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It’s no surprise that most activities revolve around getting up-close-and-personal with nature. Still, Banff also offers several notable museums, including top-notch arts establishments and organization that trace the region’s rich history and culture.

Things to do in Banff

Banff Center

This world-class facility sponsors artists in numerous disciplines and offers everything from free musical performances to film festivals in its acoustically state-of-the-art auditoriums. It’s fabulous panoramic restaurant and wine bar is a must.

107 Tunnel Mountain Dr., AB, 403-762-6100,
Tags: live entertainment | things to do | culture | gallery | performing arts

Banff Gondola

The eight-minute Banff gondola zigzags up Sulphur Mountain. At the top you’ll find a pleasant restaurant and souvenir shop, 360-degree panoramic observation decks and nature trails to the 7,486-foot summit.

Mountain Dr., AB, 403-762-2523,
Tags: family | hiking | moderate | eco-friendly | things to do | wildlife | museum

Banff Park Museum National Historic Site

This railway pagoda-style wood-and-shingle structure from 1903 houses Western Canada’s oldest natural history museum. Its hardwood cabinets contain over 5,000 specimens of mammals, birds and insects.

91 Banff Ave., AB, 403-762-1558,
Tags: family | historic | things to do | architecture | museum

Banff Upper Hot Springs

Open year-round, this 1930s heritage bathhouse is a great place to soak up alpine scenery and the mineral water’s supposed health benefits. Guests can even rent period swimsuits.

1 Mountain Ave, AB, 800-767-1611,
Tags: family | things to do

Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum

Learn how the First Nations Peoples adapted to their surroundings and the European incursion in this imposing log structure. Aboriginal artifacts on display include costumes, teepees, quill work and hunting equipment.

1 Birch Ave., AB, 403-762-2388,
Tags: family | historic | things to do | culture | museum

Canada Place

The Banff National Park administration building houses interactive exhibits (climb in a birchbark canoe and "shoot the rapids" like Canada's historic fur traders) and the Cascade Gardens. Closed October through mid-May.

Banff National Park Administrative Center, 101 Mountain Ave., AB, 403-760-1338,
Tags: family | eco-friendly | things to do | culture | museum | gardens | free | national park

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

The site that inspired Canada’s national park system houses a museum with fascinating videos and exhibits detailing the history of the parks. Also here: the emerald-colored Cave and Basin springs.

311 Cave Ave., AB, 403-762-1566,
Tags: family | hiking | eco-friendly | things to do | history | museum

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Founded by prominent landscape artists/environmentalists Peter and Catharine Robb Whyte, the museum devotes exhibits to their lives and to Banff’s history. See Native American artifacts and recreations of typical pioneer homes.

111 Bear St., AB, 403-762-2291,
Tags: things to do | culture | history

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