Whether you go to Keystone to ski or enjoy the summer festival scene, these are useful tips for staying in Keystone, Colorado.
Stay in the River Run
I’ve been to Keystone many times, and I’ve stayed both in River Run Village at the base of the ski resort as well as in town. Staying anywhere in Keystone is easy thanks to the free shuttle that runs around the area, but River Run Village is where the action always takes place whether it’s a festival or skiing so it’s an ideal place to stay in Keystone.
On our last visit during Mountain Town Music Festival, we stayed at the Black Bear Lodge which is in the middle of all the action. In fact, our condo above Inxpot Coffee smelled of delicious coffee each morning when we left the windows open.
By the way, the summer festival lineup in Keystone is fantastic with the last big event, Keystone Oktoberfest, happening this Saturday, September 1.
Our one-bedroom cozy condo featured a fireplace as well as large windows overlooking the village. Black Bear Lodge also has a beautiful hot tub area that we utilized twice during our two-night stay.
Staying in the village for skiing makes total sense but it’s also convenient for festivals. We made several trips to our condo during the festival to return some vinyl we bought and to give ourselves some downtime.
Dining in River Run
We didn’t feel like driving our car at all so it sat in the garage and we made the most of dining in River Run Village.
We’ve eaten at a variety of restaurants in River Run over the years. I am a big fan of Pizza on the Run, a spot that usually gets my business at least once during a visit. We didn’t make it here this time around and in fact, on Saturday, we skipped dinner because we ate our way through Mountain Town Music Festival. Part of this event is food-related and restaurants must present a Colorado or peachy twist to the food they serve up. All bites were delicious but the peach empanadas from Colorado Mountain College were my favorite.
We ended up at Luigi’s Pasta House three times; twice for drinks and once for dinner. Situated across the plaza from our condo, we enjoyed Luigi’s great patio. The bartender was super nice, even the night he was slammed with festival goers.
Look, don’t expect top-quality service here. Our dinner waitress was a sweetheart but waiting tables was not her calling and she was probably living in the area waiting for the first snow so she could jump on her board, not fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a waitress. Resorts are notorious for wayward staff and it’s a bonus if they are friendly even if their table waiting skills leave something to be desired.
We ordered a family size platter of blackened chicken alfredo and a bottle of Chianti. It was a fine meal with scrumptious Italian bread. We had a ton of leftovers which was yummy heated up later that week. The all-day drink specials at Luigi’s are where it’s at and include 16-ounce cans of Rainier and $5 shots of Jack Daniels. This has to be one of the best drink specials in Keystone.
In the past, we’ve eaten at Kickapoo Tavern, a restaurant that serves up American-style food in a cabin-like environment. This is a good choice too and they also have one of the best patios in Keystone.
This is a resort so expect a steep resort tax on meals here. If you’re expecting the tax it’s not so painful.
Bring the Kids
Proximity to Denver
What makes Keystone an ideal destination is its proximity to Denver. It’s only about an hour and 35-minutes away and while ski traffic and summer backups on I70 suck—I’m not going to lie about that—I have a few suggestions on how to avoid traffic on I70.
First, if you can visit midweek this is best, otherwise try to head up on a Thursday and leave Saturday or head up on Saturday and leave Monday. If you must drive home on a Sunday it’s imperative to leave early or you will be stuck in traffic. Get out before 8 a.m. and you’ll miss most of the traffic at any time of year. The longer you dawdle the worse the traffic will be.
Lastly, if you are headed back to the Front Range like most of us are, driving over Loveland Pass is a gorgeous addition to any trip to Keystone.
Thank you to Keystone Festivals for hosting us at Black Bear Lodge during our most recent stay.