Breckenridge, CO. A place I originally learned about from a doctor I used to work for. In fact, in preparation for his trips, he’d pull up their little main street camera and check out the streets and see how much snow had fallen. He showed me the charming little shops and the beautiful mountains. And from a distance, I fell in love.
So, we made our first trip there one random December weekend in 2015, and I fell even more in love. And before you start thinking, “This trip probably isn’t for me because I don’t ski!” I have to tell you that I had never set foot on a mountain prior to this trip. We took our very ski lesson in Breckenridge and that was the start of our skiing careers (ha, it definitely cannot be called that). So, even if you don’t ski, don’t rule it out!
Getting into Breck is the longest part of the journey; depending on where you’re coming from, it might take you longer than your flight, but don’t worry, it’s beautiful, and so scenic. You can see some behind the scenes from our recent trip in my Instagram Highlights. You’ll want to fly into the Denver airport and rent a car. Because the airport is so big and widely used, you can usually find some great deals on both flights and car rentals. The drive into the mountains typically takes about 2 hours without any traffic jams or bad weather.
We have only ever stayed at Airbnb‘s in Breck. They have a few hotels and ski lodges that are very cute, but honestly, they’re also pretty pricey. We prefer to have our own space with a kitchen anyway, so Airbnb is what works best for us! *If you’ve never used Airbnb, follow the link above for $55 off your first trip! There’s a few great hotels if that’s more your speed, but you typically need to spend a bit more and book early; you’ve been warned.
If you’re planning to ski, I highly suggest booking a place within walking distance of the slopes. It makes it so much easier to lug your equipment around, run back if you forgot anything, and avoid the cost of parking near the mountain.
We’ve finally reached my favorite topic; food. Breck has some great food and there’s something for everyone; don’t let this tiny city trick you into thinking it’s not loaded with great eats. I don’t have a ton of breakfast recommendations, because we typically eat breakfast at our condo (one of the perks of using Airbnb). We always stop at the grocery store before getting into Breck, usually outside of Denver, and grab a bunch of breakfast supplies to make the mornings a bit easier (and more affordable).
I also don’t have a ton of lunch recommendations because we spend most of our days on the slopes. If you’re skiing, it’s so much easier to eat at the resort restaurants because you don’t even have to take off your ski boots. Depending on which peaks and runs you ski, there’s some restaurants with incredible views at the tops of mountains. It’s slightly pricer to eat on the mountain, but the convenience factor is well worth it, in my opinion. However, if you’re looking for some lunch options, some of the snack/dinner recommendations below can definitely work lunch. Okay, enough waiting – let’s do this.
FlipSide – If you’ve followed my social media for any length of time, you probably saw a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, and a gin and tonic on my stories every Friday night for years. This is my favorite restaurant in Columbus – we celebrated birthdays and anniversaries here because it’s just so dang good. Our very first year visiting Breckenridge, we were beyond surprised to a see a FlipSide restaurant right there on Main Street, because we were under the impression that it was just a local Ohio chain. Turns out that one guy loved it so much, he brought a franchise of it to Breck. So, if you haven’t had the pleasure of eating at the original, please go. My recommendation: the Say Cheese Burger and sweet potato fries with the onion ring sauce.
Bangkok Happy Bowl – one of my favorite places for curry bowls! *Rec: Massaman Curry Bowl
Mi Casa Mexican – right across the street from the slopes at Peak 9, and there’s always a fun happy hour going on in the bar area. *Rec: Chicken Fajitas
The Canteen – great food with a charming little location. *Rec: All Chopped Up Salad or Ahi Tuna Tacos
Ollies Pub & Grub – a great sports bra that always seems to be bumpin. *Rec: Ahi Poke Salad
Rita’s Margs & Tacos – quick, cheap tacos that are so basic but so yum. They have happy hour every night and nightly specials. *Rec: Pollo Asada Taco and a house Margarita
Crepes a la cart – the most adorable crepe truck right in the middle of main street. Word of caution; it gets BUSY. Bring cash, go early, and be fully prepared to enjoy every single bite. *Rec: Nutella Crepe and German Chocolate Cake Crepe
Mountain Top Cookie Shop – literally my favorite place in the entire world. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be stuffed cookie sandwiches from this place. I love it so much that my husband has cookies shipped in from there for my birthday each year. When we first started coming here, it was actually called Mary’s Mountain Cookies; owned by a woman named Mary who moved to Breck from Michigan and opened this quaint, delicious little cookie shop. The next year when we returned, it was renamed and Mary was gone, but the delicious cookies were exactly the same, and that was 5 years ago. I try to eat one every single night we’re there. Please go. Eat one of anything and everything; you won’t regret it. I’ve never actually eaten a plain cookie – it seems crazy to me when you can get 2 cookies filled with some kind of icing or cookie dough or something – but I’m sure they’re good too. But seriously, get the sandwich cookie at least once. *Rec: Seriously everything, but if I have to choose – White Out Sandwich Cookie or Milk Maid Sandwich Cookie.
