Free Things To Do In Breckenridge: Explore On A Budget

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My husband wanted to get away for the long Labor Day weekend, so I told him to make all the plans and surprise me. He booked a quaint studio apartment through VRBO in Breckenridge, Colorado. With a heat wave in Nebraska, the thought of perfect weather sounded glorious. And being the cheapskates that we both are, we checked out all the free things to do in Breckenridge.

My Breckenridge Trip Takeaways

Before I share all of the free things we found about to do in Breckenridge, let me tell you about our trip, and if you are considering a trip to Breckenridge, here are my key takeaways:

  • Breckenridge is very kid-friendly and family-friendly with lots of activities for children as well as arcades, playgrounds, ice cream and candy stores!
  • Breckenridge is also very pet-friendly. We saw dogs everywhere! Personally, I’m not a pet person, but as long as they didn’t bother me, I was fine.
  • Breckenridge is NOT very handicapped friendly as there are steps everywhere. I saw a few ramps, but I could not fathom someone in a wheelchair trying to venture through the town as the doorways were also narrow, and the shops and restaurants very crowded. In fact, I don’t think I saw one wheelchair in use. 

We took off early Friday morning only to get a low tire. So we stopped at Square Tire and had two nails in the tire undoubtedly from our new house construction*. We got off to a later start than we wanted and ended up hitting a traffic jam. 

*Side note: we’ve been in the process of building a house for over a year now. It’s taking forever, probably because I’m the contractor (and a woman to boot), but that’s a post for another day. Anyway, since our house sold, we’ve been living in a makeshift apartment in our shed – without air conditioning! Thank God, we have a window air conditioner in the bedroom that has helped us get through the heat wave of 100 degree plus days. 

We also got delayed as I wanted to stop at some Costco stores along the way to find source some clearance products for our Amazon FBA business. What we can’t sell online, I can list on Poshmark, or sell at our liquidation boutique or even our liquidation store

So with our tire and shopping delays, we definitely hit rush hour traffic on 1-70 driving from Denver to Breckenridge and sat in stop and go traffic for a couple of hours. After we got through the Eisenhower Tunnel (which makes me claustrophobic), traffic picked up a bit, but I was definitely beginning to not feel well.

Between getting car sick, allergies with pollution, and altitude sickness, all I wanted to do after we settled into our efficiency apartment and ate some pizza (Luigi’s Pizzeria is really good), I went straight to bed. The next day, Ted suggested we visit an Oxygen Bar to see if it would cure the altitude sickness. I wouldn’t say it cured it, but it definitely helped. 

The Summit Foundation
Great Rubber Duck Race – Image Credit: The Summit Foundation

We got to see the Great Rubber Duck Race from our deck off our room and went white-water rafting on the Colorado River. White-water rafting was on my bucket list (and I definitely recommend), but it was not free, so let’s dig into the free things to do in Breckenridge now.

9 Free Things To Do In Breckenridge

Breckenridge, Colorado, is a charming mountain town known for its world-class skiing, stunning alpine scenery, and a wide range of outdoor activities. While it’s a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, Breckenridge also offers plenty of free activities and attractions that can be enjoyed year-round.

Free Things To Do In Breckenridge: Explore On A Budget

Whether you’re a budget traveler or simply looking to balance your vacation expenses, this article will guide you through some of the fantastic free things to do in Breckenridge.

  1. Main Street Strolls

Breckenridge’s historic Main Street is a picturesque destination in itself. Take a leisurely stroll down this charming avenue, lined with colorful Victorian buildings, unique boutiques, art galleries, and inviting cafes.

Breckenridge, Colorado, USA downtown streets
Breckenridge downtown streets at night in the winter with holiday lighting – Image Credit: Deposit Photos

The street’s vibrant atmosphere, especially during the holiday season, is a treat for the senses. Window shopping and people-watching are popular pastimes here.

