Interestingly enough, "Colorado's Kingdom" was the previous name of Breckenridge. It was inadvertently left off a United States map in the mid-1800s and became known as such until the mistake was discovered nearly a half a century later. Today, the community embraces this unique aspect of its past with "Kingdom Days", a celebration of Breckenridge's heritage.
Breckenridge has had many unique citizens in its history and are celebrated even today. Father John Lewis Dyer was one such citizen. He regularly skied across the Continental Divide on 12-foot long wooden skis to deliver the Gospel, sacks of gold, and mail to the mining population. In 1880, he founded a Methodist church that remains active today.
Edwin Carter, another colorful citizen, came in search of gold, but after seeing the destruction of the land by mining, embarked on a career as a naturalist. Many of his 3,000 items are found today in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Carter Museum.
Barney Ford became Breckenridge's first African-American businessman when he opened his chophouse in 1879. He was an impressive man by all accounts, having been a person who escaped slavery, worked with the Underground Railroad, and founded the state's first adult education program.
The most heartbreaking story from Breckenridge's storied history has to be that of Tom Groves. On July 23, 1887, Groves discovered the largest piece of gold ever found in Colorado. As he paraded the 13.5 pound, blanket wrapped piece of gold into town, it was given the name "Tom's Baby." Three days later, the nugget was put on a train to Denver and was not seen for 85 years. In 1972, the Colorado History Museum examined gold specimens that were deposited in a Denver bank in 1926. "Tom's Baby" was found, but over five pounds remain missing. No one confesses to know what happened to the rest of the "baby."
These characters and many more help create the culture of this town! The town of Breckenridge is still filled with creative and inquisitive people enjoying a vibrant lifestyle in a one of the most scenic places in the United States.
Breckenridge provides a distinctive mix of arts and cultural activities for people of all ages and interests through music, film, theatre, visual arts, galleries, museums, historical sites, and educational programs with a robust mountain experience.
Arts & Cultural Attractions include: the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, featuring year round theatrical productions; the annual Breckenridge Festival of Film, held in mid September; the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, that offers historical tours, hikes and museums year round; the Breckenridge Music Festival, which offers a Summer orchestra festival, touring acts, and a winter encore series; the National Repertory Orchestra, which offers a Summer orchestra and a winter opera; and the Breckenridge Arts District with facilities and classes open year round.
Breckenridge comes alive in the Winter. If you are looking for a high mountain experience, it is provided at 9,600 feet! With a wide array of winter activities, you can wake up every day to a new adventure. Imagine yourself gliding down a mountain in fresh powder, steering a snowmobile above tree-lines or perhaps guiding a team of dogs through Aspen trees. For a slower pace, enjoy a relaxing sleigh ride.
The arts and culture scene is vibrant in the Winter. Breckenridge offers a full array of activities through its music, theatres and art events, and through the Breckenridge Recreation Center. Historic tours and museum opportunities are ample as is Nordic Skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and snow-catting.
Breckenridge's dining, nightlife, and shopping options are as unique and varied as its characters. With more than 75 restaurants and bars to choose from, the town offers wonderful cuisine and exciting nightlife, especially along Main Street, Ridge Street, and South Park Avenue. Shoppers are well acquainted with the experience with many shops operating in historic national registration buildings.
Breckenridge is home to more than 15 world-class spas offering the latest and most luxurious treatments available today. Whether you're looking for cleansing and detox therapy, a body wrap, a therapeutic massage, or a simple manicure and pedicure, it is all offered in Breckenridge. While the atmosphere of your spa can vary from cozy mountain retreats, to airy and fresh, to a treatment right in your own condo, the outcome will always be the same—a feeling of relaxation and renewal that will keep you glowing for days.
Summer can also be experienced at 9,600 feet! The local mantra goes, "We came for the winter and stayed for the summer," and you can see why. With mountainsides filled with colorful wildflowers, rivers flowing with crystal clear water, clear blue skies, and 300 days of sunshine, plentiful summer activities can keep you busy.
Breckenridge offers "the best" in summer entertainment for horseback riding, mountain biking, jeep and ATV'ing, rock climbing, hiking & backpacking, hot air ballooning, whitewater rafting, zip lining, and even summer dog sledding. For the more laid back adventure, try your hand at fly fishing, kayaking, mine touring, and taking a train ride. Summer concerts and festivals are everywhere in Colorado and Breckenridge is no exception.
Along with the activities mentioned above, the kids may also want to explore Mountain Top Children's Museum, Stephen West Ice Arena, Breckenridge Ski and Ride School, Breckenridge's Public Skateboard Park, Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge Arts District, four-wheeling, gold panning, historic mine tours, in-line skating, water sliding, interactive art workshops, Kayak Park, mountain biking, Breckenridge Fun Park, Peak 8 SuperSlide, and scenic chairlift rides.
In Breckenridge, you will find the "complete" vacation that will build memories to last you a lifetime.