Fashion + Lifestyle + Adventure

Vail, CO Travel Guide on a Budget

Let me preface this post with a little known fact about myself… after I graduated from The University of Tennessee with an engineering degree, I immediately booked it out of Tennessee to become… a lift operator in Vail, Colorado.  Sorry Dad, engineering will come soon enough, but first I HAD to check one thing off of the bucket list:  Ski in buckets of powder for a full season.  CHECK!

Growing up, my mom and dad were cool enough to take the family on a ski trip to Utah once a year.  148378_10150347885335118_4341374_n.jpg


I had always imagined how amazing it would be to actually spend a whole season LIVING at a ski resort – practically like living in a perfect snow globe world!!  I took a chance on life and decided to do whatever the heck I wanted to do.  Soon enough (although I didn’t know it yet) I’d have a fiancé and an engineering career.  If anyone out there is curious about what path in life to take, I’ll give you this advice:  PRAY!!!  And DO NOT expect things to go perfectly.  I planned and planned and planned till the cows came home, but I still had some major hiccups that I just had to roll with.  And it was fun to learn how to roll with em.

So anyways, Vail is an absolute beautiful ski resort, and I would definitely recommend visiting at least once in your life regardless of if you like to ski or not!

Christmas in Vail, Colorado
Vail at Christmas (picture from Pinterest)

Where to Eat:

  • Vendetta’s has awesome pizza, is on the cheaper side, and has a fun atmosphere.
  • The 10th at Mid Vail is a nicer option with beautiful mountain views.
  • Crespelle serves amazing crepes.. my favorite is the Dirty Hippy 😉
  • El Sabor in Lionshead has margaritas that are perfect after a long day of skiing or sightseeing and their tacos are to die for!

Best Après:

  • Garfinkel’s sports bar has a pretty good happy hour and plenty of beer on tap.
  • The George Restaurant and Pub is fun, low key, and affordable! Happy hour goes from 6pm to 10pm!
  • Loaded Joe’s has great coffee as well as bear and wine. (FYI they also have an amazing breakfast menu!!)


  • Gorsuch – gorgeous designer clothing for men and women (I could only window shop here #liftylife)
  • Golden Bear – beautiful jewelry!
  • lululemon – in case you forget your favorite leggings – or just need a fix 😉
  • Patagonia – they of course have the perfect apparel for the mountains!

Words for the Wise:

  • Parking structures are free for the first 1.5 hours, but if you’re there longer than 4 hours the price jumps up to $30!  See the winter rates here.
  • If you’re skiing, the back bowls are where you NEED to be.  The terrain is vast and beautiful, and lift lines are way shorter than on the front side of the mountain!


I am truly in awe every time I visit Vail.  Walking through town on cobblestone streets with snow falling down and Christmas lights literally everywhere is such a magical experience! It’s a one of a kind place, and I definitely wouldn’t mind living in the mountains again!

Thanks for reading!  Are you planning your next trip to Vail yet? haha!


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