If you think Breckenridge, Colorado, is all about snow and stunning landscapes, you’re in for a surprise! Slip out of those skis and dig into this Gold Rush town’s colorful past in the Breckenridge Historic District. Spanning 12 square blocks, this fascinating neighborhood showcases 250 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stroll the streets of the Breckenridge National Historic District and soak up the rustic charm of this one-time mining town. You’ll discover a multitude of beautifully restored 19th-century structures. Many of them have been reborn as amazing museums, lively breweries, and enticing restaurants.
Hit your stride on historic walking tours, and travel back in time at iconic sites like the Barney Ford House Museum. Get a taste of the town’s vibrant arts and culture scene on Main Street. Get playful in the great outdoors at the High Line Railroad Park. Marvel at a multitude of captivating mountain views.
Ready to roll? Get into gear with this complete guide, including what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in the Breckenridge Historic District!
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What to see & do in the Breckenridge National Historic District
As the song says, it’s all happening down on Main Street. Whatever you’re up for, this particular stretch of pavement is where it’s at. With its alluring boutiques, quaint cafes, and beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, Main Street exudes a charm that makes it irresistible.
Breckenridge’s Main Street is made for walking, so take a stroll and explore its amazing array of museums, galleries, restaurants, and shops. There’s nothing “big box” here – just thoughtfully curated collections of locally made crafts, antiques, old-time treats, and more.
Foodies will get dizzy with delight in shops like Olive Fusion and the Spice Merchants. Powder hounds can drool over cutting-edge gear at spots like the Mountain Goat. Little ones will be enthralled by playful treats at Peak-a-Boo Toys, then scarf down fresh-made goodies at the Mountain Top Cookie Shop.
Main Street is a year-round hub for music, festivals, and fun events like the Main Street Arts Festival. Enjoy a free, family-friendly exhibit featuring over 100 works of art. Chat with the creators and snag some great mementos.
Barney Ford Museum
If you want a glimpse into the life of one of Breckenridge’s most remarkable citizens, carve out time for the Barney Ford Museum.
Born into slavery in South Carolina, Ford escaped at age seventeen via the Underground Railroad and went on to forge an extraordinary life. Completely self-taught, he worked as a miner, entrepreneur, and civil rights activist.
Set in Ford’s former home, the Barney Ford Museum celebrates the life of a black pioneer. Ford not only worked in the mines; he also invested in them. And when his investments paid off, he built an elegant home that still stands on Washington Avenue.
In the early 1880s, he opened Ford’s Restaurant and Chop Stand, making him the first black business owner in town. It was the first of many enterprises that made him one of the wealthiest men in Colorado.
More than a businessman, Ford was a leader in the civil rights movement and a prominent spokesman for African-American suffrage. Each of the carefully preserved rooms at this popular Breckenridge museum highlights a different period in Ford’s evolution. Explore this historic site, and you’ll discover the inspiring life story of a remarkable man.
Edwin Carter Museum
Breckenridge boasts a wealth of historic buildings, and the Edwin Carter Museum is one of its gems. The second-oldest museum in Colorado, this restored 1875 log cabin was the home of Edwin Carter, a true Breckenridge pioneer who became a granddaddy of the environmental movement.
Like many of Breckenridge’s early residents, Carter came to town in search of gold. What he found instead was the devasting environmental impact caused by the mining industry. Convinced that local wildlife species were headed for extinction, Carter built the log cabin that now houses the Edwin Carter Museum and taught himself the art of taxidermy – the Victorian version of wildlife preservation.
His collection of over 3,000 meticulously documented wildlife specimens created the foundation for today’s Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Today, his work remains a touchstone for modern conservationists who are attempting to restore the region’s wildlife populations.
Explore the museum’s artifacts and wildlife collections, learn about gold mining history, and get fascinating insights into the life of the “log cabin naturalist” and other early preservationists.
Red, White and Blue Fire Museum
For an inside look at a landmark in Breckenridge history, head over to the Red, White and Blue Fire Museum.
Take a trip back in time to the boomtown era, when wooden homes and businesses were going up every day, and wooden boardwalks lined Main Street. The town was thriving, but it was also filled with potential firetraps.
