Why Go To Breckenridge
Settled in 1859, Breckenridge retains the same Victorian-era charm it did during the height of the gold rush. Its down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere has also endured its transformation from a silver- and gold-mining town to one of the country’s most beloved skiing destinations. What’s more, Breck – as it’s called by locals – is a quick drive from other popular Colorado destinations, including Vail, which is 40 miles northwest, and Denver, which is 80 miles northeast. It’s also a popular departure point for many of the best Colorado snowmobile tours.
Winter days in Breck are defined by runs on the Tenmile Range and nights spent refueling at downtown restaurants and bars – not to mention a collection of breweries and even a distillery. In the summer, winter sports are replaced with hiking and cycling. But no matter the season, the majesty of a Breckenridge sunset and star-studded night sky is a wonder to behold – and worth coming back to year after year.
Best of Breckenridge
Best Hotels in Breckenridge
- Gravity Haus Breckenridge
- One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort
- The Lodge at Breckenridge
Best Things to Do in Breckenridge
- Main Street
- Carter Park
- Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breckenridge Travel Tips
Best Months to Visit
The best time to visit Breckenridge is November through April when the slopes are ready and waiting for skiers and snowboarders. These months tend to see 300 inches of annual snowfall and average daytime temps hover in the upper 20s. But traveling between the months of May and October, when the mountain thaws out and hiking trails replace ski runs, isn’t a bad time to visit either, especially if you’re on a budget.
Ski season in Breckenridge usually starts in early November and lasts through early April. Temperatures are coldest in January with a daytime average around 30 degrees, and they’re warmest in April when the temp hovers in the upper 40s. The busiest and most expensive lodging and lift tickets will run across weekends and holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Presidents Day. The best chance at finding a deal will come at the beginning and the close of the ski season, but visitors should keep in mind that not all of the ski runs will be open in early November and early April. This is also prime time for signing up for one of the best Colorado snowmobile tours.
Annual International Snow Sculpture Championships (January)
Ullr Fest (January)
Mardi Gras (February)
Breck Pride (March)
Once rising temperatures melt away Breckenridge’s snow, visitors can enjoy a host of warm-weather activities. Average temperatures this time of year range from the mid-50s in May to the low 70s in July and back down to the low 50s in October. And even though there’s no skiing this time of year, a visit during this period will save you some serious cash on lodging.
Breck Bike Week (June)
WAVE: Light + Water + Sound (June)
Fourth of July (July)
Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival (July)
Colorado Classic (August)
Breckenridge Wine Classic (September)
What to Eat in Breckenridge
Breckenridge offers travelers quite a few ways to replenish all the calories burnt from skiing and snowboarding or hiking and cycling. For a quick lunch, visitors highly recommend Soupz On for its warming soups, such as sweet potato gumbo or mom’s chicken noodle. If you’re in the mood for a more formal dining setting, consider the popular Hearthstone Restaurant, where you can try some local game, like elk, or Briar Rose Chophouse & Saloon, where you should definitely order the ribs. Relish, with its seasonal Colorado-inspired cuisine, is another favorite among visitors and locals.
Breakfast is a popular meal in this active town, and there are a number of places to fuel up for a day on the slopes. Amazing Grace Natural Eatery offers traveler-approved breakfast burritos, and LoLo Juice sells a variety of healthy juices and smoothies.
When you’re ready to indulge in the town’s après-ski scene, try the historic Gold Pan Saloon. Its claim to fame is that it possesses the oldest liquor license west of the Mississippi River. Like many Colorado ski spots, Breckenridge also boasts a collection of beloved breweries, such as the Breckenridge Brewery and Broken Compass Brewing. There’s also the award-winning Breckenridge Distillery, which offers tours of its production facility for $10 and complimentary samples from its tasting room on Main Street.
Getting Around Breckenridge
The best way to get around Breckenridge is through a combination of walking and driving. Although the restaurants, bars and shops of Main Street are best explored on foot, you’ll likely need a car to reach places farther afield, such as Boreas Pass Road. If you don’t want to rent your own wheels, you can get around on the Free Ride bus service, which connects much of the town and Breckenridge Ski Resort. Cycling is a popular pastime in the summer, and taxis and ride-hailing services are available year-round.
To reach Breckenridge, most travelers fly into Denver International Airport (DEN), which is more than 100 miles east, or Colorado Springs Airport (COS), about 115 miles southeast, and either rent a car or catch a shuttle into town. Colorado Mountain Express is a popular shuttle company with a variety of departures from the Denver airport to Breckenridge. If you’re flying into Colorado Springs, consider the Colorado Springs Shuttle or Rocky Mountain Ride.
Breckenridge’s 19th-century town, especially Main Street, is best experienced on foot, but to reach the ski slopes and some of the other top attractions, visitors will need to rely on some wheels.
In the summertime, Breckenridge locals trade in their skis and snowboards for their bikes. In fact, the town even earned the status of a gold-level bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists. Visitors can rent a bike from places like Alpine Sports or Elevation Ski & Bike to cycle around town or hit the mountain trails. Rental prices can vary by bike type, but generally, half-day rentals (four hours or less) start at $25; full-day rentals start at $35.
Elevation Ski & Bike
A rental car gives travelers the most flexibility to get where they want to go on their own timelines. Visitors can rent cars at the Denver or Colorado Springs airports, as well as in Breckenridge. Still, those unfamiliar with driving in icy or snowy terrain should keep in mind that mountain roads can be quite slick and might want to rely instead on the Free Ride bus transport. The car-sharing service Zipcar also operates in the Breckenridge area, which may be a favorable option if you’re planning to make a daytrip to nearby Vail or need your own set of wheels for an afternoon.
Bus and Trolley
Breckenridge offers a free bus service funded by the town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort called Free Ride, which runs color-coded routes that connect most of the town and the ski resort. Visitors can also grab a free ride on the Main Street Trolley, which travels up and down the popular shopping and dining street. Most buses run every 20 to 30 minutes; services start around 6 a.m. and stop around 11 p.m. You can pick up bus maps and timetables at Breckenridge Station (the town’s transit center), the Welcome Center or on the buses themselves, and keep in mind that bus schedules change in November and April.
Although they’re not the most cost-effective method of getting around, taxis or Ubers are an option for getting around at night, especially if you’ve indulged in the après-ski scene. The Breckenridge Tourism Office recommends 453 Taxis and Jake’s Mountain Shuttle.
What You Need to Know
- Beat altitude sickness Eating carbs, staying hydrated and easing into exercising in Breckenridge’s high-alpine environment will help keep the nausea and headaches associated with altitude sickness at bay.
- Slather on the sunscreen Limited pollution and a thinner atmosphere means it’s much easier to get a sunburn in the mountains. Protect against a painful burn with sunscreen.
- Go for an AWD vehicle Mountain roads can be icy and slippery from November to April. Stay safe by renting an all-wheel drive vehicle.
7 Best Things To Do in Breckenridge
- Carter park
- Main Street
- Borea pass Road
- Vail pass Path
- Breckenridge Nordic center
- Breckenridge Hiking
- Breckenridge Ski Resort