Banff Jasper Collection

A local’s guide for where to stay, what to do and where to eat on a weekend in Banff.

There’s a long list of reasons to love Banff. From the crisp alpine air to the adventures at every turn, the charm of our iconic mountain town nestled in the Canadian Rockies is contagious. And once you experience the jaw-dropping scenery, laid-back vibes and world-class food scene here, it won't take long until planning the next trip to Banff starts.

It’s impossible to experience everything there is to do in Banff over the course of a few days, and the options can seem overwhelming. But if you do it right, a little planning can go a long way for your weekend stay. So, we’ve compiled a list to help you make the most of your time.

First, the nuts and bolts

A couple checks in at the desk of the hotel.

Where to Stay in Banff

Just a few steps from the quaint streets of downtown Banff, the Elk + Avenue Hotel brings an upscale twist to the classic mountain escape. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing après-ski sanctuary or a big night on the town, the Elk + Avenue is an ideal place to stay. Keep an eye out for unique packages and offers to stay and save any time of year.

What to do in Banff

  1. Go shopping on Banff Avenue. Don’t miss Monod's and Cabin108
  2. Visit the Banff Gondola
  3. Bowling at High Rollers (call ahead to book your lane)
  4. Visit the Whyte Museum
  5. Take a scenic drive out to Lake Minnewanka and check out Surprise Corner, Bow Falls & Johnston Canyon


A man leans against the fence of the Banff Gondola at Sunset.

Where to eat in Banff

  1. Farm + Fire, 333 Banff Ave.
  2. Park Distillery, 219 Banff Ave.
  3. Sky Bistro at the Banff Gondola, 1 Mountain Ave.
  4. Banff Ave. Brewing Co., 110 Banff Ave.
  5. Coyotes Southwestern Grill, 206 Caribou St.
  6. Good Earth Coffeehouse, 333 Banff Ave.

Now, the ideal Banff weekend itinerary

Day 1:

Arrive in Banff and check into the Elk + Avenue Hotel. Once you’re ready, head up to the Banff Gondola where you’ll also have dinner and experience breathtaking mountain views at Sky Bistro. If you’re visiting on a summer weekend, be sure to check out Peak Patio (on the top level of the gondola's Upper Terminal) for a drink before or after your dinner at Sky Bistro. The views here truly can't be matched!

Day 2:

Fuel up for a day of adventure with a delicious breakfast at Farm + Fire (located inside the Elk + Avenue). Try the baguette French toast or the Canadian eggs benny. Then take a scenic drive out to Lake Minnewanka and visit the Parks Canada red chairs for a great photo opportunity!

After working up an appetite during your morning escapades, hit up Park Distillery for lunch. The atmosphere is quintessentially Canadian and their cocktails are great too. Walk off lunch while checking out some of the shops located along Banff Avenue, like the Cabin 108 Boutique. Then stop in at the Brew Ave Brewing Co. for a locally crafted beer or a six pack to bring home.

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors, try hiking Tunnel Mountain or strolling past the falls at Johnston Canyon. Surprise Corner is a perfect spot for incredible views if time is limited. If the weather isn’t great, visit the Whyte Museum to learn about the history and culture of this amazing little town, or catch a matinee at Banff’s Lux Cinema.

In the evening, swap your hiking boots for bowling shoes at High Rollers, located just below Banff Ave Brewing Co. Make sure to call ahead and reserve a lane for you and your group.

Day 3:

Pop over to Coyotes Southwestern Grill for breakfast, then take a trip to the Fairmont Banff Springs, also known as the "Castle in the Mountains.” Drive down towards the golf course to look for wildlife and then take a stroll through the historic hotel.

Close out your outdoor adventures with a walk along the Bow River Trail to Bow Falls. Our itinerary ends after lunch at Melissa's MisSteak back on Banff Avenue where you can kick back and debate your favourite part of the visit.

You're now loaded up on mountain memories that'll last for months to come. And three days is just scratching the surface – we can’t wait to have you back for more Banff adventures!

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