Vail is my favorite winter destination, perfect for the long Martin Luther King, Jr weekend. Mostly because of the apres ski, as an old injury sidelined me from snowboarding and winter sports a long time ago. There’s so much to eat and do here that even if you’re not partaking in the exquisite powder of the back bowls, you can fill your days and nights enjoying all the sights along the cobblestoned, European chalet lined streets.
Pierce the Vail…
Driving in from Denver on the often snowy I-70 can be a bit of a headache, but that is soothed immediately once the crisp mountain air hits you. It’ll give you a second wind from your travels, so you should take full advantage of this and kick off your trip right.
Lodge at Lionshead is a great place to stay if you can get a reservation, the condos are cozy and warm with alpine design. It’s also located steps from the Eagle Bahn lift, so it’s very convenient. It’s also located close to Garfinkel’s, a dependable sports bar that is always hopping in the winter with locals and tourists alike. Something is always going on here, from magazine and social media parties to freezing your butt off on the outdoor patio. Don’t worry, they have alcohol and friendly service to warm you up.
Before you head out on the trails for your first day, stop at the Little Diner, Lionshead’s tiny breakfast spot that serves all the classics (crepes and eggs benedict forever) that will prepare you for a day of carving snow. Prepare to wait though if you don’t get there early, it’s very small.
Lionshead will give you access to the Eagle Bahn and Adventure Ridge snow park which is great for kids and adults alike. There’s on the mountain dining, but be prepared to pay dearly for everything.
For those back at base, shop and watch the kids ice skate in the rink in the center of the Lionshead village before heading down the road to Vail Village. There’s a shuttle that will take you along Meadow road if you have a lot of gear, but it’s a short walk if you want to hoof it.
Because you’re in Vail, you should definitely partake in spa indulgence. Sonnenalp Spa is tops in luxury and the massages are amazingly refreshing. Don’t forget the hot tubs, too. It’s great to detox those achy muscles after hitting the slopes or just for kicks…because you’re worth it.
Cross the covered bridge into Vail Village and see all the delightful shops and restaurants leading to Gondola One. Vendetta’s is a long standing pizza and pasta shop and I’ll be honest, I really like their name. It’s a place for a quick bite to eat during your jaunt around town. Admire the galleries and art around town before plopping yourself down for an afternoon hot cocoa at the Sebastian, where they have over-the-top decadent flavors added to the already caloric Valrhona chocolate. It’s also a great place to meet friends after they’ve finished their day on the mountain.
Colorado is wholly unpretentious and casual, so you can go from dinner to drinks to the club without worrying about dress codes. So while you’re in the Solaris development, head over to Matsuhisa. If you like sushi, you should dine here. From famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, this restaurant is gorgeous, grand and delicious. You can get his famous black cod here, but the spicy tuna and crispy rice and sushi rolls are to die for as well.
For a more casual, family oriented experience, Bol provides dining and bowling in a lounge atmosphere. There’s also a movie theater where you can seek refuge from the cold.
For an after dinner libation, Frost bar serves hip, craft cocktails and extensive list of spirits in a cool space, literally and figuratively. If you’ve still got some energy left, Shakedown is the best place to see live music, it’s always bustling crowded with flowing pitchers of beer and hordes of people dancing and moshing the night away.
On your last morning, get an early start skiing/snowboarding or sleep in to enjoy brunch at Vintage where you can get avocado toasts and galettes and french toast that look too pretty to eat. Head out of town with a full belly and fond memories of this idyllic winter paradise while planning your next trip back.