Top 10 Things To Do Besides Skiing In Vail, Colorado

things to do in vail besides ski

Although originally settled in the late 19th century, the town of Vail in Colorado only gained popularity in the 1960s when the Vail Mountain opened itself as a formidable skiing location to enthusiasts. Today, it is USA’s largest single-mountain ski resort town and it attracts hordes of skiing enthusiasts throughout the year. Boasting more than 2,000 skiing trails and a 1,052-m (3,450-ft) vertical drop, the mountain is quite the hit. However, that’s not where the town’s attraction ends. There are several other, equally interesting things to do for folks of all age groups. Go over our list of things to do besides skiing in Vail, Colorado, and discover more about the town.

1. Explore the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum

Meet & Greet at the Museum.

Posted by Colorado Snowsports Museum on Tuesday, 23 April 2019

It’s only natural for Vail to have a museum dedicated to its most famous attraction, skiing and snowboarding. Spread across six galleries, the museum makes interesting use of equipment, artifacts, photographs, film clips, and presentations to take the visitors through the history and art of skiing as a sport as well as for recreational purposes. There are also group tours that you can participate in and let the friendly guides tell you anything that the exhibits can’t.

Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum

Address: 231 S Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free

2. Go ice skating on Vail Square Ice Rink

If you’re planning your visit to Vail in the winter, do head over to one of the three open-air (Black Family Ice Rink, Nottingham Lake, and Alderhof Ice Rink) or one indoor (Dobson Ice Arena) ice rink at the Vail Square Ice Rink, which is open only during the winter months. Located towards the west side of the main village, the rinks sit in the midst of a variety of shops, restaurants, and other entertainment options as well. Dobson Ice Arena also offers private ice skating lessons to kids. All the rinks’ timings and opening months vary, so do check before heading there.

Vail Square Ice Rink

Address: 675 Lionshead Pl, Vail, CO 81657, USA

3. Take a stroll in Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail, CO - bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Engulf yourself in the scenic landscaping of Vail’s mountainous terrain, thriving flora, and towering Alpines at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Sitting at a height of 2,500m (8,200ft) above sea level, this botanical garden is touted to be the world’s highest and it is home to about 2,000 varieties of plants, out of which about 500 are varieties of alpine plants and wildflowers. The gardens get their name from the former First Lady, Betty Ford, wife of US President, Gerald Ford, because of her efforts in helping to keep the foliage of the area intact. Walking paths have been paved for visitors to enjoy the colorful flowerbeds, waterfalls, and streams. If you’re heading to the garden with little ones, don’t forget to go over to the Education Center and engage in some fun interactive activities as well. Else, there are also public and private tours that you can book yourself in.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Address: 522 S Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

4. Enjoy horseback riding at Vail Stables

Green trails.

Posted by Vail Stables on Sunday, 7 July 2019

Give your holiday an interesting and enriching twist and ride your way through Vail’s dense greenery on horseback. Offering some of the best, guided horseback riding tours, is Vail Stables. There’s the Bear Hollow Trail through the forests of the Gore Range, the Dark Timber Trail, taking you from the Gore Range down to Beaver Creek, and the Rocky Point Trail for enjoying some spectacular 360-degree views of the Vail Valley, Beaver Creek, Gore Range, and the Bald Mountain. Each of the trails is about one or two hours long, so keep that kind of time aside. If you’re done trailing around, you can also enjoy some ‘Goga’ (Goat Yoga), a fun way of doing yoga with goats winding through your limbs. The horseback riding and Goga make for a thoroughly entertaining experience, so don’t miss it.

Vail Stables

Address: 915 Spraddle Creek Rd, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Vail Stables

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)

Price: 30 - 105 USD

5. Go fishing on Gore Creek

Posted by Gore Creek Fly Fisherman on Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A tributary of the Eagle River, Gore Creek is a huge attraction for fishing enthusiasts. Find yourself a spot amidst the region’s lush greenery and catch yourself a pike or two. You can also hitch yourself a guide who’ll not only help with the fishing but will also enlighten you with some interesting information about the region and its flora and fauna. The upper Gore is faster running, and that’s where you’ll find the Cutthroats, Browns, Brook trout, and Rainbows. For the best of the fishing experience, head down to the creek just below Lionshead and follow the stretch all the way to the point the creek meets the Eagle River. It is a lot less crowded with people and is heavily crowded with fish population. However, be careful that you do not pollute the waterway in any way. If you’re not confident by yourself, the Gore Creek Fly Fisherman offers some great guided fly fishing tours that you can book for yourself.

