Breckenridge Culture and Nightlife

Lively Apres-Ski / Nightlife in Breckenridge

bartender2 Breckenridge’s liveliest apres-ski bars are Tiffany’s in Beaver Run, the Breckenridge Brewery for a great handcrafted brew, Park Avenue Pub in the Village, and Mi Casa, with thirst-quenching margaritas. Bubba Gump’s has a heated outdoor deck with a smashing view of the mountain. Fatty’s bar takes up the entire first floor and locals fill it to the brim. The Maggie holds her own among the apres-ski crowd with good drink specials.

Want to go where the locals go? Head to Blue River Bistro for the martini specials or to South Ridge Seafood for brews on tap.If you’re having trouble adjusting to the altitude, head over to the O2 Lounge in La Cima Mall, where you can enjoy an herbal martini and oxygen-enriched air in 10- 20- and 30-minute increments.

While Tiffany’s rocks until the wee hours, after dinner most of the action moves into town. At Eric’s you’ll find a rowdy crowd on TV sports nights. Sherpa and Yeti’s on Main Street is the hot spot for live music and dancing, with a variety of bands playing blues, jazz, funk and reggae, plus local musicians’ nights, all in an unfinished-sheet-rock atmosphere. This place really rocks, so if you packed your dancin’ shoes, head here. Salt Creek on East Lincoln has live music and a huge upstairs dance floor that brings in the younger crowd. There’s always a long wait line to get into the action. The Dredge, which is a replica of the dredge boats that churned the Blue River for gold in the early 1900s, has a classy bar.

Summit County’s 9:1 male-to-female ratio dramatically improves at The Quandary on Monday nights when those with two X chromosomes get free beer.

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Top Ski Bars In Colorado’s High Country

imagesColorado’s high country is home to some of the most fun ski bars in the United States. After all, Colorado provides some of the most fantastic skiing in the world. Once you’ve hit the slopes for the day, it’s time to unwind with friends and family. Below are five of the best apres-ski watering holes to replenish. My favorite bar in Telluride is the historic Sheridan. Click here to read CBSDenvers favorite high country bars.

Secret Stash, Crested Butte, CO – Secret Stash has the best pizza, wings and beer in the Crested Butte area. The pub is a very popular hangout after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. It has been a staple in the area since 2002 and features a happy hour each weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.  It’s a restaurant and a fun bar hangout all in one. 

Ajax Tavern,  Aspen, CO – Ajax Tavern is located in Aspen, at the base of Aspen Mountain. This is a fantastic restaurant during the day. One of its most popular entrees is the Ajax double cheeseburger with truffle fries. Once your day of skiing is done, you can kick back and relax with friends in the bar area. It’s a fun place to hang out with a great selection of the finest wines, as well as signature martinis and microbrews.

Cecilia’s Martini Bar, Breckenridge, CO-  Cecilia’s Martini Bar is located in Breckenridge. It provides an amazingly fun time to spend with friends and family after a great day on the slopes. Cecilia’s has a vast selection of spirits, including its signature martinis. There are nightly DJs, making it a prime spot to keep those ski legs loose with dancing.

What Can I Do If I Don’t Ski (or Snowboard)?

Whether participating in arts workshops, exploring the community's rich history or just cruising town, Breckenridge offers many activities beyond the slopes. Photo by Bob WinsettBreckenridge, Colorado is known as a ski and snowboard Mecca (and for good reason). For those not interested in the slopes, this historic town and the surrounding backcountry offer numerous ways to play. You asked. We’re answering.

Whether participating in arts workshops, exploring the community’s rich history or just cruising town, Breckenridge offers many activities beyond the slopes. Photo by Bob Winsett

Unleash creativity – From fine arts and textiles to photography and functional pottery, workshops in the Breckenridge Arts District span a variety of media. Work with artists-in-residence, catch a performance by the award-winning theater company, or make your own earrings. Check out the Breckenridge Arts District Calendar for a schedule of off-the-slopes arts events.

Explore the past – More than 10 local museums and historic sites serve as a window into Breckenridge’s gold mining history. Whether on a walking tour or browsing through local museums, you’ll meet Colorado’s original naturalist, an escaped slave-turned-prominent businessman and the townsfolk that still haunt some of Breckenridge’s oldest saloons. Visit for a list of sites, museums and tours.

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Laid-back Breckenridge Isn’t Just For Skiers

BreckenridgeThis is an article I recently read that made me want to drop everything and head to Breckenridge!

