Cap off your year with a trip to Vail for New Year’s Eve. The villages are full of celebratory events, including multi-course meals at restaurants, midnight Champagne toasts at hotels, dance parties at bars and other spectacular end-of-year Vail events. Here are some of the ways we love to celebrate as the new year rolls into town.
New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks
For a fun, family-friendly NYE event, attend the New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade & Fireworks at Golden Peak. See the mountain light up as ski instructors create a serpentine parade down the mountain with lit flares. The parade is followed by a dazzling fireworks display that can often be seen across the valley. This celebration happens earlier in the evening, so you can share this special moment with the kiddos and still get them in bed at a decent hour. Afterward, enjoy a parents’-night out thanks to a local babysitter.
Bars in Vail:
1. Bad Kitty Lounge
Stop by Bad Kitty Lounge for a one-of-a-kind Vail experience complete with retro tropical-drink wallpaper, a rotating disco ski boot — and no official menu. That’s right, this place is menu-less, but with master mixologists behind the bar, you won’t need one. Tell them what type of drink you’re feeling — a hint of smoke, lots of herbal notes, sugar sweet or all those in one — and they’ll create a custom drink just for you.
2. The Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail
The Remedy Bar is a chic après-ski scene located in the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail. Warm up with their famous Haut Chocolat as it’s poured in front of you or go straight for the adult beverages and a spot around their outdoor patio firepits. Sip on specialty cocktails like the yuzu margarita and celebrate the arrival of the new year with a classic midnight Champagne toast.
3. Bridge Street Bar
Dance and sing the night away at Bridge Street Bar, a Vail hot spot with all types of musical entertainment. Turn it up with Latin and DJ dance-party jams or get up close to live bands playing country and classic pop.
4. The Red Lion
The Red Lion is a favorite of locals and visitors for its delicious meals, good music and cold drinks — especially during New Year’s Eve when the tavern hosts fun 21+ events. In the past, these special nights included live entertainment, multi-course dinners, party favors such as hats and tiaras, and popping bubbly at the stroke of midnight. Be sure to get your tickets before they’re gone.
5. Shakedown Bar
Located at the top of Bridge Street, the Shakedown Bar is a 21+ live-music joint which usually hosts a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party. This is a true bar with plenty of drinks to go around but no kitchen — so eat before you go. Grab a famous Swiss hot dog next door at or attend a special NYE dinner in the village.
Vail Village & Lionshead Restaurants:
Whether you’re seeking a fancy evening out or a casual hang, here’s a selection of Vail restaurants that will make your New Year’s Eve a night to remember.
1. Ludwig’s at the Sonnenalp Hotel
While usually known for its spectacular brunch, Ludwig’s located in the Sonnenalp Hotel, hosts an annual NYE dinner. The menu and style of the meal may change from year to year, but you can always expect the same culinary excellence that Ludwig’s delivers every morning. There are two dinner seatings, so you can choose which works best with your plans.
2. Vail Chophouse
In the Lionshead Village, you can count on Vail Chophouse for an exciting night to ring in the new year. Celebrations can include multi-course meals, live music, after-dinner events, party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. These activities are ticketed, so snag yours early. If you need help, ask the concierge at your hotel or vacation rental for assistance making the arrangements.
3. Gessner Restaurant and Bar at the Grand Hyatt Vail
At Gessner Restaurant and Bar, revel in floor-to-ceiling vistas of the snow-covered forest and Gore Creek as you dine on a sumptuous NYE dinner (reservations required). Extend the evening and join the after-dinner party with Champagne cheers at midnight amid music and a jovial crowd. Or stop by the Champagne vending machine and opt for a quieter celebration in your hotel room.
4. Sweet Basil
Savor a New Year’s Eve dinner at one of Vail’s most iconic restaurants, Sweet Basil. Known for its decadent meals that use seasonal ingredients, this meal will knock your skis off. Sweet Basil is a popular holiday restaurant and was recently MICHELIN recommended, so plan to book in advance.
Speakeasies, Arcades & More:
1. Chasing Rabbits
Chasing Rabbits is known for hosting extravagant, themed NYE bashes. These blowouts offer a variety of entertainment, including DJs, dancers, magicians and interactive experiences. Reserve your tickets and relish an evening of surprises as you explore different rooms, including an exclusive speakeasy, an arcade and a cocktail library.
2. DECA + BOL
DECA + BOL is an excellent choice for New Year’s Eve food and entertainment. Nom on everything from small plates to full-size entrees and delicious drinks at the restaurant. Then, mosey over to the bowling area and start knocking back pins in a cool lounge-style atmosphere. Each lane can host up to six guests — perfect for an intimate NYE celebration. Just make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time — especially for larger groups.
• Get the party started at Vail’s winter nightlife hot spots.
• Discover more ways to celebrate the winter holidays.
• Learn about more activities you need to book ahead.
• Find a New Year’s resolution you’ll like and want to keep.
Feature Image: Chasing Rabbits; Courtesy of Joni Schrantz.