Do you love nature? Then you’ll enjoy spending time in Banff in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Banff is a small town that sees thousands of tourists every year who come for the mountainous setting, the amazing hiking, and the winter activities. Banff is the kind of town you visit because you love the outdoors, but it also has amazing food and great accommodation options.
Banff can get a little busy in the peak season, from June to September, so you might have trouble finding the best neighborhood in Banff close to everything. However, this town is very pedestrian-friendly, so with the help of this guide, you’ll be able to work out where to stay in Banff for your first visit or on a return trip without too much trouble.
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Banff ?
- Where to stay in Banff first time – Downtown District
- Where to stay in Banff on a budget – Canmore
- Best neighborhood in Banff for families – Golden
Where to Stay in Banff
To make things as easy and simple as possible, here are our tips for the best places to stay in Banff.
Bright Studio Suite
- Indoor fireplace
Long-term stays allowed
Located in a quiet street, this studio is in the best neighborhood in Banff for nightlife and offers a cozy atmosphere for a long stay. It sleeps 2 guests and has a full bathroom and fully stocked kitchen. Just 10 minutes walk from the Downtown area, it also has a private entrance and a BBQ area you can use.
Loft with Private Jetted Tub
- Gym, Wi-Fi
- Indoor fireplace
Long-term stays allowed
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Banff close to everything, then have a look at this luxurious mountain retreat. It boasts its own jetted tub, a gas fireplace, fitness center, and access to a spa with a hot pool. Housekeeping is included and the loft has everything you’ll need for a short or long stay.
Juniper Hotel and Bistro
- Banff Centre is 8 minutes’ drive from this hotel
- Banff Ski Club as well as Banff Hot Springs are both within 10 km away
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Banff for nightlife, this is a good choice. It has its own restaurant and lounge and is close to the center of Banff, where all the best bars are. The hotel has an on-site gallery featuring local artwork and rooms that all have amazing mountain views, all the usual amenities, and comfortable furnishings.
Banff Neighborhood Guide
Banff is a fairly small town, but it gets a lot of travelers and can get busy and congested with traffic. That’s why it’s best that you stay close to the things you most want to see and do rather than spend all your time commuting. To help with that, here are the best areas to look at.
The Downtown District is easily the best neighborhood in Banff for your first time. It’s close to everything, offers great hotels and restaurants, as well as transport options out of the town so you can get closer to nature.
The second area in this guide is Canmore, the best choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Banff on a budget. This small tourist town is less crowded but still offers great outdoor activities, restaurants, and other amenities for more budget-friendly prices.
The final area to consider in this guide is Golden. This town is located among some of the most beautiful natural scenery possible and offers lots of family-friendly activities and sites. It’s also quieter, which is a good bonus if you’re traveling with family and need a quieter atmosphere.
Banff’s 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Now, here’s a more intensive look at the three areas that work well for travelers of all kinds.
Where to stay in Banff first time
- COOLEST thing to do in the Downtown District – Explore the Cave and Basin National Historic Site
- BEST place to visit in the Downtown District – Banff Avenue, for shopping, restaurants, and a lively atmosphere
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Banff for your first visit, then the Downtown District is the easiest answer. Located around Banff Avenue, it’s the center of the town and offers a perfect mix of hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, and restaurants. Basically, it has everything you’ll want to see or do within walking distance.
This part of Banff does get very crowded though, especially during peak season, so if you prefer a quieter atmosphere then it probably isn’t for you. However, if you’re like most tourists then you’ll probably spend most of your time outside of the city limits exploring nature, so it shouldn’t matter so much!
- Marvel at the exhibits of the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site
- Enjoy the artwork at the Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont Banff
- Relax and enjoy the scenery at the Cascade of Time Garden
- Head out of the city for some hiking on the Tunnel Mountain Trail, the Cascade Amphitheater trail or the Plain of Six Glaciers trail
- Enjoy some warmth at the Banff Upper Hot Springs
- Take in the views from the Surprise Corner Viewpoint or the Mount Norquay Lookout
- Have a meal at the Grizzly House, the Bison Restaurant, or the Indian Curry House
- Take some friends out for a drink at Rose & Crown, Tommy’s Neighborhood Pub, or the Bear Street Tavern
Best Airbnb in the Downtown District
This one-bedroom apartment is a good choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Banff for couples. It’s within walking distance of the center of Downtown and has a full kitchen, free parking, and laundry facilities. If you want to be close to everything on a budget, then this apartment is for you!
Heading to Banff? Save some money with our guide to the coolest hostels in Banff!
Best High-End Airbnb in the Downtown District
With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this condo sleeps up to 6 guests, but it’s the view of Mount Rundle that really makes this accommodation special. It’s located just 5 minutes walk from the Downtown area and has a kids’ loft play area, a BBQ area, a private balcony, and a gas fireplace where you can relax and get warm after a day of outdoor activities.
Best Budget Hotel in the Downtown District
Located 5 minutes walk from the city center, this hotel is close to everything. It boasts uniquely decorated guest rooms with warm, welcoming decor, en suite bathrooms, and all the usual amenities as well as free parking. It’s also close to the Banff Gondola, which will take you up the Sulphur Mountain for skiing and amazing views!
Best Luxury Hotel in the Downtown District
This luxury hotel is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Banff for couples. It has an indoor pool and hot tub, an on-site restaurant, and large rooms with amazing views. The hotel also has a spa and wellness center so that you can enjoy the full experience of a relaxing visit to Canada.
