Most Unusual & Offbeat Attractions in Banff

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Visitors usually head to Banff for one of two reasons – top-notch skiing and hiking through the gorgeous Canadian Rockies. If you’re heading here for an extended trip or are looking at Banff homes for sale to settle down in the area, you may be wondering what else there is to do here. 

Surprisingly enough, Banff and the surrounding areas are actually full of really cool, unusual attractions one might not expect. From ghost towns to unique restaurants, there’s something unique for visitors and locals alike. Here are a few of the coolest spots to check out.

Hot Springs

While they may not be off the beaten path, the Banff Hot Springs are certainly unique. There are a few different hot springs to check out on Sulphur Mountain, but the Upper Hot Springs are the most popular. Looking for an area a bit less traveled? Just under three hours away, Lussier Hot Springs provides a more untouched experience for those looking to get close to nature.

The Banff Merman

Head to the Banff Trading Post, and you’ll see a lot of merchandise advertising an unusual mascot – the Banff Merman. This shop is over a hundred years old, and the merman is an iconic part of its history, residing there for almost as long as they have been open. Legend has it that he was pulled out of Alberta’s Lake Minnewanka and was acquired in the early 1900’s by the shop owner. His mummified remains are now on display inside for the viewing pleasure of believers and skeptics alike. Is he an actual merman, or just a cleverly pieced-together hoax? You be the judge.

Bankhead Ghost Town

About ten minutes from the center of Banff is the small town of Bankhead. A former coal town, residents began leaving in the 1920’s when the mine was shut down and it has been a ghost town ever since. Today, you can take a stroll through the remnants of this once-thriving area, including some still-standing buildings and the remains of what was the town’s chapel. This is a bucket list destination for those who love checking out something a little more spooky and isolated.

The Grizzly House

Getting hungry? The Grizzly House is the perfect destination for those who want something a little more unusual than your typical pasta dish or sandwich. A spot frequented over the years by many artists, beatniks, disco fanatics, and musicians, the Grizzly House has always done things a little differently. Take, for example, the telephones on each table. These were put in during the disco era so patrons could call the cutie across the room and ask for a dance (if not more). Their motto is, after all, “for Lovers and Hedonists since 1967.” If you’re here for the food, try their signature fondue. You can play it safe with some beef and lobster, or try something more exotic like their shark, alligator, rattlesnake, or ostrich.