Things to Do in Vail Colorado CO

Vail, Colorado, known as a premier winter destination, offers a multitude of exciting activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. From thrilling winter sports to scenic hikes, and from relaxing spa experiences to delightful dining options, Vail has something for everyone. Here are the top activities to consider during your visit, based on recommendations from experienced travelers and locals:

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding: Vail is renowned for its world-class ski resorts, boasting vast terrain and impeccable slopes for all skill levels.
  2. Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the picturesque winter wonderland of Vail by venturing into the backcountry on snowshoes or cross-country skis.
  3. Ice Skating: Glide on the ice at one of Vail’s outdoor ice skating rinks, offering a fun-filled activity for all ages.
  4. Snowmobiling: Experience the thrill of speeding through snowy trails and scenic landscapes on a snowmobile.
  5. Dog Sledding: Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you mush through the snow-covered wilderness with a team of loyal sled dogs.
  6. Sledding and Tubing: Release your inner child by enjoying the exhilarating experience of sledding or tubing down snowy hills.
  7. Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing: Explore Vail’s breathtaking trails and serene forests while enjoying winter hiking or snowshoeing.
  8. Hot Air Balloon Rides: Soar above the stunning Rocky Mountains in a hot air balloon and witness panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
  9. Spa and Wellness: Indulge in rejuvenation and relaxation at Vail’s world-class spas, offering a range of treatments and wellness experiences.
  10. Shopping and Dining: Explore Vail’s charming village and indulge in a diverse range of shopping options, from high-end boutiques to quaint local stores. Afterward, savor a delicious meal at one of Vail’s renowned restaurants, offering a variety of cuisines to satisfy every palate.

For the best experience, consider visiting Vail during the winter months when you can fully immerse yourself in the snowy wonderland. In addition to the mentioned activities, there are many other winter activities to enjoy in Vail, such as snowboarding, snow tubing, and snowshoeing tours. Vail is also known for its exceptional ski resorts, offering top-notch amenities and thrilling slopes for skiing enthusiasts. Families will find plenty of kid-friendly activities and attractions to enjoy in Vail, and food lovers can indulge in a wide range of culinary delights from fine dining to local favorites. From breathtaking mountain vistas to charming alpine villages, Vail is truly a must-visit destination for winter enthusiasts.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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When visiting Vail, Colorado, there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy, including skiing and snowboarding.

  • Skiing: Vail offers a variety of ski slopes for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. Whether you prefer groomed runs or challenging backcountry terrain, you’ll find it here.
  • Snowboarding: Vail also caters to snowboarders, with terrain parks and halfpipes available for freestyle enthusiasts. Experience the thrill of carving through the snow and catching some air.

Did you know that Vail is home to one of the largest ski resorts in the world? With over 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, you’ll have endless opportunities to enjoy skiing and snowboarding in this winter wonderland.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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When visiting Vail, Colorado, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular activities to enjoy in the beautiful winter landscape.

  • Snowshoeing: This activity involves strapping on snowshoes and walking on top of the snow. It is a great way to explore the snowy trails and forests surrounding Vail. Snowshoeing provides a low-impact workout that strengthens the muscles and improves cardiovascular health.
  • Cross-country skiing: This activity involves gliding on skis across flat or gently rolling terrain. It is a fantastic way to enjoy the scenery while getting a full-body workout. Cross-country skiing improves balance, coordination, and cardiovascular endurance.
  • Equipment rental: Vail offers rental shops where you can find high-quality snowshoes and cross-country skis. Make sure to choose the appropriate size and style for your skill level and preferences.
  • Trail options: There are numerous trails in and around Vail that are suitable for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Some popular trails include Booth Creek, Lost Lake, and Vail Nordic Center. Make sure to check the trail conditions and difficulty level before heading out.
  • Guided tours: If you are new to snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, consider joining a guided tour. This allows you to learn from experienced guides who can show you the best routes and provide valuable tips and techniques.

Whether you choose snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, both activities offer a unique and exhilarating way to immerse yourself in the winter wonderland of Vail, Colorado.