Where to stay in Banff on a budget
- COOLEST thing to do in Canmore – Go hiking on the Three Sisters Mountains
- BEST place to visit in Canmore – The Canmore Nordic Centre for amazing skiing in winter and hiking in summer
If you’re trying to find the best neighborhood in Banff if you are on a budget, then why not head to Canmore? Located 15 minutes from the town of Banff and 5 minutes from the gates of the Banff National Park, this small town is less commercial and less touristy, but still offers unfettered access to national parks and all the amazing landscape that Banff is famous for.
In Canmore, you can go hiking, skiing, or just enjoy the views from the Three Sisters Mountains without the crowds. There are also a good collection of bars and restaurants in Canmore, which you’ll be able to enjoy without having lots of noisy tourists around. And of course, few tourists means that the prices are more budget-friendly!
- Hike the Grotto Canyon Trail, the West Wind Pass, or the Old Goat Glacier trail
- Take a dogsled tour through the area
- Relax by the lake and take in the views of Quarry Lake Park
- Go hiking, fishing, or camping in the Bow Flats Natural Area
- Explore Canmore Cave
- Take your camera and your car on the Kananaskis Wildlife Loop
- Head out of Canmore to check out some of Canada’s spooky ghost towns, like Georgetown or Bankhead
- Go rafting down Bow River
- Have a meal at 4296, Tapas Restaurant, or Spice Hut Indian Cuisine
Best Airbnb in Canmore
With 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, this apartment is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Banff on a budget. It has a full kitchen, balcony, BBQ, and a fireplace, as well as warm, homey furnishings. During your stay, you’ll also have access to the building’s gym, pool, hot tub, and underground parking, as well.
The apartment is located just 5 minutes walk from the center of Canmore and a short drive from the center of Banff.
Best High End Airbnb in Canmore
With 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, this apartment sleeps up to 8 guests, so is perfect for a big family or a big group of friends looking for a fun holiday. It offers a kitchen, laundry facilities, and free parking as well as complete privacy right in the heart of Canmore.
Best Budget Hotel in Canmore
This lodge has a full-service day spa and a restaurant where you can have your evening meal. If you’d prefer to cook, then the suites have their own fully equipped kitchen, a fireplace, and come in one or two bedrooms, to suit every type of travel group. The lodge is close to the Banff National Park and to local shops and restaurants for near-perfect convenience.
Best Luxury Hotel in Canmore
Close to the Canmore shops and restaurants, this luxurious hotel has lots of common spaces for socializing. You can relax in one of the lounges, play pool, or relax on the outdoor deck and patio. The rooms have mountain views and the hotel is just a short drive from the Banff National Park so you can get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!
Best neighborhood in Banff for families
- COOLEST thing to do in Golden – Get up close and personal with buffalo at the Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch
- BEST place to visit in Golden – the Golden’s Farmer’s Market for friendly locals, souvenirs, and cheap produce
If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Banff for families, then head over to Golden. Located an hour and a half drive from Banff and over the border in British Columbia, this area offers the perfect mix of attractions, stunning natural scenery, and a relaxing atmosphere, perfect if you’re traveling with children.
Golden is surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountain scenery imaginable. It’s also close to the iconic Lake Louise, which is a must-see while you’re in Canada. It has a good collection of restaurants, so you definitely won’t go hungry while you’re in the area, as well lots of opportunities for outdoor activities in every season.
- Have a meal at the Ronin Noodle Bar, The Wolf’s Den or Eleven22
- Try some local brews at the Whitetooth Brewing Company
- Learn about the history of the area at the Golden Museum and Archives
- Support the local art community at the Art Gallery Of Golden-Kicking Horse Culture
- Go camping or walking at the Cedar Lake Recreation Site
- See a grizzly in its natural habitat at the Grizzly Bear Interpretive Centre
- Go skiing or hiking at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
- Go alpine rafting on the Columbia River
Best Airbnb in Golden
With enough space for up to 3 guests, this apartment is bright, airy, and budget-friendly. Located right in the center of Golden, it offers easy walking access to local shops and restaurants as well as to amazing views. If you’re looking for a local experience in this part of the country, then this apartment is for you.
Best High End Airbnb in Golden
If you’re going to visit the wilds of Canada, why not do it right and stay in a cabin surrounded by everything that nature has to offer? This adorable cabin sleeps 2 guests and is located in a lovely forest area just outside of Golden. It’s two stories with a full kitchen and living area downstairs and a bedroom upstairs. There are also 2 covered decks so that you can sit out and really absorb the beautiful location.
Best Budget Hotel in Golden
If you’d like to stay in a hotel in the best neighborhood in Banff for families, then you need somewhere that’s close to all the best local attractions. And that’s exactly what this hotel offers. It has a sauna and outdoor tub, mountain views from every room, an on-site fitness center, and underground parking.
As an added bonus, the hotel is located in the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort with direct access to the Golden Eagle Express Gondola to make accessing outdoor activities as easy as possible.
Best Luxury Hotel in Golden
If you prefer a bit of luxury during your travels, this inn is for you. It has an on-site restaurant, fitness center, indoor pool, hot tub, and comfortable rooms with private entrances. There’s also a lounge in the inn where you can enjoy a late-night drink. The hotel is close to the local golf club and to ski resorts where you enjoy the best that this part of the world has to offer.
Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Banff
Spending time in Banff means stunning natural scenery, outdoor activities, and burning a lot of energy exploring the landscape. So, when you come back to town, you’ll need a quiet and comfortable place to stay.
Using this guide will help you find that accommodation, whether you’re traveling on your own or looking for the best neighborhood to stay in Banff for couples, your family or a group of friends. So, get out there and explore this cool little town!
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