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Experience Classic Vail Vibes & New Favorites

Look for these classic attractions and things to do in Vail, plus some of the newer kids on the block.

Vail visitors love returning year after year to experience old favorites — from hotels and restaurants to things to do and, of course, all the ski-town history — but fresh additions to the scene always keep things interesting. Whether you’ve grown up coming to Vail, or are a first-time visitor, here are ideas for experiencing both the classic and newer experiences.

Vail Restaurants & Nightlife

Classic Favorites 

A couple strolls through Vail Village at dusk past Mountain Standard.

Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar

This establishment is named after founder Pepi Gramshammer, a celebrated ski racer from Austria who made his mark on Vail history in the 1960s. Sip a cold brew amid Gramshammer’s skiing medals and trophies in Pepi’s Bar; or dig into a platter of hearty beef stroganoff in the main dining room.

La Tour Restaurant

La Tour offers elegant French fare prepared by chef-owner Paul Ferzacca. At the date night–ready bistro, decadent specialties such as chicken-liver mousse with strawberry-rhubarb jam and lobster- and shrimp-stuffed Dover sole are complemented by an award-winning wine selection.


This Vail Village restaurant has been satisfying locals’ and visitors’ cravings for pasta and pizza since 1983. Grab a slice or whole pie studded with Canadian bacon, pepperoni and sausage (the Snow Pig) for lunch or come in for a dinner of chicken piccata or sausage- and cheese-stuffed shells.

Sweet Basil & Mountain Standard

Since 1977, more than 40 former employees of Sweet Basil have gone on to launch their own eateries, a testament to the fine-dining restaurant’s long-standing impact on the local and national culinary landscape. Pop in to taste the staff’s craftiness for yourself through dishes such as Colorado Angus tenderloin with corn soufflé. Or grab a table at the sister establishment, Mountain Standard, for comforting, wood-fired fare like rotisserie jerk chicken.

 New Kids on the Block

Bartending mixing a drink at Chasing Rabbits bar in Vail

G1 Ski Bar

This petite watering hole is a casual après-ski destination in the heart of Vail Village. Linger over a cold lager or Moscow mule on the sun-soaked patio, or pair a round of old fashioneds with some tacos or a pizza from the menu of pub grub.

Chasing Rabbits

Chasing Rabbits is a Vail nightlife hub with a Mediterranean restaurant, library-themed lounge, arcade and speakeasy. Don’t miss the Rabbit Hole, where you can play games like Skee-Ball and Pac-Man while knocking back Instagram-worthy cocktails such as the Popsicle Spritz.

The Slope Room

This all-day bistro inside the Gravity Haus serves dishes showcasing the bounty of local farmers and ranchers in an ambience influenced by the Old West. For breakfast, get the cinnamon brioche French toast with a Malamar latte infused with ginger, turmeric and black peppercorns.

Bad Kitty Lounge

Speakeasy vibes draw craft cocktail lovers to the Bad Kitty Lounge, which is tucked on Bridge Street. Inside the tiny drink den, savvy bartenders pour concoctions customized to patrons’ preferences, whether you’re seeking something spirit forward or light and tropical.

Things to Do in Vail

Classic Favorites 

Two hikers on llama trek in a meadow in Vail

Llama Hike

Outfitter Paragon Guides hosts treks with Vail’s cutest residents: llamas. Excursions with the friendly pack animals range from family-friendly lunch hikes that start at Arrowhead Ski Area to multi-day backcountry trips along the Colorado Trail or from Vail to Aspen.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Named to honor the former first lady, the gardens are home to one of Colorado’s most impressive collections of alpine plants. Take a self-guided tour of the grounds (admission is free, but a $20 donation is recommended) or join one of the summer walking or winter snowshoeing tours.

Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show

From mid-June through early October, more than 145 vendors set up shop on Sundays on East Meadow Drive for the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show. There, you can shop for everything from fresh produce and ready-to-eat snacks to home decor and works of art by Colorado artists.

New Kids on the Block

A couple shopping in Vail Village on a sunny summer day

Fresh Hiking Trails

The Vail area has a vast network of trails, some of which have been recently updated. Stroll through Aspen stands and take in views of the wilderness on the North and Game Creek trails, both rerouted by the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance. Or trek past old-growth pines and sights of surrounding cliff faces on the Mill Creek Trail from Mill Creek Valley to Benchmark Peak.

Picnic Vail

If you’re hankering for a feast in the forest, but don’t have the bandwidth to put it together, leave the work to Picnic Vail. The company will curate a luxe picnic setup with everything from seating and cutlery to a spread from The Grazing Fox at the location of your choice, then take everything down when you’re done enjoying it.

Vail Shopping

Shops and boutiques filled with mountain-chic apparel, outdoor gear and other coveted goods make Vail a shopper’s paradise. There are hundreds of stores in the Lionshead and Vail villages alone, and businesses are constantly rotating their inventories, so there’s always new items to peruse. Look for newer additions to the scene such as Res Ipsa, a high-end chain selling responsibly sourced, globally influenced clothing. Learn more about Vail shopping.

Vail Hotels

Classic Favorites

Sonnenalp Vail from above on a snowy winter day

 Sitzmark Lodge

Tucked on the banks of Gore Creek steps from Gondola One, the Sitzmark has been welcoming visitors since 1974. Guests love the complimentary continental breakfast, heated outdoor pool and the ski and snowboard storage during the winter months.

Hotel Gastof Gramshammer

Hotel Gastof Gramshammer, which houses the legendary Pepi’s Restaurant and Bar, brims with Austrian flair. Decorated with hard-carved wood accents and original artwork, each room has its own personality and lovely views of Vail Village or Gore Creek.

Sonnenalp Hotel

Reside in one of the Sonnenalp’s one-bedroom suites to take advantage of perks such as heated bathroom floors and gas fireplaces. The hotel also has an on-site spa, which is known for its excellent massages and facial treatments.

New Kids on the Block

Gravity Haus Vail from outside with river in the foreground

Gravity Haus Vail

Now one of six locations in Colorado, Gravity Haus Vail is a mountain retreat just a short walk to Gondola One. The on-site Slope Room is a popular stop for locally sourced breakfast, lunch and dinner, and guest have access to the gym and workout classes at Dryland Fitness.

The Hythe

Options for one-of-a-kind Vail experiences abound at The Hythe. The luxury resort has complimentary yoga classes, trips to the farmers’ market and s’mores-making sessions. And guests can also book private guided adventures, including fly-fishing and backcountry skiing and boarding excursions.

Grand Hyatt Vail

Formerly Hotel Talisa, the refurbished Grand Hyatt Vail in West Vail is just one swift chairlift ride to Vail Mountain. Check out the Topgolf Swing Suites and feast on Rocky Mountain–influenced specialties such as Colorado striped bass and a selection of wild game sausages at the Gessner Restaurant and Bar.

Want to Know More About Vail History?

Read about Vail’s evolution from gold and silver mining to a ski town, spend the afternoon at the Colorado Snowsports Museum or plan a visit to Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, a former training ground for U.S. soldiers on skis during World War II.

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