Things to do in Vail, Colorado when you’re not skiing

What comes to mind when you think of Vail, Colorado? Swishing down the slopes alongside celebrities? That very well could happen at this World Class ski resort, however, Vail is much more than just skiing.

Skiers carry skis through Vail Village in Vail, Colorado.
Whether you’ve just finished skiing for the day, or don’t ski at all, Vail has lots of things for you to do off the slopes.

Today I will tell you about all the wonderful things we’ve discovered in Vail when we weren’t skiing.

Vail is for foodies

I can easily say that after attending a variety of Taste events in Colorado and beyond, none hold a candle to the Taste of Vail, held annual towards the end of ski season. Part of the reason this event is so grand is because Vail is brimming with first-rate restaurants.

My husband just recently took his clients to lunch at Sweet Basil and was seriously impressed. The fact is, if you like to eat, you must dine in Vail.

There are many amazing restaurants in Vail, but our meal at Terra Bistro at Vail Mountain Lodge was one of my most memorable meals of 2014, and I wrote about our experience here. This place has been serving up, real, local, organic food before it was trendy to do so. They grow their quino sprouts onsite which brings a whole new meaning to keeping it local. My HeidiTown tip: join them from 5 to 6 p.m. every day for half price appetizers and drink specials.

Vail is for art lovers

If you like to shop, you must shop in Vail. Whether you’re in the market for a $200,000 work of art or simply a beautiful handmade scarf, Vail’s got you covered. Honestly, I’m not a big shopper, although both Ryan and I love to browse art galleries and Vail has enough galleries to fill up your entire afternoon.

10th Division Statue in Vail Village.
Taking a stroll with a piece of art in Vail Village.

We loved the gallery scene in Vail Village and we felt very welcome in the many galleries we toured. You’ll find a varied selection here, from contemporary works to more traditional oil paintings. There truly is a little something for everyone and for every pocket book.

Vail has culture

Get a little culture at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. From music to ballet, there’s always something happening here including the famous Vail International Dance Festival held every August.

While in town visit the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame, easily accessible by foot if you happen to stay in Vail Village. This museum provides an entertaining look at the history of skiing and snowboarding, plus it educates visitors on the sport’s legends; folks from history and more recent skiing icons like Vail’s own Lindsey Vonn.  I especially loved the 80s and 90s snowboard display and the collection of vintage to modern day ski boots.

Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum Hall of Fame.

80s snowboards at the Colorado ski & snowboard museum in Vail, Colorado.

This is a great place to take the family and at just a $2 suggestion donation, it’s an affordable Vail activity.

Party in Vail – Vail’s festival scene

I mentioned our meal at Terra Bistro already, but if you’d like to taste nearly every restaurant that Vail has to offer you must attend Taste of Vail. This was my top rated event of 2014, as rated in this post. It occurs this year April 8-11.

ski helmet dangling from a tree at the Mountain Top Picnic at Taste of Vail.
A helmet hangs from a tree at the Mountain Top Picnic at Taste of Vail. You can ski in or take the gondola to this event.

A Vail event that’s popular with HeidiTown citizens is just around the corner. Big Beers Festival happens this weekend (January 8-10, 2015). The Vail Film Festival is another event at the end of March that brings movie aficionados to town.

Keep tabs of everything happening in Vail and find maps, a dining build and more visit

This is part of my series, Things to do at Colorado ski resorts with you’re not skiing. These are not paid advertisements and all opinions are my own.

Other posts like this one:

Steamboat Springs when you’re not skiing  (posted 12/18/13) *the inspiration for the series*

Things to do in Breckenridge, Colorado when you’re not skiing  (posted 12/11/14)


  1. Confession – Colorado Native, never been to VAIL! WHAT I know I know. Its on my list!


    1. ah oh. You gotta go, Censie!!!
      As a Coloradan, you may enjoy the shoulder season (spring or fall) when it’s less busy, although you do have to make sure the restaurants you want to eat at will be open, as some close during shoulder season.


    1. Hi Owen,
      Thank you SO MUCH for that tip! Another wonderful option for those visiting Vail.


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