For a complete family mountain escape experience, it is hard to beat Breckenridge at any time of year. It is just so darn pretty, friendly and fun! Every family member will find something to enjoy in this reasonably-priced mountain destination. Authentic historic charm blended with plenty of hip and now – this is no musty “living history museum” town. Nor is it a “one trick pony” ski resort town that closes down when all the big spenders shutter their second homes. Breckenridge hits the sweet spot – big enough to offer lots of options (dining, activities, shopping) yet compact enough to be enjoyed on foot.
We’ve enjoyed Breckenridge in all seasons. Spring and summer brings flowers, concerts, hiking and biking. Winter turns Main Street into a fantasy winter wonderland of twinkling lights and snow flocked pines; the International Snow Sculpture Championship in February is always a late winter highlight! Oh, and there’s skiing. Plenty of it.
Fall is a great time to visit, with less traffic on I-70, cool temperatures and autumnal colors. A recent glorious Colorado blue sky weekend was just the excuse we needed to visit Breckenridge and check out the new Arts District. This is an example of how this small community thinks big. A compact cluster of historic cabins and colorful new structures dotted with art installations, this is a solid investment in Breckenridge’s goal to be a “world-leading creative destination.” Paths wind through this village of studios devoted to various arts. Community classes, open studio times, demonstrations and artist showings are offered. A firepit will entice community gatherings and no doubt lots of s’mores making! (See BreckCreate.org for a busy activity calendar.)
The weekend also included the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival at the Riverwalk Center, a short walk from the Arts District. (See our separate blog about this event in our “Sip” section.) Concerts are held here with a full wall of garage-door windows that open up to the grassy lawn outside. Alongside is a walking path beside the gurgling Blue River where fly fishing folks dot the clean cold water. It’s all a charming Colorado mountain scene. In between is the Main Street Historic District, full of eateries, shops and bars.
Breckenridge Main Street favorites include:
Fiesta Jalisco– delicious and very reasonably priced Mexican food in a fun Mountain Mexican setting. They passed our “Chips and Salsa test” – the warm chips and flavorful salsa were delicious. Friendly family staff doted on us.
Cabin Coffee Company– friendly café serving super fresh “in house” roasted coffees, pastries and other goodies. They roast in very small batches of 2-4 pounds. Kids (and their parents) will love the cowboy saddle seats and activity table.
Park and Main– A casual eatery with a touch of urbane sophistication. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Clint’s Coffee House – a must visit if you like baked goodies. Which we do. Big cookies of all sorts, bars and cakes tempt you. Give in. Enjoy the pretty four seasons mural floating high above the front seating area. A downstairs café offers breakfast and lunch fare. Note the discrete little basket of original art by the front door; pretty watercolors priced at $40+, not under lock and key? Testament to Breckenridge’s safe “niceness” and laid back vibe!
Fatty’s– A no-frills sports bar with lots of TVs, a great place to grab a beer, pizza or burger and watch a game. Authentically local, the walls and ceiling (!) are covered by memorabilia of all sorts – fishing, baseball, cycling, skiing, past parties, etc. Service may be a bit slow during busy times, but that gives you time to relax and take in the atmosphere! Take the kids upstairs for a surprise – a growling Grizzly Bear dressed in Chicago Bears Gear!
Breckenridge fun starts on the very edge of town with the “Breck Bears” roadside stand. You can’t miss this bit of classic Americana and it is worth a stop to wander around the hundreds of carved art “follies”. Most popular are the smiling bears holding silly signs. But there’s lots more including beautiful owls, intimidating eagles, whimsical trees and more. The resident chainsaw artist operates this shop and is usually on site. Don’t miss the small shop.
Lodging options abound in Breckenridge, from B&Bs to cabins to hotels. Our group stayed at Beaver Run Resort in a two-floor condo that offered plenty of room for everyone. Off season rates are quite reasonable, especially given the complete “self-contained world” offered by the resort including: indoor/outdoor pool, hot tubs, exercise facility, arcade room with indoor putt-putt golf course, restaurants and convenience store. Some of us enjoyed the resort offerings as others wandered around town. A 10-minute walk downhill brings you to central Breckenridge or take the free resort shuttle; free community bus stop is also nearby. Beaver Run is a bit 1980’s retro – nice but not fancy. It’s comfortable and casual and popular for families.
Kid-friendly activities abound: http://www.breckenridge.com/activities/breckenridge-activities.aspx
Activities for people of all abilities: http://www.boec.org/
Nearby Frisco and Lake Dillon provide numerous options:
Have fun all-year-round in Breckenridge, whether you’re a Coloradoan having a “staycation” or an out-of-towner. It’s charm and fun, period. Want happy, Denver? Head west to Breckenridge!