  1. Carter Park and Pavilion

carter park free sledding breckenridge
Sledding in Carter Park – Image Credit: GoBreck.com

Carter Park is a local gem where you can enjoy outdoor activities without spending a dime. In the winter, the park features a free sledding hill, perfect for families and thrill-seekers. During the summer, you can use the tennis courts, picnic areas, and the scenic pavilion. The park is also a great starting point for hiking and biking trails.

  1. Breckenridge Arts District

Art lovers will appreciate the Breckenridge Arts District, where you can immerse yourself in the local creative scene. The district hosts free art exhibitions, workshops, and events throughout the year. It’s an ideal place to explore the town’s artistic side and perhaps even create your own masterpiece.

If receive SNAP benefits, you can get free museum tickets with EBT including admission to the Mountain Top Explorium that is family-friendly and appealing to children. 

  1. Breckenridge Troll

Hike to see “Isak Heartstone,” the famous Breckenridge Troll sculpture by artist Thomas Dambo.

Wooden Troll Isak Heartstone In Breckenridge, Colorado
Wooden Troll Isak Heartstone In Breckenridge, Colorado – Image Credit: Flickr

This colossal wooden figure is hidden away in the forest, creating an enchanting experience for those who seek it. It’s a fantastic photo opportunity and a delightful adventure of free hiking that won’t cost you a dime.

  1. Festivals and Events

Breckenridge hosts various free festivals and events year-round. Some notable ones include the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships (held in January), the Breckenridge Summer Beer Festival, and the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. These events provide entertainment and cultural experiences without an admission fee.

  1. BreckConnect Gondola

One of the most delightful free activities in Breckenridge is the opportunity to take a scenic gondola ride. The BreckConnect Gondola, which operates both in the summer and winter seasons, offers visitors and locals alike a breathtaking journey up the mountain slopes at no cost.

BreckConnect Gondola
Moving gondolas in Autumn at Breckenridge, Colorado – Image Credit: Deposit Photos

The free Gondola in Breckenridge experience not only provides panoramic views of the town and the surrounding alpine landscape but also offers a convenient and eco-friendly way to access various recreational areas and hiking trails. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast looking to explore the mountains or simply seeking a picturesque ride, the free gondola rides in Breckenridge are an absolute must-do, offering an unforgettable taste of the area’s natural beauty.

  1. Free Transportation Options

In Breckenridge, convenience and affordability go hand in hand when it comes to transportation options. Visitors can enjoy the convenience of free parking, even free overnight parking, in several designated areas throughout the town, making it easy to explore all that Breckenridge has to offer without worrying about parking fees.

Additionally, the town offers a robust and complimentary transit system known as the Free Ride. This free shuttle service includes a network of buses that cover various routes throughout Breckenridge and the surrounding areas, ensuring that travelers can easily access popular destinations and trailheads. With a user-friendly free ride map and free bus route map available, navigating the town and planning your excursions is a breeze. The Free Ride Transit System exemplifies Breckenridge’s commitment to providing accessible and cost-effective transportation options for both residents and visitors.

  1. Blue River Plaza and Riverwalk Center

The Blue River Plaza and the Riverwalk Center are popular gathering spots in downtown Breckenridge. They often host free concerts, performances, and events, especially during the summer months. Check the local events calendar to catch live music or cultural performances under the Colorado sky.

  1. Hiking and Biking Trails

Breckenridge is surrounded by a network of stunning hiking and biking trails. While some may require transportation to the trailheads, many are easily accessible from town. Trails like the Illinois Creek Trail and Sawmill Creek Trail provide breathtaking mountain views and fresh alpine air, all free of charge.

Conclusion

Breckenridge is not only a destination for those seeking world-class skiing and outdoor adventures but also a town that offers a plethora of free activities and attractions for budget-conscious travelers. From historic walks to outdoor adventures, art appreciation, and cultural events, Breckenridge has something for everyone, regardless of their budget. So, the next time you plan a trip to this charming mountain town, don’t forget to explore its free and delightful offerings.

Kim Rowley Lohrberg
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