36 ways to spend Christmas in Banff

Travel to Canada - What to Expect

36 ways to spend Christmas in Banff

The holidays are almost here. Banff Avenue is frosted with lights, Santa has been spotted on the slopes (for some pre-Christmas laps), and events calendars are bursting with fun ways to spend Christmas in Banff.   

If you’re a foodie, you can’t miss Banff and Lake Louise’s Hot Chocolate Trail or Brewster’s Country Christmas Dinner (including a magical sleigh ride). If you’re an explorer, what better way to treat yourself this Christmas than to a Canadian dogsledding adventure or a SkiBig3 Private Guide? Whatever your holiday style, there’s a Banff Christmas event for you. 

So, here it is – the quintessential list of Christmas events in Banff you need to put on your nice list this month. 

What’s a must-do Christmas event in Banff? Try and sip 19 different gourmet hot chocolate creations on Banff and Lake Louise’s Hot Chocolate Trail. | Photo by Banff Lake Louise Tourism

The ultimate guide to Christmas in Banff

  1. Go skating on the famous Lake Louise, to the backdrop of the Victoria Glacier. Rinks are shovelled daily by the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise staff and skates can be rented from Chateau Ski & Snow.  
  2. Follow a trail of illuminated sculptures, indigenous storytelling, and sound effects in Banff and Lake Louise’s popular In Search of Christmas Spirit, annual outdoor show. This event is free and welcomes all ages.  
  3. Sit on Santa’s knee at the top of Sulphur Mountain.   
  4. Marvel at the Mt. Norquay torchlight parade on New Year’s Eve. (The best spot to watch this on-snow performance is from the Town of Banff.) 
  5. Celebrate Christmas in true Albertan style at the Brewster Country Christmas Dinner. It includes a magical sleigh ride, live country music and a barn dance.   
  6. Book a private photo session with Santa Claus.  
  7. Dress up like Santa and ski or snowboard for just $75 at Banff Sunshine on Christmas Day. (Mrs. Clause, an Elf, a Reindeer or the Grinch all count too!) 
  8. Watch the sunset while soaking in a 140-year-old hot spring.  
  9. Trek through a natural canyon of frozen waterfalls as sparkling as the North Pole.  
  10. Coast through the Town of Banff and admire the Christmas lights while riding a fat bike 
  11. Book tickets to the timeless classic, A Christmas Carol, performed at the Fairmont Banff Springs.   
  12. Stuff yourself with a buffet brunch and Christmas cheer at the Northern Lights Alpine Kitchen Holiday Brunch (located at the top of the Banff Gondola).   
  13. Sit back and sip cocktails under the starry night sky on the Elk & Oarsman’s rooftop patio. Don’t worry, they’ve got fire pits to keep you cozy!  
  14. Ring in the New Year with beers, ten-pin bowling, and live DJ beats at High Rollers.   
  15. See if you can sip 19 different gourmet hot chocolate creations on Banff and Lake Louise’s Hot Chocolate Trail.   
  16. Create a Christmas craft at Mountaintop Christmas 
  17. Bundle up and rent a campfire for 1-4 friends at the Fairmont Banff Springs.   
  18. Stroll through a digital art installation of vibrant lights, video projections, and surround sound atop Sulphur Mountain. Nightrise is a winter night-time spectacle you can’t miss!  
  19. Grab a slice and a glass of pinot noir at Una Pizza + Wine. This intimate, trendy pizza joint will be open business as usual on Christmas Day.   
  20. Cuddle adorable huskies then fly through the frosty winter landscape on a dogsledding tour 
  21. Celebrate the New Year Canadian Rockies style. Lake Louise Ski Resort is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with a buffet supper, cash bar, night snow tubing and dance party. All ages are welcome!   
  22. Rent a pair of snowshoes and take a peaceful walk through the snow-covered forests of Banff National Park. We recommend the Upper Stoney Lookout Trail (starting from the Mt. Norquay parking lot) after a fresh snowfall.   
  23. Fuel up on a hearty Christmas feast at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Little ones can expect night tubing, hot chocolate, and a special surprise visit from the man in red…  
  24. If it’s chilly outside, head to the Cave & Basin National Historic Site. This local landmark is not only a great indoor Christmas activity but a fascinating look back in time to the origin of Banff National Park (and its endangered species of Banff Springs Snail).   
  25. Treat yourself to a guided tour of Banff’s most scenic and historic highlights including the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Bow Falls, Surprise Corner Lookout, and Banff’s largest lake, Lake Minnewanka.  
  26. Feel like you’re in a fairy tale on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, complete with warm blankets and real jingling sleigh bells.   
  27. Splurge on a private dinner with panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies in the Fairmont Banff Springs 360 Degree Dome Dining Experience.   
  28. Listen to local artist, Stephanie O’Dette, playing live at Farm & Fire on December 24th and 25th from 10am-1pm.   
  29. Shred with Santa at Lake Louise Ski Resort. Rumour has it, Santa and his elves will be on the slopes on December 24th and 25th.   
  30. Dive into a three-course turkey dinner at the Elk & Oarsman for $26 on Christmas Day.  
  31. Watch a holiday movie at 2450m (8038 ft).   
  32. Decorate holiday cookies while overlooking the Town of Banff.   
  33. Sip a yuletide-inspired cocktail at the Fairmont Banff Springs Thirsty Reindeer Holiday Bar.   
  34. Enjoy a family-style dinner in Santa’s private dining room for 6-12 special guests.   
  35. Dress up and join the Fairmont Banff Springs for their elegant (and festive) afternoon tea service.   
  36. Treat yourself to untouched secret powder stashes and priority lift line access by booking a SkiBig3 Private Guide over the holidays.  

*Some Fairmont Banff Springs Christmas events may be available for hotel guests only. 

On December 25th, dress up like Santa (or Mrs. Claus, or the Grinch, or a reindeer, or an elf..) and you can ski or snowboard at Banff Sunshine for just $75! | Photo at Banff Sunshine

Has this list got you feeling festive? Christmas in Banff is one of the most magical places on Earth. If you’re lucky enough to be here over the holidays, we hope you enjoy one or more of these Banff Christmas events.  

If you’re thinking about a visit to Banff and Lake Louise next winter, our reservations team will be happy to help you book anytime. Give them a call at 1-844-754-2443 or go online to access some exceptional Ski & Stay Package deals. Plus, check out more unique winter activities and experiences you can expect to find in Banff and Lake Louise all winter long!