Best Things to Do in Vail. Top Vail, Colorado Travel Tips for Your Next Visit to the Rockies. Ski Resorts & More

Read our guide to the best things to do in Vail, Colorado and get the top hiking trails and mountain vistas seen by mountain or ski lovers, who want to experience the beautiful Colorado Mountain.

things to do in vail

To enjoy your Vail experience, you must get the greatest Vail, Colorado travel tips which will guide you going from one place to another. The best things to do in Vail are numerous enough, and some of them are listed below. Here are the must-see places, where all the locals go, the must-visit places in Vail, from the world-class skiing to the best lifts in town.

Skiing at Vail

Vail is a ski town and a vacation destination. It has a lot to offer, from skiing and snowboarding to shopping and dining. You can ski at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper and Eldora. Check the Northwoods Express lift, which was improved in the season of 2017 to 2018.

You can also ski during the day at the smaller mountains and then ride the gondola up to either Vail or Beaver Creek for night skiing. You will definitely enjoy great skiing slopes with the two main mountains: Vail and Beaver Creek.

Skate Skiing

Skate skiers at Vail Mountain Village have their own lift on Vail Mountain that takes them from their base area up to the slopes where they can skate all day long! This is great for families with little kids who aren’t ready for regular skiing yet but still want to get outside and have fun! So, if you’re planning to spend your winter holidays with your children, no need to worry!

Off-Season Things to Do in Vail

Vail is a year-round resort town, but the off-season is when you really get to enjoy all that it has to offer. If you’re not a big fan of crowds, there’s no better time than the fall to visit Vail for a mountain getaway. From hiking trails and alpine lakes to nights on the town, here are some of our favorite things to do in Vail off season.

  • Hike, bike, horseback ride and run the trails. The mountains are beautiful year-round and offer many hiking options for all levels of fitness. There are also plenty of mountain biking trails around town.
  • If you’re looking for a good run, there’s nothing better than the peaceful feeling you get while running along the wooded trails by Mirror Lake.
  • Vail Mountain Bike Park offers downhill trail riding during the summer months and gives you access to some of the best downhill trails in Colorado.
  • Take advantage of summer festivals like the Vail Jazz Festival or Taste of Vail (a food and wine festival) at Gore Creek Station on Gore Creek Road every July 4th weekend. And don’t miss the annual Independence Day Fireworks over Gore Creek Meadow on July 3rd!
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Other Hiking Trails

Vail has several trails that are perfect for hikers of all levels, including family friendly ones like the East Meadow Loop Trail and the West Meadow Loop Trail. If you want a challenge, try the Hanging Lake Trail or hike up to Eagle’s Nest at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters). For a fun day hike with kids, try Lost Lake Trailhead at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) where you can wander through aspen forests while listening to birdsong and watching elk graze along the way.

Visit Vail Village

What are some things to do in Vail Village for visitors and tourists? The Vail Village is the main hub of activity in the area and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels. Here are some of the things you can do while you’re there:


The village has several shopping areas, including Lionshead Plaza and Mountain Plaza, that are filled with great stores for all types of people. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Vail Village, there are plenty of other stores located along Gore Creek Drive.

Eat & Drink

There are many places to eat in Vail Village, including both fast food chains and local restaurants like Roadhouse Grill & Bar. Or, if you’re lucky, grab some gourmet food with Wolfgang. Some of the best places to eat include Vendetta’s Italian Restaurant (known for their pizza), Vail Chophouse, or Russel’s Steak House.

Eat breakfast at Blue Moose Cafe. This is our favorite restaurant in Vail Village. They have amazing pancakes, French toast and omelets, but their main attraction is their cinnamon roll! It’s huge and very sweet (you can order it as half or whole). The atmosphere is great too with lots of different seating areas including an outdoor patio area with fire pits.

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There are dozens of bars in Vail Village including The Boneyard, Express Lift or Garfinkel’s (après-ski). Many bars have live music too, which makes them even more fun. Enjoy a glass of wine at many restaurants & wine bars. Many of them have large patios that overlook the mountains and serve up delicious appetizers like flatbread pizzas, salads, mussels and more! The wine lists are extensive and will please any palate!

Go to Lionshead Village

Walk around Lionshead Village, as this is in the center of Vail Village, and it’s where you’ll find most of the restaurants, bars and shops that serve as the main hub for visitors and tourists. The village has a European feel with cobblestone walkways, flower boxes and sitting areas under umbrellas for enjoying a glass of wine or beer while taking in the views.

Enjoy Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a beautiful place to visit when in Vail, Colorado. There are lots of things to see and do here. The gardens are open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily and admission is just a couple of bucks per person (children under 12 are free). We recommend arriving early, as it can get crowded later on in the day.

The gardens are home to more than hundreds of species of plants, including many rare species from around the world. There is also a greenhouse and an indoor waterfall display. Outside, you will find an ice cave and a spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Vail Valley. This area is known as Vail Mountain Village Center, but locals just call it Village Center or VC for short.

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So there you go, ski and garden lovers! These are the best things to do in Vail! Hope you enjoyed our friendly guide. Wishing you the best of travels, and stay safe on those ski mountains!

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