A Guide to Vail Holidays

Dec. 14, 2017

Spending the holidays in Vail is like living your white Christmas dreams. Learn all about the Holiday happenings and events in Vail here!

The holidays here truly are magical. Whether you’re in Vail with a group of friends, extended family or as a couple, it’s the perfect place for you to celebrate the season and squeeze in some bonding time. As you plan your holiday visit to Vail, here are some must-dos to push it from great to unforgettable.

From December 14-31, Vail turns into an idyllic holiday wonderland with Vail Holidays. Visit the Kris Kringle Market to find a special (or last-minute) gift, handmade ornaments, delicious treats and more. A must-do activity during Vail Holidays is the big tree lighting ceremony, which truly welcomes Christmas. Gather by the covered bridge and enjoy festive music as we officially celebrate the holiday.

Thursday, Dec. 14 : Family Fireplace Holiday Party

5:00-8:00pm: Town of Vail Public Library:

Join Vail Public Library and Santa for our annual holiday party with crafts, songs and sitting on Santa’s lap.

Mountain Harmony A Cappella group will entertain and host a sing along with us as well.

Saturday, Dec. 16 : Holiday Sweater Run

8-9:30am: Checkpoint Charlie in Vail Village

Come show off your favorite festive winter sweater in a friendly competition. Prizes will be given for best dressed. Start is at 8 am and the 2.7-mile race will showcase the beauty of Vail. Fun along the way. Check www.vailholidays.com for further information.

Saturday, Dec. 16 – Sunday, Dec. 17: Kris Kringle Market

11am-3:30pm: International Bridge

A Holiday market is the perfect place to find a unique Holiday gift or souvenir, such as handmade toys, Christmas ornaments and decorations, cookies, chocolate treats, roasted nuts and more. The Vail Kris Kringle Market is always striving to make our visitors’ experience an unforgettable one. Enjoy live music, St Nick, local craft vendors, authentic food and drink, and a true spirit of the Holiday Season.

Sunday, Dec. 17 : Holiday Tree Lighting

5-6:30pm: Slifer Square

Town of Vail Tree Lighting. Come see local children from the Vail Children’s Choir sing, the Town of Vail Mayor, St Nick and more! Ice Sculptures will be placed around Vail for the Holiday season. Come see the artistic touches the ice sculptures have created.

Wednesday, Dec. 20: Cocktails & Canvas: Lantern Making with Alpine Arts Center

4-6pm: Vail Recreation District Location in Lionshead Parking Structure Second Floor of Lionshead Welcome Center, $10 fee

Alpine Arts Center will instruct participants on creating your own paper lantern. This lively evening will include complimentary light snacks, holiday music, and wine and beer available for purchase to enjoy while creating your unique lantern.
RSVP: meppard@vailgov.com or 970-479-2344. Please indicate number in your party.

Friday, Dec. 22:  Paper Lantern Making Workshop and Walk

1:30-4:30pm: Town of Vail Public Library. Free.

Create your paper lantern at a free workshop in the Community Room at the Vail Public Library with local paper artist Helen Hiebert. Bring your paper lantern to the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk through Vail Village immediately following the workshop.
RSVP: meppard@vailgov.com or 970-479-2344. Please indicate number in your party.

Friday, Dec. 22: Holiday Lantern Walk in Vail Village to the Gore Creek Promenade

4:30-5:15pm: Slifer Square, Vail Village by the Covered Bridge. Free.

Complimentary LED lights for your lantern & other treats distributed before walk.
Falling upon the winter solstice, enjoy this joyful community gathering and celebration of light. The short jolly procession through Vail Village will include illuminated lanterns and live music, as we wind our way to the Gore Creek Promenade for the opening celebration of the Eleventh Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater.

Friday, Dec. 22: Grand Opening Celebration of Eleventh Annual Vail Winterfest Ice Theater

5:15pm: Gore Creek Promenade. Free.

Presented by Vicki and Kent Logan
In memory of Lou Meskimen Vail’s Favorite Masked Man

Join the merriment as the community is invited to celebrate the coolest outdoor ice theater. Art in Public Places with ice sculptor Paul Wertin/Alpine Ice will bring back the popular free and family friendly cinematic experience in ice again this winter season. Lounge in oversized ice chairs while enjoying the scenic Gore Creek during the day and film projections on a screen created in ice in the evening. The Vail Winterfest Ice Theater will feature favorite holiday cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) at the opening celebration. Projection begins daily at dusk until 10:00 p.m. and will be on view until the ice melts!

Saturday, Dec. 23: Alpine Arts Holiday Themed Artwork Class

3-6pm: Town of Vail Public Library

Join Alpine Arts Center and attend a class that will walk you through the steps of making a holiday themed piece of art which you will take with you. This class is underwritten by a grant from the Town of Vail so participants pay only $20.00 for the class, materials and instruction. Children must be accompanied by an adult, but all ages are welcome. Please rsvp with Alpine Arts Center at 970-926-2732.

Sunday, Dec. 31:  Torchlight Parade and New Year’s Eve Fireworks


Once you’ve recovered from all the holiday festivities, ring in the New Year Vail style December 31st: 6:15pm Torchlight Parade: come to Golden Peak to watch the annual Torchlight Parade and fireworks at Golden Peak. Watch as ski instructors and Vail locals form a glowing train as they ski down Golden Peak with glowing sticks followed by a fireworks display. FireworksDuskOver Vail Mountain


Vail Village is always gorgeous, but it’s extra special during the holidays. There’s something in the air that inspires exploration, something that brings you closer to your loved ones. Maybe it’s the twinkle lights, maybe it’s the decorations…maybe it’s just the feeling of being at home, even when you’re miles away. Make sure to spend plenty of time strolling our heated, cobblestone streets as you warm up in your favorite après spots.