Ice Skating

Ice Skating - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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When visiting Vail, Colorado, one popular activity to enjoy is ice skating. Here are some options for ice skating in Vail:

  1. Skate outdoors at the Arrabelle Ice Rink located in Lionshead Village. Enjoy the beautiful mountain views while gliding on the ice.
  2. Head to the Dobson Ice Arena where you can skate indoors. This facility offers public skating sessions for all ages and skill levels.
  3. For a unique experience, try night skating at the Solaris Ice Rink. Skating under the stars adds a special touch to your ice skating adventure.
  4. If you’re a hockey enthusiast, check out the Vail Sports Alpine Ice Arena which offers hockey programs and public skating sessions.

Fact: Vail is known for its love of winter sports and ice skating is a popular activity amongst both locals and visitors.


Snowmobiling - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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Snowmobiling in Vail, Colorado is an exhilarating activity that allows you to explore the beautiful winter landscapes. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Access to over 350 miles of groomed trails, ensuring a thrilling ride through scenic routes.
  • Experience the adrenaline rush as you zoom through the snow-covered terrain on a powerful snowmobile.
  • Rent a snowmobile from one of the many outfitters in Vail, providing options for both guided tours and independent adventures.
  • Enjoy the freedom to explore the vast backcountry areas surrounding Vail, offering breathtaking views and untouched snowy landscapes.
  • Choose from a variety of snowmobiles suited to your skill level and preferences, including single and double rider options.
  • Admire the wildlife and natural beauty while experiencing the thrill of speeding through the snow.
  • Stay safe by following all safety guidelines provided by the outfitter, including wearing appropriate gear and understanding the rules of the trail.

Snowmobiling in Vail is an incredible way to make the most of the winter season and create lasting memories. Get ready for an adventure-filled experience amidst the snowy wonderland.

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is an exhilarating activity in Vail, Colorado. This popular experience allows you to mush your own team of dogs through the snowy wilderness. The dogs involved in dog sledding are strong and well-trained, ensuring a safe and enjoyable adventure. In Vail, you have the option to choose from a variety of tour options for dog sledding, ranging from short introductory rides to longer expeditions. The duration of dog sledding tours typically lasts around one to two hours, depending on the package you select. Engaging in this activity is an excellent opportunity to connect with nature and breathe in the beauty of the Colorado Rockies. Experience the unique and thrilling adventure of dog sledding in Vail, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Sledding and Tubing

When visiting Vail, Colorado, one exciting activity to try is sledding and tubing. Here are some options to consider:

  • Adventure Ridge: This mountain-top park offers sledding and tubing lanes for all ages, providing an exhilarating ride.
  • Vail Nordic Center: They have a dedicated tubing hill where you can enjoy sledding down on a tube.
  • Beaver Creek Winter Sports School: Experience the thrill of sledding down their groomed slopes with the whole family.

Now, let’s dive into the true history of sledding and tubing in Vail. Sledding has been a popular winter activity in Vail since the town’s inception. In the early days, locals would fashion their own sleds from wooden boards and use any suitable hill to slide down. Tubing, on the other hand, gained popularity in the 1980s and soon became a favorite for both visitors and locals, offering a more thrilling and fun-filled experience. Over the years, Vail has continued to enhance its sledding and tubing facilities, ensuring that visitors can enjoy these winter activities to the fullest.

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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When it comes to winter hiking and snowshoeing in Vail, Colorado, you can expect to witness breathtaking scenery and have unique outdoor experiences. Here are some activities that you can enjoy:

  • Embark on an exploration of the stunning trails of Booth Creek, where you can marvel at frozen waterfalls and the magnificent winter landscapes.
  • Make your way to the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Center for guided snowshoeing tours, which provide opportunities to learn about the local wildlife and history.
  • Challenge yourself by taking on the exhilarating Berry Picker Trail, which offers panoramic views of Vail Valley and the surrounding mountains as a rewarding treat.

