7 Christmas Activities that Make the Mountain Parks Shine

Ignite your spirit this holiday season in Banff and Lake Louise.

photos by Hubert Kang/Travel Alberta


You know that vision of the perfect Christmas that resides in your imagination? It has an address: Banff and Lake Louise. Here are seven activities that will brighten your festive spirit.


1. Santa Claus Parade of Lights in Banff

It begins at the stone huts of the Banff park gates where you swear those were elves greeting you. A million Christmas trees cover the mountainsides, all lovingly decorated by nature. The elk watching from the meadows begin to appear reindeer-like. Then you turn onto Banff Avenue, where shimmering lights glow all around, and jolly Saint Nick greets you from his horse-drawn carriage. Attending the Santa Claus Parade on November 17 is the perfect way to start your l Christmas season.


2. Banff Christmas Market

Next, we invite you to stroll Warner Stables, which has been transformed into a traditional European-style Christmas market. Find the perfect handmade gift at the Banff Christmas Market, November 22 to 25. Between browsing the booths of local artisans, kids can hang out in Santa's house where there is story telling time and other child-friendly activities. Adults can enjoy mulled wine or cougar milk (espresso or vanilla vodka with condensed milk, honey, hot water, butter and whipped cream) at the Outdoor Lounge Bar by Park Distillery. 


3. CP Holiday Train Banff stop over

The truly magical light display known as the CP Holiday Train makes a stop in Banff on December 13 to help raise awareness and money for food banks across North America. It features live music from Sam Roberts Band, Kelly Prescott and Tracey Brown as well as fun Christmas activities for the whole family.


4. Ski with Santa at Lake Louise Ski Resort

The small hamlet of Lake Louise has a big roster of festive activities that will ramp up your daily dose of holiday cheer. Glide on a frozen lake surrounded by snowy peaks, or hit the slopes to carve some of the best snow in the Canadian Rockies. Santa and his elves will visit the winter playground at the Lake Louise Ski Resort on December 22 and 23. Watch for him skiing runs off the Glacier Chair and Grizzly Gondola on his way to stops in the Lodge and Ten Peaks, handing out candy along the way.


5. Torchlight Ski at Banff Sunshine Village

Share more special moments as you watch torchbearers light the snowy peaks as they make their way down the hill for the Torchlight Parade on December 24 and 31. 


6. Banff Centre Holiday Performances

The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity always has a stellar lineup of performances and in November and December it is full of festive flare. Barney Bentall and The Cariboo Express perform a holiday special on November 10. The Barra MacNeils bring An East Coast Christmas to the Eric Harvie Theatre on November 25. The Debaters Live takes on holiday themes for its comedy stage show on December 2. And, kids will especially enjoy Sharon & Bram's holiday show on December 15.


7. New Year’s Eve Pyrotechnics in Banff

Banff Avenue is hosting a big New Year's Eve party, from Caribou Street to Elk Street. Ring in the New Year by roasting marshmallows, ice skating and attempting the fat bike obstacle course. Watch fire dancers and listen to music on the main stage before taking in truly unique countdown. To be respectful of the animals in the National Park, a spectacular pyrotechnics show replaces fireworks as party goers welcome the arrival of 2019.  


Ignite your spirit this holiday season in Banff and Lake Louise. The endless activities and warm welcome will give you stories to share around a crackling fire for many a Christmas to come.

For more details visit: BanffLakeLouise.com/Christmas



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