Colorado, with its diverse landscapes ranging from mountains to lakes to plains and city skylines, makes it one of the most scenic states in the country. Whether it’s winter skiing season or summer hiking and fishing — it’s always gorgeous and adventurous around here. And you don’t have to drive or be active to experience the views — there are many restaurants around the state with breathtaking scenery. You can dine by a waterfall, take a sleigh ride to a mountain cabin, hang at a lakeside tiki bar or dine at the highest elevation restaurant in North America. Check out our round-up of Colorado restaurants with a view and see which ones you should add to your bucket list.
Where: 2930 Umatilla St., 5th floor, Denver
Vibe: Opening just last year, El Five has already made a name for itself as the restaurant with the best views in Denver. It boasts a 360-degree look of the city from the patio as well as inside with its huge windows. And the food is just as elevated with a Mediterranean menu featuring Spanish and Mediterranean tapas, mezze platters and paella. This is a top choice to enjoy a nice craft cocktail and take in one of Denver’s world-class sunsets.
Where: Telluride Ski Resort, located on See Forever Trail below the top of Lift 14, Telluride
When: Ski season
Vibe: The past season of Bravo’s Top Chef earlier this year took place here in Colorado — and one of the episodes featured the highest elevation restaurant in North America — Alpino Vino. Located in Telluride within the Telluride Ski Resort — it is a ‘once in a lifetime’ type of dining experience. At 11,966 feet, this Italian alps themed restaurant serves an a la carte lunch menu and a five-star dinner with an optional wine pairing. This place takes apres-ski to a whole new level.
Where: 3200 N. Pecos St., Denver
The Lowdown: One of Denver’s favorite rooftops, Avanti F&B is a collective eatery of food stalls on two levels with two bars. The patio has a big shaded part and a jutting area full of sunshine and views of the whole city. It’s a truly unique place with pizza, tacos, poke bowls and more in one spot. Grab your food and perhaps a beer and snag the seat with the best view.
Flagstaff House Restaurant
Where: 1138 Flagstaff Rd., Boulder
The Lowdown: The drive up to Flagstaff House Restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s well worth it. Overlooking Boulder and the plains that go for miles give this restaurant one of the best outlooks in the state. Not only is the view amazing, but the food is world-class — caviar, steak tartare, smoked duck leg and other delicacies. There is a three-course menu and a chef’s tasting menu as well. It’s a place guaranteed to satisfy the taste buds and the eyes.
Willow Creek Restaurant
Where: 29029 Upper Bear Creek Rd., Suite 105, Evergreen
The Lowdown: Willow Creek could easily be the most accessible restaurant in terms of getting there — you just pull into town and it’s right across from Evergreen Lake. No matter the season, the view here is gorgeous with the lake, trees and mountains surrounding. You’re so close to the lake, you can throw a rock in it (but don’t do that). The menu changes often with an exquisite brunch menu including items like a smoked trout omelet as well as impressive lunch and dinner offerings.
The Woods at the Source Hotel
Where: The Source Hotel + Market Hall, 3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: The Source which has been a market hall and restaurant collective in Denver for a few years, recently just opened its hotel as well as a rooftop bar/restaurant, The Woods. Located on the edges of the RiNo neighborhood, the views from this spot are completely unobstructed by city buildings giving a perfect view of the Rockies. The Woods serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, cocktails and has a beer garden featuring New Belgium craft beers.
Tennessee Pass Cookhouse
Where: the base of Ski Cooper on E. Tennessee Pass Rd., Leadville.
When: Seasonal hours vary, reservations required.
The Lowdown: It’s not every day you can say you snowshoed to your meal, but you’ll do just that at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. Located in the backcountry near Ski Cooper, this nordic center also boasts a fine dining restaurant (and yurts if you want to stay the night). Offering seasonal menus and elegant four-course meals, you can blend town and country in one trip. It’s just a mile trek there and back and during the summer you can skip the snowshoes and hike instead. Either way, you’re sure to build up an appetite.
Pug Ryan’s Lakeside Tiki Bar
Where: 150 Marina Dr., Dillon
The Lowdown: Pug Ryan’s Brewery overlooking Lake Dillon, has a lakeside tiki bar open during the summer that will make you feel like you’re at the beach and in the mountains all at once. The food and drink menu is very beach inspired to add to the theme. Tacos, tortas, ceviche, daiquiris, tequila and cervezas alongside a body of water is what summer is all about.
Seven Falls – Restaurant 1858 –
Where: The Broadmoor, Parking and shuttle at 1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd., Colorado Springs
When: Hours of operation vary
The Lowdown: The historic Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs is home to Seven Falls Park, a series of waterfalls situated in a box canyon that you can hike along. You can dine on the banks of the falls at Restaurant 1858 named after the Gold Rush era. The food is inspired by the German and French immigrants that came out west during that time.
