Banff is an incredibly interesting destination in winter. With the majestic Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, surrounded by stunning snow-capped peaks and pristine wilderness, it offers a unique blend of outdoor activities and cultural attractions.
Banff Christmas Market is one of the highlights of the winter season. In this guide, find updated dates, locations and opening hours for 2023.
Christmas in Banff is a magical experience. Banff is transformed into a winter wonderland during the festive season, with sparkling decorations, festive lights and carolers singing in the streets.
There is a range of activities to enjoy, from outdoor skating on the frozen lake to skiing and snowshoeing in the mountains or simply taking in the sights in the charming mountain village.
Banff Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas markets in Banff feature an array of activities for all ages, including live music, local artisans, food and drink vendors, visits with Santa and a variety of holiday-themed activities.
Visitors to the market can explore the local shops and artisan vendors while listening to festive holiday tunes and enjoying the stunning backdrop of the Canadian Rockies.
There is something for everyone, from the children’s train rides and carousel to the gingerbread house workshop and a variety of Christmas-themed games.
Dates and Location
The Christmas market takes place over three weekends at Warner Stables.
Banff Christmas Market dates: Fridays to Sundays from 17th November to 3rd December 2023.
Location: Warner Stables.
Opening times: 10am to 8pm. Closes at 4pm on Sundays.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Location: Warner Stables, 100 Sundance Road, Banff, Alberta.
Admission: $10 + 5% GST. Children 10 and under are free. Tickets must be purchased in advance from 1st September 2023. Order here.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Events for the kids like Santa’s House and Reindeer Stables. Live music from 10:30am.
Recommended tour: Discover Banff with this historical walking tour.
Specialties: Locally distilled spirits, pierogies, tacos and mulled wine.
Where to stay: Mount Royal Hotel is nice hotel with excellent facilities, located in central Banff.
Hotels near Banff Christmas Market
Banff is a resort town within the stunning Banff National Park. The Christmas market is not far away, but it’s outside of the town centre. I recommend staying somewhere central to be within walking distance of places to eat out, entertainment and for access to the mountains.
I suggest staying at Mount Royal Hotel for its excellent location and lovely facilities.
Location of Banff Christmas Market
Discover more winter events with my Canada Christmas markets guide. Get ideas for where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience Canadian food, history and culture.
Christmas in Banff
Food at the Christmas Market
Walking around the Banff Christmas Market you’ll discover a huge range of of culinary delights. You’ll encounter a variety of snacks and specialties, a mix of local favourites and international classics that create a wonderful winter food fest.
- Bison burgers: In the heart of the market, you might be drawn to the sizzling sound of bison burgers cooking on the grill. The lean, richly flavoured meat is a Banff delicacy, served in a fluffy bun and adorned with your favourite condiments.
- Pierogis: A popular Canadian dish with Eastern European roots, these stuffed dumplings are a comforting treat. Filled with potato, cheese, or meat, and served with sour cream, they’re a must-try comfort food.
- Alberta beef stew: What better way to keep the winter chill at bay than a bowl of hearty Alberta beef stew? Prepared with locally sourced beef and seasonal vegetables, this warming dish is a tribute to Banff’s agricultural heritage.
- Nanaimo bars: These no-bake bars, named after the city of Nanaimo in British Columbia, are a beloved Canadian treat. Consisting of a wafer crumb base, custard-flavoured butter icing, and melted chocolate, it’s a delightfully sweet indulgence.
- Butter tarts: Another Canadian classic, butter tarts are sweet pastries filled with a mix of butter, sugar and eggs, often with the addition of raisins or pecans. They’re a sweet finish to your market food tour.
As you continue to explore, you’ll notice that the Christmas market in Banff also has many international treats:
- Bratwurst: This classic German sausage is often found grilling at the market stalls, served in a crispy roll with mustard. Its robust, savoury flavours make it a warming winter staple.
- Roasted almonds: Your nose might lead you to the aromatic stall of roasted almonds. These candied nuts, often spiced with cinnamon and sugar, are a common treat in European Christmas markets.
