The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Breckenridge, Colorado in 2023-24
Last Updated on July 16, 2023
By: Kristi Dosh
It’s no secret to those who know me that I love
If you love the outdoors,
This is my ultimate guide to the
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- What to Do in Breckenridge (By Season)
- Where to Stay in Breckenridge
- Breckenridge VRBOs We Recommend
- Breckenridge Hotels We Recommend
- Where to Eat and Drink in Breckenridge
- The Best Restaurants in Breckenridge (aka, My Favorites)
- Breckenridge Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries
- Hiking in Breckenridge
- How to Get to Breckenridge and Get Around
- Other Things to Know About Breckenridge
- What to Pack for Breckenridge
What to Do in
Breckenridge (By Season)
When is the best time to visit Breckenridge?
There truly isn’t a wrong time of year to visit
Need help deciding when to visit? Check out our month-by-month breakdown of the best time to visit Breckenridge.
What to do in
Breckenridge in Winter
Breckenridge Ski Resort is usually the reason people have heard of
With five peaks and nearly 3,000 skiable acres, there’s something for everyone here.
Looking for things to do in Breckenridge besides skiing?
Downhill skiing isn’t the only outdoor activity which can be enjoyed in
Breck’s version of “spring break” occurs each December with the rowdy Ullr Fest. If your idea of a good time has more to do with shots than runs, Ullr Fest is for you.
Also available from the
I’ve also enjoyed the fat bike brewery and distillery tour. It’s a great way to check out all the local brews and spirits while getting just enough exercise to feel like you earned it!
What to do in
Breckenridge in Spring
Spring skiing is my favorite as a solid blue skier. My husband and love visiting during “shoulder season” from late March into April. Heck, many years you can ski right up to Memorial Day thanks to the altitude here and plentiful snow.
If you plan on visiting
There’s still plenty to do here in the spring! If catching the late season skiing isn’t your thing, check out the Country Boy Mine tour, where you can go 1,000 feet into the mine and even pan for gold. If you want to stay above ground, Breckenridge Distillery’s After Hours Experience or Founder’s Tour are both excellent choices. As a warning, I’d make sure you eat before that Founder’s Tour because they’re very generous with the spirits!
On the plus side, this is the least expensive time to visit Breck with hotels and restaurants offering deep discounts.
What to do in
Breckenridge in Summer
“Come for the winter and stay for the summer” is the saying locals like to use when describing visitors initially attracted to
Breckenridge summer’s are impossible to beat with bright blue skies, temperatures rarely surpassing 80 degrees and perfectly pleasant evenings for outdoor dining or hot-tubbing. Outdoor activities are endless from wildlife viewing to mountain biking and fly fishing, but hiking takes the cake. Hiking is a lifestyle in
What to do in
Breckenridge in Fall
On the plus side, fall hiking provides for enjoyment of the stunning fall colors as aspen trees turn the mountainsides yellow. Pretty much any hike you do this time of year will be stunning, but if you want a sure winner for fall hiking in
When is the best time to enjoy
To skip the hike and still enjoy the leaf-peeping, drive up Boreas Pass being sure to pull over to enjoy the extraordinary views frequently.
September and October are sneaky-great times to visit
Where to Stay in Breckenridge
Breckenridge VRBOs We Recommend
I have personally stayed in all of the Breckenridge VRBOs featured on our site. Whether you’re looking to accommodate a large group or stay on the slopes for some ski-in/ski-out action, we’ve reviewed great options for any
The Bogart House: 5 Bedrooms/5 Bathrooms
The Bogart House has it all: luxury features like heated floors, picturesque views, and a location right off Main Street. With 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths, it’s perfect for a large family or a group of friends. You can go from sitting in an Adirondack chair drinking your coffee and enjoying the mountain views to being on the slopes in no time.
Mont Vista Chateau: 8 bedrooms/7 bathrooms
If you need an extra large home for your big group but still want luxury level accommodations, Mont Vista Chateau is the perfect choice. This nine-bedroom stunner has room galore and views that can’t be beat. From a well-outfitted chef’s kitchen to a pool table and hot tub, there’s so much to enjoy here, you might not even want to leave the house…although we encourage you to get out there and experience the rest of what
Breck Town Lodge: 9 Bedrooms/9 Bathrooms
Want a large group rental that’s located right downtown where you can walk to everything? Breck Town Lodge is offers 9 bedrooms, three of which are their own apartment-style suites. We had a group of 10 travel writers in this house for a retreat, and there were times I forgot anyone else was there because it’s so spacious. The location really can’t be beat–my car never even left the driveway the entire four-night stay.
