In the movies, New Year’s Eve is inevitably a glitzy affair with gowns, crowds, a larger than life countdown, all topped with a kiss and confetti. Trying to make this happen in real life can be a little tricky and trying to force it can be just plain impossible – particularly if midnight is significantly past your usual bed time. The key is to pick the right party for you. So whether you are looking for family-friendly festivities, glitz and glam or to party till dawn, here is a taste of what Banff National Park has to offer.
Family Friendly Festivities
If wholesome is what you are looking for, lace up your skates because the Bow Valley celebrates with pond parties! Join The Town of Banff on the high school skating rink from 7-10pm on New Year’s Eve for fire pits, games and an early bird countdown at 10pm for those who won’t make it till midnight. (Remember to look over towards Mount Norquay at 7pm – you can see their Torchlight Parade from town!) After 10pm, night owls shift the party to the 200 block of Banff Avenue, gathering in Central Park for the best view of the fireworks. Otherwise, The Town of Canmore congregates at the 10th Street pond and offers live music to keep you dancing till the countdown.
Glitz and Glam
If dressing to the nines, a four-course meal and ballroom dancing to a live orchestra are more your style, making reservations at The Fairmont Banff Springs is just the ticket. With numerous eateries on site, you can choose from an intimate candlelight dinner at the Grapes Wine Bar & Bistro, a buffet in The Bow Valley Grill or the more formal New Year’s Gala (pdf) in the Van Horne Ballroom. Why not ring in the New Year at the only castle in town?
Check out our vacation packages for discounted stays at The Fairmont Banff Springs in the New Year.
Party Past Dawn
If all you want for New Year’s is loud and crowded, almost all the bars on Banff Avenue are likely to have something that appeals to you, but buying tickets in advance might be key to getting into your favourite hot-spot. Most places offer two types of tickets: you can get a dinner and party combo or purchase a ticket for the party portion alone which generally starts around 9pm. Be prepared to drop some coin, tickets can run anywhere from $20 to $125. A few stand outs:
The Rose & Crown is hosting a themed 80’s Prom Night Party so if you have some hideous taffeta hidden away this may be your chance to get some wear out of it, along with a good laugh. Tickets run $60 or $110 with dinner.
The Elk & Oarsman boasts live music, a rooftop patio for viewing fireworks and takes it one step further by inviting you back for their Hair of the Dog Breakfast Buffet on January 1st from 10am to 1pm. Various packages available from $35 to $95.
The Saltlik Steakhouse is going with a Fire and Ice themed party so dress up and wander up to the ice bar for bubbles at midnight. Tickets are only $25 or $30 at the door.
The Sitzmark Lounge is a bit further afield – it’s in Lake Louise! But if you are willing to make the trek (or spend the $5 to $10 for a reasonably priced shuttle to your hotel in Lake Louise or Banff respectively) they have a unique party on the books. Festivities start just after après, when Lake Louise Ski Resort staff will escort you down a freshly groomed green run for first tracks then straight into the Sitzmark Lounge for dinner and a dance. Tickets cost between $64 and $74 depending on the package chosen. Either way it’s front row seats for a colourful Torchlight parade.