Gore Creek Fly Fisherman

Address: 1 Beaver Creek Pl, Avon, CO 81620, USA

Website: Gore Creek Fly Fisherman

6. Play a game of golf in Sonnenalp Club

Posted by Sonnenalp Club on Friday, 19 April 2019

A game of golf in the stunning landscape of Vail will surely be a treat for enthusiasts. Visit Sonnenalp Club and you’ll know what we’re talking about. Not only does the course offer some breathtaking views, but it is also a golfer’s dream with its landscaping. The 18-hole golf course remains open all days of the week and welcomes even non-members to enjoy the game at a fee. The club also has an on-site gear shop where you can purchase items from. Sonnenalp Club’s golf course is the only one in the region that remains open from early April through late October. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the club follows a dress code, so dress appropriately or you may not be allowed to enter.

Sonnenalp Club

Address: 1265 Berry Creek Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA

Website: Sonnenalp Club

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 6am - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 7am - 8pm

7. Have a thrilling experience at Breck Epic Discovery Park

Add some adrenaline to your weekend, come try out the Expedition Zipline Tour! #EpicDiscovery

Posted by Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday, 7 July 2017

Plunge into a world of adrenaline-pumping activities at the Epic Discovery Park in Vail. There’s roller coasters, ziplining tours, adventure courses, tubing coasters, rock climbing, and a ton of other fun activities that you can indulge in. And, all this while overlooking some of the best views of Vail’s natural landscape. While the Colorado Super Chair will give you a bird’s eye view of Colorado’s many mountain peaks, the Gold Runner Coaster and Alpine Slides will bring you up close and personal with the forests. Similarly, all other features of this discovery park will be hugely rewarding in more ways than one, so do remember to have it on your list of things to do besides skiing in Vail, Colorado, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

Breck Epic Discovery Park

Address: 520 Lionshead Center, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Epic Discovery Park

Price: 50 USD onwards

8. Shop at Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show

Hungry at the market? There are so many choices. EChang Catering comes to us from Aspen. They are amazing. Come try them out right outside the parking structure on Sundays.

Posted by Vail Farmers' Market and Art Show on Wednesday, 3 July 2019

There’s no better place to explore the multi-hued flavors of Vail’s local community, culture, people, and produce than at Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show. A Sunday morning attraction for the last 18 years, this local market is home to more than 135 tents and stalls, selling the best of local produce, native ingredients, artisanal products, craft items, and conducting some interesting live shows as well. About one-third of the number of stalls are food vendors, some of which also allow free sampling of food and drinks. If not shopping, just head there to engage the vendors in a chat and learn interesting little details about the market and Vail’s local community.

Vail Farmers' Market & Art Show

Address: E Meadow Dr, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show

Opening hours: Sun: 10am - 3:30pm (closed all other days)

9. Enjoy some bowling at Bol

Posted by Bol on Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Offering the best of entertainment and dining is Bol. Its 10 bowling lanes are designed to modern specifications and make for a great way to pass time, having fun with friends or loved ones. Give your game a break and also enjoy some great drinks from the bar, or try one of their sumptuous dishes. They also host DJ nights, so complement your bowling fun with some dancing and drinking!


Address: 141 E Meadow Dr #113, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Bol

Opening hours: 12pm - 10pm (daily)

10. Catch a movie at Cinebistro

Posted by CinéBistro at Solaris on Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It’s never a bad time for movie watching and that too while you’re on vacation. Cinebistro, in Vail, offers a luxurious movie-watching experience with in-theatre dining, comfortable recliner-chair seating, gourmet snacks, and great drinks. Check out their website for the latest line-up and reserve your tickets before they run out. Else, you can also buy the tickets over the counter on-site.


Address: 141 E Meadow Dr #104, Vail, CO 81657, USA

Website: Cinebistro

Not just a skiing destination

Not just a skiing town, Vail is also quite ritzy too. Capturing a bit of a quaint Swiss feel is the Vail Village on the east and the modern Lionshead on the west. While the former is all about activity and the more touristy things, the latter has a charming family-friendly feel to it. Our list of things to do besides skiing in Vail, Colorado, covers the best of the unexplored bits, so bookmark it and use it to tailor-make an unforgettable holiday for yourself.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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