D[I] Travel Guide: Denver & Breckinridge

I’m not a particularly outdoorsy person, but when I am in Colorado, I can’t help but feel captivated by all the natural beauty. This trip was especially memorable because it was the first time I had ever seen so much snow. Colorado in general has a relaxed sensibility with a touch of eclecticism that reminds me of Austin. With their buzzing food scene, spectacular views, and super chill vibe — here’s why you should visit Breckinridge & Denver:

Breckinridge:

Stay: The Corral at Breckinridge was a really convenient place to stay. Located right on Main St., the cabin-style condos were nestled at the base of Peak 7 which gave you tons of options to walk around the center of town or then head up the slopes for skiing & snowboarding. The Corral at Breckinridge also had special rates and easy access for snow activities. Some units have multiple rooms, a cozy fireplace, as well as a hot tub in the balcony. I’m sure there are tons of fabulous places to stay higher up in the mountains, but the Corral was the perfect balance of comfortable, affordable, convenient, and cozy.

Transportation: We rented an SUV from Denver International Airport to drive to Breckinridge, which takes about 1.5 hours. During the snow season, expect the drive to take a bit longer due to driving hazards and traffic. Once in Breckinridge, we walked most places since it’s a fairly small town and we were staying right in the center of town.

Shop: Main St. has a ton of gift shops, boutiques, as well as thrift & vintage stores. One of my favorite boutiques in Breckinridge is called Beloved, which had a combination of trend brands as well as some local labels.

Eat: Breckinridge has some great food options, though we are totally spoiled coming from Dallas’s insane food scene. Crepes a la Carte is a small crepe shop on Main St. with a never-ending line. Is it worth waiting? Debatable, but if you’re in the mood for some hot crepes in the snow, its a neat experience. We went to Bold for brunch, which was a cute spot with lots of vintage books lining the walls. One of the nights, we had dinner at Modis, a rustic restaurant located right on Main St. The food was really good, bringing in large crowds, so be sure to make a reservation early. One of my favorite dining experiences in Breckinridge was at The Lost Cajun. I am totally biased towards Cajun food, so this little hole-in-the-wall spot was everything. As soon as you are seated, they bring out samples of their different gumbo and etouffee, all of which were delicious. The service and food are impeccable, and most of all the beignets. Oh my god — what can I even say about the softest, biggest, warmest beignets I have ever had? A must!

Visit: I have been to Breckinridge a few times, but this was my first time in peak snow season and it was unreal. Summers in Colorado are hot and due to the altitude, the sun beats down on you hard. Ski season, however, is beautiful. Breckinridge is a small town and most of the interesting shops and food are located right on Main St. However, if you drive out of Breckinridge, you can visit the Hoosier Pass Continental Divide. Vail is about 1 hour away, and Aspen is about 2.5 hours away from Breckinridge. Having been to all 3, I think Breckinridge is my favorite mountain town because there is more to do, it’s a lot more lively

Tips: So the biggest struggle for me was anticipating what I needed to pack. Since I have never experienced this kind of snow, I was totally lost when it came to clothes. I thought I could get by with my Ugg boots, but I was wrong. Definitely invest in some snow boots, they don’t have to be those ugly & overpriced duck boots. I found some super simple black comfy ones from Academy for $10 on sale.

If you plan on skiing, be sure to pack a heavy-duty ski jacket, ski pants, gloves, and base layers. I found cheap stuff from North Face, Columbia, as well as Forever 21. Unless you’re a professional, you don’t really need goggles, or a face mask, and can rent all the equipment for about $60. The ski lift access is probably the most expensive part. Skiing for the first time was fun, but extremely exhausting and if you have health issues, be sure to prepare. I have severe pulmonary issues, so I had a hard time breathing most days at that altitude. I took all my meds & inhalers as well as altitude adjustment pills everyday because I would wake up with migraines & nosebleeds from the dryness (Note: pack tons of moisturizers and lip balms).

Denver:

Stay: I’ve stayed at various Hilton’s in Denver, the best options are the ones closest to Downtown since that is where the main attractions are.

Transportation: Denver, like Dallas, seems to be a driver city. We have rented a car every time since it seems to be the easiest and most economical way to get around.

Shop: There are probably some really great boutique in Denver, but unfortunately I’m super basic and ended up at Cherry Creek Shopping Center since it has all the major stores. Something about this mall gets me super pumped. I feel like the major stores here keep totally different stock so it’s always an adventure finding new things you wouldn’t get back home.

Eat: This is the real reason why I travel anywhere tbh. Denver has many unique spots such as Denver Biscuit Company, Voodoo Donuts, Osteria Marco, Morning Collective, Root Down, ChoLon, Beatrice & Woodsley, Linger, Ice Cream Riot, Crema, Roostercat, Amethyst, Black Eye Coffee Cap Hill, Drip, Novo, Aviano, Acorn, Snooze and of course Biju’s Little Curry Shop. They’re all a bit spread out, but totally worth it!

Visit: One of the first things you may notice at Denver International is how strange the interior of the airport is. I’m a weirdo and secretly love conspiracy theories, so when I heard that Denver’s main airport was a hub for crazy theories about the New World Order, Illuminati/Freemasons, and other oddities, you bet I was all for it. If you have time at the airport, check out the strange apocalyptic murals, the alleged Freemason capstone, and of course “Bluecifer” — the creepy blue mustang outside of the airport that apparently killed its creator. Aside from the creepy airport, check out the Denver Aquarium, the main Promenade area in downtown, as well as all the cute cafes. Most of the real fun is up in the mountains, so if you can drive, it’s worth the trip.

Tips: Denver is a bit more random, with pockets of gentrified areas and random cute restaurants & cafes. I definitely recommend renting a car!

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