Tucked away in the majestic Rocky Mountains, Banff is a small town bursting with stunning sights, outdoor adventures, magnificent nature and incredible food.

But knowing where to stay in Banff is super important. That’s why I put together this epic guide to the best places to stay in Banff.

Written by travellers for travellers, this article breaks down the best neighborhoods and towns near Banff, so you’ll know exactly where to stay based on your travel interests.

So whether you’re looking to hit the slopes, party all night long, enjoy a relaxing vacation in nature, or simply find the cheapest bed in town, I’ve got you covered.

Let’s jump right to it. Here’s my guide for where to stay in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Banff River Canada
Welcome to Banff National Park!

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Where to Stay in Banff

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are my highest recommendations for places to stay in Banff.

Private Room in the heart of Banff | Best Airbnb in Banff

Private Room in the heart of Banff

Enjoy having this cabin all to yourself! It includes a sweet BBQ grill, picnic tables, a kitchen, and a gazebo. There’s a quirky moose blanket that might remind you of your grandma’s house but ya can’t complain because it’s SUPER soft. Just a block away and will end up on the main street shopping and trying all the local restaurants.

Samesun Banff | Best Hostel in Banff

Samesun Banff

This awesome hostel comes complete with spacious dorms, amazing views, and a social on-site bar. Set at the heart of Banff, this hostel is close to restaurants, bars, and the town’s top attraction. They also offer a delicious free breakfast. This is the best hostel in Banff.

Hotel Arts Kensington | Best Hotel in Banff

Hotel Arts Kensington

The Hotel Arts Kensington is in a fantastic location, a short distance from Calgary’s top tourist attractions, bars, and restaurants. It has elegant and comfortable rooms with all the essential amenities. This hotel offers luggage storage and on-site bike rental. It is my pick for the best hotel in Calgary.

Banff Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Banff

FIRST TIME IN BANFF
Banff Neighborhood, Banff
FIRST TIME IN BANFF

Banff

If you’re visiting Banff for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than in the town itself. Set in the magnificent Rocky Mountain range, Banff is a town surrounded by unbelievable natural beauty. From towering peaks and snowcapped mountains to lush forests and striking valleys, you seriously won’t believe your eyes as you explore this rustic town.

ON A BUDGET
Banff Neighborhood, Banff
ON A BUDGET

Banff

Banff town is also our pick for where to stay if you’re travelling on a budget. Dotted throughout this rustic mountain retreat are a good selection of backpacker hostels and cost-conscious boutique hotels. So no matter what your situation, you’ll be able to enjoy all the perks of Banff.

NIGHTLIFE
Calgary Neighborhood, Banff
NIGHTLIFE

Calgary

If you’re someone who wants to enjoy a great night out after a day in the mountains, you’ll want to make your base in Calgary. Less than a 90-minute drive east of Banff, Calgary is the fifth largest city in Canada. It boasts a youthful and vibrant atmosphere and is home to a great selection of bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Canmore Neighborhood, Banff
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Canmore

A short twenty-minute drive outside of Banff is Canmore. This resort town is packed with great options for shopping, dining, drinking and exploring. It is well-equipped to welcome travellers any time of year and boasts panoramic views of this stunning region.

FOR FAMILIES
Golden Neighborhood, Banff
FOR FAMILIES

Golden

Golden is a town packed with family-friendly fun and adventure. From skiing, sledging and all variety of winter sports, to hiking, biking, white water rafting and kayaking, there’s plenty to do no matter what time of year your visit.

A world-class ski resort and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Canada, Banff National Park is spectacular. Set in the western province of Alberta, Banff sits nestled in the Canadian Rockies, surrounded by peaks and valleys, forests, and rivers.

This relatively small rustic town is well-equipped for hosting tourists. But what if you’re looking for something a little different? Thankfully, there are a whole host of resorts, lodges, towns, and neighborhoods nearby for travellers to stay in.

