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Are you planning any winter vacations? How about a snowy vacation? I just went to Breckenridge, Colorado for the weekend and it was a winter wonderland. Plus, there’s a direct flight from Austin to Denver on United and then a new bus by United from Denver to Breckenridge so you don’t have a rent a car!
SEE ALSO: Colorado Travel Guide: 5 Days 6 Cities
I was surprised by how cute the town of Breckenridge was – so many restaurants and shops in walking distance and the ski slopes are a quick shuttle ride away. Breckenridge is a quaint mountain town tucked away in the Ten Mile Range and picturesque Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Originally a Victorian mining town, it includes one of the state’s largest National Historic Districts with 249 Historic District structures. Popular activities include rafting, golfing, hiking, fly-fishing, gold panning, kayaking, museum tours, and biking. Here are is my guide to the top things to do in Breckenridge Colorado!
FAQS on Breckenridge Colorado
Do you need a car in Breckenridge?
We booked the United bus from Denver Airport to Breckenridge and did not rent a car for this trip. We booked the United bus service when we booked our United airline tickets – it’s an easy add-on. Our checked bags were automatically placed on the bus and waiting for us when we landed in Denver and the bus ride to Breckenridge was so convenient without the stress of having to rent a car and then making that two-hour drive. Plus there’s wifi and a restroom onboard.
Breckenridge is surprisingly walkable and there are several complimentary shuttle and bus systems.
- Summit Stage – free countywide bus service that stops at area resorts, shopping centers, medical centers, and more
- Breckenridge Free Ride – free bus service can take you to the restaurants, trail system, or to Breckenridge Ski resort.
How high is Breckenridge?
Breckenridge is 9,600 feet
Things to do in Breckenridge, CO
Breckenridge is a popular destination for skiing but there are also a lot of other things to do in Breckenridge! Breckenridge has approximately 250 historic structures, providing the backdrop for the National Register Historic District. Most of the historic buildings here date from a span of eight decades, beginning with Breckenridge’s settlement in 1860 as a mining town through the shutdown of the last dredge mining operation in 1942.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breckenridge Ski Resort is the top attraction here in Breckenridge for skiing and snowboarding. Featuring five peaks that span over 2,900 acres, Breckenridge Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski resorts in all of Colorado. It was the first ski resort in Colorado to allow snowboarders access as they hosted the World Snowboard Championship in 1986. Since then, it has become the go-to for snowboarding and freestyle riding, offering an incredible experience for terrain park riders.
Breckenridge Ski Resort has 34 lift chairs and 187 trails for riders of all experience levels with green, blue, and black runs. The slopes are open for the season with a brand-new chairlift so you can experience the wide-open and rolling terrain of Peak 7 and carve a path down and across the ski area’s expansive peaks.
Breckendrige ski peaks:
- Peak 6 – first peak on the northern side of the valley. Added in 2013, Peak 6 boasts some of the steepest, hike-to chutes and terrain for experts, as well as intermediate above-treeline bowl skiing and snowboarding
- Peak 7 – easily accessed by the in-town gondola, is a playground for intermediate skiers and snowboarders with wide, open cruises
- Peak 8 – heart and soul of Breck. From almost anywhere in town, you can see Peak 8’s iconic Horseshow Bowl, topped by the highest chairlift in North America – the Imperial Express SuperChair (with ski school)
- Peak 9 – beginner’s paradise (with ski school)
- Peak 10 – providing ground for black diamond rippers with some of the best-groomed expert terrain around, as well as The Burn, some of the best tree skiing.
You can rent ski equipment at Breckenridge Ski Resort or from the following spots:
- Breck Sports
- Christy Sports
- Blue River Sports Ski & Snowboard REntal
- Breeze Ski Rentals
- Avalanche Sports
- Ridden Breckenridge
- Main Street Sports
- Underground Snowboards
- Ski Colorado Vacation Rentals
- Breck Sports – Main Street
- Colorado Ski & Snowboard
1599 Ski Hill Rd, breckenridge.com
Visit Main Street
Main Street has over 200 shops and 80 dining options – we enjoyed walking up and down the street! There’s also the Breck Free Ride trolley bus if you need a ride. Stop by the Welcome Center for a self-guided walking tour, or sign up for one of the many historic tours offered by the Breckenridge Tourism Center.
