A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Denver vs. Vail for Skiing, Families, Nightlife, and Hiking

Should you visit Denver or Vail?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Denver or Vail, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Denver

Denver is a sprawling and park-filled city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. Visitors also love the nightlife, hiking, and skiing.

Vail

Vail is a upscale, resort-filled, and charming ski town. It also offers plenty of small town charm and also has plenty of sights and activities. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and skiing.

Denver and Vail: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good for hiking
Cons
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere


How is Denver different from Vail?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Vail and Denver. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Denver or Vail better for Skiing?

While Denver and Vail both offer snow skiing, overall Vail has more to offer.

The snow ski experience you'll have in Vail is among the best in the world. This ski town has produced its share of Olympians. Vail is the third largest ski resort in the US and it has 31 lifts and 195 runs. There are five different bowls that offer beautiful views.

Head to Denver for some great skiing and other winter activities. Although there's no skiing in the immediate area, there is a huge list of world class ski resorts within an hour or two of town. Two of the closest are Echo Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area.

Denver
Vail


Is Denver or Vail better for Food?

There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Denver and Vail.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Denver. While you're in town you should try the Bison steak and fried pickles.

Vail is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The town has a diverse sampling of restaurants that include different ethnic options as well as taverns with comfort food.

Denver
Vail

Is Denver or Vail better for Nightlife?

Both Denver and Vail are comparable when it comes to partying.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Denver. The city has come a long way with its nightlife. Popular bars and clubs in town include the Grizzly Rose and 54Thirty Rooftop. Many places are concentrated in the Soco Nightlife District.

Vail has a large number of nightlife venues. Happy Hours start early, and then the partying can go late into the night.

Denver
Vail

Is Denver or Vail better for Hiking?

Denver and Vail are both places where visitors can find hiking trails.

Denver has hiking trails worth exploring. The city is very close to many beautiful parks and hiking areas in the Rocky Mountains.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Vail. Popular hikes near Vail include Booth Falls, Davos Trail, and Shrine Ridge.

Denver
Vail

Is Denver or Vail better for Families?

Families will find a wider variety of activities in Vail than Denver.

Vail is an amazing family-friendly ski town to visit. With its world class skiing, rock climbing, ice skating, and ice cream, kids love this ski resort. The resort town has two terrain parks - Golden Peak and Avanti. Avanti is perfect for kids. It has small jumps, wide rails, and kid-friendly amenities. Golden Peak is designed for more advanced athletes. Vail also has nice beginner slopes that are great for kids.

Denver is a family-friendly city. It is a family-friendly city with museums, playgrounds, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are also a few ropes courses near town that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

Denver
Vail


Is Denver or Vail better for Public Transit?

Both Denver and Vail offer public transit options.

Denver has a few public transit options. If you're not planning to leave town, the light rail and bus systems offers good access to much of Denver.

Vail has some public transit options. There is a free bus service through the area.

Denver
Vail

Is Denver or Vail a more walkable city?

Vail is considered more walkable than Denver.

It is easy to get around Vail on foot. The main downtown is pedestrian-only and perfect for popping in shops and restaurants.

Denver is not a very walkable city. While the downtown area is generally walkable, this is still a sprawling city where you'll really want to have a car to access areas outside of town.

Denver
Vail

Should I spend more time in Vail or Denver?

How long in Denver or Vail?

Both Denver and Vail have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Vail than Denver.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Denver is 2-3 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Vail is 3-7 days.


  • How many days in Denver or Vail? Ideal Length of Stay
    Denver 2-3 
    Vail 3-7

One day in Denver or Vail?

Visitors enjoy the nightlife and skiing when visiting the destination of Denver. Take your pick from the many activities offered around the area. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

Vail might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Denver or Vail?

Denver is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to spend here. The entire area has lots to do.

Vail is a great place to explore. Don't miss the skiing, as that's what most people do. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Denver or Vail?

You'll find nightlife and skiing around the park-filled destination of Denver. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Vail. Don't miss the skiing, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Denver or Vail?

The sprawling city of Denver offers skiing and nightlife. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Vail is a small town with plenty to do. This ski town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Which city is cheaper, Vail or Denver?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Denver is $174, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Denver and Vail in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Denver $69
    Vail $139
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Denver $138
    Vail $278

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Denver $81
    Vail $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Denver

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Denver:

  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $1,592
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Aspen: $1,321
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $858
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $809
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Aspen hotel or address - Arrival Private Transfer: $796
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Keystone resort - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $672
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Denver Airport (DEN) to Vail city: $582
  • Private Transfer: Denver International Airport (DEN) to Vail: $576
  • Private Denver International Airport Transfer to Vail or Beaver Creek: $450
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Avon/Vail Valley - Arrival Private Transfer: $429
  • Denver Airport (DEN) to Breckenridge - Arrival Private Transfer: $404
  • Private Denver International Airport Transfer to Breckenridge or Keystone: $400

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail

Also for Vail, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown: $99
  • Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE: $128
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek: $190
  • Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail: $210
  • Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN): $291
  • Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN): $576
  • Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport: $600

Is it cheaper to fly into Denver or Vail?

Prices for flights to both Vail and Denver change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Denver $34
    Vail $60
Typical Food prices in Denver

Some typical examples of dining costs in Denver are as follows:


  • Sushi Dinner (for 2)
    $61

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Denver

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Denver.

  • Small-Group Food Tour in Denver: $69
  • Haunted Denver Walking Food Tour: $73
  • The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show - Denver: $77
  • Walking Food Tour - Best of Union Station & LoDo: $79
  • Denver Cooking Classes-Local, seasonal, and hands on menus: $97

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Denver $42
    Vail $106

Tours and Activities in Denver

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Denver are as follows:

  • 1.5 Hour LoDo Walking Tour in Denver: $25
  • Astrophotography Experience in the Colorado Rockies: $200
  • Best of Denver Tour: $64
  • Best of Denver Tour: $22
  • Bike and Brew Tour: $60
  • Breckenridge Ultimate Full Day Mountain Tour from Denver: $115
  • Capitol Hill History & Ghost Tour: $22
  • Craft Beer Tour in Lower Downtown Denver: $53
  • Denver Ghost Hunt: Mile High Ghost Tour: $12
  • Denver Ghost Tour: $23
  • Denver Guided Sightseeing Tour on Motor Scooters: $112
  • Denver History and Highlights Small Group Tour: $35

Tours and Activities in Vail

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.

  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver: $3.75
  • Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village: $89
  • Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour: $267
  • Glenwood Adventure Park Tour: $350
  • Fall Leaves Tour from Vail: $373
  • Glenwood Hot Springs Tour: $377
  • Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail: $377
  • Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour: $545
  • Historic Mining Town Tour: $693

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Denver $4.25
    Vail $7.83

Sample the Local Flavors in Denver

Also in Denver, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour in Lower Downtown: $26
  • Haunted Denver Ghost and Pub Walking Tour - South Broadway (SoBo): $27
  • 3-Hour Brewery Walking Tour: $49
  • Craft Distillery Bus Tour: $71

Sample the Local Flavors in Vail

Also in Vail, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour: $377
  • Palisade Wine Tour from Vail: $779


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Denver and Vail, we can see that Vail is more expensive. And not only is Denver much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Denver would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Denver and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Vail would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Vail than you might in Denver.

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Denver vs. Vail Travel Comparison

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