This guide will break down the five best places to stay in and around Banff.

Starting, of course, with Banff itself. This mountain town is considered the gateway to Banff National Park and stunning Lake Louise. It is where you’ll find a great variety of shops, restaurants and some of the best cottages to stay in Banff all with unbelievable views.

Travel south from here and you’ll arrive in Canmore. One of the coolest towns in the region, Canmore is home to a myriad of outdoor activities as well as outlet shopping, world-class dining, and hip microbreweries.

Continue travelling east out of the mountains to Calgary. The fifth-largest city in Canada, Calgary is a young and vibrant metropolis with options for entertainment, nightlife, dining, shopping, and exploring.

And finally, on the west side of Banff, over the border in British Columbia is Golden. A quaint and charming town, Golden is an ideal base for anyone who’s keen to get back to nature or enjoy a peaceful holiday.

Still not sure where to stay in Banff? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Banff’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, now you’ve got Banff on your hit list for staying in Canada. So let’s take a look, in more detail at the five best neighborhoods to stay in Banff. Each is a little different from the last, so be sure to pick the one that’s right for you.

1. Banff – Where to Stay on Your First Visit

Banff Neighborhood, Banff
Can you get any better views than this one in Banff National Park?

If you’re visiting Banff for the first time, there’s no better place to stay than in the town itself. Set in the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountain range, Banff is a town surrounded by unbelievable natural beauty. From towering peaks and snowcapped mountains to lush forests and striking valleys, you seriously won’t believe your eyes as you explore this rustic town.

But, there’s more to Banff than beautiful scenery. This charming town is also home to a good selection of boutiques and upscale bistros, relaxing bars, and boisterous pubs. No matter what time of year you visit Banff, you’re in for a rocking good time!

Private Room in the heart of Banff | Best Airbnb in Banff

Private Room in the heart of Banff

Enjoy having this cabin all to yourself! It includes a sweet BBQ grill, picnic tables, a kitchen, and a gazebo. There’s a quirky moose blanket that might remind you of your grandma’s house but ya can’t complain because it’s SUPER soft. Just a block away and will end up on the main street shopping and trying all the local restaurants.

Banff International Hostel | Best Hostel in Banff

Banff International Hostel

Thanks to its fantastic location on Banff Avenue, this is a great hostel in Banff. It is a short distance from the mountains, as well as bars, shops, and restaurants. You’ll enjoy comfortable rooms, a cosy common area, and a book exchange. Each reservation also includes a continental breakfast and tea and coffee.

Rimrock Resort Hotel | Best Hotel in Banff

Rimrock Resort Hotel

Set within Banff National Park, this hotel with a hot tub is close to hot springs, stunning views, and hiking trails. It has a range of wellness amenities including a sauna, jacuzzi, and an indoor swimming pool. This four-star hotel has spacious rooms with luxurious facilities. And for those on a road trip, there’s free parking. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-site. Of all the best hotels in Banff to choose from, you can’t get better than this.

Canalta Lodge | Best Hotel in Banff

Canalta Lodge

This charming and rustic hotel is well situated for exploring the region. It is within close proximity to restaurants, cafes, and bars. This hotel offers a myriad of great amenities including a Jacuzzi, an outdoor pool, and a relaxing sauna. Enjoy spacious rooms and stunning features at this three-star lodge.

Things to See and Do in Banff

  1. Hike the beautiful Parker Ridge Trail.
  2. Explore the lush landscapes of the pristine Sunshine Meadow.
  3. Trek along the Tunnel Mountain Trail.
  4. Discover grizzly bears in the Banff and Yoho National Parks.
  5. Drive the scenic Bow Valley Parkway.
  6. Go for a stroll along Banff Avenue.
  7. Browse the exhibits and the displays at Buffalo National Luxton Museum.
  8. Take in the incredible views at Surprise Corner.
  9. Wander throughout the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.
  10. Spend a night at Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon.
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2. Banff – Where to Stay When You’re Balling on a Budget

Banff Neighborhood, Banff
This is where to stay in Banff National Park on a budget!

