Downtown Banff is a fun and busy area filled with restaurants, bars and lots of good shopping. The downtown district itself does not house a lot of hotels and for this reason Ive added a few good value choices that are very close by. All my picks are suitable options that will prove to be an easy walk of Banff's great dining and shopping.

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Editor's Top 10 Picks

Editor's Picks
Book from ~$78 CAD
Clean but dated downtown Banff hotel with off-site indoor pool & hot tub at Banff Park Lodge
Pros
  • Free amenities: parking, bike and ski/snowboard storage
  • Rooms were clean and comfortable said guests
  • Guests liked being within walking distance of downtown and the Bow River walkway
  • Friendly and helpful staff, according to guests
  • Many guests enjoyed the river view from their rooms
  • Many guests felt that the hotel provided a budget-friendly option in an otherwise expensive hotel market
Cons
  • Wi-Fi is $5 per day
  • No air conditioning (except for River Suite)
  • Many found the hotel dated and in need of TLC
If you’re looking to be close to the core and you’re on a budget, the highly recommended Bow View Lodge is a great choice for Banff. It’s a comfortable motel-style property with friendly staff. It offers the best of both worlds with views of the Bow River, quiet trails in a peaceful setting and even visits from deer, yet a short walk to nearby restaurants and shops downtown.

Guests say the rooms, while on the smaller side, are very clean and well maintained. The sister hotel, Banff Park Lodge next door offers extra free underground parking, and important recreational facilities of indoor pool, hot plunge pool, hot tub, steam room and gym. Guests report that the Wi-Fi works well, although the hotel charges about $5 per day for it, and that the hotel has great access from the Trans-Canada Highway.

Bow View Lodge is close to a road crossing where the trains blow their whistles in Banff, even at night, but guests find that a good pair of ear plugs helps lighter sleepers avoid wakening in the night, and judging by all the reviewers who say they will return there, it can’t be that great of a problem for most folks. The hotel also offers free ski, snowboard and bike storage. The ski shuttle to the area’s three main ski resorts picks up next door at Banff Park Lodge.

Editor's Picks
Book from ~$257 CAD
Good value & highly praised downtown Banff hotel with restaurants, indoor pool and hot tub
Pros
  • Rooms were clean and spacious with comfortable beds
  • Guests enjoyed the breakfast and other dining on site
  • Some felt this hotel offered good value and good amenities
  • Location was excellent, close to town and the Bow River trail
  • Staff were cheerful and accommodating said guests
Cons
  • Wi-Fi is $10 for 24 hours
  • Self-parking is $10 and valet parking is $15 per night
  • There was the odd noise complaint from guests
  • A few found the bathroom lighting too dim
The hospitable and friendly Banff Park Lodge is a popular hotel in Banff that occupies a prime piece of real estate near the Bow River and is also perfectly situated for accessing the shops and eateries of the town.

It offers very clean and spacious rooms and suites with jacuzzi and balcony, spectacular views from just about anywhere in the building and is full of amenities and services including two restaurants and a lounge, breakfast and Sunday Brunch buffets, a eucalyptus-infused steam room, indoor pool and hot tub, a hot plunge pool, gym, beauty salon and gift shops. It also boasts a “last-on, first-off” ski shuttle right at the hotel’s doors, which will definitely appeal to serious skiers!

This is a very well-maintained and well-managed property with very reasonable rates, although the heated underground parking and Wi-Fi are surcharged at nominal rates.

Editor's Picks
Book from ~$82 CAD
Pet-friendly downtown Banff hotel with access to Banff Park Lodge's indoor pool & hot tub
Pros
  • Free amenities: outdoor parking
  • Rooms were clean with comfy beds
  • Location excellent, an easy walk to town centre
  • Great value at this hotel said guests
  • Staff were professional and friendly said guests
  • Amenities at Banff Park Lodge added value to guests' stays
Cons
  • Wi-Fi costs $5 per 24 hours
  • No elevator to 2nd or 3rd floor
  • Guests complained of dated rooms and dirty carpets
  • A few complained of noise disturbance from within and from outside the hotel
The Banff Park Lodge has another 'older sister' which is next door and offers great value for the expensive resort area of Banff. It's not in the noisy section of town, but an easy walk to its restaurants.

This is a good place for the serious skier who doesn't want to spend too much on a room, but still wants a clean bed and hot shower and some space to relax. Also by staying next door to Banff Park Lodge, guests can freely access modern and well maintained amenities such and an indoor pool, steam room, and hot pools, not to mention the good dining, buffet breakfast and lounge there as well.

