Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s most beloved ski towns. Due to its high elevation (at 9,600 feet above sea level), it tends to get excellent snow and promises incredible views of the Tenmile mountain range.
Beyond skiing, this old Victorian mining town is packed with activities year-round, which make it a hotspot for visitors. In fact, Breck boasts a good number of our favorite festivals in the state. Even just strolling through the colorful, charming downtown proves entertaining.
Here are 10 of our favorite things to do in Breckenridge, although to be honest, we could make a list of 500.
Go Skiing, Of Course
Although this is a given, it has to make the top of the list. Breck has been voted the best ski resort and best snowboarding resort time and time again. Don’t overlook Breckenridge’s cross-country options, either. Swing by one of the Nordic centers for information on routes of all levels, plus cross-country ski lessons, in case you’re new to this style of skiing. Even if you're experienced, you can pick up some pointers and improve your skills.
Breckenridge is known for its great ski clinics for women, too.
Bike and Sip
Breckenridge boasts a handful of excellent microbreweries, and the most Colorado way to experience them is on a Bike and Brew Tour, offered via At Your Pace - Freestyle Cycling Adventures. These guided tours take you along Breckenridge’s riverside bike path, stopping at three of the town’s most tasty local booze-makers: Broken Compass Brewing (new flavors released every Wednesday), the Breckenridge Distillery (try the coffee-flavored vodka) and the well-known Breckenridge Brewery (with a full food menu).
There are a handful of other bike tours in Breck, too, like a fat tire bike and brew guided day tour and a distillery and spirits bike tour.
Make sure you pace yourself and don’t drink too much, because it is illegal to bike drunk, and with the high altitude here, alcohol can sneak right up on you. Lucky for you, some of the breweries have food on the menu. We recommend you fill up.
Ever wonder what happens to the ski mountain after the snow melts? It transforms into a family-friendly adventure park. Grab an Epic Discovery pass and spend the day ziplining, sliding and hiking up and down the mountain at the Breckenridge Summer Adventure Park.
Enjoy thrilling adventures, like the Gold Runner Coaster and Alpine Slides (a 2,600-foot-long course), or bring kids to enjoy calmer explorations, like panning for special rocks in the water. Don’t miss a ride up the mountain in the scenic chairlift, which boasts some of the most jaw-dropping views in the state.
At the top of the peak, you can go hiking or play like a bird on the zipline tour, which reaches speeds of about 40 miles per hour and passes 10 different towers. Test your courage by walking out on the 200-foot-long aerial bridge. Not that hardcore? Breck offers another two-stage zipline.
Party at the Beer Fest
Breck knows how to party, and its spring beer festival is one of the state’s coolest street parties, conveniently located around spring break every year.
The annual Breckenridge Spring Beer Festival features free live music, food trucks, vendors, shopping and a theme that participants always dress up for. The streets are always packed, the local beer is always delicious and the event often sells out.
Breckenridge is known for its great festivals. This is just one of many.
Tour the World’s Highest Distillery
At such a high altitude, we’re wary recommending too much boozing, but you can’t overlook the award-winning, world’s highest distillery, the Breckenridge Distillery. Tours are free, informative and include free samples of some of the distillery’s products, which may include spiced whiskey and coffee-flavored vodka.
After the tour, head to the large, outdoor patio, where you can order a signature cocktail, play yard games, listen to live music and enjoy the stunning mountain views.
Spirit-lovers and whiskey drinkers will also want to check out the annual Breckenridge Craft Spirit Festival every fall. In the past, this event has included distillery tours, live music, a poker run and even a “hangover brunch” with drink specials at brunch spots around town.
See the World’s Best Snow Carvings
Not all of Breck’s festivals revolve around alcohol. Equally as impressive is the International Snow Sculpture Championships held in Breckenridge every winter. Imagine massive blocks of snow carefully hand-carved into sculptures, from Santa to castles to dragons. It’s like a chilly, temporary, all-white art gallery.
Watch the artists do their thing at the International Snow Sculpture Championships and stay to see who wins. The final display is impressive and especially exciting for people visiting from warm climates. This is Colorado's version of a sand castle contest.
Join One of the State’s Weirdest Festivals
Then there’s the Ullr Fest, with its Ullympics. This annual Breckenridge tradition is pretty unique, paying homage to the Norse god of winter, Ullr.
Every January, the whole town parties for Ullr in the form of a massive, Viking-style parade, a frying pan toss, a bonfire, group ski racing and the world’s longest shot ski. That’s a line of shots of alcohol taken off a ski. In the past, there’s been 192 people lined up shoulder to shoulder trying to take shots off 60 skis at the same time.
Uh, thank you, Ullr.
Ride the Highest Chairlift in North America
Thanks to the altitude, Breckenridge gets another claim to fame: the highest chairlift in North America, reaching an elevation of 12,840 above sea level. The Imperial Express SuperChair will take you high above 400 acres of beautiful mountain terrain.
You need to be an intermediate or advanced skier to get this honor, however, as it takes you to the top of Peak 8 and, well, you will have to be skilled enough to get back down.
Before this chairlift opened in 2005, skiers had to embark upon a lengthy snow trek to the peak that took about 45 minutes. Now, you get a delicious view on your relaxing way up, just long enough (that is, under five minutes) to summon your energy and strength for the challenging journey back down the mountain on your sticks.
On the lift, you will be able to see the whole town of Breck, Quandry Peak to the right, all the way to Keystone Resort and Lake Dillon and also Baldy Mountain. Too bad you can't enjoy it for long.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Another amazing way to experience Breck from above is via a hot air balloon ride, winter or summer. Our favorite way to do it is to wake up early and watch the sun rise from the balloon in the sky. Then enjoy a white-linen, sit-down breakfast (eggs, bacon, French toast, you name it) prepared on site, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
You can find a variety of different hot air balloon operators who work in Breckenridge and the surrounding areas.
Bag a Fourteener
A quintessential Colorado bucket list activity is to climb a fourteener. That’s a mountain that’s higher than 14,000 feet above sea level. Colorado boasts quite of few of them, and some are significantly harder than others.
Lucky for people visiting Breck, one of the supposed “easiest” ones (take this term very lightly; no fourteener is easy) is located a short distance from Breckenridge. Quandry Peak is the highest point of the Tenmile Range. It’s not hard to get to and the ascent is gentler than many, plus it has lower avalanche risk. It’s also popular for backcountry skiing.
The 6.2-mile trail can get pretty busy in warmer weather, and make sure you plan your hike wisely and get down early enough to miss the common afternoon mountain storms, which can turn your relatively “easy” quest into a miserable and risky endeavor.