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Tips For Enjoying Your Vail Vacation: Start with a Smile

Take a breath, inhaling the fresh mountain air, relax and don’t forget — a smile goes a long way when you’re visiting Vail.

Guests from all over the world, like you, come to Vail year after year to be among family and friends while enjoying this Colorado mountain town’s natural beauty. At the same time, the resort, along with many of our hotels, shops and restaurants are dealing with staff shortages. This combination may result in more congestion, limited offerings and longer wait times. While the Town of Vail and Mountain are committed to addressing these issues, both could really use everyone’s help. Whether extending kind words toward the hard-working employees or being patient with fellow visitors, showing kindness to one another is paramount.

With that in mind, here are more smart Vail travel tips to get you started:

The streets of Vail village lit up at night with a mountain view and backdrop.

Locals' Tip: Consider Mid-Week Vacation Days

If you have the flexibility and option, consider visiting Vail during the week! The resort and mountain tend to offer more space to spread out from Sunday – Thursday.

Couple riding fat bikes on the snow at Vail Nordic Center

Recommendations To Ensure a Great Time in Vail

  1. Make Reservations: Many activities have adjusted or reduced operations due to increased demand and/or decreased staffing. We highly recommend booking any guided activities — like ski/snowmobile tours and lessons — well before arriving to ensure availability.
  2. Consider Shifting Your Vacation Days: Higher traffic times (Friday – Sunday and holiday weeks) are when the resort will be the busiest. If you have flexibility, plan your trips mid-week. That way, you’ll enjoy more space to roam the town and experience the mountains.
  3. Timing is Everything: Become a morning person to beat the sleepyheads to the trail, the mountain, the coffee shop, etc. An early-morning start will give you more space and solitude to experience the beauty of the surroundings.
  4. Ditch the Car: A car is not needed to get here and around. Vail is a pedestrian (and bike) friendly destination, and it’s easy to take public transportation (often free) to locations throughout the villages and beyond town.
  5. Follow Leave No Trace Principles: Protecting what we all love is more important than ever when enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to pack it in, pack it out and be respectful of others when exploring the wilderness.
A group of children walking down a sidewalk with shopping bags.

Locals' Tip: Plan Ahead When Dining Out

Make dining reservations to secure a table at your favorite spot! Please be aware that some dining locations may be closed on select days. Decide where you want to eat and call restaurants in advance to be sure they have a seat for you.

A group of women eating nachos at an outdoor table.

Dining

Vail Restaurant Information

Dining in Vail’s incredible restaurants is a wonderful part of the vacation experience. But restaurants can be busy and staff is often limited. Our restauranteurs are still committed to delivering a world-class experience. Just know that this can result in longer-than-usual wait times. In the meantime, we ask that you plan ahead and show kindness while following the tips below.

 

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Follow these tips for dining out:

  1. Make dining reservations whenever possible well in advance. For Vail’s fine-dining restaurants, this can mean contacting restaurants weeks and even months ahead of time to reserve the day and time desired. If reservations are unavailable, put your name down early and enjoy a stroll through town while waiting.
  2. Dine during off-peak hours. This means planning your meals and dining earlier or later than usual to avoid the busiest times.
  3. Bring a snack to hold you over (especially kids) as you venture out to a restaurant, and just know you’re likely to experience a wait before getting seated and receiving your food.
  4. Eat in. Consider shopping at our local groceries and make your own incredible meals.
  5. Hire a private chef to prepare an exceptional meal in the comfort of your accommodations.

Winter Events

Vail is excited to bring back a full calendar of special events! Although some may look a little different, we invite you to gather and celebrate together again. Visit our Events Calendar for information on upcoming events. And, check back often for updates, as all events are subject to change.

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Activities Beyond Skiing & Riding

When the snow blankets Vail, you’ll find there’s more to do than ski and ride this winter. Enjoy some of the most memorable and unique experiences offered off Vail Mountain.

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Nordic Skiing

Locals' Tip: Experience Vail's Nordic Center

The Vail Nordic Centers offers incredible experiences like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking in a beautiful (and crowd free) setting — a perfect alternative to a day of skiing and snowboarding.

Flying Here

You’ve got options when considering how to get to Vail. 

The Vail Eagle Airport (EGE) is just 30 minutes from Vail and offers non-stop flights from 12 major markets (including Denver) in the winter, plus connecting flights from major domestic cities. Flying directly into the Vail Eagle Airport (EGE) is convenient and avoids  the two-plus hour drive from Denver. Shuttle services, taxis and rental cars are  available too.

Denver International Airport (DEN) provides an alternative to flying into the Vail Eagle Airport (EGE) and offers shuttle services, taxis and rental cars. The drive from DEN (aka DIA) on Interstate 70 is approximately two hours but can vary greatly depending on weather and traffic conditions.

Please be aware that peak travel days are Friday (westbound from Denver) and Sunday (eastbound toward Denver). Plan your travel and driving to Vail around those days to spend more time enjoying Vail!

 

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Getting Around Vail is Easy

Once in Vail, getting around is easy thanks to our free transportation and pedestrian-friendly villages. In fact, the streets of Vail Village and Lionshead are pedestrian only — you really don’t need a car! The Town of Vail provides free year-round bus service in town, as well as to outlying areas from West Vail to East Vail. ECO Transit offers regional bus service with modest fares between Vail, Leadville, Minturn, Eagle-Vail, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, Gypsum and Beaver Creek. Taxi and local car services are also available as an easy way to get around the community.

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The streets of Vail village lit up at night with a mountain view and backdrop.

Locals' Tip: Parking is readily available on the lower levels of the garages

When entering either the Vail Village or Lionshead parking structures, keep moving and consider driving down to the lower levels of the garage vs. abruptly stopping at the first spot you find on the upper levels. The lower levels of the garage tend to be less crowded. Parking on the lower levels also allows you to avoid navigating multiple levels of stairs. This is especially convenient with small children, when you have ski boots on and/or are pushing a stroller.

The entrance to a lodge at dusk.

Visit Vail's Welcome Centers

We are here to help!

The friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Vail Village and Lionshead Welcome Centers offers a wealth of information to help you have the best vacation in Vail. We invite you to come visit us or give us a call. Open daily 8:30am – 5pm.

Vail Village Welcome Center
On the top level of the Vail Village Parking Garage
241 South Frontage Rd., Suite 8150 Vail, CO 81657
970-477-3522

Lionshead Welcome Center
On the lower level of the Lionshead Parking Garage
395 East Lionshead Circle Vail, CO 81657
970-477-3523

A group of people standing in front of a building.

Locals' Tip: Check out community activities & events happening daily

Check out the community calendar listed in the Vail Daily newspaper and online for art workshops, yoga classes and other daily activities throughout Vail. The Vail Recreation District also offers unique daily activities, many family-friendly, to enjoy, whether as a non-skier/snowboarder or as a break from the mountain.

A group of people are sitting in the snow near a river.

More To Explore

There are so many ways to be outside and new ways to experience Vail’s beautiful mountain setting. Its villages, mountains, views and incredible activities all await your bucket-list vacation in Vail.

Thank you for visiting!

Several people stroll the brick-lined walkways of Vail Village at dusk. Several of the Bavarian-inspired building house shops and have snow-covered roofs.

Take Our Sustainability Quiz

Guests in Vail want to be outside more than ever. Help to ensure that the experience can be enjoyed by everyone today and into the future by following Leave No Trace Principles and being respectful of others. Educate yourself and others by taking our Sustainability Quiz.

Sustainability quiz