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Discover Banff's Pedestrian Zone: Retail Therapy with Jaw-Dropping Views

Published Date
May 14, 2024|
Food & Drink, Shopping, Culture & Art, Sustainable Travel
A picture of the Banff Avenue Pedestrian Zone leading towards Cascade Mountain in the summer

It’s no secret Banff, Alberta exudes that classic mountain charm. With its downtown streets lined with picturesque storefronts and historic buildings, sun-kissed patios brimming with banter, and new experiences waiting to be discovered, excitement is in the air from dawn to dusk.

This summer, Banff Avenue will be closed to traffic ensuring ease of travel and enjoyment. And nearby Bear Street is designed to be a pedestrian-first space year-round with extra room to explore, including additional summer outdoor patios.

The pedestrian zone runs from the Canadian May long weekend (the third weekend in May) to just before Canadian Thanksgiving.

Whether travelling with family, friends, or a significant other, navigating the top Banff downtown attractions this summer will be effortless with this handy guide on the things to do in the Banff Pedestrian Zone.

Eat Your Way Through Downtown Banff at These Top Eateries

The culinary scene comes alive in Banff during summer. Whether enjoying a refreshing mountain morning over a coffee at any of Banff Avenue’s cafes, enjoying an afternoon treat (we’re thinking Beavertails or Cows ice cream), or capturing golden hour with a pint on a patio, one can easily spend the day downtown enjoying a full spectrum of flavours.

The downtown pedestrian zone opens up even more room to relax and unwind with streetside dining. Take a walk down the pedestrian zone and let your nose guide you to your restaurant, coffee shop, or brewery of choice.

With endless patios, summer food and drink specials, and iconic Canadian Rockies views, no matter where you look, dining in downtown Banff is unbeatable.

Check out the following rooftop patios for an elevated summer mountain vibe:

En Terrace Dining in Banff

In the summer months, both Bear Street and Banff Avenue open additional street patios. Here are a few restaurants that offer more room to mingle.

Dining for Big Groups

For larger gatherings, consider booking ahead at the following locations. Many offer private rooms or large open-concept dining areas that can accommodate your group.

  • Balkan
  • Bluebird
  • Brazen
  • Farm & Fire
  • The Maple Leaf

Rest assured that no matter your choice of restaurant, you’ll be blown away by the flavors and ambience.

Downtown Banff: Where the Shopping Parallels the Views

The walkability of the Banff pedestrian zone makes this a prime location to get in some summer shopping.

Although the Banff shopping district - Banff Avenue and Bear Street - can be walked through in a matter of minutes, they’re lined with inviting stores that will capture your intrigue.

From local boutiques to charismatic souvenir shops to well-known brands, chances are you’ll find it in Banff.

Looking for local shops to find your authentic Canadian souvenirs? Here are a few unique to the local area:

  • Paper Den 
  • Whyte Museum Book Shop 
  • Cabin 108
  • Jolene’s Tea House
  • Branches Marketplace
  • Monod Sports
  • Banff Sweet Shoppe

Plus, you’ll find big name brands right here in Banff, too! Stores like Lululemon, Canada Goose, Atmosphere, Fjällräven, Roots, Pandora, and many more are all within a quick walk of each other to shop to your heart’s desire.

Many stores on Banff Avenue have outdoor booths in the summer months, providing a bit of fun market ambience.

Every Wednesday a proper Farmer’s Market comes to Central Park, featuring a variety of enticing food and artisan vendors.

How To Explore Arts and Culture in the Heart of Banff

That iconic view of Cascade Mountain from Banff Avenue has inspired the arts and culture of Canada’s first national park since its infancy.

And you see this legacy of nature everywhere - from the heritage buildings throughout the townsite, to the beautiful artwork hung in gallery windows, to the stories told in local museums.

Take some time to dig in to Banff arts and culture by visiting these galleries and museums - all walkable from the Banff pedestrian zone.

Friends explore the Canada House Gallery on Bear Street in the Banff Townsite.Friends explore the Canada House Gallery on Bear Street in the Banff Townsite.Friends explore the Canada House Gallery on Bear Street in the Banff Townsite.

Guided Tours from the Ped Zone

For groups looking for time outside with local expertise on the area, consider booking a guided tour. The following companies offer great options, all accessible from the downtown pedestrian zone.

Discover Banff's culture from the convenience of the pedestrian zone—accessible by foot, e-bike, or OpenTop Tour! All start points begin in the downtown area.

Rather explore Banff at your own pace? Take a self-guided walking tour of Banff’s Downtown area to learn more about historic heritage homes and buildings, indicated by blue plaques in front of the building.

Find Great Events in Downtown Banff

Enjoying Banff during annual summer events and celebrations is another great way to immerse in the local culture. Canada Day festivities include ample activities all day long, and the Banff Marathon celebrates outdoor recreation with visitors from around the world.

Bike Valet on Banff Ave

Discover the charm of the Banff Avenue Pedestrian Zone on two wheels and enjoy a hassle-free experience with the complimentary Bike Valet. As you pedal into the heart of town, you’ll find the perfect spot to safely park your bicycle and immerse yourself in the pedestrian-friendly space.

Whether browsing through unique shops, savouring a meal al fresco, or treating yourself to a delightful dessert, the Banff Bike Valet ensures your ride is secure while you make the most of your day.

Conveniently open every day from 10:30 am to 7 pm throughout the summer, it’s the ideal solution for cyclists coming to Banff Ave.

Located in the vibrant Pedestrian Zone, just south of the Visitor Centre at 224 Banff Ave, and adjacent to the visitor services tents by Parks Canada and Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, the valet service is your gateway to a carefree exploration of Banff’s treasures.

Bike Valet Service Details:

  • Time: 10:30 am to 7 pm
  • Days: Daily, June-September
  • Location: Just south of the Visitor Centre (224 Banff Ave)
  • Cost: Free

Embrace the convenience of the Banff Bike Valet and make your visit to Banff Avenue a memorable adventure.

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You can truly see it all with no need for a personal vehicle. Banff is best explored car-free!

What are you waiting for? With our pedestrian zone guide in hand, you can begin planning exploration of the Banff pedestrian zone and beyond.

Have more questions? Connect with one of our local visitor experience specialists, available by Live Chat, e-mail, or phone. They’re happy to assist you with even more intel on downtown Banff.

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Tera Swanson

Tera Swanson

Tera is a freelance writer and graduate from Mount Royal University’s Journalism undergraduate program. Whether laced into hiking boots or clipped into skis, her favourite way to explore the mountains is on her own two feet. She’s always up for anything that will end in the telling of a good story; be it through photography, from pen to paper, or over a locally brewed amber ale.