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10 Colorado Moments You’ll Only Find in Vail This Summer

While many visit Vail for its European villages, world-class adventure offerings and startling mountain views, the things you’ll remember most about being here are the small, precious moments you didn’t plan for — like the cozy sunrise you witness from your hotel balcony or a child’s surprise at their first taste of fondue.

Check out our list of best moments in Vail that are perfect for your summer-in-Colorado bucket list. Then capture the beauty of your own Insta-worthy Vail moments and post using the hashtag #vailmoment.

Here’s how to discover your new perfect Vail moment:

1. Splash Around

Two young children smile and splash around a water fountain area in Vail Village in Colorado.

Summer in Colorado can be warm, so cool off surrounded by nature in Vail’s Gore Creek. There are shallow waters for wading or a refreshing toe-dip. Bring lunch and enjoy a picturesque picnic on the banks.

Younger kids will love stomping and splashing through The Children’s Fountain outside Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory. The area features a shallow pool for wading, along with three fountains. Wooden benches and large, flat rocks are great for wrapping the kiddos in fuzzy towels and drying them off in the sun.

Or spend a lazy afternoon at the Sonnenalp Hotel’s heated indoor and outdoor pools. Give an impromptu swimming lesson or have a little friendly competition to see who can reach one end of the pool the fastest.


2. Enjoy the Sunset & a Show at The Amp

A person in a yellow, patterned romper dances and waves a hand in the air during a packed concert at The Amp in Vail Village.

All summer long, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (lovingly called The Amp by locals), hosts incredible programs, like Bravo! Vail Music Festival (June–August), Vail Dance Festival (July–August) and the free Summer Nights Concerts (select weeknights June–September). Whether you’ve claimed a seat in the theater or a spot on the lawn, you’re in for an unforgettable night. As the sun sinks below the horizon and the music swells, watch cotton-candy pinks, flaming oranges and deep purples paint the sky.


3. Savor New Flavors

A waitress in Bavarian garb brings plates piled with food to a family dining at an outside table in Vail, Colorado.

At Alpenrose, you’ll relish Vail’s iconic Bavarian cuisine with dishes like breaded pork schnitzel and flaky apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce. Share a round of fondue and watch as everyone’s eyes light up when they begin dipping potato fingerlings, bread and dried apples into the pot of silken, melty cheese.

Experience out-of-this-world-delicious dining at Vail’s MICHELIN-recommended restaurants: Sweet Basil and Osaki’s. Your tastebuds will dance as you savor Colorado-style international dishes like lamb tortellini and Korean pork-belly sandwich at Sweet Basil, and traditional Japanese flavors with miso soup and fresh nigiri at Osaki’s.

Stop for a summer treat at Sundae Vail. Gaze with glee at the classic and innovative flavors, like pink bubble gum, chai and blackberry lavender. Try a simple cone of from-scratch vanilla topped with sprinkles or indulge your sweet tooth with a decadent hot fudge sundae.


4. Discover Jaw-Dropping Views

The sun shines down on a couple walking hand in hand through a mountain meadow of tall grass and wildflowers outside Vail, Colorado.

Hop aboard Gondola One or Eagle Bahn Gondola for soaring peak-strewn views as you ascend to 10,000 feet. Clear walls offer panoramic vistas of majestic mountains for a ride you’ll never forget.

Another way to see the mountains is on a glorious hike through white-bark aspen and towering pine. Try the Strawberry Lane to Cabin Trail, a less traveled path that goes from Vail Village all the way to the summit. Berry Picker Trail is a challenging, but richly rewarding trek to the top with steep ascents and fields sprawling with wildflowers. Celebrate your mountain victory with a restful gondola ride — or hike back down.

Be sure to wear fully enclosed shoes and sunscreen as sun exposure is greater at higher altitudes. Also, bring a jacket or sweater for the 10-degree temperature difference between the valley and summit.


5. Sample Vail Nightlife

Four friends dressed in semi-fancy outfits sits at a table and clink their cocktails together in a toast at a restaurant in Vail Village.

