There are plenty of free things to do in Vail during the summer.
Free Parking & free Bus Transportation all Summer Parking in Vail Village and LionsHead parking structures are free all summer. The town of Vail bus system is free - leave your car at home and tour Vail via its free bus system, the largest free transit system in the nation.
Scenic rides on both gondolas are free to 2013/2014 season pass holders.
Art & Nature
Family & Kids Events
Sports & Recreation
Music & Dance
Culture & History
Take in the many Events & Happenings
Take a look at the incredible events happening throughout the summer, many of which are free to attend: GoPro Mountain Games, Vail America Days, Vail Arts Festival, Vail Farmer's Market, Vail Antique Show, Colorado Grand just to name a few!
Art & Nature
Free Wednesday Art Walks (June 29 – August 31, no tour on July 4)
A free hour long walking tour of Vail's public art collection meets Wednesdays at 11:00 am at the Vail Village Visitor Information Center on the top level of the parking structure. The tour then winds its way through the Village with discussions of master planning and the importance of site specific commissioned art in creating the charm of the village. Visit www.artinvail.com or call 970-479-2344 for more details.
Free Guided Nature Walks
Nature Discovery Center, June 23 – August 30, Daily, 11am & 2pm
Located in an all-seasons yurt adjacent to the Eagle Bahn Gondola atop Vail Mountain.
Join Walking Mountains Science Center on a morning or afternoon nature walk and discover how plants and animals adapt to the high elevation environment as you identify signs of life on Vail Mountain. For more information, please call (970) 754-4675.
Free Creekside Nature Tours, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays
Depart from the Vail Farmers' Market Join the Nature Center for a casual stroll along Vail's streamside paths. Tours depart from the Vail Nature Center booth at the Vail Farmers' Market Sundays throughout the summer. No reservations required.
Stop by the Free Vail Nature Center
Nestled along the banks of Gore Creek, this 7 acres forest, meadow and stream are a delight and peaceful place known by many locals and visitors as their favorite place in Vail. Explore or take in one of the educational programs offered. For more information, please call (970) 479-2291.
Enjoy the beautiful and free Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Enjoy the highest botanical gardens in the world with a unique collection of alpine, sub-alpine and other mountain plants and flowers. Open from dawn to dusk daily through September with tours, children's programs and many other daily activities. For more information, please call (970) 476-0103.
Family & Kids Events
Family Fun Ride
Looking for something to do with the entire family? Vail Sports invites you to participate in our free Family Fun Rides daily from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. Experience Vail like never before with our one-hour guided ride through Lionshead Village, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. You may bring your own bike or rent a bike with us. For more information, please contact Vail Sports at 970-476-3600 or visit vailsports.com.
The Lionshead Family Fun Club: Saturdays June 16, 23, 30 July 7, 14, 21, 28 & August 4 & 11; Lionshead 3:00pm to 6:00pm
The Family Saturday Afternoon Club includes a variety of activities including a Kids' Fun Zone & Crafts Center, full of interactive projects that families would work on together, hosted by the world famous Blue Creek Children's Theatre Company. This area also features an incredible array of of special activities including face-painting, a Hula Hoop Zone, a 60ft inflatable obstacle course, the awesome Blue Moose Pizza Dough Tossing Contest, a family "Water Balloon Toss of Death" Contest - which was an incredible hit, merchant displays, special appearances by the Vail Fire Department Family Safety Zone; and the Kids' Discovery Zone. This fun and educational area is where "Fun Learning" is the goal. Each week the "Kids' Discovery Zone" featured a special theme with visits by experts like the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, The Denver Butterfly Pavilion and a special "Green Planet Kids Expo" presented in partnership with the Town of Vail Environmental Sustainability Department.
Burn off the kid's energy at the many town Parks or stroll around town
Ford Park, Pirateship Park, Donovan Park, Bighorn Park – each is different – check them all out to bring a smile to the kiddo's faces! There's no better place to just relax and enjoy your surroundings than Vail – with benches and beautiful sitting areas all around to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the summer time flowers and surrounding landscapes. You may even happen upon one of our street entertainers as you relax and enjoy. And be sure to take in the many fountains and water features throughout Vail Village.
FREE Story Time every Tuesday and Wednesday
Kids love story time and arts & crafts. Toddler Story Time (ages 18-30 months) is Wednesdays from 10am -11am and Preschool Story Time (ages 2-5 yrs.) is Tuesdays and Wednesdaysfrom 11am-12pm.
Sports & Recreation
Free for All at Adventure Ridge! Slackline Park, Horseshoes, Bean Bag Toss and Dino Dig
Grab your friends and family and try your luck at horseshoes, bean bag toss or the new slackline park where kids and adults can test their balance at a variety of levels. Children age four and up are invited to dig through sand to uncover dinosaur bones and learn about prehistoric creatures through an educational display. Digging tools and a map are provided.