Experience the history of Breckenridge through a self-guided historic walking tour:
- Exchange Building – 1880
- Old Court House – 1909
- Edwin Carter Museum – 1875
- Father Dyer Church – 1880
- Milne Historic Park
- Colorado Mountain College – 1909
- St. John’s Church – 1880
- St. Mary’s Church – 1880
- Barney Ford House – 1882
- Theobald Office Building – 1892
- The Masons Hall – 1892
- Finding Hardware Store – 1885
Ride the gondola
For the best view of Breckenridge, you have to ride the BreckConnect gondola, and it’s free! The gondola takes you from Breckenridge to Peak 7 and 8 with beautiful views of the mountain.
Winter 2021 – 2022 season hours: 9am – 4pm
170 Watson Avenue, breckenridgeresortmanagers.com/breckenridge-gondola
Soak in a hot tub
Soaking in a hot tub while surrounded by snow is my favorite winter activity. We soaked in the outdoor hot tubs here at the Residence Inn by Marriott Breckenridge with a view of Colorado Mountain but there are several hot tub options in Breckenridge.
All you need is a snowy hill and a sled, which the local stores sell.
- Carter Park – free and easy access (300 S. High Street)
- Runway Sledding Hill (1730 Airport Rd)
- Hoosier Pass – more adventurous types, a short drive up to Hoosier pass will definitely provide lots of thrills (State Highway 9, Alma to Breckenridge, CO)
Dog sledding starts closer to the end of Nov and early December. We really wanted to go dog sledding but it wasn’t avalable on early Nov but we’ll have to come back!
- Good Times Adventure is $90 for adults and $60 for kids from ages 5-8 (6061 Tiger Road)
Tubing but on snow is a popular winter activity in Breckenridge. A couple of tubing hills include:
- Frisco Adventure Park – $20-$30 per person (621 Recreation Way)
- Keystone Resort – $40 per person when booked online (100 Dercum Square)
- Copper Mountain Resort – $22.40 or $27.20 per person depending on the time of year when booked online
There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline-fueled experience of riding on a 150-horsepower open sleigh.
- Adventure Times Rentals – half or full-day rentals starting at $140 for singles or $160 for double
- Nova Guides – 2 hour, half-day, or full-day tours with 3 different location options. 2-hour tours starting at $170 for singles and $55 for additional passengers. Snowmobile rentals for 2, 3, 4, or 8 hours. 2-hour rentals starting at $150 for singles and $175 for doubles. Rentals require previous snowmobiling experience.
- Keystone Snowmobile Tours – 2 hour or 3-hour guided tours with the option of beginner, intermediate or advanced difficulty. Beginner 2-hour tours start at $110 for singles or $175 for doubles. Snowmobile rentals for 2 hours, 3 hours, or full-day. 2-hour rentals start at $145. Rentals require previous snowmobiling experience.
Another way to see Summit County is by fat bike – you can explore groomed trails at Nordic centers as well as designed snowshow/XC ski trails in White River National Forest. Fat biking is quite the workout even compared to XC skiing and fat biking lets you explore further into the wilderness because of the speed of travel.
- Breck Bike Guides – $45 for half-day and $65 for full-day (1655 Airport Rd)
- Gold Run Nordic Pro Shop & Demo Center – $15 per hour and $30 for half day
Imagine a romantic sleigh ride with snow fluttering down while sipping on hot cocoa.
- Breckenridge Stables Peak 9 Sleigh Rides – $69 for adults, $59 for kids, and free for children 3 years and under. Private rides are available for $150 extra (620 Village Road)
- Breckenridge Stables Golf Course Sleigh Rides – $59 for adults, $49 for kids, and free for children 3 yea san under. Private rides are available for an additional $150. (200 Clubhouse Drive)
Cross Country Ski
Cross country skiing is another great way to explore the beautiful nature of Summit County. Anything you can explore with snowshoes in Summit, you can also explore on skis.
- Breckenridge Nordic Center – $25 for a one-day pass (free for ages 12 and under), $23 for adult ski rentals, $18 for youth ski rentals, 3-day ski rental, and trail pass are $65 per person (youth and adult) (9 Grandview Dr)
Breckenridge Nordic Center
Located just a few minutes from downtown Breckenridge and easily accessible by the Free Ski and Ride shuttles, the Breckenridge Nordic Center has over 2,000 acres of forest and over 20 miles of groomed trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. You can rent equipment at the center and there’s a bar and family lounge area with happy hour daily and live music every Saturday night.