Banff town is also my pick for where to stay if you’re travelling on a budget. Dotted throughout this rustic mountain retreat is a good selection of backpacker hostels and epic cabins and lodges. So no matter what your situation, you’ll be able to enjoy all the perks of Banff.

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the scenery while getting in a good workout – plus, it’s a nice way to save a little money in this world-class region. Lace-up your boots and hit the trails. Banff National Park is covered in routes and trails that are ideal for trekkers of all levels. So whether it’s your first time out or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s a stunning trail that’s perfect for you!

Samesun Banff | Best Hostel in Banff

Samesun Banff

This awesome hostel comes complete with spacious dorms, amazing views, and a social on-site bar. Set at the heart of Banff, this hostel is close to restaurants, bars, and the town’s top attraction. They also offer a delicious free breakfast. This hostel is my pick for where to stay in Banff Town on a budget.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge | Best Hotel in Banff

Buffalo Mountain Lodge

This unique hotel is my pick for the best hotel in Banff Town. Set in Banff National Park, this hotel is close the Tunnel Mountain, the Banff Park Museum, and plenty of restaurants and shops. It boasts a range of popular facilities including a Jacuzzi, a sauna, and a beautiful swimming pool.

High Country Inn Banff | Best Hotel in Banff

High Country Inn Banff

Located in the centre of Banff, this three-star hotel is the perfect place to rest your head after a day in the mountains. It has 70 recently refurbished rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a restaurant and bar on-site, with plenty of other eating and nightlife options nearby.

Contemporary-Styled Room | Best Airbnb in Banff

Newly Renovated Room

Cozy up in this riverfront B&B in Banff Town. The fireplace and big comfy couch will keep you warm after a day out on the slopes. It’s perfect for couples who want to dine out and explore walking around the town. Conveniently, this home is right next to a laundromat which means one less stop to make on your travels. This is the ideal base for exploring Banff National Park.

Things to See and Do in Banff

  1. Enjoy cheap drinks and great food at The Beaver Bar.
  2. Visit the Bow Falls, a stunning location any time of the year.
  3. See the picturesque and colourful Lake Minnewanka.
  4. Take in the amazing views on Tunnel Mountain Drive.
  5. Marvel at the views at Lake Vermillion.
  6. Trek the amazing ice fields of Athabasca Glacier.
  7. Hike the Hoodoos Trail and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
  8. Trek along the Banff Legacy Trail.
  9. Wander throughout the gorgeous Cascade Gardens.

3. Calgary – Where to Stay for the Best Nightlife

Calgary Neighborhood, Banff

If you’re someone who wants to enjoy a great night out after a day in the mountains, you’ll want to make your base in Calgary. Less than a 90-minute drive east of Banff, Calgary is the fifth largest city in Canada. It boasts a youthful and vibrant atmosphere and is home to a great selection of bars, pubs, nightclubs, and restaurants.

A must for anyone staying in Calgary is a visit to the legendary Cowboys Bar. This world-famous dancehall has been the heart of the Calgary nightlife scene for more than 20 years. Here you can enjoy a night of drink and dancing to the latest tunes, and you might even bump into a local celebrity or two.

Modern Sparkling Clean Condo | Best Airbnb in Calgary

Modern Sparkling Clean Condo

Take advantage of the view from this condo as you watch the city lights from the balcony before a night out. You will be near the center of downtown Banff near bars and restaurants. This condo is perfect for travelers who want to stay longer or just a night. Its equipt with basic cooking essentials, an office for some private space and access to High-Speed Internet. Before you check out don’t forget to walk the Bow River just around the corner!

HI Calgary City Centre | Best Hostel in Calgary

HI Calgary City Centre

This hostel is located in the heart of Calgary. It is close to bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and shops. Cosy and contemporary, it consists of spacious dorms with comfortable beds, individual lockers, bed lights, and free linens. It has a social common room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a free all-you-can-eat breakfast.