One of the best parts of the Homestead Inn is that guests can keep their skis and snowboards in their rooms--this keeps them secure, plus warm and flexible--ready for the next morning on the slopes. Also the ski shuttle to the area's ski resorts is right next door at the Lodge with a last-on, and first-off stop, great for saving on valuable holiday time!
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$117 CAD
Clean and comfortable downtown Banff hotel with jacuzzi suites and free breakfast
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, continental breakfast
  • Rooms were clean and spacious said guests
  • Location was well liked, close to downtown restaurants, shops and handy to the hwy
  • Staff were pleasant and helpful said guests
  • Underground parking a plus for many guests
  • Free breakfast was liked by several guests
  • Wi-Fi was good overall said guests
Cons
  • Parking costs $5.25 per day
  • No air conditioning in the rooms
  • Noise from outside and inside bothersome said guests
  • Parking could be limited and the spaces tight
  • Dated decor and poor views a disappointment for some
This is a good choice if you can get a good deal and book one of the rooms with a balcony, that guarantees a view, and one not facing the back alley due to problems with late night and early morning noise.

Guests love the downtown location, so close to good restaurants and shopping as well as the ski shuttle stop, just a minute's walk. The Trans-Canada Highway is also easy to access, only 3 minutes away, for guests taking their cars to the ski hills and those who want to explore the area by car.

Cheap ($5.25) underground heated parking is a definite plus, but not for larger vehicles. (I’m told spaces are rather tight.) The hotel supplies a basic free breakfast good enough to get you going with hard-boiled eggs, bagels, fresh fruit and coffee, but if you want something hot there are good options nearby at the Wild Flour Bakery and Melissa’s Missteak. Rooms are clean and comfortable, although somewhat dated and without air conditioning.

Editor's Picks
Book from ~$175 CAD
Good value and pet-friendly Banff hotel with free hot breakfast, indoor pool and hot tub
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, wired Internet, hot breakfast, underground parking, local calls, all day coffee
  • Rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious said guests
  • Free hot breakfast was very well liked by guests
  • Staff were friendly and helpful to the guests
  • Location offered easy walking access to the town's restaurants and shops
  • Good value at this hotel according to many guests
  • Wi-Fi was excellent according to online surveys
Cons
  • Parking was tight with too low a clearance for larger vehicles
  • Breakfast sitting area a little small
  • Pool and hot tub were small according to some guests
  • Some thought the hotel was a little dated
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$120 CAD
Popular updated Banff hotel near downtown with outdoor hot pools and free breakfast buffet
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, deluxe breakfast buffet, underground and outdoor parking
  • Rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious said guests
  • Location ideal to the town centre's shops and restaurants
  • Many guests enjoyed the cafe and breakfast on site
  • Guests liked the hotel's updated decor, and courtyard featuring hot pools and outdoor fireplace
  • Staff were cheerful, knowledgeable and helpful said guests
  • Wi-Fi was rated as good by online reviewers
  • Many guests planned to return, recommended this hotel and thought it offered good value
Cons
  • Some guests were bothered by noise outside the hotel
  • Lack of air conditioning a problem for some guests on hot summer nights
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$146 CAD
Air-conditioned Banff hotel with indoor pool offers suites with kitchenettes and hot tubs
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, bicycle rentals, DVD movies
  • Guests liked the atmosphere and amenities of this hotel
  • Clean and spacious rooms with comfy beds, according to many guests
  • Reasonable prices and good value, according to some guests
  • Some guests enjoyed meals onsite
  • The Rundlestone is one of very few hotels that has air conditioning in Banff
  • Convenient location away from the noise, but close to downtown and trails
  • Staff were very well liked, polite and very helpful
  • Wi-Fi was rated as very good in online surveys
Cons
  • Some guests complained of dated decor and dark rooms
  • Some rooms near the pool smelled of chlorine and faced the interior of the hotel
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$112 CAD
Popular Banff hotel with large hot pool, the Keg restaurant and loft jacuzzi suites
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, coffee bar in lobby, Roam bus passes, local calls
  • Rooms were clean and well appointed said guests
  • Location well liked, in walking distance to the downtown but far from the downtown bustle
  • Great customer service and friendly staff, according to guests
  • Wi-Fi was rated as very good by online reviewers
  • Keg Restaurant on site well liked by guests
  • Guests reported excellent spa services on site
Cons
  • No AC a problem for some guests
  • Some guests complained that the basic rooms were smaller than expected
  • Underground parking a little tight for larger vehicles, according to guests
  • Some guests found their rooms dark
  • Noise disturbances reported by some guests from outdoor traffic/trains and guests in hallways
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$148 CAD
Popular Banff mountain lodge with large cave-style hot pool, mini-kitchens & free breakfast
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, breakfast, parking, local calls, Roam bus passes
  • Rooms were clean and comfortable said guests
  • Location was an easy walk to town's restaurants and shops
  • Cave-like hot pool with waterfalls greatly enjoyed by guests
  • Wi-Fi was very good according to online surveys
  • Staff were well liked, friendly, helpful and accommodating
  • Free amenities were often appreciated by guests
  • Some enjoyed the lounge and restaurant on site
Cons
  • Some guests complained that the basic rooms were smaller than expected and cramped
  • Guests were disappointed that basic rooms were not air conditioned
  • Late night noise caused by other guests was a disturbance to some
  • Some guests complained about no mini-fridges, no microwaves and inadequate lighting in their rooms
Editor's Picks
Book from ~$93 CAD
Well-liked air-conditioned Banff inn near downtown with hot tub, balconies & mini-kitchens
Pros
  • Free amenities: Wi-Fi, underground parking, local calls
  • The location was praised by many for being walking distance to shopping, restaurant, supermarket and trails
  • Guest reviewers said the rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious
  • Some guests really enjoyed meals on site
  • Staff were very well liked and knowledgeable of the area
  • Guests enjoyed the hot tub and found it very clean
  • Wi-Fi was rated very good by online reviewers
Cons
  • Parking can be limited and tight for larger vehicles, according to guests
  • Some said the hotel was a little tired in appearance

