Last Updated on December 23, 2023
The purple ridges of the Continental Divide span the horizon with snow caps reaching up to the azure sky. The air is crisp, clean and exhilarating. A light breeze stirs the few leaves that remain on nearby aspen trees.
With five awe-inspiring peaks, 2,908 acres of skiable terrain, and an imposing 3,398 feet of vertical drop to explore, Breckenridge is a skier’s dream. But it’s also the perfect destination for people who don’t know the difference between a black run and a bunny hill—and don’t care.
Non-Ski Things to do in Breckenridge
If you don’t ski, these are some fun and exciting Breckenridge winter activities you can enjoy while your friends and family hit the slopes. All of these are convenient to our favorite Breckenridge hotels and can be reached on free public transportation.
Sledding and Tubing
If you’d rather be tubing and sledding on hills instead of skiing down them, check out the Runway Sledding Hill or Carter Park. The Runway Sledding Hill is on Airport Road next to shuttle and bus stops. Free parking is also available. Carter Park is four blocks east of Main Street at the south end of High Street next to Breckenridge Elementary School. Parking is limited, but bus and shuttle stops are nearby. If you don’t have a sled, there may be one where you’re staying. If not, borrow one from the “sled shed” at the Runway Sledding Hill, where people leave behind the sleds they’ve purchased and don’t want to fly back home with them.
If you’ve always wondered what it’d feel like to yell “mush” while being whisked through spruce and fir forests by a team of Siberian huskies, this is your chance. Good Times Adventures runs professionally guided six-mile dog sledding tours where guests take turns managing the dogs, riding in the dog sled and riding in a small sleigh in front of the dog team with the guide. If you’re an animal lover, plan to arrive early to meet the dogs and get pictures with them. (Photo #2)
Another way to see the Breckenridge backcountry is on a snowmobile. Good Times Adventures also offers two-hour snowmobile tours through the Swan River Valley and up the Georgia Pass to the top of the Continental Divide. Snowmobiles are equipped with electric starters, backrests and hand warmers. Tours include photo stops, and hot cocoa and a warm fireplace await back at the base. (Photo #3)
Clydesdale Sleigh Ride
A sleigh ride is a relaxing way to enjoy the majestic mountain scenery. Golden Horseshoe and Breckenridge Stables offer 45-minute rides with picture stops and two-hour trips that include dinner and an Old West show. Bundle up under cozy blankets, sip a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy the ride as a driver guides your sleigh through the White River National Forest.
Snow Cat Adventure
Book a Snow Cat adventure at the Breckenridge Nordic Center if you love mountain scenery but hate being cold. You’ll enjoy 90 minutes of breathtaking views of the mountains and the Cucumber Gulch Wildlife preserve from a heated, all-glass cabin while a guide describes the history and ecology of the area. You can leave the snacks home because your trip includes a stop for s’mores and hot cocoa. (Photo #5)
If you don’t like winter sports or want a break from the snow, you’ll find plenty to do in town. There’s an abundance of galleries, eclectic boutiques and cafes to explore. And getting around is easy because the terrain is flat and the free Breckenridge Trolley runs all day long.
Visit The Arts District
The Breckenridge Arts District supports and promotes local artists and offers visitors opportunities to get creative.
Breck Create, the district’s main attraction, is a campus of renovated historic buildings that house studio spaces for classes, workshops, and visiting artist-in-residence programs. Visit studios and shops to see artists at work or take a ceramics, woodworking or metalsmithing class.
Explore The Local History
Visit the Breckenridge Welcome Center Museum to learn about local history, including the first gold strike, boom and bust mining years and the ski industry’s growth. Be sure to check out the historic log cabin wall on display. Workers discovered it during demolition when the Welcome Center was renovated in the early 2000s.
Walk Through History Tour
Join local guides dressed in Gay Nineties costumes on a Walk Through History Tour in the National Historic District. When miners discovered gold in the Blue River in 1859, Breckenridge sprang up overnight. During the next 100 years, tents and shanties gave way to shops, log cabins and stately residences. You’ll see these historic buildings on the tour and learn about the families who lived in them before, during and after the gold rush. You’ll also hear stories about gold strikes, robberies, business booms and busts and other local legends. Tours are primarily outdoors, cover about six blocks and usually include at least one stop in a historic home.
Barney Ford House
The Barney Ford House Museum honors a former slave and entrepreneur who helped shape the history of Breckenridge and Colorado. Barney Ford grew up on a South Carolina plantation and his mother secretly taught him to read. He escaped with help from the Underground Railroad, adopted the last name Ford and eventually settled in Breckenridge with his wife Julia, another runaway slave. They campaigned to have African American rights added to the Colorado Constitution and ran the fashionable Denver Hotel and Ford’s Chop House while they lived in Breckenridge. Barney Ford is recognized as one of Colorado’s founders and was inducted into the Colorado Black Hall of Fame and the Colorado Business Hall of Fame. (Photo #9)
Tour a Gold Mine
Visit the Country Boy Mine to experience a day in the life of a gold miner. Founded in 1877, the 1000- foot-deep mine is one of the oldest and most famous in the area. It was known for gold and silver production and provided large quantities of high-grade lead and zinc that were used to make weapons and machinery during World War I and World War II. After you tour the mine, visit the rest of the mine site and company store and slide down the 55-foot ore chute.
Bawdy Breckenridge Tour
Like most mining towns, Breckenridge has a dark, sleazy side to its history. Gambling was the most popular form of entertainment. According to the 1885 census, there were eight gamblers and three hustlers in town and the youngest was 13 years old. On the Bawdy Breckenridge Tour, local guides show you the seedy side of 19th-century Breckenridge, complete with local saloons, dirt-cheap whiskey and life in the red-light district. There are generally a few stops in historic buildings and saloons. No one under 21 is allowed on this tour because of the content and language.
Ghostly Tales & Strange But True Tours
If you’re interested in supernatural or unexplained events, take a Ghostly Tales or Strange But True tour. On the Ghostly Tales Tour, you may meet George, the ghost of the St. Nicholas Hotel or the four ghosts who live at the Brown Hotel and Restaurant. You might also meet Sylvia, the former owner of a boarding house that’s now Après Handcrafted Libations, but only if you’re a man. According to local folklore, Sylvia only makes herself visible to men because she’s still hoping to find a husband.
The Strange But True tour focuses on disappearances, suspected kidnappings and other unexplained area phenomena, such as the fate of the Breckenridge Navy and weird events that occurred in 1961 when the ski area opened.
Breweries, Wineries & Distilleries
If other types of spirits are more to your liking, visit the Breckenridge Brewery and try some of the best craft brews in Colorado. The brewery is located behind the bar. So, you can also take a tour and watch the brewers in action.
If wine tasting is more to your liking, stop by the Continental Divide Winery to taste California Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel and Colorado Petit Verdot. You can even blend them to create your own custom-crafted wine. If you want to combine wine tasting with dinner, make a reservation at the Carboy Winery to sample wine along with cuisine prepared by Executive Chefs.
If you’re in the mood for something stronger, visit the Breckenridge Distillery to sample award-winning local whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka. Take a tour to learn about the history of bourbon, the critical part barrels play in the whiskey blending process and other interesting distillery facts. You can also taste samples from various barrels and create and bottle your own Bourbon Blend under the guidance of a Blending Expert.
Breckenridge is much more than a ski destination. While skiers associate it with perfect slopes and packed powder, it also offers a wealth of activities for visitors who have no interest in skiing or snowboarding.