Banff shopping may not be a phrase you would have expected for a mountain park town, but, as a resort town that has catered to the well-heeled for over a century, the number and quality of Banff shopping opportunities parallels the breathtaking scenery. Mountain purists will likely want to avoid shopping altogether and head for the hills to indulge in their favourite mountain activities, but as we all now, there is a large segment of the shopping public that views shopping as both a sport and an art form. Bring your wallet, but if you have a little patience you can find excellent deals,
perhaps while sipping a takeaway coffee from one of Banff’s cafes.
Shopping in Banff revolves around Banff Avenue and the streets immediately off of the main street, unless you are shopping in the boutiques at the Banff Springs Hotel, the Chateau Lake Louise, or another equally fine hotel/shopping destination.
Starting at the middle of Banff Avenue (at the end of the section of hotels, right where Banff Avenue finishes the turn and commences its commercial and shopping straightaway towards the Bow river), you will find Cascade Plaza, Banff’s main shopping mall. There is a food court on the bottom floor, Louis Vuitton on the main floor, The Gap on the first and second floors, Lammles Western Wear on the second floor (where you can get duded up in Western gear – particularly useful if you are planning on attending the Calgary Stampede during the second week of July), and there is also an Indigo Books, and many other stores, gift shops, and mountain gear outfitters.
As you leave Cascade Plaza, we recommend taking a right on Banff Avenue and heading down the near side of the Avenue to continue your Banff shopping experience. You’ll find jewellers, gift shops, and clothing retailers, including Roots (for distinctly Canadian clothing), Helly Hansen for excellent outdoor and activewear clothes (check out the basement - stairs at the back of the store - for insane sales), the Banff institution Monod’s for satisfying all manner of mountain/trekking requirements, and, of course, the yoga clothing revolution store: Lululemon. Also on this side of the street is The Bay, the department store and last vestige of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which once owned/ran most of Canada, where you can shop for everything from Mac make-up and the latest perfume scents from Paris to the iconic wool Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket (the white ones with red, yellow, and blue stripes).
Continue down Banff Avenue until you reach Le Beaujolais (the CIBC bank building is kitty corner) and cross Banff Avenue at the traffic lights. Turn left and head down the opposite side of the street in order to balance out your shopping karma. Stop in to The Banff Book and Art Den to find works by local authors, among other mainstream works. Then, depending on your need for outdoor gear or hiking boots (if you haven’t already blown your wad at Monod’s), test out a pair of hikers or sandals at RnR or SportChek. Then, if you have a sweet tooth, do not miss pulling into Welch’s Chocolate Shop – “The Banff Candy Store”, which has been making both young and old kids’ eyes pop and teeth fall out for years and years. As you continue down the street, there are of course many more shops, but they start to get fewer and far between.
Now, presumably, you have worked up a thirst for a nice cocktail or a bite to eat - click here to see some of Banff's great restaurants and pubs.
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