Obviously, most people flock to Breck for their incredible mountains – skiing is everywhere. As I mentioned, when we first visited, I’d never even considered skiing – I was actually terrified. So we hired an instructor, and we were amazed at how much we learned in such a short amount of time. Each year since, we always take at least one lesson, if not more, to continue improving. We always ski at Peak 9, not because it’s the best one, but because it’s where we started and we feel like we know it well now. It has a lot of beginner hills but also tons of room for advancement, and there’s a lift that will take you from Peak 9 and connect to others. The crew at the Breck Resort office are so helpful, so if you’re not familiar with the Epic lift passes or buying lessons, they’ll be a big help. If you already have an Epic lift pass, it will work on all Breck ski properties! If you are planning to take a lesson and you don’t have a lift pass, we’ve found that the best bundle is to buy the lesson with the lift day pass; it really cuts down on the cost from buying each separately!
If you’re not bringing your own gear, you’ll need to rent some; the guys at Christy Sports are the best! They’re so helpful and they always have great deals on multi-day rentals. Be sure to check their website before booking because they frequently have specials. If you’re planning on skiing Peak 9, there’s a rental office at the base, so it’s really convenient. They’re always crazy accommodating; adjusting our boots for us, allowing us to make changes half way through the day if they just don’t feel right, etc. You will love them!
But if you’re not into skiing, or you want to spend some time doing other things, don’t worry – Breck has SO much to offer. One of our favorite non-ski activities is snow tubing. Less than 10 miles away, in the town of Frisco, is Frisco Adventure Park. You can book an hour long tubing session on their website for $25 and it’s a blast. Like good, giggling-the-entire-time kind of fun. They provide the tube, you just bring yourself! Definitely wear ski or sledding clothes and sunglasses or googles to keep the snow out of your eyes!
Snow Shoeing is another one of our favorite activities. It’s really great exercise to burn off some of those cookies, and I think it’s one of the best ways to take in all the beauty of Breck! We always go to the Breckenridge Nordic Center to buy our day passes and rent our gear. They also offer cross-country skiing if you’re into that. Before you go, be sure to check Groupon, because they often have deals! Side note; the photo we take every year at the overlook (slider below!) is on the way up to the Nordic Center, so if you head up that way, be sure to stop and take a pic! Now, we collect them each year and it’s fun to see how things change over time.
Snowmobiling is probably the most extreme thing we’ve done in Breck, and it’s a blast, but in all honesty, it’s not for the faint of heart. I was terrified at least 50% of the time, but the surroundings were so beautiful, and once I got a hang of it, I ended up having so much fun. We used a company called Good Times Adventures and the tour was really, really fun. When we first got there, we watched some safety videos and learned about the snowmobiles. After that, we took them on a practice course before getting into the tour. There’s multiples guides there to help if you get into a jam, and they’re so knowledgeable about the area, pulling out lots of fun facts about Breck.
There’s a sledding hill in Breck, right off of Main Street, at Carter Park. It’s totally free, and you just need a sled! The local grocery stores sell them for $10-$15, or if you’re driving it, you can bring your own.
Since we stay at an AirBnB, we always hit the grocery store before getting settled in. There are a few options; you can stop on your way out of Denver if you’re not planning to buy anything that will melt. There’s also a Walmart in Frisco, about 20 minutes before you get into Breckenridge. Fun fact; this is where the scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation where Clark and Eddie are shopping was shot! Once you make your way into Breckenridge, there’s a City Market (you can use your Kroger phone number for discounts).
I always make it a point to stop at a Dispensary while I’m town – it’s part of the fun, for sure! My favorites are Organix in Breckenridge and Native Roots in Frisco. Be sure to have cash and your ID!
Choosing a good time to go to Breck can be a bit challenging because of the weather. We almost always go the same weekend each year; the first weekend in December. We love the local events that weekend; the tree lighting ceremony, the race of the santas, and the dog parade. It’s kind of the kick-off of the season for them. It’s also great because pricing is still reasonable and the slopes aren’t too crowded quite yet. We’ve heard that once the week of Christmas begins, the traffic increases tremendously, so we always opt to avoid that. However, the snow also increases, so if you’re looking for fresh powder and a true winter wonderland, you’ll want to weigh your options and decide if you’d rather wait in line at the ski lift to experience the winter tundra. One year, we did visit for Thanksgiving and it wasn’t very snowy or cold, so we did decide that November seems to be a bit too early. It really does depend on the weather. We’ve also heard from several locals the April is a good time to come because there’s still plenty of snow but the crowds have really died down and it’s pretty slow, offering better pricing around town.
I hope you find this travel guide helpful, and more importantly, I hope you plan a trip to visit and explore Breckenridge, because it really is a magical place. Below, you can find more pictures from our most recent trip (hover over image for outfit details). If you’ve visited Breck and have any suggestions that I missed, share them below! I’m always looking for new things to do and try!