Grand Colorado on Peak 8: 1-4-Bedroom Ski-In/Ski-Out Condos
Both my co-founder Noreen and myself will tell you that timeshare (or fractional vacation) ownership gets a bad rap. We both own timeshares, and I owns her fractional ownership in
The good news (if you’re not ready for a timeshare) is that you can check out a 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-bedroom
You can’t beat the location of Grand Colorado on Peak 8 right at the base of the peak with easy access to lifts, rental equipment, ski school, restaurants, bars and more. Even if you don’t ski, you can sit in a hot tub right along the slopes and watch your friends or family come down the mountain. It’s also a short walk over to the gondola to get into town, and there’s a free shuttle that will take you anywhere you need to get in town.
Best Breckenridge Vacation Rentals for Large Groups
Want more options for large groups? Check out our favorite Breckenridge vacation rentals for large groups.
Best Breckenridge Ski-In/Ski-Out Vacation Rental Houses and Condos
Want to make sure you end up in a house or condo that’s an easy ski-in/ski-out so you don’t have to walk around in ski boots hauling all your stuff 100s of yards? We’ve done the research and found some of the best ski-in/ski-out houses and condos for rent in Breckenridge.
Breckenridge Hotels We Recommend
There’s so much to say about where to stay in
Although I normally stay at the property where I own in
Gravity Haus is in the perfect location downtown to easily get to the slopes or walk to all the shopping and dining downtown Breck has to offer. Ready to get out and enjoy the great outdoors? Haus Quiver, located inside Gravity Haus, allows you to rent the latest outdoor gear, and you can book adventures through Gravity Haus like ice climbing, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and more.
Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge
Who says location isn’t everything? Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge in
Proximity to the Colorado ski trails at Peak 9 and the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is ideal for hitting the slopes during winter. But no matter the season, Marriott’s vacation club makes it easy to explore the historic downtown or venture to Breck’s magnificent outdoor destinations for hiking, biking, and more.
We love the roomy heated outdoor pool and whirlpool spa and impressive fitness center. But mostly we love the picturesque setting overlooking the breathtaking Rocky Mountains and sparkling
Use the map below to find a variety of hotels and vacation rentals available for your dates and easily choose by location and price.
Where to Eat and Drink in Breckenridge
The Best Restaurants in
Breckenridge (aka, My Favorites)
For Pizza in
The atmosphere is just as perfect as the pizza. Tin Plate occupies a 138-year-old mining cabin that was once where Colorado’s largest gold nugget, “Tom’s Baby,” was cleaned and weighed in at 13.5 pounds.
When I visited in August 2021, the Peach & Prosciutto pizza was the big crowd pleaser for our large group. Topped with roasted peaches (Palisade Peaches are big around here in the summer!), prosciutto, mozzarella, bleu cheese, chili, honey and basil, it was a universally beloved choice.
Tin Plate describes it’s pizza as “upscale,” but that’s referring to the variety of interesting flavors and combinations, not the atmosphere. Like most restaurants in
Other oldies but goodies are Fatty’s—which has a sports bar atmosphere—and Giampetro’s. Both locals and longtime visitors recommended these to us over and over when we first started visiting and we’ve enjoyed both.
For Fine Dining in
Briar Rose Chophouse and Saloon is my personal favorite, and I never miss it when I’m in
If, however, you want the full fine dining experience, Briar Rose has a lovely dining room too. Their filet mignon is always tender, they have a variety of delicious sauces (I’m always torn between the Port Wine Demiglace and the Brandy Green Peppercorn) and their garlic parmesan thin cut fries are some of the best fries I’ve had anywhere. The mac and cheese is another phenomenal shareable side I’d recommend.
