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Follow Banff's 2023 Hot Chocolate Trail

Published Date
Oct 31, 2023|
Food & Drink, Events & Festivals
A couple enjoy hot chocolate sitting by a fire place with Christmas trees behind them at the Rimrock Hotel in Banff National Park.

Find the 2023 Hot Chocolate Trail details here.

When: November 17, 2023 - December 31, 2023

Whether you’re a kid at heart or are visiting Banff and Lake Louise with kids of your own, sipping on a steaming cup of hot chocolate is a must this Christmas season!

And we’re not alone in the sentiment either. Stop by these cafes and restaurants to try their unique spins on the famous winter-loving drink. Check out our 5 perfect hot chocolate trails to get out exploring Banff and Lake Louise will indulging in this classic warm drink.

Bear Street Hot Chocolates & Gallery Hopping

Hot Chocolates:

Gallery-hopping and hot chocolates? That’s a great way to spend a day on Banff’s pedestrian-first shopping zone, Bear Street.

Featuring six different hot chocolate stops and five art galleries – you’ll be fully immersed in the creative arts as you explore with your eyes and taste buds. Start your day by heading to the middle of Bear Street – near the historic log cabin that houses Jolene’s Tea House – and grab your first hot chocolate of the day from Wild Flour Bakery. Take your hot chocolate – and a freshly baked breakfast treat - to Bear Street’s outdoor fire pit to enjoy your kickoff to this loop of Banff’s Hot Chocolate Trail.

A hot chocolate on Bear Street with Cascade Mountain in the background.A hot chocolate on Bear Street with Cascade Mountain in the background.A hot chocolate on Bear Street with Cascade Mountain in the background.

Wild Flour Bakery

Brownie Bauble Hot Chocolate: Rich hot chocolate with house-made chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream, decorated for the holidays with a chunk of our legendary Wild Flour brownie.

See Bakery

After you’ve enjoyed your first hot chocolate, walk to the North end of Bear Street and hop into your first gallery – the Carter-Ryan Gallery. Home to local acclaimed Indigenous Soapstone Sculptor and Painter Jason Carter. This is the perfect place to pick up a gift for a loved one as you explore Jason’s uniquely colourful takes on the area’s landscapes and his subtle soapstone carvings.

From here, walk south down Bear Street to explore the various painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed-media artists at Banff’s well-curated Willock & Sax Gallery. Home to multiple artists, Willock & Sax can connect you with the art you love.

Hop next door into the business of local artists Dee Larosa and Nikki Goodwin at Paper Den. Stock up on mountain-inspired prints, greeting cards, journals, and originals. It’s the perfect place to pick up a locally-inspired souvenir from your trip.

Now that your eyes have had a treat, it’s time to get your tastebuds another one. This is the perfect time to stop for lunch at one of Banff’s acclaimed taverns – and yes, kids are welcome. Head to Magpie & Stump for the Mayan Mocha, Bear Street Tavern for the Baby Bear or Spicy Bear Hot Chocolate, or St. James Gate Irish Pub for the Cointreau Cocoa Fusion.

After a filling lunch, head back out to explore two more of Banff’s best galleries.

On the south end of Bear Street, You’ll find Canada House Gallery, serving Banff’s residents and visitors for almost 40 years. Dealing exclusively in Canadian art since 1974, this dynamic gallery features a diverse collection of paintings and sculptures by notable Canadian artists.

In the middle of the street, you’ll find one of the area’s top wildlife photographers, Brandon T. Brown. Photographing primarily in the Canadian Rockies, Brandon specializes in capturing images of wild free-roaming animals without baiting using a wildlife-first approach.

The best way to finish your day of exploring Banff’s art? Another hot chocolate at a cozy Banff restaurant. Try the Tiramisu Hot Chocolate at La Terrazza, the Boss Hot Chocolate at Three Bears Brewery & Restaurant, or go to Bluebird Restaurant for their Hot Chocolate Bomb or Cocoa Colada.

