Things to do in the Town of Banff, Alberta :
Everyone knows Banff National Park. We have all seen the beautiful photos of Moraine Lake, Lake Louise and Peyto Lake. Many of us have hiked the valleys and bagged some peaks.
But there are a number of fantastic things to do in the town itself. So take some time from you rugged wilderness experience and check out these fun attractions.
Banff Avenue is the Main Street. It is literally packed with shops, restaurants and art galleries. It is also incredibly vibrant and a great spot just to soak in that Canadian mountain culture!
Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum
The Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum chronicles the history of the region’s First Nations peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Blood and Stoney peoples.
The histories of these peoples are intimately connected to these lands and mountains.
Sulphur Mountain Gondola
Located right outside the town of Banff next to the Upper Hot Springs Pool is the Sulphur Mountain Gondola. Take the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain and enjoy the amazing 360% view of the Rockies.
But be warned… the Gondola is expensive so pick a day with great weather and few clouds.
Believe it or not Vermilion Lakes is right on edge of the Banff townsite. You can walk, ride or drive from your hotel in pretty short order. And this location is great all year around. In fact, thermal activity keep some open water even on those minus 40 Celsius days!
Vermilion Lakes is truly spectacular at sunrise so get up and go! Access the lakes from the Mount Norquay Road on the south side of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Cave & Basin National Historic Site
Cave & Basin National Historic Site is where it all started! Canada’s National Park system began here decades ago. And without Cave & Basin National Historic Site the town of Banff likely wouldn’t exist.
Plus, it’s super cool. So check it out.
Not far from the Banff Springs Hotel is the popular Bow Falls. With a large parking lot right next door this is a pretty popular location. It also happens to be pretty nice to look at!
The Banff Centre is a true one of a kind! It is an educational institution that has been incubating and building the arts for decades. Plus, the amazing facilities are accessible to the public and include a gym, pools, and a climbing wall. So if you visit the Banff Centre make sure to get reservations at the incredible Three Ravens Restaurant. Wow.
Fairmont Banff Springs
The Banff Springs Hotel is an amazing hotel and a fantastic place to stay when visiting Banff. The staff are great and the hotel as all the amenities you want in a luxury property.
However, the Banff Springs Hotel is not an inexpensive place to stay, particularly for Canadians who can’t take advantage of the exchange rate to lower overall costs.
So if 10 days at the Banff Springs Hotel is not in the cards, it is worth booking 2 nights here and the rest of your trip at another hotel closer into the centre of the Banff town site. And if you can’t do that just drop by and wander the hotel, get a drink and enjoy the view from that amazing patio that overlooks the Bow River valley.
Upper Hot Springs Pool
The Banff Hot Springs are open all year round. Even on those cold winter days. And the Banff Hot Springs include everything you need to make a go of it, with shops, indoor and outdoor cafeteria, change rooms, day spa, rental towels, bathing suits and lockers. Although personally I’m not down for swimming suit rentals. But hey I’m not judging either!
Thinking about staying at the Banff Springs Hotel? Then check out my review here. Also if you are into landscape photography, I have put together a guide for the best spots to photograph landscapes for the non-hiker. Wondering what camera I used to take these photographs? Check out my gear page for more information.
Photographs created using the incredible Olympus OM-D system.