After Breckenridge was nearly destroyed by fire in the mid-1800s, the Red, White, and Blue fire-fighting companies came together – and the Breckenridge Fire Department was born.
Housed in a late Victorian-era building, the Red, White and Blue Fire Museum celebrates the legacy of one of the first organized fire-fighting units in the West. Get an up-close look at an amazing array of vintage equipment, including an original human-powered ladder cart, torches, axes, parade uniforms, and helmets.
Mountain Top Explorium
If you’ve got youngsters in tow, round ‘em up and head out to the Mountain Top Explorium. This vibrant museum is all about hands-on learning for the pint-sized set. Thought-provoking and downright fun, the Mountain Top Explorium offers endless ways for kids to explore their world.
Learn about the animals that live in the high mountains in the Rocky Mountain Wildlife exhibit. Pull on some scrubs and check on your patient at the Mountain Top Medical Center. Hop aboard the Flight for Life helicopter to rescue skiers from an avalanche.
Let your inner artist loose at the Creation Station, where you can create unique works of art using everything from beads to bubble wrap. Grab a hard hat and build from the ground up the Kidstruction Zone.
Head for the STEM Lab and try the experiment of the week – or create your own experiment. Let your imagination run free at the Imagination Studio, where kids can pick out costumes and props and see themselves on the big screen.
Epic Discovery at Breckenridge
In Breckenridge, the fun doesn’t melt away with the snow. Come summer, the Breckenridge Ski Resort transforms itself into a fabulous playground. Dive into a boatload of warm weather action at the awesome Epic Discovery at Breckenridge!
Immerse yourself in Breck’s beautiful High Alpine environment with everything from breathtaking scenic views to thrilling outdoor adventure – and sometimes both! Climb aboard the BreckConnect Gondola for some of the region’s most stunning views from a height of almost 400 feet.
Hop off at Peak 8 and get ready to roll. Epic Discovery at Breckenridge will get your blood pumping with zip lines, canopy tours, and the Gold Runner Coaster that soars through trees down the mountainside. Climbers of all skill levels can test their mountaineering mettle as they scale the heights of Epic Discovery’s climbing walls.
Prefer to stay grounded? Get in a round of mini golf, pan for gold, or get the gang together for a scenic 4×4 Jeep tour.
Escape Room Breckenridge
Is your inner Jack Bauer struggling to get out? Don’t run out of time! Make tracks to the Escape Room Breckenridge to see if you’ve got what it takes to beat the clock.
Chosen as Summit Country’s #1-rated indoor activity in 2021, this popular Breckenridge attraction is a great way for friends, family, or work pals to get together. In a locked room, you and your gang will try to beat the odds as you crack codes and uncover clues – all while racing the clock.
Take your picks of Escape Room Breckenridge adventures. Want to dabble in wizardry? Book your crew into the Breckenridge Wizard School, where you’ll concoct a scheme to rescue a beloved school mascot from invading trolls.
Try to outsmart Captain Steelhook and retrieve stolen treasure before you have to walk the plank. Test your Columbo chops by solving a murder mystery at Mystery Manor. It’s a real whodunit!
High Line Railroad Park
History buffs, train enthusiasts, and kids of all ages will want to hit the High Line Railroad Park for a trip into the boomtown past and railway history. The arrival of the first train in 1882 sparked a flurry of growth in Breckenridge and made it a popular destination for fortune hunters and adventure seekers.
Set next to the original railway line, High Line Railroad Park offers plenty to satisfy young 21st-century adventure seekers. Kids can cut loose in a playground that includes a water tower slide, monkey bars, a fireman pole, and a coal mine replica.
Check out the park’s star attractions, including a 19th-century narrow gauge locomotive, vintage boxcars, and a caboose. Hop aboard legendary Engine No. 9 and blow the whistle for a blast from the past!
And there’s more to see in the High Line Railroad Park Museum. Step inside, and you’ll discover vintage railway artifacts. Take a seat at a turn-of-the-century school desk and watch a video documenting the railroad’s pivotal role in the Breckenridge boom.
Where to eat & drink
Worked up an appetite? Then, you’re ready to explore Breck’s bountiful sipping and supping scene. Boasting dozens of popular Breckenridge restaurants and nightspots, this town is a foodie’s dream.
