Whether you've got just one day or a whole week, getting to Banff over the holidays is a must! Sleigh bells, glistening snow, crisp skies and healthy, happy people—this place simply epitomizes that winter wonderland you ought to go for a walk in. And it's not just about Christmas. The holiday spirit lasts into the new year, as well. 2019 here we come!
Most of the holiday activities around here run through early January. See below for some of our tips for ringing in the New Year in Banff.
If you're fortunate enough to be spending Christmas itself here in Banff, you'll definitely be feeling jolly. From carolers in the square to Santa's Workshop at the Banff Gondola, the town is decked to the nines and oozing that magical holiday spirit.
If you've got a day
First things first—get to the Banff Gondola before noon so your kids can ride free. Then, step into Santa's Workshop at the top of the mountain, decorate cookies, catch a holiday film in the mountaintop theatre and even get a professional family photo. It's all running through December 30 and all activities are included in admission. View our Banff Gondola events listing. Added bonus for Alberta residents—Gondola admission is only $49 with proof of residency until April 30.
After you're done at the top of Sulphur Mountain, don't miss a stroll down festive Banff Avenue or a skate at the pond by the Banff Elementary School. A stop at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel let's you take in a bit of the holiday magic at the "Castle in the Mountains", where the halls are decked to the nines. Grab some dinner there or in town before heading home.
If you've got a few days
See our #happyplace itinerary for the ultimate 3-day Banff get-away.
If you've got a week
7 days is perfect for a winter trip to the mountains! Squeeze it in between Christmas and New Year's, and you'll be living the magic large. There's a lot going on, so do a bit of planning and be sure to leave some time to go where the holidays spirit takes you.
Christmas through New Year's musts in Banff:
- Stargazing from the mountaintop at the Banff Gondola on Fridays and Saturdays, November 9 through March 9.
- Dress up like Santa and you ski or snowboard for free at Mt Norquay on December 25.
- Sleigh ride with Banff Trail Riders leaving from Whyte Museum parking lot.
- Santa will be skiing at Lake Louise on December 23 and 24.
- Santa's Workshop at the Banff Gondola.
How-to New Year's Eve in Banff:
If it's an adult-only evening, we suggest dinner high atop Sulphur Mountain at Sky Bistro. Choose the Sky Experience for the best value at $89 which includes Banff Gondola admission and a choice of appetizer and entrée. Looking for something a little more casual? How about the Toque New Years Party—tickets are available in advance or at the door and include a DJ, Poutine Bar and glass of Champagne at midnight.
For families, is there anywhere better to be than on Banff Avenue for the annual festivities that ring in the new year with games, entertainment and fireworks? Dress warm, bring your own mug for hot cocoa, and be ready to smile a lot.
Header Image Photo credit: Paul Zizka, Downtown Banff and New Years Eve Fireworks.