Not many places can blend a Wild West sensibility with ski-town chic, but Steamboat Springs is successful on both fronts. The mountain of Steamboat dominates the horizon with almost 3,000 acres of skiing, while working ranches consume the valley. As for the town itself, you can still find a bit of the Wild West, but Steamboat is maturing as more restaurants and bars open.
With Your Boots Still On: Slopeside Grill
I’m sure the appropriately named Slopeside Grill has an interior bar, but why would you bother when the sprawling outdoor area, which locals call “the Beach,” has ski in/ski out access? Picture hundreds of riders fresh from the slopes soaking up the sun in plastic chairs and ordering drinks from the massive outdoor bar carved out of ice.
Best Restaurant in Town: Laundry Kitchen and Cocktails
Laundry makes “western rustic” feel refined, with a gastropub menu that focuses on small plates served inside a building teeming with exposed brick and rough-hewn wood. Start with whatever’s pickled, get a bunch of plates to share, and order a signature cocktail with house-infused booze.
Cheap Eats: Taco Cabo
You’ll have to drive to the outskirts of town to hit this taco joint inside a renovated gas station, but it’s worth it. The tacos are simple but inventive and under $4. Get the barbacoa, or show up on Friday and Saturday, when the owner makes al pastor tacos (marinated pork cut shawarma style). Bonus: Grab your tacos and wander into Storm Peak Brewery across the street.
Up All Night: Sunpie’s
While Steamboat Springs has undergone a chic makeover in recent years, Sunpie’s, on the edge of the Yampa River, has remained a dive—and we mean that as a compliment. The Hurricanes are lethal, the bartenders are entertaining as hell, and every once in a while, you can get a “mystery beer” for $1.