Some mountain towns are touted for their luxury accommodations, fine dining or arts scene. Some are known as places to go for spas, hiking or biking. Others, for golf or world-class fishing.

Breckenridge may have the best combination of all those attributes.

Known for its massive ski resort, Breckenridge also has plenty to offer in summer and fall, with a wide range of activities, reasonable prices and a low-key vibe, all set in the picturesque Colorado Rockies. “The weather is great, it’s clean and it’s well-kept, the prices are not exorbitant and you can find anything that you want to do,” said Monroe Buford. The Gulf Shores, Ala., resident has spent summers in Breckenridge with his wife, Sue, since 1994. “It’s just an ideal place for people who like to get out of the heat in the summertime.”

Breckenridge, about 82 miles west of Denver, was founded as a mining town during the mid-19th-century gold rush. It became a resort town in the 1960s with the opening of the ski area, which attracts more than 1 million skiers every year. Over the years, the town that locals call Breck became a summer and fall destination as well. It’s easy to see why. Breckenridge sits along the Blue River, just above where it feeds into Dillon Reservoir, and below the 14,000-foot peaks of the Ten-Mile Range. Panoramic views are visible from pretty much anywhere in town.

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Breckenridge Bourbon

SkuThere has been a lot of scuttlebutt lately about bourbon bottlers who don’t distill their bourbon but buy it from other distilleries and bottle it.  In Scotland, these are called independent bottlers.  Chuck Cowdery calls them Non-Distiller Producers or NDPs.  Given all the attention they’ve been receiving, I thought I’d sample a couple of  independently bottled bourbons this week.

Breckenridge Distillery is an actual distillery (meaning one that actually distills) in Breckenridge, Colorado.  The current Breckenridge Bourbon is a sourced Kentucky bourbon made from 56% corn, 38% rye and 6% barley aged from two to six years old (note that their website says two to three years but they told me that was out of date).  Breckenridge is making their own bourbon but they haven’t marketed any of it yet. Once theirs is ready, they plan to blend it with the sourced whiskey and eventually transition to using only bourbon made at the distillery.

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Colorado’s Top 13 Family Vacation Ideas for Summer 2013

indexSummer is just around the corner and you don’t need to look far to have a world-class vacation with your family. From theater hikes to Outhouse Races to free events galore, we have the inside scoop on All Things Colorado.


It may be summertime but Snowmass has returned to the Ice Age with the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center that features the most significant Ice Age ecosystem find in Colorado history (and it’s free). Touch a mastodon tooth, marvel at a half-sized 6-foot Wooden Mammoth Skeleton, do a dig of your own or a daily Ice Age Discovery Hike by  Environment Studies.  Visit the Snowmass Rodeo on Wednesday nights (June 12- August 28) and sign up your kids for the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola up Snowmass Mountain where the Elk Camp Restaurant will open for activities including downhill biking, dinner, campfires, live music, movies, Stryder Park and Kid’s Playground on Friday evenings. Try your hand at some slopeside bowling at the new bowling alley below Venga Venga Cantina featuring eight full-sized lanes, a lounge area with full bar, wood-fired oven pizzas, upscale bar food and more. Then, get inspired at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a stellar place for kids of all ages to take workshops that include sculpture, photography, painting, beading, and mask-making.

Click here to read about all the other fun Colorado towns.

5 Things to do in Breckenridge During the Summer

breck2The snow has melted in Breckenridge and the skis are packed for the summer. It’s time to get out the mountain bike, and hiking shoes and explore this scenic mining town during the summer months. July is the perfect time to take in the area’s history, enjoy the abundant outdoor activities, do a little shopping and enjoy a local brew. Bring a sweater, the nights can be wonderfully cool. Here are five things to do in Breckenridge, CO this summer.

1.  Participate in a Festival – For the patriotic, there is the July 4th celebration with a zany float filled parade and splashing in the fire hose on Main Street. Athletic types will enjoy Breck Bike Week. Our family enjoyed the annual Poker Ride. My older kids were skeptical they could complete the 10 mile mountain bike trail, but were quite proud of themselves when they did. My 8 year old and I stuck to the Go Fish ride. Perhaps I should have been embarrassed when the 3 year old on the strider bike zoomed past me. For adults, Breckenridge Beer Festival offers tastes of local micro-brews all in one place. Our favorite – HOSS Rye Lager from the Great Divide Brewing Company.