Pro-tip: Before you set off for your winter hiking or snowshoeing adventure, it’s essential to check the weather conditions and trail maps. Additionally, remember to dress appropriately in layers and bring the necessary equipment like snowshoes or traction devices for slippery trails. It’s always a good idea to stay hydrated and pack some high-energy snacks to keep you fueled during your exciting outdoor escapade.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot Air Balloon Rides - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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Hot Air Balloon Rides in Vail, Colorado offer a one-of-a-kind and stunning experience. Soar above the picturesque landscapes and take in panoramic views of the majestic mountains and serene valleys. With clear blue skies and gentle winds, these hot air balloon rides provide an adventure that is both tranquil and exhilarating. Feel the thrill of gliding through the air while immersing yourself in the breathtaking beauty of nature that surrounds you.

There are a variety of packages available to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply looking to add some excitement to your Vail vacation, hot air balloon rides are a must-do activity. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the incredible vistas from above. Create lasting memories with hot air balloon rides in Vail, Colorado that will stay with you for a lifetime.

For a touch of added luxury, consider booking a private hot air balloon ride and indulge in an intimate and exclusive experience with your loved ones. If you’re an early riser, opt for a sunrise hot air balloon ride to witness the breathtaking colors of the sky as the sun emerges. No matter which option you choose, hot air balloon rides in Vail, Colorado will undoubtedly create unforgettable moments and provide a truly remarkable adventure. Get ready to see the beauty of Vail from a whole new perspective with these captivating hot air balloon rides.

Spa and Wellness

  • Massage therapy at a spa: Treat yourself to a relaxing massage at one of Vail’s top-notch spas. A skilled massage therapist from the spa can soothe your muscles and promote overall well-being.
  • Facial treatments at a spa: Indulge in a rejuvenating facial at the spa that can enhance your skin’s health and appearance. The experienced estheticians in Vail offer a variety of facial treatments tailored to your specific needs.

Fact: Regular spa and wellness treatments have been shown to reduce stress levels by up to 50% and improve overall quality of life.

Shopping and Dining

Shopping and Dining - Things to Do in Vail, Colorado

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In Vail, Colorado, shopping and dining options abound. Visitors can easily immerse themselves in the town’s vibrant retail scene, with a plethora of boutique shops and high-end stores to explore. From fashionable clothing to top-quality outdoor gear, there is something for everyone’s taste and preference. Moreover, Vail showcases a wide array of gourmet restaurants and casual eateries, ensuring that every palate is satisfied. From classic steakhouse fare to delectable international cuisine, dining in Vail caters to diverse tastes. The emphasis on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients is evident in many of the restaurants, which offer farm-to-table options for a truly gratifying culinary experience. Whether you’re seeking a fashionable new outfit or an unforgettable dining adventure, Vail has it all for discerning shoppers and food enthusiasts.

What is the Best Time to Visit Vail?

The best time to visit Vail, Colorado depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to do. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Winter activities: If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, the best time to visit Vail is during the winter season, particularly from December to March. The snow conditions are ideal, and the slopes are well-groomed, offering excellent opportunities for winter sports.
  • Off-peak season: For those looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, visiting Vail during the shoulder seasons of spring or fall is recommended. This is when the crowds are smaller, and accommodation and activities may be more affordable.
  • Outdoor activities: If you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, or exploring the beautiful nature surrounding Vail, the best time to visit is during the summer months, from June to August. The weather is pleasant, and the trails are open for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Events and festivals: Vail hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Vail Dance Festival and the Bravo! Vail Music Festival. If you wish to attend these cultural events, it is recommended to plan your visit to coincide with the specific dates of these festivals.

Choosing the best time to visit Vail depends on your personal preferences and what you want to experience during your trip. Consider these factors to make the most of your visit to this charming Colorado destination.

What Other Winter Activities Can You Do in Vail?

