If visions of sleigh bells or sleigh rides, and dreams of enjoying winter fun in Canada’s Rocky Mountains dance in your head, it’s time to reconnect with loved ones in Banff and Lake Louise to celebrate the festive season. Christmas programming in the winter wonderland of Banff National park kicks off on November 19, 2021. The young, young-at-heart and families traveling to Banff with kids can enjoy an extended holiday season creating new traditions and embracing classic favourites in Banff at Christmas.
Celebrate the Holidays in Banff at Christmas
New this year is the Bear Street Holiday Market (open on select dates from November 19th to December 31st) where visitors can embrace the festive season and shop for handcrafted gifts from ten local artisans.
Stocking stuffers can also be found at the Banff Christmas Market at Warner Stables (November 19-21st and 26-28th). Additional authentic Canadian gifts can be found at one of Banff’s many unique retailers.
Enjoy a warm festive beverage on the Hot Chocolate Trail starting November 19th. Do all your holiday shopping at two artisan markets, and wander through Banff’s newest family-friendly experience, In Search of Christmas Spirit. This event is free and open to everyone, beginning November 24th.
Also taking place on Bear Street for the first time is the Banff Craft Beer Festival. The Bear Street Holiday Market and Banff Craft Beer Festival are the first major events to take place on the newly revitalized Bear Street in downtown Banff.
BANFF CHRISTMAS MARKET
Discover one-of-a-kind treasures inspired by mountain culture and crafted by more than 60 Alberta and B.C. artisans at the Banff Christmas Market. Enjoy festive entertainment and culinary delights while holiday shopping at this charming market at the transformed Warner Stables.
Where: Warner Stables
When: November 19-21 and 26-28the
Price: $7.50 (children 12 and under are free). Tickets must be pre-purchased.
IN SEARCH OF CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Discover the true meaning of connection and love through the magical outdoor illuminated experience that is told by the wildlife of Banff National Park.
Where: Check in at Banff Park Museum, collect a lantern and head to the nearby Cascade Gardens.
When: Departures are every 10 minutes from 5 – 10:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday evenings (November 24-18) and every day between December 22 – January 1st
Price: Complimentary. Reservations essential.
HOT CHOCOLATE TRAIL
Adventure with your taste buds and sample limited-time, holiday-themed hot chocolates – both alcoholic and child-friendly – along the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail. Several Banff restaurants are offering steaming cups of hot cocoa, with a few twists.
- Try one of seven hot chocolate offerings at The Juniper Bistro, including a Coconut Cloud vegan option and the Maple Nut, made with Park Distillery’s Maple Rye Whiskey.
- One of Banff’s newest restaurants, Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant, is serving up a Boozy Hot Chocolate with espresso vodka and banana liquor.
Where: 13 restaurants and coffee shops in Banff
When: November 20 – January 1
BEAR STREET HOLIDAY MARKET
Grab a hot chocolate and embrace the holiday spirit as you browse the Bear Street Holiday Market stalls featuring 10 local artisans and retailers for holiday gifts. Round off your experience with a bite to eat at a food stall or one of Bear Street’s many cozy restaurants. Additional authentic Canadian gifts can also be found at one of Banff’s many retailers.
Where: Bear Street, Banff
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 19 – December 31st
BANFF CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
Back after a year hiatus and taking place at a new location on Bear Street for the first time, the Banff Craft Beer Festival is the only craft beer festival featuring exclusively Alberta craft brewers. Treat your taste buds to craft beer from over 30 vendors from across the province, including Banff Ave. Brewing Co. and Three Bears Brewery and Restaurant, and regional cuisine at market stalls.
Where: Bear Street
When: December 3, 4, 5 and 10, 11, 12
Additional ways to get into the holiday spirit are by experiencing Mountaintop Christmas at the Banff Gondola from November 20th and Christmas at the Castle at Fairmont Banff Springs from November 22nd.
The most up-to-date information on Banff Christmas programming can be found at banfflakelouise.com/Christmas.
Tips for visiting Banff during the Holidays
- Planning your visit ahead of time is crucial. Before heading out on your trip to the mountains, know where you are going to park and how best to get around.
- Plan your visit and book Banff hotels, meals activities or rentals ahead of time for the best experience.
- Leave your car parked and explore Banff and Lake Louise by bus, bike or hiking boot. Visit explorethepark.ca for local tips on the best ways to get around.
- If you are planning to visit Moraine Lake and Lake Louise, the best way is to reserve a Parks Canada shuttle ahead of time to guarantee a seat. Learn more.
- Banff and Lake Louise is ready to welcome Canadians this winter. Watch welcome video
- Visit banfflakelouise.com/travel-information for the most updated travel information.
Start planning your holiday vacation in Banff using its new Trip Planner tool.
Need more holiday cheer? Check out our guide to Christmas in Vancouver with kids!
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Photo credits: Noel Hendrickson, Kelly MacDonald, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism