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Town of Banff

Banff and Lake Louise Winter Shopping Banff Avenue
Noel Hendrickson
Banff Avenue

Historic town of Banff

The town of Banff is a spirited place, alive with adventure and wonder. In all directions you’re surrounded by strikingly beautiful and rugged mountains that seem to burst straight out of the ground. You might see a herd of deer wandering down the main street during your early morning jog. The lively streets of downtown are lined with top-class restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as a vibrant range of art galleries and museums. The locals are warm, open, and genuinely connected to the inspiring environment in which they live. The town of Banff offers you endless options for rejuvenation and exploration every day. 

Nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, the town of Banff is located within the Banff National Park. Once “Siding 29” on the Canadian Pacific Railway, the town of Banff was intended to be a tourist town from its very inception. The park’s first superintendent, George Stewart, even oriented the town’s first street so that it offered the best possible view of Cascade Mountain.

Banff was incorporated as a municipality in 1990 and has a population of around 8,000 permanent residents. The town site covers 3.93 square kilometres (1.52 square miles) and is at an elevation of 1,383 metres (4,537 feet), making it the highest town in Canada. Banff is flanked on all sides by towering mountains, including Mount Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, Mount Norquay, and Cascade Mountain.

  • A family walks along the snow covered Fenlands Trail in Banff, Alberta
  • Above Banff Town - Brandon Lam.jpg
  • Three friends drinking espresso coffee at Whitebark cafe

Things to Do

The list of things to do in Banff is amazingly diverse. No matter the season, there is a wide range of activities for people of all ages, abilities and interests. Hike the 4.3-kilometre (2.6-mile) trail up Tunnel Mountain to get a loftier perspective of the town and valley; enjoy brunch on a sunny outdoor terrace; or learn more about the history and culture of the area. 


There are inspiring and fun events happening all year round in Banff. The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, SnowDays, Banff Marathon, and Banff Yoga Festival are just a few of the events you will want to take part in while you are here. Have a look at the events calendar to check what's on when you are in town.

Where To Eat

Terraces fill year-round in Banff (a signature of the best alpine towns)... when locals and visitors emerge like marmots to soak up the sun at every opportunity.– Crai Bower, SF Gate

Whether it’s time to refuel before your next exploit, or you are looking to make your meal the main event, the town of Banff serves up a variety of dining options, including regionally sourced Rocky Mountain Cuisine, family-friendly fare, and meals for eco-conscious eaters and vegetarians. Discover more on dining in Banff here.


Head to Banff Avenue and Bear Street for an all-out shopping spree, or to just find a few essentials. A variety of shops sell genuine Canadian goods and everything else you can possibly imagine. Pick up a new piece of gear for your adventuring, browse original art at one of the galleries, and don’t forget a souvenir to take home to friends and family. Read more about shopping here.

Getting Around

The Banff town site is small, which means it's easy to get around and accessible for everyone. Walk and cycle the convenient roads and trails that lead to most amenities and attractions, or use Roam, Banff's public transit system. Find out more about how to get around Banff. 

Plan Your Stay

Browse and book accommodation and lodging packages with our trip planning tool. To learn about the different types of accommodation available in Banff and Lake Louise, visit our Places to Stay page or Contact Us to speak to a local expert.