If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Breckenridge, round up your crew and snag a spot at the iconic Blue Moose Restaurant. Fuel up for the day with breakfast and brunch favorites, including scrambles, Moose Benedict, hot cinnamon buns, smoothies, and “Moosed-Up” mimosas.
Enjoy a homey, laid-back vibe, and settle in at BoLD Restaurant and Bar. Featuring a rustic wood interior, this eatery serves up from-scratch breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus with a Mediterranean zing. Dig into offerings like Morrocan Chicken Skewers or Greek Street Tacos, and wash it down with a craft beer.
For food that brims with Latino zest, satisfy your cravings at Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant and Cantina. Set in the center of town, this lively venue features authentic Mexican fare, like mouthwatering sour cream enchiladas. Quench your thirst with a luscious margarita and lime.
For an elevated dining experience, put on your glad rags and savor the special ambiance of the Hearthstone Restaurant. Set in a beautifully restored Victorian home, this award-winning eatery showcases locally sourced meats, fish, artisanal cheeses, and fresh produce. Sip on a perfectly chilled martini and lap up the luxe.
Want a side of entertainment with your food and drink? Snag a table in Downstairs at Eric’s, a Breckenridge icon. Dig into casual comfort food like wings or nachos, and sluice it down with a craft brew. Settle back and catch the game on an HDTV – or stay on your toes and check out the coolest gaming arcade in town.
When you’re ready to kick back with a brew or two, tap into the Breckenridge Tap House. Featuring oh-so-cool distressed brick walls, this chill spot serves up liquid amber from 37 beer taps, along with spirits and cocktails. Check out their tasty culinary options, including savory wings, gourmet Mexican food, and specialty burgers.
The name says it all. If you’re looking for great pub grub, you’ll find it at Ollie’s Pub & Grub Breck. Voted Summit County’s best sports bar in 2022, this popular eatery serves up legendary wings and burgers. Choose from 20 Colorado draft beers and catch a game on one of 30 HDTVs – or sit back and take in some fabulous mountain views.
Want to see where the Breck brew scene began? Treat yourself to an awesome selection of craft brews at the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub. Nestled below the slopes on Main Street, this is Breck’s OG brewery and remains one of Breckenridge’s favorite breweries. Take a tour to see the brewmasters in action and sample their wares.
Where to stay
No matter the season, this ski town is a magnet for out-of-towners. With its eclectic mix of lodges, hotels, modern inns, and cozy bed and breakfasts, the Historic District is one of the best areas to stay in Breckenridge.
Set in a 19th-century clapboard house, this cozy B&B is within easy walking distance of Main Street and the BreckConnect Gondola. Settle into a rustic, antique-furnished dorm room that offers free hot breakfasts, Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a mini-fridge. Splurge on a room with a whirlpool or hot tub for the ideal end-of-day break.
Blending historic charm with modern amenities, this spacious 19th-century home offers visitors a special experience. Featuring two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, and a fully-equipped kitchen, it gives your crew plenty of space to stretch out. And with a washing machine, dryer, coffee maker, and fireplace, you’ll feel right at home!
An intriguing mix of contemporary and rustic, these four-star luxury suites feature reclaimed wood, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a comfy yet sophisticated vibe. After a day on the slopes or on the town, refuel in the hotel’s restaurant or unwind in the tavern. Or just slip into a plush robe, brew yourself an espresso, and catch your fave shows on a 55” TV.
If you want to stay where the action is, book into one of these rustic-chic condos. Nestled at the base of the Breckenridge Ski Resort, they’re just steps away from world-class skiing, fabulous restaurants, and charming boutiques. Rev up for your day in the pool or fitness center – or unwind in the hot tub. Whip up a snack or a meal in your kitchen, hunker down by the fireplace, and take in amazing mountain vistas from your balcony.
This rustic all-suite hotel invites you to stretch out and make yourself at home. A ten-minute walk from South Main Street and two miles from the slopes at Breckenridge Nordic Center, it’s away from the hustle and bustle but still close to the action. Comfy studios feature convenient kitchens and pull-out sofas. Grab a workout in the fitness room, or relax in the outdoor pool as you take in fabulous mountain views