Vail, Colorado is one of my favorite places to visit. I spend at least two weeks out in the mountains every year with my family, so I’ve gotten to know the Vail Valley pretty well. As such, I thought it about time I created a guide to Vail for y’all; this guide has all of the fun spots in and around the Vail area, as well as my favorite restaurants and hotels!
– How to get there –
There are two options for getting out to Vail Valley: flying into Denver International Airport and driving out to the mountains or flying into the Vail Eagle Regional Airport. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. While the Vail Eagle Airport is closer (and gives you the coolest views as you’re landing and taking off!), flights in and out of this tiny airport are usually pretty pricey. On the other hand, you can fly into Denver – which is tremendously cheaper – but then you have to schlep a few hours out to the mountains. I recommend either renting a car or taking the Colorado Mountain Express to get out to the Vail Valley from Denver… but remember during the winter that there’s always a chance that the Vail Pass will be closed if there’s been a ton of snow!
– Where to stay –
Given the price of staying in a resort on the mountain, I recommend renting a house (like through Airbnb). If that’s not your thing, my favorite resorts in the area are the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, The Sebastian in Vail, and the Ritz Carlton in Bachelor Gulch… and be sure not to miss the spa at the Ritz Carlton!
– Where to eat –
There are so many little towns in and around the Vail area, and so many of them have such wonderful things to offer. Whether you want to eat in the hotel or on the mountain at somewhere like Zach’s Cabin, there are so many options to keep you satisfied. Check out my list below for more ideas (and be sure to pin this Vail Valley Travel Guide so you can visit it later!).
Arrowhead & Bachelor Gulch
- Buffalos – this is one of the restaurants in the Ritz Carlton. It tends to fill up quickly during ski season, so I highly recommend making a reservation. It’s a great place to grab a bite or a drink and they usually have live music playing during peak hours.
- Zach’s Cabin – great ski-in option on the mountain. Reservation-only and usually member-only during peak times.
- Beano’s Cabin
- Grouse Mountain Grill
- Pazzo’s Pizza – get the spinach and mushroom pizza. Trust me.
- Ti Amo – I absolutely love Ti Amo’s frutti di mare (I typically ask for a regular marinara sauce instead of the spicy marinara). Their eggplant parmesan and chicken parmesan are both excellent. Also Ti Amo has an awesome wine list.
- Blue Moose Pizza
- Golden Eagle Inn – their salmon sandwich is the bomb dot com. I also love the curried chicken salad or sandwich. All of their sandwiches are served with either sweet potato fries or regular fries (I recommend the regular fries!).
- Mirabelle – a great option for a slightly fancier night. Mirabelle has an amazing wine list. I love their hallibut fillet and their risotto.
- Bookworm – by far my favorite coffee shop in the valley, I tend to just plant myself at Bookworm and work through lunch. Bookworm is really known for their crepes – my favorites are the Victor Hugo, the Rainbow Fish, and the Odyssey.
- Juniper Restaurant
- Zino’s Ristorante
- Larkspur Restaurant
- Matsuhisa Vail – Matsuhisa is one of my absolute favorite places to eat in the Vail Valley… so obviously no guide to Vail would be complete without it! This restaurant is a Nobu property, so expect amazing sushi!
- Mountain Standard – I love popping in here for lunch when I’m in Vail Village. They have a totally awesome burger, which I highly recommend!
- Sweet Basil – one of Vail’s most iconic restaurants (hence why it’s included in this guide to Vail!). For lunch, I really love their halibut tacos and the ahi ceviche. For dinner, get the ahi tuna!
- Vintage – this spot is so Instagram-worthy… and they have a fantastic brunch!!
– What to do –
Every guide to Vail has to include outdoor activities. Obviously there’s skiing and snowboarding (or even snowshoeing!), mountain biking and hiking, horseback riding and white water rafting, the aforementioned amazing Ritz Carlton Spa, and endless trails and towns to explore. I personally enjoy hiking the Village to Village Trail between Bachelor Gulch and Beaver Creek during the summer. During the winter, you can also use this trail as a snowshoeing path. Additionally, Shrine Ridge is a gorgeous hike during the summer (and one that is fairly easy, even for unexperienced hikers).
If you’re in Vail Valley in the summer or early fall, definitely don’t miss the Farmer’s Markets in Vail Village, Minturn, and Edwards (awesome selection of fresh produce). The Vail Valley is the perfect place to relax – no matter the season – so definitely get a bit of R&R in during your stay!