When visiting Vail during the winter, there are several other activities you can enjoy besides skiing and snowboarding. Here is a list of winter activities you can do in Vail:

  • Ice Skating: Glide across the ice at one of Vail’s outdoor ice skating rinks.
  • Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the beautiful winter landscapes by snowshoeing or skiing on Vail’s numerous trails.
  • Snowmobiling: Experience the thrill of riding a snowmobile through Vail’s snow-covered terrain.
  • Dog Sledding: Embark on a dog sledding adventure and let a team of eager huskies lead you through the snowy trails.
  • Sledding and Tubing: Grab a sled or tube and slide down the slopes for some family-friendly fun.
  • Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing: Take a hike or strap on some snowshoes to explore Vail’s scenic winter hiking trails.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides: Soar above the snow-capped mountains and enjoy breathtaking views on a hot air balloon ride.
  • Spa and Wellness: Indulge in some relaxation and pampering at one of Vail’s luxurious spas.
  • Shopping and Dining: Explore the charming streets of Vail Village and Lionshead and indulge in shopping and dining experiences.

With these diverse winter activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy during a visit to Vail. What Other Winter Activities Can You Do in Vail?

What Are the Best Ski Resorts in Vail?

Looking for the best ski resorts in Vail, Colorado? Well, you’re in luck because there are several options to choose from.

  1. At the top of the list is Vail Mountain Resort, the largest ski resort in Colorado. Boasting over 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, it caters to both beginners and advanced skiers.
  2. Another fabulous choice is Beaver Creek Resort, known for its luxurious amenities. With over 1,800 acres of skiable terrain, it offers trails suitable for skiers of all levels.
  3. Although not directly located in Vail, Breckenridge Ski Resort is just a short drive away. It provides a unique skiing experience with its expansive 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, making it one of North America’s most visited ski resorts.
  4. Families and beginners will love Keystone Resort, which offers a diverse range of terrain with three mountains and over 3,000 skiable acres.
  5. For the more adventurous skiers and snowboarders, Copper Mountain Resort is the place to be. Known for its challenging terrain and excellent snow conditions, it has over 2,400 acres of skiable terrain.

These are just a few of the best ski resorts in Vail, each with its own unique features and experiences for visitors. No matter your skill level, Vail has a resort that will cater to your skiing needs.

Fun fact: Vail Mountain Resort has hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships in 1989, 1999, and 2015.

What Are Some Family-Friendly Activities in Vail?

When visiting Vail, Colorado with your family, there are numerous family-friendly activities to enjoy. Here are some suggestions:

  • 1. Skiing and Snowboarding: Vail is renowned for its world-class ski slopes, making it the perfect destination for a family skiing or snowboarding adventure.
  • 2. Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: Explore the scenic trails around Vail by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, ideal activities for families to enjoy together.
  • 3. Ice Skating: Strap on your skates and glide across the outdoor ice rinks scattered throughout Vail. It’s a fun-filled activity for all ages.
  • 4. Snowmobiling: Experience the thrill of snowmobiling through the picturesque backcountry of Vail. Guided tours are available for families to enjoy this exciting activity.
  • 5. Dog Sledding: Embark on a unique adventure by going dog sledding in Vail. Enjoy the ride while being pulled by a team of energetic and friendly sled dogs.

These family-friendly activities in Vail provide the perfect opportunity to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Whether you’re hitting the slopes or exploring the winter wonderland, Vail offers something for everyone in the family.

What Are the Top Restaurants and Cuisine in Vail?

When it comes to dining in Vail, you may wonder, “What are the top restaurants and cuisine options to choose from?” Well, let me tell you about some of the best dining spots in town:

