Discover Banff’s most Instagrammable spots and 1930’s history from the comfort of a vintage-style coach! Open Top Touring delivers luxurious, 90-minute tours of Banff that are fun for all ages.
From our leather seats in the Open Top coach, we soak up the scenery while we groove in time to the music. Benny Goodman’s dulcet tones come through the speakers from another era almost 90 years ago. When the ‘King of Swing’ visited Banff back in the day, it was quite the event. An airstrip was cleared for him so he could fly his own plane, and he stayed at the Banff Springs Hotel. Ness, our Open Top Tour guide, takes us to Surprise Corner for a picture-perfect view of the Banff Springs, then past the airstrip later en route to Mount Norquay’s epic viewpoint.
It’s a treat to be a passenger for a change, with lots of opportunities to take photos and learn about Banff’s early days. Although I’ve visited Banff countless times, there’s much I don’t know about its history. Ness artfully fills in the blanks with stories peppered with 30’s lingo. She points out historic buildings and shares who used to live there; tells us about the time Bill Peyto walked into a bar with a live lynx strapped to him (he was paid to provide animals to zoos and private collectors); how the Brewsters started their business as young kids (the youngest was 10); and much, much more.
Our Open Top coach is fashioned like the kind Jim Brewster used almost a century ago to tour VIPs around Banff National Park. While our model has surround sound, USB ports, and safety features, it looks very similar to the original and draws a lot of attention as we cruise down Banff Avenue. At stops, we’re encouraged to stand up and enjoy the view from the open top of the vehicle (no climbing on the roof though!). It’s pretty cool!
The open top also provides great ventilation on a hot day. If it’s cool or rainy, however, a glass top provides protection from the elements. We were lucky to have great weather so we could wave our hands in the breeze.
We enjoyed the 90-minute scenic and historic tour from downtown Banff to the Bow River, around Tunnel Mountain and up to Mount Norquay. Next time, we’d like to go at sunset to see more wildlife!
For more details and photos, see our story: Discover Banff’s history and scenery in style with Open Top Touring.
Know Before You Go
- Masks are required on board until further notice. For your safety, tours are running at half capacity (10 passengers per vehicle).
- Tours depart from the east entrance of Mount Royal Hotel (138 Banff Ave) in downtown Banff. There is limited public parking behind the hotel, so it’s best to walk/bike from your hotel or take public transit.
- The weather can change quickly in the mountains, so bring a sweater or light jacket.
Current Deals / Book Now
Alberta Residents are eligible for discounts on Pursuit attractions, lodging, and dining with Pursuit Rewards.
Book your tour online at Pursuit Banff & Jasper Collection | Open Top Touring.
Where to Stay
Mount Royal Hotel has luxurious rooms and junior suites, two rooftop hot tubs (18 & over only), and is conveniently located in downtown Banff.
Elk + Avenue Hotel‘s stylish and spacious rooms and suites are only a few blocks away. We love dining at Farm + Fire on the main floor (See our story: Farm + Fire: Classy Comfort Food in the Heart of Banff for more info.).
This story was written in partnership with Pursuit Banff & Jasper Collection, but all words and opinions are my own.
Explore & Stay Giveaway
- Contest closes on June 30, 2021 at 12 AM MDT.
- Canadian residents who have reached the age of majority in their province/territory are eligible provided they complete the mandatory entries.
- A winner will be randomly selected using the Rafflecopter app.
- Participant contact information will NOT be shared with 3rd parties with the exception of the winner (so Pursuit can provide details on booking the tour and hotel stay).
- The Open Top Touring tickets and hotel stay are valid for 2021. Blackout dates apply to tour and hotel bookings.
- There is no cash value for this prize.