You’d be hard pressed to meet any Canadian, or nature photographer who doesn’t have Banff and Lake Louise on their photography bucket list, but finding things to do in Banff, or knowing what to do in Lake Louise isn’t always easy.
And rightly so. The location is almost magical, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what you should do- especially if you only have a weekend to spend.
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t fall in love with that magical blue water, and the snow capped mountains, so instead of doing a ton of research, we’ve made it easy for you, and pulled together a list of things to do in Banff, and Lake Louise in a weekend that don’t depend on the weather. You can enjoy these activities year round.
Images via Haley Plotkin ( @readysetjetset)
And while we were excited to head over to Banff for that precise reason, we also discovered how great their food scene is as well.
Things to do in Lake Louise in a Weekend
How to Get There:
The easiest way to get to Lake Louise and Banff is to fly into the Calgary International Airport as there are many direct international and North American flights. From there, you can either rent a car from the airport or take a shuttle. Depending on where you’re staying, a few resorts also have direct shuttles running as well.
TIP: We recommend renting a car if you’re planning on exploring both Lake Louise and Banff as they are about 60 kms away from each other. Cars can be rented from the airport or Calgary city centre, rent it from the airport if you’re flying in to Calgary- it will make your life a lot easier.
WHERE TO STAY
Banff: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
If luxury is your game, and you want to not only be pampered but stay in one of the nicest hotels in Banff, then this is the hotel for you. There’s a reason why people love Fairmont Hotels! The service is second to none.
Lake Louise: Deer Lodge
Perfect for those looking for a quiet retreat to de-stress and get away from city live, and perfectly located just minutes from Lake Louise for those who want to fill their days on the slopes.
A rustic getaway for those who enjoy nature, and being immersed in some of the most beautiful views in the world!
WHAT TO DO IN LAKE LOUISE:
Lake Louise Ski Resort
This is the place to get your ski game one. One of the largest resorts in North America, and sitting right in the middle of the beautiful Banff National Park, Lake Louise, it’s no wonder why it’s on so many bucket lists.
Indigenous Interpretive Walk with Mahikan Trails
Understand the native land better with Mahikan Trails, an Indigenous Company that offers people an opportunity to explore Native Culture through Traditional Programs.
THINGS TO DO IN BANFF
Explore like a local in Banff
You can’t get a more authentic mountain town than, Banff itself. While the town can be a little touristy, the picturesque views combined with decent shopping and great food make it a must do on your list of things to do in Banff.
History buffs should add Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies to their list as well.
Explore Banff Gondola
Get a view from above in the newly renovated, the new Banff Gondola. We suggest checking out the ‘fly above Banff’ theatre, rooftop observation deck. Don’t forget to stop by the Sky Deck to grab a drink!
Banff National Park
Marvel in the beauty of one of Canada’s best National Parks.
Note: You’ll need to purchase a pass online or when entering the park.
A culinary event that will leave your mouth watering, and your belly full! The event itself is dedicated to supporting family farmers and educating buyers. With over 1500 Pounds of Heritage pig, 5 master chefs, and an artisan Cheese bar, you’ll have a hard time-saving room for dessert.
WHERE TO EAT:
For the rest of your time in Lake Louise/Banff, we recommend the following places to find some of the best ea
Drinks: Park Distillery
THINGS TO KNOW
We put together a few tips for the first timers to Banff (also handy for those who have been there before), particularly if you’re planning on heading there for hiking rather than skiing.
- Book your hotels as far in advance as possible: The best ones, like the ones we listed above will fill up really quickly, and everywhere else will hike up their prices. If you do end up getting stuck, check out AirBnB or our favourite app, Hotel Tonight.
- Consider going in mid September- October: This is the perfect time you’re not into skiing, but want to experience all the fun fall colours, and still enjoy the summer activities.
- Rent a bigger car: Trust us on this. You’re going to want to store your hiking gear, and if you get a bit lazy, you’ll want off-roading abilities.
Seriously, make sure you add Lake Louise and Banff to your list- go for the views (which are out of this world) and stay for the food- you’re going to be blown away by how delicious and amazing the food scene is!