*Lift ticket or pass required for Gondola rides.
Hiking around Vail and atop Vail Mountain is always free!
Enjoy spectacular wildflowers and wildlife as you explore the nature and forests of Vail. Pack a picnic and your camera!
Go for a run with the Vail Rec District's Free Summer Running Club
Residents and visitors are encouraged to join the VRD for its free, weekly running club this summer that will lead participants around Vail's scenic recreation paths and mountain trails. The club will be led by local runner Greg Decent and will meet at 5:30pm on Thursdays, beginning June 23 at the base of the Vista Bahn in Vail Village, located in the Mountain Plaza area. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explore the Free Vail Recreation Path
The Vail Recreation Path is an affordable way to have fun with your entire family. Located right in the middle of town, the trail winds from West Vail to East Vail and has 1,100 acres of open space available to the public. The path stretches for 15 miles and is surrounded by 350,000 acres of national forest.
Free Sporting Events & Tournaments
Check out the many sports tournaments taking place at the Ford Park and Vail Athletic Fields. The majority of the events are free to watch and include some of the nation's best soccer and lacrosse teams and players.
Vail's Free Skatepark
Head to the LionsHead parking structure and check out Vail's free skatepark. Open dawn to dusk daily, the free skatepark features a half-pipe, pyramid, multiple ramps, transitions, rails and banks, plus a street course area for younger or less experienced riders.
Play a free tennis match
Enjoy a free tennis match at the Golden Peak Tennis Courts. Tennis can be played at the courts on a first-come, first-served basis for free.
Free Fly Fishing Casting Clinics!
Gore Creek Fly Fisherman is pleased to offer complimentary daily casting clinics at 10:30am in Lionshead at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. The clinics are perfect for those who have never fly fished before and are considering trying the sport. They are also perfect for those just wanting to brush up on their technique. One of our expert staff will lead the demonstration, and he or she will be able to answer any general fly fishing questions. For more information, please call (970) 476-3296.
Summertime Community Yoga
Brought to you by Vail Athletic Club
8:15am - 9:30am Every Saturday in July and August (unless there's a downpour) at The Lawn/Ice Rink at Solaris, Vail Village
Bring your mat, water bottle, sunscreen, and a smile. Join us after at Yeti's Grind for weekly specials.
August 27: Enjoy AcroYoga with Rachel Nelson
Music & Dance
Free Hot Summer Nights Concert Series - every Tuesday, June 12 – August 21 (shows start at 6:30pm)
This annual free summer concert series is hosted at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Tuesday evenings throughout the summer months. With shows ranging from rock to country to bluegrass to funk and beyond, the Bud Light Hot Summer Nights has become synonymous with summer for locals and visitors alike. Throngs of music lovers gather at the Amphitheater each week to enjoy sunshine, picnics, friends and incredible free music.
Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) atop Vail Mountain- JFridays, June 22 – August 31 Begins at 5pm
TGuests and locals alike kick-off the weekend with Vail's Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) at Adventure Ridge, high atop Vail Mountain. FAC on the Talon's Deck features the best views in the valley with amazing sunsets, free live music and activities, food and drink specials, and more. Full schedule available on vail.com. *Lift ticket or pass required for Gondola rides.
Sounds of Jazz ALL SUMMER!
Jazz @ The Vail Farmers' Market: Sundays, June 24 – August 26, Noon to 3pm
Jazz @ the Market presents ten free outdoor concerts featuring local and regionally-based jazz talent at the Vail Farmers' Market. The jazz concerts are a natural complement to the fabulous shopping and wonderful food for which the casual outdoor market is known. Covered seating is available, so stop by and enjoy refreshing jazz! New Venue for 2011!
Jazz at the Market will now be presented in a tent at Solaris on Meadow Drive in Vail Village. Concerts will start at noon with seating for up to 100 inside the tent. Stop by to check out refreshing jazz groups at our new concert venue, and enjoy!
Free JAZZ Concerts outside the Arrabelle Hotel in LionsHead
Enjoy Jazz @ Vail Square: Thursdays, July 5 – August 30, 6pm-8pm
Jazz at Vail Square returns to LionsHead on July 7 with the first of nine free shows outside the Arrabelle Hotel in Vail. Presented in a tented venue seating 300+, this dynamic concert series features national jazz artists with styles ranging from Swing to straight ahead, Latin Jazz to the American Songbook. Whether you enjoy the show from a seat in a nearby restaurant, or from the front row with a cocktail, Jazz @ Vail Square creates intimate jazz experiences that you won't soon forget.
Seating is first come, first served, and the concerts go on under the tent rain or shine.
Culture & History
Visit the Colorado Ski Museum
Located in the upper level of the Vail Village parking structure, learn about the history of Vail, skiing and the 10th Mountain Division with interactive exhibits and more!