Breckenridge offers savory and sustainable adventures for all to enjoy.
When you think of Breckenridge, skiing powdery slopes and snowboarding over Colorado’s majestic peaks are probably the first things that come to mind.
Add in dog sledding, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing, and it’s easy to understand why it’s one of America’s best-loved ski towns.
But did you know there’s so much more to discover in this historic mining town off the slopes?
Savoring the Mountain Flavors
Whether you’ve spent your day on the downhill slopes, cross-country skiing at Breckenridge Nordic Center, or sledding down the hill in Carter Park, you’re sure to work up an appetite. From elegant fine dining and casual pizza to cozy coffee shops and freshly baked cookies, there are tons of options to tempt your palate. You can also have fun sampling your way around town in between gallery hopping and shopping.
Sip on cocktails from Breckenridge Distillery and coffee at Mountain View Coffee Bar
It’s never too early to visit one of the world’s highest distilleries. At Breckenridge Distillery’s Main Street tasting room, you can sample Chili Chile Vodka, Spiced Rum, or award-winning high-end whiskeys. Upgrade your tasting experience to a chocolate and spirits flight, or sample premium whiskeys paired with the perfect chef-prepared bites at the Distillery’s Restaurant location.
It’s always coffee time in a ski town, and Mountain View Coffee Bar is ready for you with coffee roasted in-house every morning. Happy Hour starts early here, with Espresso Martinis, Irish Coffee, and Double Dirty Chai cocktails available all day. Settle into an overstuffed chair, order a Belgian Waffle or Avocado Toast, and watch the snowfall.
Ready to eat? Try these spots.
The Canteen Tap House and Tavern is a favorite for its specialty cocktails served in signature canteen cups. Comfort fare and shareable plates like Queso Fundido with Chorizo, Gumbo Ya-Ya, and Warm Jumbo Pretzels mean there’s something for every appetite.
If it’s pizza you’re craving, head to Tin Plate Pizza. Housed in a 138-year-old mining cabin, this family-owned restaurant lovingly prepares sourdough pizza daily from scratch with an intricate process to produce their award-winning pies.
If you’ve got a special celebration in mind or just want to congratulate yourself on a fine day on the slopes, Hearthstone Restaurant will treat you royally in their warm, Victorian-style dining room. Feast on bison short ribs, Colorado rack of lamb, or my favorite, the beautifully presented organic salmon with ginger jasmine rice. The menu focuses on locally sourced, sustainably produced ingredients with an entire section of gluten-free options. The “heart” in Hearthstone is fitting; the owners are committed to paying a livable wage to their employees and donating money for local scholarships.
If you lean more toward savory than sweet, pick up some hickory smoked Buffalo Jerky from Climax Jerky. This family-owned stand on the corner of Lincoln and Main has been perfecting flavors like peppered elk and habanero beef jerky for over 20 years. Grab a few extra packages for gifts.
Finish the day with a sweet treat from Mountain Top or Björn’s Honey.
As you stroll around town it’s hard to miss Mountain Top Cookie Shop.
You’ll probably see a line forming out the door for snickerdoodles, salted caramel chocolate chip, molasses, and dozens of other flavors.
The Cookie Dough delight – edible cookie dough sandwiched between two large, heavenly warm chocolate chippers – is pure indulgence. Can’t decide? Buy six and get two free!
Björn’s Colorado Honey will satisfy your sweet tooth naturally with raw, unfiltered golden goodness.
Pick up some Whipped Cardamom honey to swirl into your après ski tea or coffee and check out their line of skin care products to protect your skin from the winter chill.
Enjoy a Sustainable Vacation
The Town of Breckenridge has prioritized sustainability to help preserve all the elements that make it such an attractive place to visit and live. Support the movement to phase out single-use items by bringing your own water bottle and filling it up at stations around town. Throw a shopping bag into your suitcase, and you’ll avoid the 25-cent disposable bag fee; if you forgot yours, purchase a reusable one at the Breckenridge Welcome Center. Save the environment and the hassle of driving by catching a ride-share van from the airport and then relying on resort shuttles and free public transportation throughout town. What could be easier?
A fun, hands-on way to join the sustainability movement is to take a class at Break Create. Here, you’ll learn about Precious Plastics, an alternative recycling system that turns shredded plastic into art. Try molding a carabiner from an old margarine tub or a pair of earrings from discarded plastic sleds. You’ll keep waste out of the landfill and leave with a cool souvenir. This is just one of the offerings of the Breckenridge Arts District, home to music, theater, open studios, exhibitions, and classes all year round.
Another way to experience the beauty of recycling in action is to hop on the free trolley to visit Isak Heartstone, a 15-foot-tall wooden troll created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. From his crazy hair down to his toes, Isak is made entirely of repurposed materials.
If you have an interest in food foraging, you should know about Erica Davis, who coins the screen name Wild Food Girl. She’s been studying edible plants and foraging around Breckenridge in the Rocky Mountains for over a decade. Pine nuts, chanterelle mushrooms, caraway seeds, and edible weeds (dandelion coffee, anyone?), she knows where to find them all. She has virtual classes on her website to help you identify wild berries, spot common edible mushrooms (and their look-alikes), and learn all about harvesting pine nuts. Why not learn in the winter and be prepared to forage after the snow melts?
If you just want to relax with a good read, 9600 Stories is packed floor to ceiling with used books of every genre.
Shopping for some souvenirs? Among the 200 shops in downtown, Limber Grove is unique. This boutique carries over 150 local brands of artists, makers, and creators, from clothing and jewelry to artwork and hot sauce. On my visit I picked up some earrings with wildflowers and some artisan coffee. My limited luggage kept me from buying more.
Take a Step Back in Time
Founded in 1859 by a small group of gold prospectors, Breckenridge is steeped in history from those early mining days. The town’s well-preserved historic district is the largest in the state and a big part of its charm. The Welcome Center Museum is a great place to learn about the area, from the early indigenous travelers to the gold miners and, eventually, the ski resort’s development.
Immerse yourself through the Bawdy Breckenridge Tour
For a more immersive experience, I highly recommend one of the walking tours offered by Breckenridge History. The Bawdy Breckenridge tour explores the seedier side of things, from saloon folklore to the brothels that used to populate downtown. Led by historians in period costume, this 21 and older tour includes a stop at the distillery. There are also family-friendly walking tours which share stories of the gold strikes, robberies, skiing pioneers, and business moguls that molded the town into modern day Breckenridge. Depending on the season, you can also sign up for a hike to see the remains of the mines, join an augmented reality tour, or travel to a graveyard to hear tales from the tombstones. A tour will bring the past to life and create memorable vacation experiences.
Explore Summit County’s gold mines
For a chance to strike it rich, visit one of Summit County’s most famous underground gold mines. At Country Boy Mine, you can venture back 1,000 feet underground to explore this once prolific site, which, in addition to gold and silver, pumped out lead and zinc used during both World Wars. After the tour, you’ll get a chance to pan for gold. Make a day of it by renting snowshoes on site to explore the network of trails, including some with expansive views from the top.
Breckenridge offers more than just skiing
Breckenridge offers so many ways to have fun on and off the slopes. Sip some coffee or whiskey, take a ceramics class, indulge in award-winning cuisine, or stroll the streets and bask in the alpenglow. The town’s commitment to sustainability means it’s easy to do your part to protect the planet while collecting memories to last a lifetime. Now that’s something to feel good about.
Thank you to the Breckenridge Tourism Office for supplying some photos to accompany this piece.