- Pretzels: Look out for the twisted shapes of soft pretzels, another German specialty. Enjoy them sprinkled with coarse salt or coated with melted cheese.
- Turkish delight: For a taste of the exotic, try Turkish delight. These small, fragrant cubes of jelly, often flavoured with rosewater, lemon, or mint and dusted with icing sugar, are a light sweet treat.
- Glühwein: Round off your culinary adventure with a warming cup of glühwein, a mulled wine brimming with spices. It’s a quintessential Christmas market drink that adds a glow to the winter evening.
The Banff Christmas Market brings together the local culture and global traditions, resulting in a festive culinary experience you’ll truly relish.
What to Expect at the Christmas Market
The Banff Christmas Market at Warner Stables brings together a unique blend of experiences that make it a winter event like no other. Here are some distinct aspects you should explore:
- Warner Stables setting: The market takes place at the Warner Stables, an active horse stable during the rest of the year. This unique setting adds rustic charm and authenticity to your Christmas market experience.
- Horse-drawn wagon rides: Sticking with its equestrian theme, the market often features horse-drawn wagon rides. These rides offer a unique way to see the sights of the Banff area, adding an extra touch of magic to the festive season.
- Local artisans: The Banff Christmas Market is notable for its focus on local crafts and artisans. You’ll find stalls filled with handmade jewellery, pottery, woodwork, and other unique crafts from the Banff region.
- Live performances: The market often showcases local talent with a schedule of live performances. From musicians to storytellers, these performances contribute to the vibrant, festive atmosphere.
- Wildlife encounters: Due to its location in the heart of Banff National Park, it’s not uncommon for visitors to have wildlife encounters. You might spot elk, deer, or even a pack of coyotes in the distance. Remember, respect wildlife and keep a safe distance!
- Mountain backdrop: Perhaps the most distinct aspect of the Christmas market is its stunning location. With the majestic Rocky Mountains serving as the backdrop, the market presents a scenic feast for the eyes, unlike any other Christmas market.
Banff Lake Louise has more information on visiting Banff at Christmas and a full list of events and things to do.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Making your visit to Banff more sustainable is a way of ensuring that this beautiful destination continues to be enjoyed by future generations. Here are some practical tips for reducing your environmental footprint this Christmas:
- Choose a hotel powered by renewable energy: Many hotels in Banff are committed to sustainability and use renewable energy sources for their operations.
- Support local businesses: In line with the principle of ethical consumption, make a conscious decision to support local artisans and small businesses during your visit. The Banff Christmas Market at Warner Stables is an ideal venue for this, with many local craftspeople showcasing their work.
- Cut down on food waste: When dining out, try to be mindful of the amount you order to avoid unnecessary waste. In addition, choose restaurants that commit to reducing food waste, such as Farm & Fire, which has a strict waste management policy.
- Opt for plant-based meals: A great way to promote a sustainable diet is to choose plant-based meals where possible. Banff is home to several eateries offering delicious vegetarian and vegan options, such as Nourish Bistro.
- Use public transportation: Reduce your carbon footprint by taking advantage of Banff’s excellent public transport system. ROAM Transit provides service throughout the town and surrounding area, including to popular spots such as Lake Louise and Johnston Canyon.
- Rent a bike: Banff is incredibly bike-friendly, and renting a bike can be a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the town and nearby trails. Numerous local businesses offer bike rentals, including Banff Adventures. This is obviously weather-dependent, but many people still cycle in winter.
- Practice Leave No Trace principles: This applies to any outdoor activities you undertake. Respect the natural environment by staying on marked trails, disposing of waste properly and leaving what you find.
By adopting these sustainable practices, you can enjoy the magic of Banff this Christmas while also contributing to the preservation of its natural beauty and resources.
Banff Christmas Market is on Fridays to Sundays from 17th November to 3rd December 2023.
The Christmas markets in Banff are held at Warner Stables, 100 Sundance Road.
The Christmas markets are open from 10am to 8pm. Closes at 4pm on Sundays.
If you want to leave a review of Banff Xmas Market, please comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Banff, Canada. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.