Hotel Arts Kensington | Best Hotel in Calgary

Hotel Arts Kensington

The Hotel Arts Kensington is in a fantastic location, a short distance from Calgary’s top tourist attractions, bars, and restaurants. It has elegant and comfortable rooms with all the essential amenities. This hotel offers luggage storage and on-site bike rental. It is my pick for where to stay in Calgary.

Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown | Best Hotel in Calgary

Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary Downtown

You won’t find a better home away from home in Calgary. The Homewood Suites has 122 comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It offers a range of great features, including a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and a gym. Breakfast is available, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.

Things to See and Do in Calgary

  1. Marvel at the impressive Calgary Tower.
  2. Watch the NHL’s Calgary Flames in action.
  3. Listen to great live music at The Blues Can.
  4. Grab a pint at The Kilkenny Irish Pub.
  5. Dance the night away at legendary Cowboy’s Dance Hall.
  6. Go for a stroll along the Bow River.
  7. Visit Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
  8. Party all night long at Jimmy’s Nightclub, a Calgary institution.
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4. Canmore – Coolest Neighborhood in Town

Canmore Neighborhood, Banff
Oh Banff National Park, why are you so pretty?

A short twenty-minute drive outside of Banff is Canmore. This resort town is packed with great options for shopping, dining, drinking, and exploring. It is well-equipped to welcome travellers any time of year and boasts panoramic views of this stunning region. There are a nice number of tasty cabins awaiting intrepid explorers.

Canmore also gets my vote for the coolest neighborhood in Banff. Despite being larger than Banff town itself, Canmore is often overlooked by travellers. This helps it maintain its authentic feel and laid-back Canadian charm, while also allowing it to stay off the beaten path. Staying in Canmore, you can enjoy all the best bits of Banff without the throngs of tourists.

Private Lodge in Downtown | Best Airbnb in Canmore

Private Lodge in Downtown

Make yourself at home in this enchanting lodge! Cozy up next to the fireplace or take a dip in the hot tub, this cabin has everything you would want to stay in the Canadian Rockies. The bed feels like you are lying on a cloud. Plus, you can snag a workout at the gym or swim in the heated pool! Perfect for couples but can sleep 4 with a pullout bed.

HI-Canmore / Alpine Club of Canada | Best Hostel in Canmore

Alpine Club of Canada

In addition to its central Canmore location, this hostel has five comfortable and spacious rooms ideal for backpackers and budget travellers. It has a range of great features, including ski lockers for guests, a delightful terrace, and a relaxing library. This is my pick for the best hostel in Canmore.

Falcon Crest Lodge by CLIQUE | Best Hotel in Canmore

Falcon Crest Lodge by CLIQUE

This is my recommendation for where to stay in Canmore thanks to its wonderful views, large rooms, and rustic décor. Set at the heart of Canmore, this hotel is close to dining, nightlife, and outdoor adventure options. It has a great swimming pool, a helpful tour desk, and well-equipped guest rooms.

Blackstone Mountain Lodge by CLIQUE | Best Hotel in Canmore

Blackstone Mountain Lodge by CLIQUE

This elegant and modern hotel is a great place to stay during your time in Canmore. Situated in the town, this hotel is close to cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars. Its stylish and comfortable rooms come complete with spa baths, kitchenettes, and refrigerators. There’s also an outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi, and a fitness centre.

Things to See and Do in Canmore

  1. Explore the subterranean world of Rat’s Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours.
  2. Hike the steep trail and enjoy the panoramic views from the top of Ha Ling Peak.
  3. Take in the views from the shores of Upper Kananaskis Lake.
  4. Marvel at the colours of Grassi Lakes.
  5. Hit the hills at Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park.
  6. Navigate the rapids as you raft down Bow River.
  7. Dine on fresh and delicious food at Communitea Café.

