Vail Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Vail gay travel guide to top hotels, experiences, & Vail’s gay scene.
The Gay Travel Experience: Vail, Colorado
It’s easy to see why everyone loves Vail so much. Beautiful hotels packed with amenities, gorgeous mountainside vistas, delicious restaurants, and abundant style are all around. Even without the sports and outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do.
If you’re not a skier or snowboarder, don’t discount Vail gay travel so fast. While Vail is not necessarily a prominent LGBT destination, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find camaraderie with some other gay travelers.
You’ll find the majority of visitors to be at least into their thirties. These people typically have the means to afford an expensive destination such as Vail. Suites in the best luxury resorts can easily exceed a few thousand dollars per night!
Travelers in Vail tend not to segregate into gay and straight establishments. Vail doesn’t have any official gay bars, for example, and there isn’t any apparent gay scene.
Gay travelers here are pretty much left to their own devices (maybe quite literally) to connect with other gay travelers if they desire to do so.
In my opinion, if you’re considering a visit to Vail and prefer to pal around with other LGBT travelers, I would consider bringing along a friend!
Basic Facts About Vail, Colorado
To understand a little more, here are some quick things you should know about Vail’s history and why the town is so unique. (If you’re not interested, scroll past this part!)
Until the early 1900s, Vail was simply a mining area, as were many Colorado towns. Resources were quickly depleted and the sleepy town was home to ranchers until the 1940s.
The concept for a ski resort came about in the ’50s, was constructed in the ’60s and by the ’70s, skiers began to discover the desirable slopes. Construction boomed in the ’90s, creating most of Vail’s infrastructure, which was then largely renovated after 2005 with Vail’s Billion Dollar Renewal plan.
This rapid late-century growth and subsequent extensive renovation explain why Vail feels like a brand-new town altogether. Many equate the ambiance of the town center to the streets of different European cities considering Vail’s amalgam of architectural styles.
While there isn’t a rich cultural history, the village’s modern designs and conveniences make a desirable countryside escape.
Gay Vail: Hotels & Where to Stay
There are a different few pockets of hotel and resort developments in Vail. All of them are well-connected via public transit, private hotel shuttles and a large main roadway.
Before browsing Vail hotels, consider whether you prefer to be right on the base of the mountain, or if you’re comfortable with being a 5-minute shuttle bus ride away.
The most expensive and luxurious resorts are in the town center, at the base of Vail mountain. The entire town is pedestrian-only, which is pretty awesome.
The Grand Hyatt Vail is slightly cheaper, yet still luxurious. They have many of the same incredible amenities and a modern design but are just a few minutes away from Vail’s town center.
The video below shows some of the awesome features of the Grand Hyatt in Vail.
Frequent shuttle buses make it easy to get into town anytime. Keep in mind it may be quite advantageous to stay nearby one of the “In-Town” bus route stops. More on this in the travel tips section of this guide.
Lodge at Vail is a great in-between, balancing good comfort and amenities with a central location.
Want a place with a ton of space? Browse these vacation condo rentals in Vail.
Vail Gay Travel Experiences
You might have the impression that Vail is only a winter getaway destination. While winter is definitely most popular, tourists visit the town year-round.
When there isn’t snow on the mountain, visitors hike the majestic mountainsides, ride bikes along vast trails, and dine in style in the center of town.
After finishing outdoor activities, go enjoy the wonderful ambiance of the town center. There is so much energy and life flowing here as everyone enjoys themselves. It’s quite magical!
Grab cocktails at one of the many hotel bars in close proximity, or window shop while meandering the quaint European-esque pedestrian streets. There are a lot of pubs and breweries around.
I stopped at Hermits 7 Brewing Company for a few beers with my partner Michael and his family.
Skiing Vail Mountain
You will first need to purchase a Vail Mountain lift ticket to get your adventure started. Note that there are single-day lift ticket passes and Epic Day Passes, which work differently.
Vail Mountain’s FAQ section at the bottom of their lift tickets page is super useful since there are some fine details you should be aware of.
Specifically, they note that tickets may not be available the day of, and you’re encouraged to buy in advance for the days you want to ski.
For renting skis, you can visit any local ski shop or one of the various Vail Sports locations in the area. In addition to their traditional locations, the Ritz-Carlton, Arrabelle, and Marriott Hotels have locations on-site.
You also have the option of renting skis online ahead of time, but it’s probably simpler to just do it in person. Make sure you have all your essential cold weather and ski gear, though!
Related → Popular Gay Ski Weeks Worldwide
Restaurants In Vail Village
Alpenrose Vail was my absolute favorite restaurant in Vail. They’re a German restaurant with mouth-watering choices, including vegan dishes. The décor was stunning and the staff all wear traditional German attire, which was pretty fun.
Alpenrose is also a fantastic spot to grab a few glasses of wine before dinner, as they have a pretty interesting wine list.
The French restaurant La Tour was also delicious. Another establishment with stellar service, my favorite part of my meal at La Tour was the delicious cocktails. Their dishes are divine, and I’d say if the waiter or waitress has a suggestion, definitely take it.
There are literally dozens of restaurants to choose from in the Vail Village town center alone. They span the spectrum of cuisines, from Japanese to Italian.
Keep in mind that restaurants tend to close earlier than you may be used to if you’re from Europe or a large American city. By 9 PM, most places are closed, which makes sense given everyone wants to be up bright and early for another day of adventure.
Vail Gay Travel Tips
Pack the Right Clothing
If you’re visiting Vail in the winter, spring or autumn, remember to pack tons of layerable clothing. Temperature fluctuations are quite drastic here in the mountains, and once the sun goes down, you might find yourself pretty cold!
Most people dress for comfort, donning long sleeves under high-end puffer jackets and such, as opposed to pea coats or higher-fashion outerwear.
During the winter season, you’ll need all your typical winter gear essentials along with your ski gear if you’ll be hitting the slopes!
Where to Park in Vail
Vail has a significant amount of parking; however, it’s confined almost entirely to a couple of large parking garages. It’s not typical, or usually even possible, to park on the street near a restaurant or bar.
With that, you should plan to either park in one of the garages and take a short walk to your destination, or take the Vail shuttle bus from your hotel.
Some parking in Vail is free and some is paid. This can change from season to season as well. The main parking garage for the Vail Village town center is called Village Parking Structure. You’ll end up parking here if you’re going into town.
Lionshead and Red Sandstone are two other large parking garages commonly used. Check the Vail Parking Portal for current information.
Bus Routes In Vail
The Town of Vail Website lists local bus routes and times. Vail’s “In-Town” bus line is the only route that passes through the pedestrian-only part of town.
Booking a hotel nearby one of the stops on this route will be much more convenient. Otherwise, you may have to transfer buses to get into town via public transit.
Your hotel may provide a private service however, but those buses will only be able to stop at the town entrance since they cannot enter.
I hope you’ve found this Vail gay guide helpful. Enjoy your time in this beautiful town.
Planning a gay Colorado journey? Read wolfyy’s Denver gay guide next.
For more inspiration, explore wolfyy’s full collection of gay travel guides.