Altezza at the Peaks
Where: The Peaks Resort & Spa, 136 Country Club Dr., Telluride
The Lowdown: Altezza at the Peaks Resort & Spa has spectacular panoramic mountain views — especially during ski season when the snow caps are backdropped with a pink sunset. It has an expansive patio and huge windows looking outside, several tables and comfy couches in the middle — a great place to relax after an active day. It serves breakfast, lunch, apres-ski, dinner and to-go items.
Where: Aspen Meadows Resort, 845 Meadows Rd., Aspen
The Lowdown: Aspen being the ritzy, foodie town that it is has several amazing restaurants — and some of them have amazing views as well — Plato’s is one of those that has both. Mountain views can be seen from both inside and on the patio — gorgeous during all seasons. The offerings include a three-course prix fixe menu and starters like foie gras and bone marrow.
The Lodge at Sunspot
Where: Winter Park Resort, 85 Parsenn Rd., Winter Park
When: Hours of operation vary, only open during ski season – see schedule here.
The Lowdown: Located atop Winter Park Mountain is the Lodge at Sunspot which provides daily provisions such as coffee and a cafe serving fries and burgers. But not only that, during ski season a more extensive lunch, apres-ski and dinner are offered. The real experience is the dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, in which you take the gondola from the parking lot to the restaurant which sits at 10,700 feet. Dine on local Colorado fare and feast your eyes on the views of the Continental Divide.
The Island Grill
Where: 249 Marina Rd., Frisco
The Lowdown: Like Pug Ryan’s tiki bar on the other side of Lake Dillon — the Island Grill in Frisco has a similar beach vibe. Located on the ‘Frisco Bay marina’ straight off of the town’s Main Street — it is a summertime mecca. With a lower level outdoor area and rooftop seating, you get views of both the lake and the mountains. Island fares like fish tacos and a pina colada is a nice way to end a day of sailing or hiking.
The Fitz Bar & Restaurant
Where: Manor Vail Lodge, 595 Vail Valley Dr., Vail
The Lowdown: Vail may be known for being one of the hottest ski towns in the country — but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun destination during the rest of the year. The Fitz Bar & Restaurant at Manor Vail Lodge is a nice place for a meal during all times of the year (and apres-ski of course) for both its views and the food. The large patio is immersed in trees whether green or covered in snow — you can enjoy the outdoor patio in winter courtesy of the several fireplaces. The menu consists of shareable plates, sandwiches, salads and entrees.
Ristorante Del Lago
Where: The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs
The Lowdown: Ristorante Del Lago at the Broadmoor Resort has Lake Como, Italy influenced architecture, views and cuisine. Open for breakfast through dinner, at any time of the day you can gaze out at the courtyard lake and pretend you’re George and Amal Clooney. And you don’t have to break the bank because the menu has several affordable dishes. Just be sure to make a reservation.
The View Restaurant
Where: The Historic Crags Lodge, 300 Riverside Dr., Estes Park
When: Hours of operation vary, most popular during summer – contact here.
The Lowdown: Located in the Historic Crags Lodge, The View Restaurant in Estes Park has exceptional views of the town and the mountains. It has all wooden chairs and interior giving off an old-time wood cabin feel which is ultimately the most authentic mountain vibe. From any spot inside, you can see peeping trees through the big windows — but you may want to make a reservation and snag the one table on the deck outside to get the full experience.
Up the Creek
Where: 223 E. Gore Dr., Suite 103, Vail
The Lowdown: Up the Creek is a farm-to-table, family-owned restaurant serving lunch and dinner. Dining here during the warm months may be optimal so you can sit by the creek and watch it flow by — but from the inside, you can also see the snowfall down on the trees and water, so either way, it’s gorgeous. We suggest some starters and a drink or two while taking in the views.
Where: Beaver Creek Resort, 214 Beaver Creek Pl., Avon
When: Ski season
The Lowdown: If you’re looking for a full-on dining adventure — try out the open-air sleigh ride to Zach’s Cabin. The ride departs from Bachelor Gulch Ritz Carlton every night starting at 5 p.m. and takes you to the restaurant on the high mountainside above Bachelor Gulch, with views of Gore Range. The cabin is very elegant with high ceilings and big windows giving views of the snowy mountainous surroundings. Top your sleigh ride off with a fancy dinner and award-winning wines.
Traverse Restaurant & Bar
Where: The Lodge at Breckenridge, 112 Overlook Dr., Breckenridge
When: Shuttle does not run during mud season.
The Lowdown: The mountain views at Traverse Restaurant in the Lodge at Breckenridge are expansive and breathtaking. Happy hour or dinner here may be the perfect way to end your winter skiing or summer hiking day. We suggest a table by the window and the charcuterie board or cheese frites to start.