5. Golden – Where to Stay for Families with Kids

Golden Neighborhood, Banff
Can you get any more golden than Golden?

For families visiting Banff National Park, there’s no better place to stay than stunning Golden. This small town is located over the border in the neighboring province of British Columbia. It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive between Banff and Golden, but along the way, you’ll pass magnificent mountains, and stunning scenery and have the chance to stay in the stunning cottages in the iconic Lake Louise.

Golden is a town packed with family-friendly fun and adventure. From skiing, sledging, and all variety of winter sports, to hiking, biking, white water rafting, and kayaking, there’s plenty to do no matter what time of year your visit.

This town is also home to an incredible farmer’s market. Browse the stalls while you get to know Golden’s friendly locals.

Wooden Cabin on the Riverside | Best Airbnb in Golden

Wooden Cabin on the Riverside

This cabin has it all. The inside is clean, with lots of charm, and the bedding is soft and comfortable. It has a cozy living space for the family to enjoy. Soak in the outdoor hot tub after a day of activities exploring Golden. Relax with the family next to the fire pit, listening to the trickle sounds of the river. This cabin is private yet still just a couple of minutes away from the town.

Dreamcatcher Hostel Ltd. | Best Hostel in Golden

Dreamcatcher Hostel Ltd

This beautifully renovated hostel is located just off Main Street in the heart of the town. It has 8 private and family rooms with en-suites, and all linens and towels are included. You’ll also enjoy a spacious common room, a large, modern kitchen, and free wifi throughout.

Days Inn by Wyndham Golden | Best Hotel in Golden

Days Inn by Wyndham Golden

This superb three-star hotel is one of the best in Golden. Its rooms are large and comfortable and each has its own private bath and kitchenette. The hotel features a Jacuzzi, an indoor pool, and a seasonal golf course. There’s also a relaxing and luxurious on-site spa.

Prestige Inn Golden | Best Hotel in Golden

Prestige Inn Golden

This superb four-star hotel is one of the best in Golden. Its rooms are large and comfortable and each has its own private bath and kitchenette. The hotel features a Jacuzzi, an indoor pool, and a seasonal golf course. There’s also a relaxing and luxurious on-site spa.

Things to See and Do in Golden

  1. Frolick with buffalo at Rocky Mountain Buffalo Ranch.
  2. Ski in the winter or hike in the summer at spectacular Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.
  3. Enjoy amazing views of the Kicking Horse River.
  4. Bike or hike along Rotary Trails.
  5. Navigate the rapids of the Columbia River.
  6. Hit the slopes of Chatter Creek.
  7. Marvel at the colours of Gorman Lake or Moraine Lake.
  8. Take a trip to Lake Louise Village and canoe on the iconic turquoise lake.
  9. Indulge in a delicious slice from Red Tomato Pies Ltd.
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FAQs about Finding a Place to Stay in Banff

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Banff and where to stay.

What To Pack For Banff

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

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Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
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Sea To Summit Micro Towel

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Banff

Preparing is important. That’s why you should sort out good travel insurance before you start your trip.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Banff

Banff is an unforgettable travel destination. It’s one of the most beautiful small towns in Canada and is home to some of North America’s most iconic scenery. Whether you’re keen to hit the slopes, hike the trails, or simply relax in nature, Banff is the town for you!

In this guide, I’ve highlighted the top five neighborhoods in and around Banff, breaking them down by interest and budget. If you’re still not sure where to stay, here’s a quick recap.

Samesun Banff is my pick for the best hostel. Set in Banff itself, this hostel has spacious dorms, stunning views, and satisfying breakfast is served daily.

Another great option is the Hotel Arts Kensington. Located in lively Calgary, this elegant and luxurious hotel has comfortable rooms, and modern amenities, and is close to great restaurants and bars.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below!

Looking for more info on travelling to Banff and Canada?
See you there!