9 Grandview Dr, breckenridgenordic.com
Breckenridge Distillery is known as the “World’s Highest Distillery” having won a multitude of awards for their whiskeys, vodka and spirits. Distillery tours are offered seven days a week and there is also a complimentary tasting tour where you can try two of the spirits for free.
The Distillery’s daily Texas-style BBQ lunch features baby back ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, smoked prime rib, smoked chicken, and BBQ combo platters. Served daily from 11am to 2pm.
1925 Airport Rd, Breckenridge, CO, breckenridgedistillery.com
There are hundreds of hiking trails around Breckenridge:
- Vail Pass Path – one of the best trails Breckenridge has to offer, featuring mountain backdrops, lush greenery, and towering trees.
- McCullough Gulch Trailhead – renowned, out-and-back hiking trail that is better suited for seasoned hikers because of challenging areas along the way. During the winter season, snowshoeing is a popular activity on this trail.
- Quandary Peak – highest summit in the Tenmile Range of the Rocky Mountains
Bikers and mountain bikers can take to the mountains or on more than 200 miles of off-road paths or take it easy on more than 40 miles of paved bike paths.
- Boreas Pass Road
- Blair Witch
- French Gulch
- Sallie Barber
- Carter Park Trail System
- Western Skuy/Slalom
- Flume Trails
- The original bReck Singletrack Tour
- Peaks Trail
- Boreas to Baldy Loop
- Baker’s Tank
- Aspen Alley
- Wheeler, Spruce Creek, Burro Lop
- Wellington Bike Park
Snow Sculpture Championships
Breckenridge’s International Snow Sculpture Championships (Mon, Jan 24, 2022 – Wed, Feb 2, 2022) is a world-renowned snow sculpting competition where 12 teams from around the world descend on Breckenridge, Colorado to hand-carve 20-ton blocks of snow into enormous, intricate works of art. Artists are only allowed to use hand tools, creativity, and inspiration to bring their ideas to life. No power tools allowed! Teams sculpt countless hours across five days (totaling around 96 hours), resulting in a temporary outdoor art gallery in historic downtown Breckenridge.
Other winter activities in Breckenridge
- Hot air balloon rides
- Ice fishing – considered the sportsman’s version of yoga – offering peace, quiet, and tranquility. For ice fishing and fly fishing needs, stop by Mountain Anglers
- Snowcat tours – Keystone offers Mountain-stop Snowcat tours for those who prefer a scenic ride. For those wanting to get out and ride the scenery, look into Keystone Adventure Tours and Ski Cooper’s Chico Ridge SnowCat Tours
- Live music – several local venues, resorts, restaurants, and bars will have live music
- Bowling – bowling alleys are located in Dillon and Leadville
- Ice skating – ice skating is free at Silverthorne’s own ice skating pond, located at the corner of Hwy 9 and Hamilton Creek Road but you’ll need your own equipment. It is maintained from December through February. Other ice skating rinks include Stephen C. West Ice Arena.
- Gold Runner Coaster – race down the mountain on 2,500 feet of elevated roller coaster track with three alpine slide courses, a bounce house, a climbing wall, and a bungee trampoline
- Breckenridge Recreation Center
- Barney Ford Victorian House
- Riverwalk Center
Summer activities in Breckenridge
- stand-up paddleboard
- whitewater rafting
- wildflowers bloom in Breckenridge from late April through early-October
- rock climbing
- mountain biking
- Epic Discovery Park
- zip line
Restaurants in Breckenridge, CO
- Blue Moose Restaurant
- Daylight Donuts
- Crepes a la Cart – we didn’t eat here but there was a long line
- Piante’s – vegan pizza restaurant and they have these cute outdoor dining globes! (pictured above)
- Breck Brewery
- Crepes a la Cart
- Breck Tap House
- Hearthstone – charming Victorian home-turned-restaurant, we had dinner here and the meal and view was lovely!
- Pho Real – steaming bowl of pho with crispy spring rolls was perfect for a chilly night
- Aurum – popular fine dining restaurant
- Rootstalk – highly recommended by the locals
- Mimi and Pims – located next to the gondola, the hot-out-of-the-fryer churros, and hot cocoa were delicious
- Mountain Top Cookies
- I Scream
- Breck Brewery
- Broken Compass Brewing
- Continental Divide Winery