Blue River Bistro is my co-founder Noreen’s favorite for fine dining in
Rootstalk is the new talk of the town. Noreen and I hosted a travel writer’s retreat in
Their menu is both inventive and delicious with items like Braised Rabbit Pot Pie and Cauliflower Schnitzel. Their homemade pastas were the star when our group dined there, and the charcuterie took up most of the table!
For Breakfast in
For years, we’ve loved BoLD for breakfast. They have great pancakes and a variety of eggs benedict options. I don’t think we’ve ever ordered anything here we didn’t like.
Crepes a la Cart is a huge favorite in Breck, and it’s pretty easy to find if you just look for the long line on the sidewalk on Main Street.
If you just need something quick, the bagels at Clint’s Bakery are great (if you can make it past all the sweet treats in their bakery upstairs).
Micasa Mexican Restaurant and Cantina has been a go-to in
Breckenridge Tap House has a robust selection of craft beers and spirits, but I go for the tacos. I always order the Bulleit Bourbon Barbacoa, my husband the Colorado Bourbon Buffalo. Double-up on brussels sprouts with chorizo as your side.
Our favorite Breck tradition is to order our tacos as take out and eat them at Broken Compass Brewing (below) where food is BYO.
If you ask others who frequent
For Grilled Cheese
This might sound like a silly category, but I love a good grilled cheese…and my favorite in all of the country is in
Also, if cheese is your thing—it’s mine!—they also have an incredible queso dip! It’s enormous, so I usually hit Canteen my first day in town so I can eat the leftovers when I need a snack later in the week.
It’s a great place to eat outside when the weather is nice enough, and everyone I’ve ever taken here has enjoyed it. You get large portions, whether it’s food or cocktails you’re looking for. Very casual and economical option that’s also delicious!
Whiskey Star Smokehouse is a more recent addition to the Breck dining scene and a welcome one at that. Authentic Texas-style barbecue served a la carte, cafeteria style, at 10,000-feet. The brisket and pulled pork stand out, but everything on the menu lives up to the storied traditions of Texas BBQ.
True to its name, Whiskey Star Smokehouse has a deep roster of whiskeys to sample.
Brand new in 2023, try out Mount Golian Grill for customizable bowls that will refuel you after a day on the slopes or trails. This family-owned restaurant has local brews on tap (they had my fav, Ginger Pale Ale from Broken Compass) and lots of healthy options. Located right on Main Street, it’s open Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner.
I’m a picky eater, and my hubby steers away from carbs, so being able to customize our bowls with so many options made this a great experience for us!
No ski trip is complete without cheese fondue. The place for that in
Breckenridge Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries
When people imagine a Colorado ski-town craft brewery, whether they know it or not, they’re imagining Broken Compass Brewing. Having visited dozens around the country, Broken Compass is my favorite craft brewery.
Flavorful, unpretentious, local, small batch, dogs welcome, Broken Compass makes visitors feel like family. Skip the Main Street taproom in favor of the home base on Continental Court (they have a free shuttle that will come pick you up and take you back!). No food is served, so BYO (see “tacos” above).
Pair those tacos with a chili pepper ale, a beer that changed my life. I never knew beer could have such a complex and wonderous flavor palette before trying Broken Compass’ chili pepper ale. It is the standard against which I measure all other beers. Sadly, it’s not always on tap, but everything I’ve tried at Broken Compass has been somewhere on the scale from good to great. Many people go for the Coconut Porter, which is made from 400 pounds of toasted organic coconut flakes.
Stop in early on Wednesdays for a brewery tradition—Wacky One-Off Wednesdays—where the brew master and his team go way out in experimenting with bizarre taste combinations such as Peanut Butter Banana Hefeweizen and Christmas Chai Ginger Pale Ale. One-Offs are made in limited quantities and once they’re gone, they may never return.
You’ve no doubt also heard of Breckenridge Brewery, which is now distributed nationally since being bought by Anheuser-Busch. They have a large restaurant and brewery on the south end of Main Street.
Breckenridge Distillery was founded in 2008 on a shoestring. In the early days, local ownership would trade bottles of the flagship
Tastings and tours are available, as is an on-site restaurant equal in quality to the booze with chef-inspired seasonal dishes as delectable as any in town. The restaurant is spendy, but Epicurious travels will find the splurge worthwhile.
