Banff National Park, and its charming Town of Banff and Lake Louise Village, is a wonderful year-round destination. But ask anyone–from first-time tourists to long-time locals–and they’ll all tell you there’s something magical about spending the holiday season in Banff and Lake Louise.
Christmas lights, cozy outdoor firepits, snow-covered trees, and a mountain town vibe cute enough for a snow globe … what more could you want? That’s why, if you’ve been good all year, you deserve to add Banff and Lake Louise to your Christmas holiday travel bucket list.
Guide to Lake Louise and Banff Christmas Celebrations
The winter season is kicking off in the heart of Banff National Park and so are the Christmas celebrations.
In addition to all the fun winter activities Banff and Lake Louise has to offer (skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, dog sledding, etc.), there is a busy calendar of holiday events to bring on the Christmas spirit.
Here is your guide to some of the wonderful Banff Christmas events for the 2022-2023 holiday season.
Banff Craft Beer Festival
Get ready for the only craft beer festival that features exclusively Albertan craft brewers. During this beer sampling event, you’ll get to taste craft beers from over 30 craft breweries from all across the province of Alberta. And why not pair your unique craft beer with local appetizers and meals offered by the food vendors?
Note that this event is reserved for visitors 18+ years old. Make sure to bring a government-issued ID.
When: November 24th to 26th
Where: 311 Cave Ave – Cave and Basin
Cost: Tickets from $19.99
Find more information on the Alberta Beer Festivals website.
Banff Christmas Market
The Banff Christmas Market is held each year and it’s a local favourite. It’s a traditional European-style Christmas Market, located at the picture-perfect Warner Stables, where you can taste some festive cocktails, pretzels, and of course, the famous Christmas mulled wine. It also features more than 100 artisanal vendors, live music, and an outdoor fire lounge.
This event runs for a few weeks, from the end of November to the beginning of December, making it a great place to shop for your last-minute Christmas gifts or evening out with the little ones
When: November 18th to 20th, November 25th to 27th and December 2nd to 4th
Where: 100 Sundance Road – Warner Stables
Cost: Entry fee is $10.00 (free for children under 10 years old)
Find more information on the Banff Christmas Market website.
In Search of Christmas Spirit
If you’re looking for a magical evening event in Banff for the Christmas holidays, then look no further than “In Search of Christmas Spirit.”
At Christmas time, the Cascade of Time Garden is transformed into an enchanted evening walking path. During your magical evening walk, Christmas stories will be told by the animals of Banff National Park.
With an engaging story and captivating sound effects, you’ll find your Christmas spirit at In Search of Christmas Spirit.
Make sure to dress appropriately as it’s an outdoor-only event. Also, note that the trail may be icy or uneven. This trail is also not stroller-friendly nor wheelchair accessible.
When: November 23rd to December 31st, 2022. Wednesdays to Sundays evening
Where: Cascade of Time Garden on Cave Avenue
Learn more and book your tickets on the Banff Lake Louise Tourism website.
Skiing with Santa at SkiBig3 resorts
All SkiBig3 mountain resorts (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Mt. Norquay) are preparing fun Christmas events for skiers and snowboarders. Hitting the slopes at Christmas is the best way to spend quality time with the family, plus, what’s more magical than celebrating Christmas in a literal winter wonderland?
Banff Sunshine and Lake Louise Ski Resort are known to host Santa on the slopes as he makes his way around the world. Not only can you ski with Santa, but you can also take a few pictures with him. Your kids are sure to love it, and they may even get some candy or SkiBig3 stickers.
Both resorts are also giving a free day pass to skiers who are fully dressed as Santa. Don’t miss this opportunity for a free ski day!
Then, Banff Sunshine and Mt. Norquay organize an evening torchlight parade on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. At this special event, you can watch the trained torchbearers make their way down the slopes, illuminating the ski resorts in a beautiful choreographed red glow.
When: from mid-December to December 31st, 2022
Where: in all SkiBig3 resorts
Find more information on the SkiBig3 website.
Banff Hot Chocolate Trail
There is nothing better to beat the cold Canadian weather than sipping on a warm hot chocolate.
During the entire Banff Christmas holiday season, you can follow the Banff Hot Chocolate Trail to taste unique and creative hot chocolate recipes. We’re not talking about your typical Nesquik hot chocolate but instead over-the-top and specially-crafted hot chocolate recipes. Some hot chocolates are family-friendly, while others are for adults only.
From Kahlua and coconut rum to creamy white hot chocolate infused with raspberry syrup, the participating local cafes and restaurants will surprise you with their tasty and original hot chocolate recipes.
When: November 19th, 2022 to January 1st, 2023
Where: in selected restaurants in Banff & Lake Louise
Cost: varies from restaurant to restaurant
Find more information on the Banff Lake Louise website.
Christmas at the Castle
The Fairmont Banff Springs is an icon of Banff National Park. This castle-like hotel has tons of activities for its guests and all visitors in Banff for the Christmas holiday season.
Not only can you do a historic tour of this majestic hotel, but you’ll be able to participate in daily Christmas activities such as a snowflake scavenger hunt, an outdoor candy cane search, Christmas craft/ornament painting, and so much more.
The Fairmont Banff Springs turns into a magical castle during the holiday season in Banff, and it’s well worth a visit.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise also curates a magical Christmas holiday program filled with fun activities for the entire family, from gingerbread house decoration to horse-drawn sleigh rides.
When: November 25th, 2022 to January 5th, 2023
Where: Fairmont Banff Spring – 405 Spray Ave
Cost: most activities are free
Find more information on the Christmas at the Castle website.
World Cup at Lake Louise Ski Resort
There is no better way to kick off the winter and ski season than watching the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup. This world cup downhill ski race will be held at the Lake Louise Ski Resort once again this 2022-2023 ski season.
During this competition, you’ll see the fastest skiers in the world race down the slopes of Lake Louise Ski Resort. There will be a downhill competition and the super-G races. Both men and women will be racing during that event, though on different weekends.
When: November 25th to 27th (Men’s) and December 2nd to 4th (Women’s), 2022
Where: Lake Louise Ski Resort
Find more information on the Lake Louise World Cup website.
Recap for the 2022-2023 Banff Christmas Celebrations
Banff Christmas holiday celebrations start as early as mid-November with the Banff Christmas Market, the Hot Chocolate Trail and the Banff Craft Beer Festival. Then, the ski season opens nicely with the Lake Louise Audi FIS Ski World Cup.
December is when all the magic happens with many additional Christmas events in Banff and Lake Louise. During this holiday season, you’ll get to ski with Santa and participate in all the holiday activities offered at both Fairmont hotels in the Canadian Rockies.
All those Banff Christmas events will bring the Christmas spirit to your ski vacation.
Enjoy this holiday season in the majestic Canadian Rockies!