Whether you’re camping, hiking or staying at the Fairmont chateau Lake Louise, making sure you know where the best Banff coffee shops are in 2023 is, let’s face it, vital for your health.
Visiting Banff town is such a wonderful experience and knowing where the best coffee is should give you the energy to also tackle some of the best hikes in the Lake Louise region.
The best Banff coffee shops you need to try
Now you know where Banff is, let us introduce to you the best coffee shops in Banff you need to visit in 2023.
Most of the shops we’ve recommended are either local or family run.
We do this to support local businesses and try to avoid where possible, chain groups and franchises, but we understand sometimes options are limited.
Where is Banff, Alberta
Banff is the most popular tourist destination in the Canadian Rockies, let alone Banff national park and lies just west of Calgary and south west of the capital city of Edmonton.
In a post covid world, millions of tourists from all over the world flock to photograph the cobalt blue waters of Lake Louise and Moraine lake, to hopefully see the wide variety of wildlife that live here like Bears, Moose and Elk and to tackle the seeming endless slew of incredible hiking in the Canadian Rockies.
Banff national park is Canada’s oldest national park, having recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year, and all those tourists need their coffee fix.
NB: Don’t forget that to visit enter Banff national park and visit any of these spots you will need to purchase either a single day pass or a discovery pass for the national parks of Canada.
Where to park in Banff
Parking in Banff can be very difficult especially in peak summer time as the number of cars that enter Banff national park can exceed 10,000 in a single day. If you’re renting a car in Banff here is a few quick tips to help you find parking
- Banff train station – they allow up to 9 hours of free parking on Railway Ave, and when it’s full there is an overflow car park at the bottom of the station, 8 minute walk from downtown
- There are 94 free parking spots along Bow Avenue, only a 2 minutes walk into downtown
- There are also 187 free parking stalls in the multilevel Bear street parking in the downtown core
All other residential streets will be paid parking at $5/hour from 8am to 8pm, and every other street is reserved for residents with an approved parking permit only.
1) Whitebark cafe
Our go to coffee shop in downtown Banff is hands down Whitebark cafe.
Whitebark cafe offers a wholesome and wide selection of barista style coffees ranging from your typical espresso drinks, through to Macchiatos and of course your lattes and cappuccinos.
They have a full list of tea drinks as well as a delicious food pantry. Our personal favourite is the Zucchini muffin but they change up their sweet and savouries often that also include vegan and gluten free options so you never know what you might get.
They have a small section of high table seating inside that faces their patio seating that overlooks Banff Ave. Their outdoor seating has open fire pits that make those early, chilly morning coffee runs a little more bearable.
They’re also attached to the Banff Aspen lodge and seating for guests of both businesses inside is shared.
Their coffee is sourced from Moja roasters in north Vancouver that are both a fair trade and an organic roastery and source their tea from Banff tea company.
We tried every coffee that Banff had to offer and we continually returned to Whitebark cafe for the best coffee in Banff.
Location: Corner Banff Ave/Moose street
Hours: 630am to 630pm
Parking: You could park in the IGA grocery on Elk street for a few minutes, or if you’re getting your coffee before 8am the street parking on Moose street is free, otherwise its paid parking.
2) Good Earth coffeehouse
Good Earth might be a franchised chain, but they are still family owned and originally out of Calgary having now expanded all over Canada and still being a reliable source of coffee in Banff.
Good earth offers different flavours depending on the season which is kind of cool like a cherry blossom in Spring. The Goodearth in Banff also has a wall where you wait to pick up orders full of local wildlife photography of Bears, wolves and landscapes.
Goodearth wasn’t our favourite drop of coffee but it certainly does the trick.
Location: Corner Elk Street/ Banff Ave
Hours: 630am to 7pm
Parking: Similar to Whitebark cafe, or there’s free parking at the Banff train station on Railway Avenue
3) Evelyn’s coffee bar
Evelyn’s has been serving the Banff community since 1992 and is a fantastic place to grab a coffee as well as several pastries and sandwiches on the go.
Evelyn’s coffee shop is also on Banff avenue amongst a tyranny of gift shops in Banff and Jewellers so it’s a little more hectic but still a great place to walk down if you want to buy the family back home a gift from Banff.
Evelyn’s coffee bar is also in a super convenient location right next to Park distillery, one of the best distilleries in Banff.
Location: 215 Banff Avenue, Banff, Banff national park
Hours: 7am to 7pm
4) Wild flour bakery and cafe/Little Wild
Some of the best Banff coffee shops also double as small bakery breakfast places and Wild Flour bakery is no exception.
Wild flour bakery and coffee shop are located right next to Bison courtyard below the Alpine medical centre and make freshly baked goods like Cranberry walnut rye bread, Cheddar levain and for the gluten intolerant out there, a gluten reduced mixed grain loaf available every Thursday.