Breckenridge Distillery also has a free shuttle that will come pick you up and take you back, and it’s close enough to Broken Compass (see above) that we often take the shuttle to one, walk to the other, and then take a shuttle back from that one.
I go to Carboy Winery in
Our Favorite Hiking Trails in
Easy: We love Cucumber Gulch Trail! It’s so quiet we rarely run across other people if we go on a weekday morning. It’s also a great place to see deer, moose, beavers and more. Super easy way to connect with nature if the word “hiking” isn’t really in your vocabulary.
Another easy one we love is the Lily Pad Lake Trail in nearby Silverthorne. We know some people hit it on the way into town or back out, but if we have a car with us, we don’t mind driving over in the middle of our trip. It has fabulous views of Dillon and Frisco at the start of the trail and ends at a scenic lake.
This one is a great hike if you’re taking kids along with you. There’s a bit of a steep walk up from the parking lot, but it’s pretty flat after that. Even if you can’t make the 3.3 mile full out and back, it’s worth going to do as much of the trail as you can handle. Note, however, the parking is very limited.
Moderate: Aspen Alley is my favorite hike in the fall. It obviously got its name from the abundant aspens you’ll find all around you. It’s rated as moderate and does climb 528 feet. It’s a 2.6 mile out and back trail, and people often drop into it from Boreas Pass and hike down if they have someone to drop them off. Bikers also get dropped off and ride down, so you do have to share the trail. It’s one I think is best on a weekday when it’s quieter.
Hard: Spruce Creek Trail to Mohawk Lakes is an 8.4 mile out and back trail that has gorgeous views. We hiked it in August and tackled the extra leg to go up to the top of the waterfall, where there was still snow at the top. If you want to do the full hike to Continental Falls, continue on Spruce Creek Trail past where it joins up with the 4WD road and proceed past the dam to stay on Spruce Creek Trail. When the trail intersects with Mayflower Lakes Trail, head left (southwest) to Lower Mohawk Lake and Upper Mohawk Lake and on up to Continental Falls. Check out more detailed instructions and hiking map here.
Hiking a 14er: Quandry Peak
The toughest hike we’ve ever been on was Quandry Peak, just south of
Don’t let the tough-guy hiking message board reviewers who scoff at the challenge of this hike fool you. While it is heavily trafficked – and as a result you’ll want to arrive at the parking lot as early as you can manage and sunrise allows – it’s 6.6 miles up a severe incline and 6.6 miles back down over scree – loose rock. Going up is more physically demanding. Coming down is more dangerous, particularly on jelly legs.
It took my husband and me 8 HOURS to complete this hike and we were physically shot for the rest of the trip. Reserve this hike for the end of your stay when you can recuperate on the way home and have had a few days to acclimate to the altitude.
Be honest with yourself about your ability to take on this challenge. Every year without fail, someone gets lost or in over their head on Quandry and needs rescue.
If you’re primarily interested in good views, pictures and wildlife, that can be found on numerous other hikes at a much less severe cost. If you want to experience the challenge of a 14er and are looking for a memory, Quandry is for you. I’ve now checked hiking a 14er off my bucket list!
Be sure to say “hello” to the mountain goats along the way (from a safe distance, of course – this is when a zoom lens comes in handy).
How to Get to Breckenridge and Get Around
Closest Airport to Breckenridge
What airport do you fly into for Breckenridge? Most people fly into Denver when visiting Breckenridge. Denver International Airport is about 95 miles from Breckenridge. Although Eagle/Vail Regional Airport is closer at 60 miles away, there are fewer options for flying into that airport and it’s generally more expensive. There are also more shuttle options from DIA to Breckenridge.
United Airlines Round-Trip to Breckenridge
United Airlines offers a round-trip option to Breckenridge via their Landline bus service. All you have to do is book your RT to QBK. You can check your luggage all the way through, and you board the bus from inside DIA’s Terminal A. The bus has WiFi service and delivers you directly to Main Street in Breckenridge. Check out more info and book here.
Breckenridge: How to Get There From Denver
Bustang from Denver to Breckenridge
From December 17th to May 7th (except December 25th), you can take the Snowstang from Denver to Breckenridge and back on Saturday and Sundays. This is the most economical way to get to Breckenridge from Denver and back ($25 roundtrip for each adult, $12.50 for kids 2-11), but the most limited in terms of schedule. You can see the schedule here.