Banff Ave Hot Chocolates & Shopping

The Hot Chocolates

  • Tooloulou's
  • Eddie Burger + Bar
  • Little Wild
  • The Balkan Greek Restaurant
  • The Maple Leaf
  • Park Distillery Restaurant + Bar

Banff’s main drive – Banff Avenue – is home to some of Banff’s best shopping and unique hot chocolates. What better way to get your Christmas shopping done than to accentuate each purchase with a delectable hot chocolate?

Get up and get going by having your first hot chocolate early in the day alongside your breakfast. Head to one of Banff’s best brunch spots, Tooloulou’s, and get a Bayou Bourbon or Caramel Spicy hot chocolate.

A hot chocolate with marshmallows beside a Dia de los Muertos statue at Tooloulou's in Banff. A hot chocolate with marshmallows beside a Dia de los Muertos statue at Tooloulou's in Banff. A hot chocolate with marshmallows beside a Dia de los Muertos statue at Tooloulou's in Banff.


Bayou Bourbon Hot Chocolate (alcohol): Bourbon, Rumchata, vanilla, cinnamon, hot chocolate & toasted marshmallows. Caramel Spicy Hot Chocolate (alcohol): Butterscotch Schnapps, Caramel Bailey's, cinnamon, pinch cayenne pepper, hot chocolate, whipped cream, caramel drizzle.

See Restaurant

After breakfast, it’s time to go shopping on Banff Ave. After leaving Tooloulous, you’ll be in the middle of Banff Ave’s main shopping area. You’ll have a variety of stores to choose from, and it is the best place to find a locally-made Christmas gift. And since you’re here for the season, you have to visit Banff’s year-round Christmas store, The Spirit of Christmas.

You’ll likely have worked up a big appetite wandering in and out of all the stores – and finding the perfect souvenirs – so when you’re ready, it’s time for lunch and your next hot chocolate.

For lighter fare and a to-go hot chocolate, head to Little Wild (Wild Flour’s sibling store) for the Brownie Bauble Hot Chocolate. If you need something more substantial, you’ll find some of Banff’s best wild game-meat burgers and the perfect hot chocolate complement at Eddie Burger.

After lunch, keep exploring Banff’s shops. Or - if you are all shopped out – you can go bowling at High Rollers or head over to Bear Street and attempt to escape from Eureka Escape Room Adventures. If you want to be outside, mid-afternoon is the perfect time for a tranquil walk along the frozen Bow River.

When dinner rolls around, you have three more choices for the perfect hot chocolate dessert. For a Greek-style meal, go to the Balkan Greek Restaurant for their Hot Chocolate Rasta. The Maple Leaf and its Black Forest Hot Cocoa have you covered for all Canadian fare. Park Distillery Restaurant gives you the chance to enjoy their Fireside Hot Cocoa inside the National Park’s only distillery.

Banff’s Best Viewpoints

The Hot Chocolates

  • Whitebark Cafe
  • Good Earth Coffeehouse
  • The Prow
  • MacLab Bistro
  • Larkspur Lounge
  • Rimrock Cafe
  • The Meatball Pizza & Pasta
  • Pacini

Looking to compliment your sightseeing endeavours with a hot chocolate? This is the perfect trail for you. Start in the morning at one of Banff’s incredible cafes, where you can get a light breakfast and the perfect hot chocolate to start the day. Start at Good Earth or Whitebark (or go to both for the ultimate start of the day sugar kick).

A hot chocolate from Good Earth Coffeehouse in Banff.A hot chocolate from Good Earth Coffeehouse in Banff.A hot chocolate from Good Earth Coffeehouse in Banff.

Good Earth Coffeehouse

Minty White Chocolate Caffe Mocha: Rich white chocolate, Espresso, and peppermint syrup, topped with a sprinkle of Cocoa powder and whipped cream.

See Coffee Shop
A hot chocolate from Whitebark Cafe in Banff.A hot chocolate from Whitebark Cafe in Banff.A hot chocolate from Whitebark Cafe in Banff.

Whitebark Cafe

Raspberry Ripple Hot Chocolate: A decadent raspberry hot chocolate made with pure dark chocolate from Thomas Haas, whipped cream and a dusting of raspberries and served with a pistachio and raspberry biscotti.

