We’ve spent New Year’s Eve in cities around the world – including the Champ Elysees street party in Paris and Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay – and there is hardly a place more magical than Banff. The Canadian dollar isn’t too strong right now and for those Canadians who don’t want to spend an absurd amount of money going abroad, Banff is the ultimate vacation destination for the holidays. It’s also an especially good time for visitors from abroad to take advantage of the exchange rate in your favor.
So why is Banff a good place to celebrate New Years Eve?
For starters, the town still has the afterglow of the Christmas season so it’s incredibly festive and lit with charming decorations and lights. There’s a whole roster of good restaurants with delicious New Years specials ranging from steak houses to 6-course surprise dinners. And as everyone knows, Banff knows how to throw a good party.
We’ll break down the perfect NYE in Banff for you here and help you plan the perfect luxury vacation to ring in the New Year.
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY
If there’s one time to splurge on a delicious dinner, it’s New Years Eve, and Banff has no shortage of good restaurants and venues. If you’re looking for something classier (bow ties and gowns) then you can opt for the New Years gala at the Banff Springs Hotel which includes dinner, dancing, champagne and music. There’s also the Eden restaurant in the Rimrock Hotel; one of Canada’s 6 5 diamond restaurants. In the mid-level price range there are restaurants downtown like Chuck’s Steak House or the Saltlik. See a complete review of our NYE dinner experience to the here.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel New Year’s Eve Gala $$$$
Rimrock Hotel – Primrose / Eden $$$
St. James Gate NYE Party (Dinner, Live Entertainment, Party Favours, Champagne Toast)- $$
ACCOMODATION FOR NYE
Wanting to stay in a castle for New Year’s Eve? How about a big chalet with 8-12 of your closest friends? The Inns of Banff and Tunnel Mountain Resort both do fantastic chalet options that are great for big groups of friends.
No matter what you’re looking for, Banff has it all when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay on New Year’s Eve. Wherever you choose, you’re still going to ring in 2016 in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Check out our post on cheap accommodation in Banff if you’re looking for something a little more budget.
FIREWORKS, STREET PARTY, AND NOISE MAKERS
As per tradition, Banff Avenue becomes a pedestrian-only zone on New Year’s Eve and everyone floods the street in a sea of party hats, noisemakers, singing and fireworks for a few blocks before midnight. Make new friends, watch the fireworks soar above the mountains and make sure you’re completely bundled up because Banff in December can be COLD. It’s all worth it, though, once you’ve made new friends and new memories to last forever.
LOOKING FOR AN AFTER PARTY?
Banff stays true to its reputation as a party town and you can expect there to be numerous places to have fun after the countdown. Whether you’re looking for a nightclub or something more intimate, all the options are there. Make sure to check out the Dancing Sasquatch, the Devil’s Gap or Hoodoo for the best nightclubs in town (check our post here for how to party like a Banff local).
Don’t forget to head to Aardvarks afterwards for a late night snack, or if you want to be really traditional you can even head to McDonald’s. Sounds ridiculous to recommend McDonald’s but it’s where everyone goes!
If being in the centre of the hustle and bustle isn’t really your thing you can always opt for a quiet, romantic celebration in the mountains – backcountry cabins or even resorts further away from the town are a great option for visitors looking to truly get away from it all. Email us if this is the type of celebration you prefer.
BOOKING YOUR TRIP / PACKAGES
Sounds wonderful and exciting but if you’d prefer to let an expert book your trip for you, then maybe we can help. Drop us an email and we can help put together the perfect New Years Eve Packages for you.
BLOG POST: OUR NYE EXPERIENCE
Unfortunately the Beaujolais restaurant was closed this year, but we decided to leave the post up to give a sense of how your evening might shape up. Switch it out with any other restaurant and you’ve got yourself the perfect New Year!
This year we decided to spend New Year’s in Banff instead of staying in Calgary, and it’s definitely a trip worth making. Here’s our advice to make New Year’s one to remember.
1. Book a hotel… Early. We found a room in October and it was one of the very few remaining in Banff. Plan in advance so as not to be disappointed. If you want to make the evening even better, we suggest going with a group and booking a cabin with a few beds; ‘Tunnel Mountain Resort’ has a bunch, and with a big group, the rate per person is actually pretty reasonable.
2. Book dinner…Early. Banff is obviously packed on New Year’s Eve, so choosing and booking a restaurant early is a must.
If you’re looking for somewhere really special to bring in the year with a bang then we just have to recommend ‘le Beaujolais’, located right at the end of Banff Ave. On any normal evening, you’ll have the option to try the 6 course surprise menu, which we can guarantee will blow your socks off, but on New Year’s there is a special 4 course New Year’s menu. We decided to give it a go this year and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are some of our photos from the meal (the filet mignon was unreal)…
Also, if you’re into wine, then you’ll have the opportunity to sample some delicious and unusual wines with prices ranging from the reasonable to the obscene.
Overall, this 4 diamond restaurant is well worth trying and it’s a fantastic way to start the year as you mean to go on!
Depending on what time you finish dinner and what your interests are, you may want to retire to your hotel for some drinks with your group and continue your party there until a bit closer to midnight.
3. Shortly before midnight, head out onto Banff Ave and join the street party. The street will be closed for vehicles and this year the entire street was rammed with people in anticipation of the fireworks and the celebrations. The atmosphere was amazing this year and well worth the trip out. The whole town was buzzing and we loved every minute of it! We 100% recommend making the journey out to Banff and bringing in the new year in this unforgettable place!
4. If your wallet is feeling a bit heavy after dinner and the hotel, then you might want to check out some of the clubs Banff has to offer (You have the choice of Hoodoos or Sasquatch). When we last checked for New Years, cover for Sasquatch was around $100, so brace yourself! (Although no one can blame you for wanting to enjoy New Year’s Eve)