Unleash your inner child with arcade games at Chasing Rabbits. Challenge your friends to a round of skee-ball, see who can score the highest in Pac-Man or let out the laughter in reimagined Twister. Afterward, sip original craft cocktails, like the smoking Cosmonaut, in the Roaring ’20s-style library.

Groove to the music with live bands and heart-thumping DJ sets at Shakedown Bar and Bridge Street Bar. You’ll love the classic bar vibes along with the delicious cocktails. If you get hungry, stop at Vendetta’s for a late-night pizza slice.


6. Embrace Romance

A couple lounges on a Vail Village hotel bed in cozy, white robes. In front of them is a breakfast tray with a plate of assorted fruit and other dishes.

Snuggle up on your balcony and wake up with the sun. Listen to the sweet sounds of birdsong as the sun rises over the mountains. Savor a leisurely morning cavorting in your suite with in-room dining options — like crunchy, house-made granola, stacks of fluffy pancakes and citrusy mimosas — at The Sebastian Vail. Or sample tasty dishes like bacon-wrapped figs, caramel-apple waffles and specialty cocktails during the Champagne Brunch at Vintage.

Explore the villages hand in hand and stop at The Golden Bear for the ultimate Vail memento. Plan a private, afternoon picnic with Picnic Vail for picturesque, romantic moments no matter where you are. Get cozy with some wine by the creek or celebrate an anniversary with Champagne atop the mountain.


7. Become One With Nature

A person in a light-teal, long-sleeve shirt and fishing gear swings back their arm to cast a line on the Gore Creek near Vail Village in Colorado.

Reconnect with nature on a horseback riding adventure with Vail Stables. Bond with your trusty steed as you meander on a guided trek through Vail’s backcountry. Afterward, join a relaxed goat yoga session, and don’t be surprised by the little hooves on your back as you go through your cat-cows.

Share the joy of fishing with your youngsters along the cascading Gore Creek. It won’t be long before they’re grinning and whooping over their first catch. Be sure to snap a photo before releasing the fish back into its home.

8. Stroll Through the Villages

Two walls in Vail, Colorado, are painted a bright blue with frame and flower details painted for visitors to take pictures in front of.

On Sundays, head to Meadow Drive in Vail Village to sample Colorado flavors and Colorado artisanal works at the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show. Be on the lookout for tasty morsels to bring home and special treasures to mark your Vail trip. Continue your exploration of town with a stop at local art galleries. You may just find the perfect piece to complement your style with the thought-provoking, contemporary-abstract works at Artful Sol Gallery or the eclectic styles at Vail International Gallery. Make a scavenger hunt out of finding the more than 60 public art pieces around the Vail villages, including a mural of a zebra wearing goggles and a red helmet.

9. Get Some Thrills

Three bikers race along a dirt track in single file and whiz pass white-bark aspen trees near Vail, Colorado.

During the summer, Vail’s ski slopes transform into a lush, wooded playground for mountain bikers. Keep your ride casual and fun with lighter, family-friendly rides on the 2.4-mile Lucy’s Loop. Pedal up challenging climbs and whiz down the mountainside on more advanced trails like the steep .68-mile Windisch Way or the black-diamond .5-mile Onza Alley.

For an off-mountain adventure, take a two-wheeled tour at Vail Segway. Feel a warm summer breeze on your face as you zip through the village, along Gore Creek and below towering mountain peaks.


10. Find Your Zen

A person lays face down on a massage table with round, pink rocks on their back as a pair of hands massages them at a spa in Vail.

Discover moments of peace and relaxation with luxury spa experiences in Vail. Release your worries with a Swedish massage or blue-bamboo body scrub at The Spa at Gravity Haus Vail. At Sunshine Massage Studio, try a multi-sensory session with a sunshine signature massage or get spoiled with a four-handed massage.

For a mental refresher, nothing beats a little outdoor meditation. Look for a perch along the creek in the morning or a cool rock beneath a stand of aspens for some solo quiet time. Your mind will feel restored as you hear the sounds of nature — the wind through the leaves or the water trickling over the rocks — and breathe in fresh mountain air.

Share your special Vail memories and see what others have discovered at #vailmoment.

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