Tucked between Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain, Banff is an idyllic resort town offering visitors plenty of outdoor recreation and other fun activities. Between charming boutiques and restaurants serving traditional Canadian fare, this area appeals to tourists with its convenient location in the middle of Banff National Park, making it a perfect place to connect with nature. Get your fill of wildlife sightings and hiking excursions when you’re not exploring our list of top things to do in Banff.
Showcasing artwork and historical artifacts important to members of the First Nations to Canadians, this unique museum proudly displays the cultural roots of Banff. The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies celebrated its 50th birthday last year and shows exhibitions that speak to the region’s heritage. Subjects include preserved homes of early settlers, art spanning from the 1800s to today and artifacts left behind from a variety of groups in the area.
Minutes from downtown, the Cascade of Time Garden is one of the most beloved things to do in Banff. The paved pathway of this picturesque garden winds past lush flowerbeds, between towering trees and up steps for a beautiful view of this peaceful respite. The mountain backdrop makes this path a breathtaking sight even in the winter. The garden is free for all to enjoy.
This favorite of visitors and Banff citizens has showcased contemporary pieces by local artists for the last 45 years. A few of the artists have gained international notoriety as well, in mediums including paintings, sculptures in stone or bronze, and jewelry. The gallery also features many First Nations and indigenous artists, showing works from a spectrum of experiences within Canada. We recommend purchasing one of these unique pieces to commemorate your Banff vacation as well as to support these talented artists.
A beautiful sight within walking distance of Banff, the Bow Falls lie along the Bow River. This waterfall was featured in River of No Return, a 1953 movie starring Marilyn Monroe, which made the falls one of the more popular things to do in Banff ever since. Enjoy a peaceful stroll to see this majestic sight among the towering evergreens of Banff National Park.
Of all the things to do in Banff (and we admit, this is outside the town), Mount Rundle is a major draw for lovers of the outdoors and avid hikers. Carved into this wedge-shaped mountain is an advanced hiking trail, which we only recommend for groups adept at hiking at this elevation and at a strenuous skill level. However, those who climb the summit trail—which is framed by wildflowers in the summer—are rewarded with a spectacular view of the national park beneath their feet.
This Banff attraction shows the history of the First Nations tribes before and after European settlers arrived in Canada. The museum is named for Norman Luxton, a pioneer at the beginning of the 1900s known for connecting with the local culture and helping other pioneers forge friendships and trading partnerships with many of the tribes in the area. Learn about the importance of this history when you visit Banff.
There are so many things to do in Banff, so don’t wait to plan your adventure. Call one of our travel experts and ask about one of our favorite ways to explore the Canadian Rockies. We recommend the itineraries offered by Rocky Mountaineer — renowned for offering majestic journeys in luxurious style.