See Cafe

After your morning pick me up – or with it in hand – head to one of Banff’s cross-country ski rental shops to pick up some skis and head to Tunnel Mountain Campground’s track set course. Whether you’ve never been on skis or are highly experienced, Tunnel Mountain is the perfect place to go because you get incredible views of Cascade Mountain, Mount Rundle and a snowy, beautiful forest. If you aren’t up for skiing, try walking the short Hoodoos Trail from the campground side for incredible views of Mount Rundle.

Once you’ve gotten your fill of active-adventure, it’s time for lunch. And two places have the perfect choices for hot chocolate and cozy meals. On Tunnel Mountain, you’ll find The Prow restaurant at Buffalo Mountain Lodge. This is perfect to get out of the cold quickly. If you want to be a bit closer to our next stop, head to the other side of Tunnel Mountain, and you’ll find MacLab at the Banff Centre.

After lunch, you’ll head to Surprise Corner for one of Banff’s most iconic views of the frozen Bow Falls looking towards the Castle in the Rockies – the Banff Springs Hotel. There’s a parking lot here, and Roam Transit will drop you right at the viewpoint, so you won’t be outside for long.

After Surprise Corner, it’s time to get your classic view of the Banff Townsite from the Cascade of Time Garden. This view looks over Banff Ave and is the reason the town was built where it is – to give visitors the best possible views of Cascade Mountain.

After witnessing this spot, it’s time to head up the side of Sulphur Mountain towards the Banff Gondola. It’s also time for your next hot chocolate fix as you stop off at the Rimrock Resort Hotel for their Banana Bliss or ChocoLuxe Elixir hot chocolate.

Finish your sightseeing trip with a visit to the Banff Gondola. The 7-minute ride takes you over the tree tops to the top of Sulphur Mountain, and you can walk the boardwalk or get cozy inside while witnessing the majesty of Banff from a wintery mountain top.

After coming down the gondola, you’ll have two options for the perfect desert hot chocolate to go along with dinner. Head to Pacini for a cozy, boozy hot chocolate or the Meatball Pizza and Pasta for a hot chocolate topped with blackberry gin and raspberry whipped cream.

The Lake Louise Special

Are you heading to see iconic Lake Louise covered in snow and ice? Then this is the perfect stop for you.

Start your day renting cross-country skis or ice skates from Wilson Mountain Sports or Chateau Ski & Snow and head up to the lake. Lake Louise is monitored throughout the winter season, meaning you know that it is safe to head out onto the frozen water.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise maintains a large skating rink at the head of the lake, and track-set cross-country ski trails loop the lake as well, making this the perfect place for your winter adventure.

After you’ve gotten your fill of the snow and views, head back into the Lake Louise village and go to the Lake Louise Inn, where you can get two hot chocolates and the perfect post-adventure meal.

The Lake Louise Inn

Ice & Fire Hot Chocolate (alcohol)

Indulgent chocolate cocktail with a kick, made of White Mint Schnapps and Chocolate Cake Flavor Vodka, mixed with cocoa powder, topped with chilli-infused whipped cream.

Snowball Hot Chocolate (alcohol)

Warm and comforting cocoa creation made up of hot milk infused with cocoa powder, Drambuie, and a hint of ground cinnamon, garnished with mini marshmallows and a touch of orange bitters.

Sunshine and Hot Chocolates

If skiing or snowboarding is your thing, then this is where you need to stop for your cozy hot chocolate pick-me-up. Take the shuttle to Banff Sunshine Village, where you can ski, snowboard, and snowshoe (with a guide) and get a tasty hot chocolate.

Hop on the gondola and head up the hill to the top to get to the Coco Lab – where you can find the Spiced Chilli Hot Coco. This is the perfect warm drink to get in the middle of your runs – take a small break, warm up and then get back onto the hill.

If you’re heading up on a guided snowshoeing adventure, ask your guide for a couple of minutes to swing over and grab this as you go. Bring your thermos to keep this tasty treat in your pack as you snowshoe.

The Coco Lab

Spiced Chilli Hot Coco

Spicy chilli syrup made with nutmeg and cinnamon and topped with a cinnamon stick.

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Real Banff is an inside look at the events and activities around the park, brought to you by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Our mission is to have a post on pretty much everything that is available for you to do in Banff, Lake Louise and beyond.