Shuttle from Denver to Breckenridge
There are a number of shuttle services you can use to get to
How much is the shuttle from Denver to Breckenridge? Prices generally run $49 (on Epic Mountain Express if you have an Epic Pass) to $65 each way for door-to-door service, but you can get in a little cheaper if you get dropped off at
The ride from DIA to
For an even cheaper option, you can take the Bustang’s West Line from Denver’s Union Station to Frisco, which is the town between
Rent a car at Denver International Airport
Although you don’t need a car in Breckenridge thanks to the great public transportation options and walkability of much of town, I do often rent a car in the summer or fall when I’m day tripping around the mountains to hike in different places.
How to Get Around
Breckenridge and Summit County
One of the best parts about
From there, I use a combination of the free gondola into town from my favorite ski-in/ski-out accommodation, Grand Colorado on Peak 8, and the shuttle the Grand Colorado offers its guests.
Although many of the resorts, condos and hotels have their own shuttles, you can take advantage of the Breck Free Ride to get all over
Want to spend time outside of
Check out the video below—that’s me talking about how easy it is to get around Breck without a car!
Other Things to Know About
Breckenridge checks in at 9,600 feet in town and peaks at 12,998 at
That’s higher than a lot of people have ever been, but as someone who lives at sea level (seriously, I live on an island), I can tell you that although you need to properly prepare for—and respect—the elevation, it shouldn’t stop you from visiting
How to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Breckenridge
My advice is simple…
Drink water. Drink some more water. Then drink even more until you’re afraid you’re going to float away.
Seriously though, water can be the make-or-break difference maker in your trip. I start trying to drink more water than usual the day before I fly, and then I really push myself to drink water constantly on my flight out and then on my drive up to
Another key to staying hydrated is not to dehydrate yourself by consuming too many alcoholic beverages. I love all the great breweries and distilleries in
I’ve got more altitude advice here.
What to Pack for Breckenridge
You can find all the essentials I take on every trip here, from my favorite toiletry bag and travel purse to the best power bank I’ve found to keep my phone taking great photos all day long.
Here are some specific favorites I always pack for Breckenridge:
☆ Merrell women’s waterproof hiking boots — Waterproof and lightweight.
☆ Osprey Dry Stuff Pack — I love this because it packs down into its own pocket and is great for outdoor activities.
☆ 3-in-1 Jacket — This is a great lightweight waterproof rain jacket plus a puffer for warmth, which can all be worn together or each piece separate. Perfect for the variable weather you can get throughout the day/night in Breck in the spring or fall. Check out this one if you prefer a fleece to a puffer.
☆ LL Bean Winter Jacket — This is my non-ski winter jacket. It’s warmer than the one listed above that I use in spring/fall. I’ve used it on countless winter trips in temperatures down to the teens. Would buy it again!
☆ Columbia ski pants — I have these in two colors, and they’re my favorite ski pants I’ve ever owned. They’re warm in the winter but don’t keep you too warm for spring skiing.
☆ Columbia midweight baselayer — This is a great baselayer in the winter and plenty warm enough for early or late season skiing without anything but a jacket on top.
☆ Columbia Omni-Heat baselayer — This is the baselayer you want when it’s really cold out.
☆ Smartwool full cushion ski socks — My favorite ski socks. They’re comfy in my boots and keep my feet warm without making me sweat.
☆ Revo x Bode Miller Ski Goggles — I got these ski goggles a couple of seasons ago, and they’re by far the best ski goggles I’ve ever had. They work in low light, sunlight and everything in between. Plus, they look great on!
☆ Winter pompom hat — I have this hat in two colors because it’s so warm, comfy and stylish.
☆ Ski strap and pole carrier — Even if you only have a short walk with your skis, you’ll thank yourself for buying this great over-the-shoulder carrier. Worth every penny!
☆ Power bank — This can recharge my Google Pixel 6 Pro more than three times on a single charge so I can take photos and videos all day.
☆ GorillaPod mini-tripod — Wrap the flexible arms of this around a tree branch, fence, sign…anything. Great for taking shots of you or the whole group with the gorgeous Breckenridge scenery.