Have you ever thought about visiting Breckenridge, Colorado? Breckenridge, lovingly known as “Breck” to locals and frequent visitors, is a charming ski bum town just an hour-and-a-half from Denver. There’s a lot to do in this mountaintop spot—head to Breckenridge if you’re looking for some soul-warming grub, hot cocktails, and all the outdoor activity you could hope for. The best part of all? Breck is much less touristy than other ski and snowboard destinations in Colorado, making it an authentic choice for ski holidays.
When to Visit Breckenridge, Colorado
Because Breck is a ski town through-and-through, we recommend hitting it during ski season. When is ski season? Generally, you can expect the peaks to start getting snow as soon as early November. Breckenridge’s ski season is generally from early November through mid-April, though November trips can be a little risky if you’re planning far in advance.
If you want to be absolutely sure there will be snow, it’s recommended to visit Breckenridge in December through March. Of course, this is the height of the season, so lodging and lift ticket prices will reflect that. Visiting during peak ski season will give you the best array of trails to choose from, and Breck has a great selection. Stretching 2,908 acres across five mountains, Breck’s slopes feature four terrain parks, two halfpipes, and 187 trails. When you visit during November and April, there will likely be fewer trails open. (But 30 trails out 187 isn’t half-bad for the traveler on a budget!)
Before you book, keep an eye on the conditions. In 2018, the ski season opened early, allowing The Lysst to hit two peaks and plenty of fun trails on Thanksgiving.
Ski Resorts Vs. VRBO & Airbnb in Breckenridge
For a Breckenridge ski trip, it’s all about having proximity to the slopes. For this reason, both ski resorts and Airbnb and VRBO options will serve you well. It’s all about personal preference—ski resorts offer a more holiday-like stay, whereas the Airbnb rentals will make you feel like one of the locals. Breckenridge ski resorts will have you right at the bottom of the slopes, whereas VRBO and Airbnb rentals will be in town. So, if you want to explore Main Street in between your ski adventures, we recommend the rental option.
When booking an Airbnb or VRBO in Breck, just be sure to check the map (or listing details). There are free shuttle stops around town where you will be able to jump on the shuttle with your gear and deboard right in front of the (also free) gondola. The gondola takes you up the mountain to the slopes. Breck has very high altitude, with the top peak sitting at just under 13,000 feet—more than two miles above sea level. Breckenridge Ski Resort is at about 9,600 feet. Just remember to drink plenty of water and buy some cans of oxygen to combat altitude sickness.
Overall, though, if you stay walking distance to Main Street, you can’t go wrong.
3 Things to Do in Breckenridge During Your Stay
Ready to get that Bucket Lysst filled with activities? Here are some of our suggestions for things to do in Breckenridge during a ski vacation.
Hit the Slopes
We’re obviously big proponents of shredding the gnar in this gorgeous ski town. You’ll experience plenty of powder days and an array of trails varying in difficulty. If you’re not an experienced skier or snowboarder, you can purchase lessons to start off your trip. There’s no shame in getting a pro to show you how to hit the slopes safely! Skiing and snowboarding are much more fun when you’re not getting a face full of snow every few minutes. Trust us on that. You’ll need to buy lift tickets once you get off the gondola; prices vary based on the time of year.
Maybe you’ve got bad knees or you’re looking for a less vigorous activity that allows you to explore this winter wonderland. Snowmobiling is a fun alternative to skiing or snowboarding. The super-high altitude here offers various vistas across the peaks. Just remember to book as soon as possible to ensure you get a snowmobile tour—the #1-rated tour on TripAdvisor, Good Times Adventures, usually starts booking as early as October.
Stroll Main Street
When in doubt, stroll Main Street! Breckenridge is especially charming during the holiday season, decked out in lights along the main drag. There are so many little shops, restaurants, and bars along Main Street that you can spend as long as you want popping in and out of places. This is what makes proximity to Main Street so crucial when you’re renting an Airbnb or VRBO—you won’t have to get behind the wheel at all, which is ideal especially if you’re not accustomed to driving in heavy snow conditions.
Best Places to Eat & Drink in Breckenridge
For your Grub and Sip Lyssts, there are a few must-hit spots in Breck. Though, it’s hard to go wrong in this mountaintop town. Since locals live there year-round, you can expect plenty of good grub any time of the year. We’re big fans of getting an adrenaline rush, then indulging in some apres-ski eats and drinks. It’s called balance, ya feel?
Where to Eat in Breck
Crepes: There’s always a line at this hotspot at 301 South Main Street—and it’s always worth it. Crepes A La Cart (pictured above) is a small cart serving made-to-order sweet and savory crepes at all hours of the day. There’s a heater out front you can wait near as you watch the talented crepe-makers whip up your order in the window. Or, if you can’t handle the wait time, they have a lesser-known second location across the street (309 South Ridge Street Alley).
Make-Your-Own Mac ‘n’ Cheese: You may notice that many menus in Breck feature a make-your-own mac ‘n’ cheese option, which is as close to heaven as you can get for cheese-lovers. However, CB & Potts serves a tasty Buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese that warmed our bellies quite nicely.
Delicious Drinks in Breckenridge, Colorado
Mid- and Apres-Ski Sips: It’s easy to get your fix in between runs on the slopes—just hit one of the lodges for your choice of local craft brews, hot cocktails, and even mimosas. At the Vista Haus, you’ll get exactly what the name suggests—views from Peak 8’s summit at 11,056 feet above sea level.
Hot Drinks: Burke & Riley’s Irish Pub is on the second story of a Main Street mall (520 S. Main St. #3P), with an outdoor seating area complete with a firepit. However, you can cozy up inside too; regardless, the hot drinks list offers all kinds of yummy cocktails. Try the Hot Buttered Rum, featuring Breckenridge Distillery Rum, the Nutty Irishman, or the Chocolate Mint. We enjoyed the latter two a little too much.
Breckenridge, Colorado, is a total winter paradise with lots to do besides hitting the slopes. You’ll love the laidback vibe of the locals and the various spots to shop, eat, and drink along Main Street.
If you’ve ever been to Breck, let us know your favorite spots and best tips below to help out fellow Lyssters! For more great trip ideas and tips for the traveling foodie, be sure to join The Lysst’s Tribe and sign up for The Short Lysst!