With breath-taking scenery of beautiful lakes and magnificent mountain-tops, together with plenty of entertainment spaces to enjoy great food, beverages, and art, Banff is a year-round destination that has a variety of things to do, ranging from hiking, wildlife spotting, swimming, canoeing, and horse-riding, amongst many other things. Awarded a spot in National Geographic Traveller’s ‘Best of the World’ list in 2017, Banff is a historical landmark that will surely become your next favourite travel destination, and you’ll never be short of things to do when you’re in this area!

With this in mind, seeing as Banff in the provinvce of Alberta is a location that has many things to do, see, and enjoy, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways that visitors can entertain themselves when they’re in town, making sure they’ll have the best experience possible! Although not comprehensive in any way, this guide will look at just some of the best spaces and sights you should definitely check out when in the area, together with recommendations for some of the best cultural activities and entertainment places you can visit during your time here. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Sight-seeing in Banff: Parks, Mountains, Lakes, and Forests

Banff National Park

Naturally, one of the things you simply must do when in Banff is to explore the surrounding park in which it’s situated, which also happens to be one of Canada’s first national parks. This UNESCO world heritage site was formed in 1885 after natural hot springs were unearthed in Sulphur Mountain. Spanning an area of 6641 km², there are plenty of different activities you can engage in here, including hiking, climbing, fishing, and bird watching, and you’ve also got plenty of lakes, glaciers, and forests to marvel at too! Other than that, one of the most exciting things you can do while in the park is wildlife watching, as this park is home to marvellous creatures such as moose, coyotes, deer, and mountain lions. Just remember to keep your distance if you’re lucky enough to come across any of these creatures, although dangerous situations between tourists and animals have rarely been reported here.

Banff Gondola

If you’re looking for the quickest way to view some of the park’s iconic landscapes and views, then we highly recommend booking a ride on the Banff Gondola. While gliding upwards on the Banff Gondola, you’ll have the best view of six mountain ranges, together with Bow Valley and the town of Banff, located in the beautiful Sulphur Mountain. This 8-minute trip is a perfect way to capture all of the lakes and forests’ superb views, making it one of the best ways to enjoy the park’s breathtaking sights in a short amount of time! When you’re at the top of the summit, you’ll be able to walk along the boardwalk and enjoy a great meal at one of the two restaurants available there, making the Banff Gondola experience a perfect way to spend the day when you’re visiting the area. Indeed, for all the hiking enthusiasts out there, we’d also like to point out that there are plenty of challenging tracks that you can check out here too! Alternatively, since these gondolas are open until 10pm, you can also opt to take a relaxing ride in the evening at the end of a busy day.

Banff Upper Hot Springs

If you’re looking for the perfect way to relax and unwind while catching up on all of the sights of some of the most beautiful mountain tops in the world, we highly recommend warming yourself up in Banff’s natural mineral water springs that are infused with healing minerals such as sulphate, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. These water springs go up to 98-104 in Fahrenheit, ensuring a cosy and relaxing experience, but the main attraction here is Mount Rundle, a 2948m mountain top which you’ll be able to see front row and centre while relaxing in the springs. Mount Rundle is also one of the most popular hiking spots, so you can also opt to plan a day hiking there and then head over to the springs to unwind! The site is also equipped with a cafe and gift shop, so you’ll always be able to grab a bite to eat when in the area and buy yourself a little memento for the trip. Keep in mind that this site works on a first-come first-served basis, so you won’t be able to pre book your spots here.

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

Step back in time when visiting Banff Park’s National Historic museum, one of Canada’s oldest natural history museums. This place offers an unforgettable experience to anyone who enters, with over 5000 creatures on display, ranging from small insects such as bees to big mammals like bears and bighorns, allowing viewers to look at Canada’s impressive wildlife up close. Located in downtown Banff, this museum is also the oldest federal building that’s still around in any Canadian park, and the museum offers a unique opportunity to understand how history was approached and understood in Canada during the Victorian era.

Glacier Skywalk

For all the adrenaline junkies out there, one of the most exciting ways you can enjoy the spectacular views of Banff is by heading over to Glacier Skywalk which is found midway between Lake Louise and Jasper. This skywalk is a bridge with a glass floor hanging over a large drop of up to 912 feet, offering impressive and enchanting views of the Sunwapta Valley. This unique and adrenaline-fuelling experience is relatively affordable and starts in Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre, where a bus will then be available to take you to the Skywalk. The Glacier Skywalk experience is also paired with an interpretive walk tour which deals with topics such as hydrology, anthropology, biology, and geology along the way.

Entertainment and Culture: Galleries, Canadian Casinos, Restaurants, and Stores


Apart from parks, lakes, and views of incredible mountaintops, Banff has plenty of impressive art galleries to get lost in if you’re an art enthusiast. One of the places we highly recommend checking out here is The Carter-Ryan Gallery, which presents the work of the acclaimed soapstone sculpture artist Jason Carter, whose artworks have been presented in several public spaces around the world. Another gallery you won’t want to miss out on during your time here is Canada House Gallery, which is another popular gallery spot in Banff that presents beautiful artwork from local artists. Here, you’ll find artworks from over 50 artists, ranging from paintings, sculptures, and jewellery.

Downton Banff

One of the best ways to spend the evenings in this area is by heading to Downtown Banff where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, bars, and shops, while still enjoying jaw-dropping views, offering the perfect balance of entertainment and nature. While you’re here, we highly recommend booking one of the multitudes of tours that will take you to all of the town’s iconic spots, ensuring that you won’t miss out on any popular sightseeing views! For coffee lovers, Banff has a plethora of independent specialty coffee places where you can get delicious coffee and treats, with a few local favourites being Elk + Avenue Hotel and Good Earth Coffee House. Other than that, Downtown Banff is also a great place to shop till you drop, and we highly recommend heading over to Bear Street or Banff Avenue to get access to some of the best stores available in town.

Canadian Casino Stoney Nakoda

One of the best ways to let loose and have fun especially if you’re looking for something to do in the evening is to visit Canadian casinos, with perhaps the most popular casino in Canada being Stoney Nakoda casino. Opened in 2008, Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino offers both an excellent selection of casino games to enjoy together with a top restaurant that’s offering à la carte specialties. Apart from great food and games, when playing here, you’ll also be able to witness the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountains, making Stoney Nakoda a unique and unforgettable casino experience which you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. You’ll find over 300 popular slot machines here together with 14 table games, where you can play Poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, and Roulette!

We’d also like to point out that when visiting Banff, people also have the option to enjoy online casino games at Canada online casino, and this is a great way to unwind after a long day out especially if you’re not keen on going out. The only thing we’d like to point out here is that players need to make sure that the site they are playing with is licensed, to ensure that your personal details and baking details are kept safe and secure.