The first place I came across was Hero Shirts [Facebook]. Hero, has partnered Ames Bros, a cheeky T-shirt company from Seattle, Washington. They sell a mix of their own designs and AB’s designs. Both companies share a wonderful and at times quirky sense of humor that floods onto their T-Shirt art.
Traveling along, I next came across Analog Books and Music. This small shop has been open for over a year, but just moved to its new location a month ago. It sells a variety of books, CDs, movies, and vinyl. They vinyl selection was small, but I did spot some catches in both there and the CD bin.
Moving on from music, I found another thrift store called the “Ark Room Thrift Shop”. While the name sounds somewhat religious, I found a used Offspring CD (Americana) inside — so don’t worry, they aren’t looking to preach or convert. Looks like a great place. It offered some really cool paintings for just a few dollars. Too bad I could never check that!
But my adventures in used stuff were not over. I traversed across the street to the swank “Ski Lounge” [Facebook]. Inside guests are greeted with a chic lounge, complete with Warhol-esque colored prints of ski boot photos by year.
More free could be had at the nearby Lululemon sports clothing shop. They apparently offer free Yoga lessons on a weekly basis. Rushed for time, I was unable to inquire fully, but this seems sure to be another addition to the cool list.
Rounding off the list of essential stuff in Banff, I came across an old clocktower building that at night transforms into a nightclub, named Aurora. DJs from all around Canada and the U.S. come there on weekend nights and spin House, Techno, and other types of electronica. It looks like a very interesting atmosphere, and it was entertaining to see electronic music alive and well, even out here in the wilderness.
One major disappointment was that I somehow missed the Nourish Vegetarian Bistro & Tea House. I was told by my traveling companions that they spotted this in the upstairs of a mall and that it looked great — but I don’t have any photos. Sorry!
In all my hunt for cool stuff in Banff left me with mixed, but generally positive reactions. While I was disappointed at the lack of a music scene, there seemed to be a thriving artisitic community — albeit somewhat tourist geared. And the many thrift, reuse, and skate shops indicate a nice amount of culture as well.
And the wealth of free athletic activities is great. And there’s even a night club to help you unwind. Not too shabby for this active mountain town. It appears, when all is said and done, that Banff is indeed a chic town. Hopefully if you ever make it out to the Canadian Rockies, you check it out for yourself and pay these places a visit.