With its enchanting blend of European charm and welcoming hospitality, Vail, Colorado, ensures excitement for LGBTQ+ travelers. Skiing, hiking, gourmet dining and indulgent shopping options await adventure seekers and luxury lovers alike — and, during Pride Month, nearby Avon’s Pride in the Park turns the Vail Valley rainbow. Discover a whole new meaning for the acronym LGBT in Vail — Luxurious, Glamorous, Breathtaking Travel.
Play: LGBTQ+ Things to Do & See Around Vail
Looking to embark on an extravagant epicurean experience? Of course, you are! Look no further than Vintage, the gay-owned, gay-managed and gay-operated eatery that can’t stop, won’t stop getting named to “best brunch restaurants in America” lists. Vintage serves up fabulous food — think huckleberry-bacon French toast — in a mountain-strewn setting that will have you raising your glass and cheekily declaring “Bottoms up!” to bottomless mimosas.
Culture mavens will find plenty to enjoy, too, with the Vail International Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival standing out as highlights of the summer social season. The Vail International Dance Festival is a world-renowned, two-week celebration of exceptional artistry, attracting top dancers and choreographers from around the globe. This includes openly gay artists like Calvin Royal, who stole the show (and hearts) as the festival’s 2021 Artist in Residence.
Over the course of its nearly three-decade history, the Vail Jazz Festival has grown into an incredibly impressive nine-week summer event, featuring headline performances, free community concerts and a jazz workshop for talented youths. The gathering always boasts a lineup of world-class performers, including notable LGBTQ+ artists like Ann Hampton Callaway, a bisexual jazz pianist and singer whose mesmerizing song stylings and incredible vocal range leave audiences literally begging for an encore.
Don the uniform of so many Vail denizens with a stop into Patagonia’s Vail Village outpost. It’s a fitting spot for outdoor enthusiasts and LBGTQ+ travelers because Patagonia’s focus on environmental and social-justice issues speaks loud and clear, as exemplified by former CEO Rose Marcario’s No. 1 ranking on Fast Company’s Queer 50 list and the company’s commitment to fighting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Stay: LGBTQ+-Friendly Vail Hotels
Vail is a destination that takes pride in its reputation as a welcoming and inclusive community, which is reflected in the variety of accommodations available to LGBTQ+ travelers. From cozy bed-and-breakfasts to luxury hotels, this mountain town has a range of options that cater to every preference and budget. Here are just a few:
The Grand Hyatt Vail has been recognized as one of the best LGBTQ+-welcoming hotels by International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association member World Rainbow Hotels, while The Sebastian is just one of the many Vail hotels that have earned an “exceptional” rating from the gay travel guide, misterb&b. The Sebastian in Vail Village is just a short walk from the ski lifts, while the Grand Hyatt Vail is found along the banks of Gore Creek just a quick drive from Vail and Lionshead villages. Both offer a range of amenities like uber-luxurious spas and heated outdoor pools boasting stunning panoramas.
Award-winning Vail Valley nonprofit Mountain Pride gave us their lodging tips, too. Sonnenalp Hotel, The Lodge at Vail and Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail are three LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations that received Mountain Pride’s “seal of approval” so, whether you identify as a queen, a king or anything in between, you’ll be warmly welcomed.
Slay: LGBTQ+ Celebration with Mountain Pride
Mountain Pride is the beating heart of the LGBTQ+ community in Vail and the surrounding area. Through partnerships with local businesses and organizations, they inject unadulterated Pride into the veins of queer residents and visitors via an array of resources and events throughout the year. They’ve got their finger on the pulse and — when it comes to advocacy, community and visibility — they’re slaying it in every way.
According to Mountain Pride’s executive director Madison Partridge, “Vail and the Eagle River Valley are arguably some of the prettiest places in our entire country. The natural beauty of mountains coupled with the small-town feel you get once you enter any business or public space is unmatched, making it an extra-special LGBTQ+-friendly destination.”
Come June, Mountain Pride takes the slayage to new heights with Pride in the Park in nearby Avon, their fabulous flagship event that draws visitors from near and far. This elevated extravaganza serves up more than 60 vendors of the mostly queer- and outdoor-industry variety. And the Drag Show and Parade around Nottingham Lake, considered the showstopper of the shindig, is guaranteed to give you life while taking your breath away.
Photos courtesy of Vail Mountain Pride & Grand Hyatt Vail