2.  Touch the Sky – Some of the most beautiful vistas in the world are right outside your door in Breckenridge. Take a guided hike through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance or the Breckenridge Recreation Center. We visited Preston Mill ghost town, and learned how to shake hands with a tree on a flora and fauna hike. It’s also easy to find hikes on your own. We had a trail right outside our door, that started at a closed mine shaft. My son’s favorite hike was the McCollough Gulch Trail where we saw picas, waterfalls and touched the sky. My youngest liked the shorter and history filled Iowa Mine Trail, which is a short bike ride from downtown.

Click here to read the rest of the activities.

Yes, Breckenridge Has a Flourishing Arts District

Bike Wheel Eiffel TowerThe Breckenridge Arts District was developed in 2001 (yes, it’s been there for that long) and contains the Breckenridge Theater Company, the Robert Whyte House, the Quandary Antiques Cabin and Ceramic Studio, the Fuqua Livery Stable, the Tin Shop and the Riverwalk Center.

The buildings are historical or socially significant structures where artists both work and teach workshops. They are mostly located near the corner of South Ridge Street and Washington Avenue. The Riverwalk Center, an indoor amphitheater that features bands, film festivals and other great events, anchors the Arts District.

Each building hosts plenty of inspiring events, from ceramics, drawing, printmaking, metalsmithing,
Swing in for an arts workshop at the Fuqua. Learn from professionals to take your creativity one step further. Go out for a walk, like I did this past weekend, and get familiar with the area. I started on the corner of Washington Street and ambled through the district with my cousins visiting from Maryland; they couldn’t get enough of Breckenridge’s version of the Eiffel Tower, fashioned from bike wheels.

Every second Saturday of the month from 4-6 p.m., the Arts District hosts an open-house walk. Visitors can view new exhibitions at the Breckenridge Theatre Gallery and visit with guest and resident artists. Breckenridge galleries remain open until 8 p.m. that night. For a list of participating galleries, click here.

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Pot Votes in CO Raise Specter of Weed Tourism

Hit the slopes — and then a bong?

Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug laws for residents. The measures also open the door for marijuana tourism.

Both marijuana measures make marijuana possession in small amounts OK for all adults over 21 — not just state residents but visitors, too. Tourists may not be able to pack their bowls along with their bags, but as long as out-of-state tourists purchase and use the drug while in Colorado or Washington, they wouldn’t violate the marijuana measures.

Of course, that’s assuming the recreational marijuana measures take effect at all. That was very much in doubt Friday as the states awaited word on possible lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice asserting federal supremacy over drug law.

So the future of marijuana tourism in Colorado and Washington is hazy. But that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation, especially in Colorado, where tourism is the No. 2 industry thanks to the Rocky Mountains and a vibrant ski industry.

The day after Colorado approved recreational marijuana by a wide margin, the headline in the Aspen Times asked, “Aspendam?” referring to Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes.

Colorado’s tourism director, Al White, tried to downplay the prospect of a new marijuana tourism boom. “It won’t be as big a deal as either side hopes or fears,” White said. Maybe not. But many are asking about marijuana tourism.

Ski resorts are “certainly watching it closely,” said Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association that represents 21 Colorado resorts.

The Colorado counties where big ski resorts are located seem to have made up their minds. The marijuana measure passed by overwhelming margins, with more support than in less visited areas.

The home county of Aspen approved the marijuana measure more than 3-to-1. More than two-thirds approved marijuana in the home county of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. The home county of Telluride ski resort gave marijuana legalization its most lopsided victory, nearly 8 in 10 favoring the measure.

“Some folks might come to Colorado to enjoy some marijuana as will be their right. So what?” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director for the Colorado marijuana campaign.

Marijuana backers downplayed the impact on tourism. Aldworth pointed out that pot-smoking tourists wouldn’t exactly be new. Colorado ski slopes already are dotted with “smoke shacks,” old mining cabins that have been illicitly repurposed as places to smoke pot out of the cold. And the ski resort town of Breckenridge dropped criminal penalties for marijuana use two years ago.


Eat, Drink, Play: High Country After Dark

Popular descriptions of Summit County, particularly those targeted at visitors, tend to make liberal use of words like “quaint, “ “charming,” and “sleepy.”

While many of the local towns certainly embrace these adjectives, leveraging their position as an escape in the scenic Rocky Mountains as much as their historic atmosphere, they are by no means defined by them.

On the contrary, a tourist-driven economy and evolving ski culture have nourished a thriving nightlife across Summit County that, frankly, is as much part of its Old West, saloon-raised heritage as mining and Victorian architecture.

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