The Ultimate Guide to Breckenridge
Your Guide to Planning a Trip to Breckenridge, Colorado
10 years ago I visited Breckenridge for the first time and I instantly knew how special this town was. As someone who had skied nearly her entire life, Breckenridge was a mountain that I had been dreaming of visiting for years. What I didn’t expect was the incredible town that complimented the legendary mountain so well.
The town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort make the perfect pair. I have skied all over North America, and I can say without a doubt that no place will have you coming back for more the way that Breck does. Breckenridge has this amazing ability to somehow make every tourist feel like a local for the amount of time they spend in town. I’m not sure why it feels that way, it could be because everyone is so darn nice, or because many of the locals were once tourists or ski bums who fell in love with the area and decided to make it their home. Whatever the reason may be, you are sure to feel right at home in Breckenridge.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, outdoor activities are the best way to spend your time. No matter what the season, Breckenridge offers dozens of activities and events throughout the year. The stunning landscape and the unique vibe of the town will keep you coming back again and again.
Getting to Breckenridge
There are several ways to get to Breckenridge. There are a ton of fantastic shuttle companies that will take you directly to your hotel or condo in the mountains. However, I can not stress enough, the advantages of renting a car.
Although Breckenridge has long been a favorite mountain of mine, it also happens to be located nearby to some of the other top ski resorts in the world such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Arapahoe Basin and Copper.
This means you will want a car to cruise over to the other mountains! On my most recent trip, I rented an Escalade from Advantage Rent-A-Car at the Denver Airport. I had great luck with Advantage’s quick & easy check-in and the Escalade was amazing. It was the perfect choice for a ski trip as it easily fit ski gear for myself and all my friends to drive to Arapahoe Basin from Breckenridge.
Another great way to get around if you don't plan to mountain-hop is the Colorado Mountain Express. CME is a fantastic shuttle company, they always are friendly, and they always run on-time.
What to Do In Breckenridge
Breckenridge has a large variety of activities available both in winter and summer months!
Winter Fly Fishing
Ice Rock Climbing
White Water Rafting
Throughout the year, there are dozens of events including The Dew Tour, Beer Fest, Spring Fever, Breck Bike Week, Breckenridge Film Festival and the International Snow Sculpture Championship!
Breckenridge Ski Resort is special for many reasons. One of the most appealing aspects would be the size of the mountain. While most ski resorts have 1 or 2 peaks, Breckenridge offers up 5 different peaks, with the most recent being Peak 6 which opened on Christmas Day 2013. This means you can ski for days without feeling any repetition in your runs. It also means that there is a ton of terrain for every level skier. Additionally, even during some of the busiest times, there are spots on the mountain with almost no one else on your run! All of this terrain means that Breckenridge really does have something for everyone from beginners to experts. The mountain and the town also caters to all types of travelers from families and groups of friends and even solo travelers.
Break is also home to the highest chairlift in North America! The Imperial lift opened in 2006 and will take you all the way to 12,840 feet. From here you can ski some of the most difficult terrain on the mountain. You can traverse over to Whale’s Tail or you have the chance to take a quick but very steep hike up to 12,998 feet above sea level to ski the Lake Chutes (my personal favorite).
Breckenridge is owned by Vail Resorts, a large entity that now owns dozens of mountains all over the world. There are many benefits of the large corporation owning Breck. One of the best benefits is that ski passes for Breckenridge are also good for several nearby mountains including Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and even the local favorite A-Basin, (which isn't even owned by Vail Resorts, but they keep a relationship to allow passes to work there). Another amazing benefit is the Epic Mix App that you should download on your phone as soon as you get to town. Epic Mix turns skiing into a competition with yourself and your friends. It keeps track of what mountains you have skied, the number of lifts taken, the number of vertical feet skied and separates them by day, and by season. You are able to earn "pins" for each of your accomplishments, making the ski day even more exciting. My favorite thing to keep track of was the number of vertical feet I skied each day. It also gives you the wait times for each lift on the mountain to help you get the most out of your day during the busy season. In addition, Epic Mix keeps track of all professional photos taken on the mountain so that you can later post to Facebook or purchase.
