When most people think of Breckenridge, Colorado they think of stunning mountains, epic skiing and professional snowboarding competitions. If you’re planning a trip to Breckenridge this winter, spending time on the mountain is probably one of your top priorities. But what do you do with the rest of your time?
Thankfully, Breckenridge has a plethora of things to do besides just skiing. It is one of the best mountain destinations in Colorado for that reason -- it is so much more than a ski town! After 10 years of experience traveling to Breckenridge, I can say that some of my favorite things to do in Breck are off-mountain.
10 Cool Things to Do in Breckenridge Besides Skiing
Walk Along Historic Main Street
Breckenridge was a traditional mining town in the Rocky Mountains before it became a famed ski destination. You can get a sense of that history with a walk down Main Street. On the north end of the street, you’ll find monuments and historic buildings dedicated to Breck’s long history. There is even a small museum! Most of the historic buildings have been updated to meet current standards and now house a variety of shops and restaurants. Because Breckenridge isn’t a big town, you are bound to explore Main Street at some time during your visit!
Shop Independently Owned Shops
One of my favorite things about Breckenridge is the dedication to locally owned and operated small businesses. You will see them all along Main Street! From clothing boutiques to high end art galleries to quirky tourist shops, there is a shop for everyone along Breck’s Main Street. Prices range depending on what you’re shopping for, but shopping is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
You can just pop in and out of a bunch of different stores picking up gifts or things for yourself. A few of my favorite shops are DonLo, which has high-quality jewelry and home decor boutique with a bohemian flair, Ruby Jane, a women’s clothing store with a cute and quirky selection, and Marigold's Farmhouse Funk & Junk, which has a treasure trove of vintage farmhouse style decor.
Snow Sculpture Festival
Every January, Breckenridge hosts the International Snow Sculpture Championships. If you are planning a trip to Breck in the winter, this is a great time to visit because this competition is SO cool. It is a world renowned snow sculpting competition where 16 teams from around the world hand-carve 20-ton blocks of snow. The artists are only allowed to use hand tools, no power tools, to sculpt their pieces over 96 hours.
From a large block of snow to amazing creations, you can watch the progress for free each day. The resulting sculptures are these enormous, intricate works of art all made from snow. We typically plan a visit to Breckenridge every year for this competition, because you get to see the artists hard at work throughout the 5 days.
Off-Mountain Winter Activities
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing, but you still want to experience the snowy mountains of Breckenridge? Try one of the many off mountain activities in Summit County! My mom is not a big fan of skiing, so each year when we go out to Breckenridge, she tries other outdoor activities. There are plenty of great options, but tubing is probably our family’s favorite. Flop onto a thick blow up tube and slide your way down the slopes! There are tubing tracks at both the Keystone Mountain and Copper Mountain Nordic centers. The one at Copper is especially fun because you can race your fellow travelers!
Another unique option for off mountain activities in Breckenridge is dog sledding. You’ll feel like you’re a part of the Aditorod as you mush your own team of dogs across snowy meadows and backcountry trails. The dogs are friendly and well-trained, not to mention extremely fit and fast. I was blown away by how fast these dogs can get going, and even when you stop to rest, they seem ready and raring to go for more! Dog sledding is a perfect choice for animal lovers who want a little jolt of adrenaline.
Take a Snowy Sleigh Ride
For a nostalgic experience of Breckenridge’s snowy mountains and forests, try a sleigh ride! You’ll feel like Santa being pulled through dreamy surroundings by a horse drawn sled. There are a number of sleigh ride providers in Summit County, offering a range of different sleigh ride options. You can choose your own adventure with scenic sleigh rides or a romantic dinner sleigh ride. My husband and I did this once, and even though the food was just ok, the experience was really fun. The horse drawn sleigh rides are typically available late-November through late-April and you’ll want to make a reservation ahead of time.
Eat at One of Breck's Best Restaurants
For such a small city, Breckenridge is packed with delicious local restaurants. There really is a strong culinary presence here! From casual Colorado-style eateries to high-end date night spots, Breckenridge has a little bit of something for everyone. Over the years, I have tried a majority of the restaurants in Breckenridge and I certainly have a few favorites.
Have a Fondue Chalet Experience
One of my all-time favorite things to do in Summit County is a fondue dinner at Der Fondue Chessel on Keystone Mountain. This is a quirky and fun experience perfect for families or friend groups alike. You’ll take the gondola up to the top of Keystone’s North Peak where your high-altitude dinner adventure awaits you. The views up here are sweeping and lovely! The four-course menu is inspired by German Bavarian cuisine, and features a cheese fondue course, a grilled meat course and a luscious chocolate fondue course. The ambiance of wood timber beams and the in-house Polka Band really make you feel as though you have been dashed off to the Alps, right in the heart of the Rockies.
Breckenridge’s Craft Brewery Scene
Like many places in Colorado, Breckenridge has a thriving craft beer culture. In fact, the state of Colorado plays a huge hand in pioneering the national craft beer movement. The Breckenridge craft beer scene is heaping with taprooms, pubs and breweries ready to share their latest barrel-aged, imperial and sour creations with you. Breckenridge Brewery is probably the most famous and well-established of the breweries in town, and their Main Street location is always busy with patrons.
I personally think the vibe at Broken Compass Brewing on Airport Road is pretty cool. It feels like more of a neighborhood or local jaunt. Plus, food trucks are usually parked outside for quick snacks. If you want to sample a lot of different beers, the Breckenridge Tap House has 37 beer taps to choose from. There are mostly Colorado breweries on tap, but you’ll find plenty of other delicious taps.
Spa + Wellness Day
It is probably unsurprising that a popular vacation destination like Breckenridge has a wonderful assortment of spas and wellness centers. If you’re looking for something to do besides skiing in Breckenridge, spend a day at one of Breck’s luxurious spas! After hitting the slopes, biking the trails or hiking some nearby 14ers, your body deserves a little relaxation.
A few of my favorite spots for massage, skincare and facials are Blue Sage Spa, which is conveniently located in the middle of Main Street, or Harmony Health Massage which incorporates reiki, an oxygen bar and harmonic sound healing. If you’re looking for more of a day spa feel, there are a few options inside Vail’s hotel properties, such as the Soothe Spa on Peak 7 and The Spa at Breckenridge in the Blue Sky Breck.
Visit an Oxygen Bar
If the 9,000 feet of elevation has got you winded during your stay in Breckenridge, spend an hour recovering at an oxygen bar. I talk about how important is is to acclimatize in my complete guide to skiing in Breckenridge, but it is worth restating -- take the altitude seriously. For many bodies, the altitude of Breckenridge is intense and takes a toll on your breathing, energy and general wellness.
Altitude sickness is a funny thing too, because there is no rhyme or reason for why one person may experience it versus another. Even myself. I spent a month in Breckenridge in summer 2021, and I fainted on my last day. Why? It doesn’t make sense, but these things happen. The O2 Oxygen Bar is a great way to give yourself a boost and recover a little bit. It really does help a lot of people feel normal if they’ve been struggling for a few days.
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