Tips For Staying In Downtown Banff

The lively town of Banff is nestled in a valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, just south of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The majority of Banff hotels are found in the downtown core, however, there are some accommodations tucked away in scenic pockets. The majority of the hotels are situated along Banff Avenue, the major thoroughfare in the downtown area, and almost every hotel in Banff offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Choosing Your Ideal Hotel
Banff is one of the top tourist destinations in Canada and is popular year-round. You can expect to pay high prices to stay in this stunning mountain town, however, many hotels in Banff offer free parking and free Wi-Fi. There are very few chain hotels found in this town, but there is still an ample variety of accommodation styles, including hotels, motels, B&Bs and hostels.

Travellers who prefer to be close to shopping, dining, and nightlife will want to find a hotel close to Wolf Street or Buffalo Street. The two blocks between Wolf and Buffalo, along Banff Avenue, is the commercial area that features many restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries and bars. While hotels in this area are conveniently located, late-night noise from the neighbouring bars (open until 2 am) might be a concern for some.

Both Mount Royal Hotel Banff and Brewster's Mountain Lodge are in this central spot, however, many reviewers recommend these primarily to travellers who prioritize location and aren't looking for luxury, as both are often described as needing to be brought up to date. Both hotels offer free Wi-Fi, and the Mount Royal also offers free parking. If you're staying during the summer and air conditioning is important to you, choose Mount Royal, as the rooms at Brewster's don't offer it.

Explore Downtown Banff
Banff is a walking town. Most shopping, dining and local attractions are within a 20-minute walk, especially if you choose a hotel on or near Banff Avenue. Walking is also a good option to avoid hunting for an available parking space in the shopping and dining area at Wolf Street and Banff Avenue. The limited parking spaces available are free, but time limits are enforced.

Roam Public Transit offers buses to downtown Banff and the surrounding region. The buses run daily from 6:15 am to 11:30 pm and routes include the downtown area, the Hot Springs, Sulphur Mountain and the Cave and Basin District. Adult single-ride passes are $2, while day passes can be purchased for $5. Many hotels in the area offer free passes to their guests, so be sure to ask at the front desk of your hotel.

Sightseeing in the Surrounding Banff National Park
Many people use Banff as a base for exploring the Banff National Park. Upon entering this expansive park, all travellers are required to pay a daily fee: $9.80 for adults, $4.90 for children and $19.60 for a family pass. The fee supports Park Canada’s efforts to maintain the park and also helps fund search-and-rescue services. Passes may be purchased at the park gate east of Banff upon arrival, or online before you travel.

The Upper Hot Springs and the Cave and Basin National Historic site are both within a 15-minute drive or bus ride of downtown Banff.

The Upper Hot Springs is a historic spa and bath house with a large pool of natural hot spring water. The temperature of the water ranges from 37 to 40 degrees Celsius and the spring water provides a variety of therapeutic minerals. The admission fees for the hot springs are: $7.30 for adults, $6.30 for children and $22.50 for a family pass. 

The Banff Gondola, that travels up Sulphur Mountain, is also on the Upper Hot Springs site. The 8-minute gondola ride rises over 2,000 meters to the summit. At the top, enjoy the scenery while dining at one of the two restaurants. This must-do attraction costs $42 for adults and $21 for children ages 6-15. Children 5 and under ride free.

The Cave and Basin National Historic site is the place where Banff was born. Discovered by railroad workers in the late 1800s, this cave still bubbles with warm spring water. You can learn more about the history of the cave through on-site interactive exhibits.

Lake Minnewanka, a glacial lake and the longest lake in the Rockies, is just a 10-minute drive north of the city along a scenic highway. It's a popular lake to photograph due to its pristine blue water and small treed island. The area offers campsites, boat tours and a hiking and mountain-biking trail--the best of Banff and yours to enjoy!

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