When to Visit Breckenridge
February is a great time to come if you are looking for it to dump, it's one of the snowiest months. However, spring skiing is sensational with great conditions and almost no one on the mountain. Additionally, Breckenridge has a lot activities and beautiful weather to offer up in summer months!
Where to Rent Ski Gear in Breck
As much as I love my own skis, I generally opt to leave them behind when flying to a ski destination. When in Breckenridge I usually rent my ski gear from Christy’s Sports, there are several in town. The shop is in a convenient place and they staff always takes really good care of me, making sure I’m set up with the correct gear for my ski level and the conditions.
Another amazing option for rentals is the door-to-door service Ski Butlers.
For more on what gear you should bring check out the ultimate Ski Gear Packing Guide here
Where to Eat & Drink in Breckenridge
With it’s low key atmosphere, Breckenridge isn’t exactly the type of place that you would expect to "wow" you with incredible food options, but surprisingly Breckenridge has a variety of incredible offerings for all types of tastebuds and budgets.
Best Happy Hours
Modis: Modis has an excellent happy hour, with some of the best appetizers I have ever had. You must try the butcher block and the truffle risotto fritters which come in a creamy pasnip puree.
Blue Stag Saloon: Blue Stag is a local hot spot and has the best food for the price in Breckenridge. Great variety of food, romantic yet casual atmosphere and a large bar area. My local friends say that the bacon-wrapped meatloaf is a must!
Ollies Pub and Grub: Great variety of food and some of the best burgers in town. Ollie’s is an excellent place to watch a football or basketball game. Also, they often have live music on Thursday nights.
Downstairs at Eric’s: A favorite of locals and tourists alike. In a basement area. Great atmosphere!
Rita's: A local secret with a tropical theme that offers some of the best house-made salsa, the best hand-pressed margaritas in town, excellent tacos, and a cool vibe. They also boast a large assortment of tequilas, friendly and local staff.
The Breckenridge Tap House: Features the largest selection of draft craft beers in Summit County (37), two daily happy hours, and popular slow-braised meat tacos. The meats are in the oven for 24 hours, except the buffalo shoulder which stays in for 48 hours. More than 125 premium whiskeys and more than 130 premium tequilas fill up the bar.
Flipside: The newest Burger Joint with great reviews from locals and tourists.
Breck Brewery: Great place for a beer and appetizers after a long day on the mountain. I love their Christmas Ale during the holidays.
Blue Moose: Always a favorite of locals and tourists for standard breakfast options, done well.
Amazing Grace: Great historic building and a little bit off the beaten touristy path. Awesome baked goods as well as an incredible breakfast selection. Be sure to get a cookie to-go!
Columbine’s: Hearty breakfast selection. I opted for the corned beef benedict after someone I met told me I had to try it. It was fantastic.
Crepes A La Cart: One of my favorite spots in Breckenridge. It is literally a small cart with a crepe factory going on inside. The lines can be long, as the crepes are made to order, but the wait is certainly worth it. Get your crepe and gather under the heating lamps with friends to keep warm.
Where to Stay
There are a ton of great options for accommodations in Breckenridge. My top picks are One Ski Hill Place and The Grand Lodge on Peak 7.
This is one of the premier accommodations in Breckenridge. One Ski Hill Place is an elegant luxury lodge located at the base of Peak 8. The amenities and the attentive staff at One Ski Hill Place will completely spoil you.
The property offers true ski-in, ski-out access (you literally ski up to the door), but they also have a ski-valet service.
My favorite service offered would be the First Tracks Program. First Tracks allows guests staying in official resort properties to have the opportunity to get out on the mountain an entire hour before the general public (on Fridays).
These condos are located just feet from one of the ski lifts which makes the location hard to beat. It also boasts some incredible amenities, such as free on-demand transportation into town and some beautiful indoor and outdoor hot tubs.
Other great choices include (but are not limited to):
DoubleTree by Hilton: A great mid-range accommodation
The Village Hotel: Good value for the location
For an even bigger savings, you can stay in the nearby town of Frisco, which has plenty of shops and grocery stores and is only 15 minutes from Breckenridge.
In all of my travels, Breckenridge provides the best mountain-town combination that I have come across. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, with it’s uplifting atmosphere and multitude of activities, Breckenridge will surely be a memorable experience!
READ NEXT: EXPERT SKI GEAR GUIDE
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