They serve a wide selection of delicious food like a breakfast sandwich, house made granolas and a berry compote that you can enjoy on their outdoor patio with 3 large wooden benches and tables.
Wild Flour ethically sources their beans from a roaster in Calgary as well as selling their signature espresso roast beans.
Little Wild is their sister coffee store 4 minutes walk away where you can get amazing coffee whilst also enjoying their summer benches and patio right on Bear street.
This perfect little coffee shop in Banff also sells signature gelato from their bear street store, maybe not a great idea on a cold winter day but perfect for those mid summer afternoon walks.
Location: Wild Flour bakery -211 Bear Street #101 Banff (Hours: 7am to 4pm) Google maps it
Location: Little Wild– 119 Banff Avenue, Banff ab (Hours: 8am to 6pm, 8pm Fri-Sat) Google maps it
5) Cliffhouse Bistro
Much like completing a strenuous hike and boiling your coffee at the top of a mountain, enjoying an espresso at the top of Mount Norquay ski resort with epic views is a fine way to enjoy one of the best coffee shops in Banff.
To enjoy this one however you must first take the Mount Norquay chairlift to the top of the mountain and grab a table at Cliffhouse bistro.
The Mount Norquay chairlift will set you back around $41 cad as of 2023
Location: Mount Norquay scenic drive, Banff ab
Hours: 11am till 6pm
6) Banff springs hotel
Stock is the name of the cafe inside the Banff Springs hotel, and whilst they’re slightly on the more expensive side being a Fairmont, they also don’t offer any specialty coffees here, so if it’s a simple black coffee you’re looking for this is it.
Fresh made sandwiches, an assortment of pastries and delightful treats will keep you going all day. Just a short walk to the other side of the Bow River is a surprise corner where you can enjoy your coffee with a view of the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
Location: 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta
Hours: 11am till 11pm, overnight menu 11pm to 6am
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Best coffee shops near Lake Louise
If this is your first time visiting the Rocky Mountains then heads up, Canmore is about 20 minutes away from downtown Banff, which is also 40 minutes away from Lake Louise.
So if you’re about to embark on a long drive without a coffee we think you should know where to get your coffee drinks from in Lake Louise.
The Guides Pantry at Fairmont chateau lake Louise
An assortment of freshly made sandwiches, baked goods as well as a premium coffee shop on site inspired by the Canadian Rockies, Chef Nicholas Issel brings you the best of 25 years experience in amazing assortments of treats before you head off on a hike around Lake Louise.
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is an incredible place to enjoy your coffee with the most epic mountain views.
Whether you sit in front of the fire in their lakeside courtyard, or dine in and enjoy the lake through the modern decor windows, it may not be the best coffee shop around but the views are second to none.
Laggan’s mountain bakery and deli
Right next door to Trailhead cafe is the ever popular and convenient Laggan’s bakery, serving daily fresh pizzas and pastries, excellent coffee, bagels and indoor sitting area to enjoy it all.
This tucked away gem of a coffee shop isn’t technically in Banff town but it’s one of the last coffee shops near Banff before heading further out the Icefields parkway for a day.
Trailhead cafe is in Lake Louise village adjacent to the Wilson mountain sports centre of Samson Mall. They’re the perfect little apres ski coffee house that serves up a creative range of coffees like the Maple Canadiano or a Winter’s night latte (which sound like coffee with a butt load of sugar!).
We love their food menu because it caters for varying dietary requirements like gluten free, vegetatian and vegan options. If you have a sweet tooth, we recommend trying a Nanaimo Bar, named after the town in British Columbia.
Before our road trip along the Icefields parkway we grabbed a salmon bagel for $8.75 and Laura got a Veggie Lovers wrap for $8.25. Reasonable prices for an extremely touristy part of town.
To get here you must take highway 93 (Trans Canada highway) towards Lake Louise from Banff and take Lake Louise drive left into Samson Mall. They may be a 40 minute drive from Banff, but we want to give you the options around Banff so you’re never left with your caffeine!
Location: 101 Lake Louise drive, Lake Louise AB (google maps here)
Hours: 7am till 6pm daily
Prices: All day breakfast price average $8.50, wraps $12, signature sandwiches $13 and a coffee is $6 on average.
Lake Agnes tea house
There’s truly nothing better than visiting one of Banffs best coffee shops in the middle of a hike in the Canadian Rockies, are we right? Hike the 3.5km hike to Lake Agnes tea house beginning from Lake Louise and enjoy a freshly brewed mountain coffee in Lake Louise.
Plain of six glaciers tea house
Hike another 5.6 km through open meadows and glacial valleys to this stunning tea house to enjoy a warm drink and good coffee with the best mountain views around.