  • If you’re in the mood for Swiss and European cuisine, look no further than the Swiss Chalet Restaurant. They offer classic dishes like fondue and schnitzel that will transport you to the heart of Switzerland.
  • Mountain Standard is renowned for its rustic American cuisine. They specialize in locally sourced ingredients and use wood-fired cooking techniques to bring out the natural flavors of their dishes.
  • For authentic Italian cuisine, make a reservation at Terra Bistro. This popular restaurant sources organic, sustainable, and locally sourced ingredients to create delicious Italian dishes.
  • Indulge in a fine dining experience at The Vintage Restaurant. Their menu features contemporary American cuisine, and they have an extensive wine list to complement your meal.
  • If seafood is what you crave, treat yourself to a visit at Elway’s. This steak and seafood restaurant offers high-quality dishes in an elegant setting.
  • Sushi lovers cannot miss Matsuhisa Vail. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant is a haven for innovative Japanese cuisine, and their sushi is simply divine.
  • Head over to The Little Diner for a more casual dining experience. This popular spot serves American comfort food and is perfect for breakfast or lunch.
  • Sweet Basil is a contemporary American restaurant that will satisfy your cravings for creative dishes using seasonal ingredients.
  • Craving Mexican food? Look no further than La Bottega. This restaurant serves authentic Mexican dishes and boasts an impressive selection of tequila.
  • For a taste of Austria and Germany, visit Almresi. This charming Alpine restaurant offers traditional dishes in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

So, whether you’re looking for Swiss, American, Italian, seafood, Japanese, American comfort, Mexican, or Alpine cuisine, Vail has a variety of top restaurants to satisfy your cravings!

What Are Some Must-Visit Places in Vail?

When visiting Vail, Colorado, there are several must-visit places in Vail that offer unique experiences and attractions:

  1. Vail Village: Explore the charming alpine-style village filled with shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Don’t miss the iconic Covered Bridge.
  2. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: Take a stroll through the highest botanical garden in North America, showcasing a variety of alpine flora.
  3. Gore Creek: Enjoy a peaceful walk along the scenic Gore Creek, which runs through the heart of Vail.
  4. Adventure Ridge: For thrilling outdoor activities, visit Adventure Ridge located on the top of Vail Mountain. Experience activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and zip-lining.
  5. Vail Mountain: Embark on an unforgettable skiing or snowboarding adventure on the expansive slopes of Vail Mountain.
  6. Breweries and Distilleries: Sample craft beers and spirits at the local breweries and distilleries in Vail, such as Vail Brewing Company and 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co.
  7. Vail Valley Art Center: Explore the vibrant art scene in Vail by visiting the Vail Valley Art Center, featuring exhibitions and workshops by local artists.
  8. Ford Amphitheater: Catch a live performance at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, an outdoor venue surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of Vail.

These must-visit places in Vail provide a diverse range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy during their stay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some outdoor activities to do in Vail, Colorado during the summer?

During the summer in Vail, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, and river rafting. The Vail Ski Resort also offers Epic Discovery, which includes ropes courses, rock walls, zip lines, and more.

What are some popular attractions in Vail, Colorado during the winter?

In the winter, Vail is known for its skiing and snowboarding at the Vail Ski Resort. Other popular attractions include visiting the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, exploring the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame, and enjoying the scenic views from the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

What are some family-friendly activities to do in Vail, Colorado?

Vail offers many family-friendly activities such as taking a gondola ride, enjoying a day of play at Epic Discovery, horseback riding at 4 Eagle Ranch or Vail Stables, and visiting the Children’s Fountain in Vail Village. Families can also hike with llamas or try goat yoga.

What are some must-visit attractions in Vail, Colorado?

Some must-visit attractions in Vail include the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame, the Vail Farmers Market, and the charming town of Vail itself. Additionally, the Vail Brewing Company and 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirits tasting room are great options for beer and spirit enthusiasts.

What are some recommended places to stay while visiting Vail, Colorado?

While visiting Vail, you can choose from a range of accommodations including luxurious hotels like The Sebastian Vail and Lodge at Vail, family-friendly condos, and cozy alpine inns. These options offer comfortable stays and convenient access to the attractions in Vail.

What are some dining options in Vail, Colorado?

Vail offers a wide array of dining options. Some popular choices include Blue Moose Pizza, Tavern on the Square, Sweet Basil, Pendulum Restaurant, and Vintage. Whether you’re looking for casual fare or gourmet dining, there are options to suit everyone’s taste in Vail.

By Jennifer Ian

Jennifer Ian is a 28-year-old neurotic Jew from New York who overcame her anxiety and embarked on life-altering backpacking trips to 18 different countries, proving that even risk-averse individuals can find joy and therapy in the challenges of travel.

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