot chocolate in town.
If you fancy a sweet treat to go along with your hot beverage, pop into Purebread. The line may be intimidating and space inside cramped, but it’s worth it for the plethora of goodies such as cookies, croissants, cakes, meringues, and more.
Shop ‘til you drop in Whistler’s Olympic Plaza. Flanked by top outdoor adventure companies Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and Escape Route you can get your fix of high-end sportswear that will keep you warm and dry in Whistler’s coastal climate. Those looking for the perfect gift will love 3 Singing Birds for beautiful cards, candles, homewares, and clothing. Your inner child will go bonkers at The Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop where you can buy candy from all around the world or stick to your favourites.
The Go-To Venue for Big Whistler Festivals
Whistler’s Olympic Plaza always has a role to play in most festivals and events in Whistler. The finish lines for Ironman and the RBC Gran Fondo end in the plaza, with friends, family, and fans standing by to cheer to the athletes after hours of competition.
In May over the Victoria Day long weekend is GO Fest – a celebration of the great outdoors in the form of clinics, sport, arts and culture, and music. The festival hosts booths, clinics, and concerts in the plaza so keep an eye out for 2020’s schedule coming soon.
For two weeks in August, a celebration of all things mountain biking takes over Whistler for Crankworx (August 5-16, 2020). While most of the events take place on the mountain, Dirt Diaries and Deep Summer take place at the Whistler Olympic Plaza.
Dirt Diaries is a judged competition where teams create a four to six-minute videos, and Deep Summer is a photography competition where they have three days to shoot and edit a photo slideshow to music. Both events are insanely popular and take place on the great lawn at the Whistler Olympic Plaza, with the shows projected on a big screen.
Notoriously rainy but always ridiculously fun is the Whistler Village Beer Festival’s Main Event in the Whistler Olympic Plaza. Sixty different breweries set up tents on the great lawn and serve up over 120 beers and ciders. There are also food trucks, live music, and entertainment such as axe throwing. It is a paid event that sells out, so grab your tickets for the Main Event on September 19 & 20, 2020 as soon as you can!
The Summer Concert Series
Whistler Olympic Plaza is the place in town for live outdoor music under the stars. Grab a picnic, a blanket, or some chairs (think the low loungers from Tommy Bahamas) and enjoy some family-friendly fun. Most spots on the lawn offer a great view of the stage with a dancing area at the very front if you’re looking to get your boogie on.
The summer concert series takes place on most weekends in July and August, and though the schedule has not yet been released for 2020, some of last year’s performers included The Tenors, Sloan, The Sheepdogs, Broken Social Scene, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
The concert series is free to attend and the lawn fills up quickly – so get there early to secure your spot on the grass.
Whistler Presents: Family Apres in Whistler (Winter Only)
On Monday and Wednesday afternoons from early-January to the end of March, the Municipality of Whistler hosts an all free, all-ages family apres from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Whistler Olympic Plaza. It’s the perfect way to unwind with your kids and connect after a day out on the slopes.
Activities change each week but can include live music, face painting, crafts, games, balloon animals, warm beverages, sweet treats, and more. Whistler is known for its apres culture but why not take it off the patio and into a place where kids can explore and have fun with their parents sans alcohol.
Ice Skating at the Whistler Olympic Plaza (Winter Only)
The skating rink at the Whistler Olympic Plaza is Whistler’s only outdoor ice rink and runs from late-November to late-March. It is open from 11:00 AM to 8:30 PM with closures daily between 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM for rink maintenance. The cost to skate on the ice rink is free, with skate rentals for $7/pair should you require them and helmets and skate aids are free to borrow. There is also a kids ‘Game Zone’ section with mini hockey sticks and pucks for channel your inner Gretzky.
Adjacent to the ice skating rink at Whistler Olympic Plaza is the snow zone where snow has been piled up to create slides and adventure opportunities for little ones. Warm-up next to the outdoor fire pit or enjoy a hot chocolate from Blenz (made with real chocolate chips in your choice of white, milk, or dark chocolate).
As we are sure you can tell, Whistler’s Olympic Plaza is so much more than a blip on a map – it is a community space that fosters play, the arts, sporting legacies, and events. It is a gathering place of family and friends, between warm drinks and catch-ups or dancing to live music. There is something for everyone at the Whistler Olympic Plaza and a spot not to be missed during your trip to Whistler.