CHECK THIS OUT >> We’ve put together the BEST Itinerary to exploring Banff
Other Banff coffee shops worth exploring
These are some of the lesser explored coffee shops in Banff we felt worthy of mentioning because whilst they’re not as popularised they are small coffee shops that still serve the coffee lovers of Banff with absolutely delicious meals.
Banff national perk
This has been a local favourite since 1988 offering baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and bagels as well as uniquely crafted lunch boxes that you can purchase and take with you on day hikes in Banff national park.
Happy Camper Cafe (Canalta Lodge)
This cafe sits inside the 3 star Canalta lodge on Banff Avenue and serves delicious food and coffee of downtown Banff and makes the list of the best coffee shops on Banff Ave.
Uprising Bake shop and espresso bar
Opposite Starbucks (which we won’t mention…) Uprising also has another store in Canmore, however we weren’t particularly fond of this place as some coffee stores seemed to struggle with the concept of what a Macchiato is..story for another time!
towards the southern end of Banff Ave just before Buffalo street, Peak cafe is one of those more alternative coffee shops in Banff, offering bubble tea drinks, fruity iced teas and traditional asian influenced small meals like spring rolls.
Milk Tea @ Banff
Milk Tea don’t actually offer coffee in their list but if you’re looking for a bit of a detox from all the caffeine you must have had by now then Milk Tea is the way to go, with over 25 different flavours as well as their bubble tea to choose from you might be bouncing off the wall after a visit here.
Coffee shops in Canmore
The drive along the beautiful Trans Canada highway from Canmore to Lake Louise is a stunning drive at any time of day and will only take you 51 minutes of total driving time.
If you’re driving from Lake Louise or Banff and want to explore more of the region then knowing where the best coffee shops are in Canmore is crucial.
If you’re looking to hire a car for your time in Banff then we highly recommend using Booking.com as your one stop shop for car hire rentals for the cheapest prices in one convenient location.
Eclipse coffee roasters
By far our favourite coffee shop in Canmore is Eclipse which can be found on 8th street in downtown Canmore.
They have a number of other shops in Canmore but we love this location because they have a small selection of pastries with gluten free options, chocolate croissants, sausage rolls and both an indoor and outdoor seating area.
Inspired by the Australian coffee culture, Blondies was born and raised in Canmore but their first shop opened in Sicamous, British Columbia. With a bunch of baked treats, homemade food and a bunch of milk alternatives, Blondies can be found on the corner of Bow Valley Trail and Benchlands trail.
Rocky Mountain Bagel company
As the name suggests they do ha-mazing bagels with a number of locations around Banff national park, they also do great coffee and their Bow Valley Trail cafe has a great rooftop patio with epic mountain views.
The Best Tea shops in Banff
Jolene’s tea House
Right next door to Wild Flour bakery in Bison courtyard is this newspaper/butcher shop turned tea house right on Bear Street.
It’s one of the oldest buildings in Banff, however inside is quite a cute, wooden tea house decor with fluffy throws, tea samples and a decent variety of teas like Rooibos, wild blueberry and peppermint.
Banff tea Company
Our absolute favourite tea house in all of Banff is the local Banff Tea company with dozens of tea leaves on display as well as all the tea making gears and gadgets like strainers, pots and tea cosies.
If you’re looking for a night fix recommendation we’d suggest ‘Knock yourself out’ with its Valerian root base you’ll have a great night’s sleep.
Coffee chains in Banff
– Tim Hortons
– GoodEarth (still a chain but decent enough coffee that we included it above)
– Second Cup
Other coffee shops in the Rockies
Whilst this is a guide to the best Banff coffee shops you will have to drive through either Jasper, Canmore or Calgary so here is a short list of some of the best coffee shops on your drive to Banff.
Best Coffee in Calgary- Analog Coffee
With 10 different cafes around the Calgary area, Analog coffee’s main 17th street cafe excel at providing guests with different types of brewed coffee such as Chemex, french press, aero press, standard espresso of the V60 Hario.
Offering coffee beans from across many regions around the world such as North and South America, Asia and Africa, pop into this store or buy a flight of coffee to be sent to your door.
Best Coffee shops in Jasper – Sunhouse cafe
Located in a mall with an outdoor patio serving up a great espresso, Sunhouse cafe serve up great milk alternatives like oat and almond milk, the second floor has great views over Patricia street, walk by next door to explore Coco’s cafe if you need more of a caffeine fix.
Final thoughts on the best coffee shops in Banff
The quintessence of road trips is making sure you have a great cup of coffee before, during or after the drive. The long drives in Banff national park are amazing but can get tiring, so over-caffeinating isn’t always a bad thing.
Both Banff and Canmore aren’t very big towns so making time to try them all out shouldn’t be hard work with all the hiking and sightseeing opportunities here.