Ultimate Guide To Living in Breckenridge
Breckenridge is a great place to live. The town itself is incredibly scenic and there are plenty of exciting things to do in the surrounding areas, including hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, fishing kayaking and white water rafting. The winters are snowy and cold, while the summers are sunny and hot, and the town stays beautiful all year round.
The town is also popular for its many shops and world-class dining. People who live in Breckenridge enjoy the town’s small-town feel and the proximity to the mountains. Many are drawn to life in Breckenridge for its natural beauty, plentiful outdoor recreation and vibrant community. Many of Breckenridge’s residents are either Vail Ski Resort employees, or retirees looking for a fun place to spend their golden years, or entrepreneurs who have set up shop in this lucrative mountain resort market.
For those who are eager to call Breckenridge home can find all sorts of cost saving tricks for lodgings and accommodations. So if you’re ready to start the adventure of a lifetime and start living in one of the best places on Earth, this Ultimate Guide for Living in Breckenridge is for you!
Living In Breckenridge Table of Contents
How to Navigate This Guide
We’ve tried to make this Ultimate Guide to Living in Breckenridge as thorough and as detailed as possible, so you can always refer to it if you have any questions about life in Breck. Because this guide is so extensive, the best way to absorb it and to find the information you are looking for, is to refer to the table of contents posted right above this paragraph. The table contains “jump links” which will navigate you directly to the info you want be it “places to live”, “places to work”, “Breckenridge Schools” or anything else you might want to learn about as far as Living in Breckenridge is concerned.
What Living in Breckenridge is All About
Located in ideal settings in the heart of The Colorado Rocky Mountains, Breckenridge is a town that is rich in beauty, history and culture. The people who live here have a strong sense of the local community and are known for being friendly and welcoming. Breckenridge is a popular tourist destination with lots of fun and exciting things to do in Breckenridge. Thousands of people come here for world class skiing and other outdoor pursuits. Naturally people living in Breck are also for the most part here to enjoy everything that mother nature has to offer.
There are plenty of employment opportunities through the resort, as well as the many businesses which thrive in this affluent environment. For the aspiring entrepreneur, Breckenridge offers an unbelievably lucrative market to tap into. Breckenridge, is also a great place to raise a family. The schools are excellent, and the crime rate is practically non-existent. It’s no wonder every year, more and more people are choosing to call Breckenridge their home.
What Makes Breckenridge Such A Great Place To Live?
Living in Breckenridge might not be cheap, but it brings with it some amazing perks that are hard to find anywhere else in the United States. Not only is this one of the most beautiful and safe parts of the country, it also has great schools, lots of employment opportunities, free public transportation, and much more to offer its residents. Not to mention, of course, one of the best ski resorts on the planet!
Premiere Ski & Snowboarding Destination
Breckenridge is a world-renowned ski resort with over 2,908 acres of terrain, 187 trails, 34 chair lifts including one of the longest continuous ski runs in the country. The resort offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country. Breckenridge Ski Resort is owned by Vail Resorts, Inc., who bought it along with Keystone back in 1996.
The resort is constantly upgrading chair lifts and installing new features such as half pipes and parks, meaning there is no shortage of fun activities to do on the mountain. The Breckenridge Ski Resort has something for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, and its no wonder why it’s one of the most popular ski resorts in the United States drawing in more than 3 million visitors annually [efn_note] https://www.breckenridgewhitewater.com/2017/20-fun-facts-about-breckenridge [/efn_note] (across both winter and summer).
Amazing Local Community
The Breckenridge local community is a close-knit bunch, with a strong sense of hospitality and an adventurous spirit. The residents here are super friendly and welcoming, after all, they do live in one of the best places on Earth! Most locals here love to ski or snowboard, and you’ll find people from all over the world enjoying the slopes. There’s a real mix of lots of different cultures in Breckenridge, and it’s one of the main reasons that makes this such a special place.
Being such a small town, once you start living in Breck, you’ll quickly get to know many of the locals, simply because you will be seeing them all the time. This is especially true during the “off-seasons”, when all the visitors leave, and you start seeing the same faces everywhere you go. The locals look out for one another, and there’s a real sense of kinship that comes from living here.
The typical story you hear from many residents about how they ended up living in Breckenridge goes something as follows:
Breckenridge generally has a dry climate, with low humidity and plenty of sunshine year round. The winters are cold and snowy while the summers are hot and dry. Average high temperatures in December are 28 degrees, while the average low is 9 degrees. January is usually the coldest month, with an average high of 23 degrees and an average low of -5 degrees.
When it comes to air quality, Breckenridge takes the cake. This town sits at 9,600 ft above sea level and sees hardly any pollution at all. The fresh clean air along with a healthy lifestyle filled with outdoor pursuits make Breck one of the healthiest places in the country to live in.
It is important to remember, however, that the higher elevation does make the air here considerably “thinner”; meaning there is less oxygen. This can be problematic for some people, especially those suffering from breathing difficulties. It is highly advised to drink lots of water when first arriving to Breck, and also to just take it easy (physically speaking), and allow your body to become adjusted to your new Alpine surroundings.
Regardless of the season, Breck is simply stunning any time of the year! In the winter, this place is a snow filled playground with an average annual snowfall of over 300 inches, making for some outstanding skiing and snowboarding. In the summer, after all the snow melts, the area turns into a picture perfect mountain valley with lushes green landscapes lined with wild Colorado flowers that offer breath taking hikes and mountain biking opportunities.
The Blue River
The Nearby Blue River makes for some exceptional fishing, rafting and kayaking adventures. Breckenridge really is an outdoor pursuits paradise, and it’s no wonder so many people want to come live here! The river starts in the mountains south of Breckenridge and winds its way north and west to the town of Kremmling in Southern Colorado.
In total, Blue River runs for about 65 miles between Summit County before merging with the Colorado River. During this journey Blue River flows through tunnels along the eastern slope of the Gore Range before reaching the Green Mountain Dam where it forms the Green Mountain Reservoir. This reservoir supplies hydroelectric power and irrigation to many of the surrounding areas. After passing through the dam, Blue River travels another 13 miles north to Kremmling, where it finally flows into The Colorado River. [efn_note] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_River_(Colorado)[/efn_note]
Breckenridge is known for its excellent public schools, which are consistently ranked among the best in the state. Families moving to Breckenridge can be confident that their children will receive a top-quality education. The school district has a great reputation with both students and teachers and provides many opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. School buses run through the town, making commuting to school easy.
There are a total of four schools in Breckenridge: two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. All four schools are part of the Summit School District. [efn_note] https://www.greatschools.org/colorado/breckenridge/ [/efn_note] The district has a strong commitment to providing a quality education for all students, and test scores consistently reflect this dedication. Additionally, Colorado Mountain College has a campus nearby. This is an excellent community college with an outstanding reputation for academics, job placements and ease of transfer.
Low Crime Rate
Breckenridge has a much lower crime rate than the national average. [efn_note] https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/co/breckenridge/[/efn_note] crime In fact there is hardly any crime here at all. The worst offences are petty theft and shop lifting, and the occasional bar room dispute. Practicing a little common sense goes a long way to staying safe anywhere, so in general just follow the following rules, and you’ll be completely safe in Breck.
- Don’t leave your valuables unattended
- Lock your home and car when you’re not around
- Don’t get into arguments with people who have been drinking
- Always follow the speed limits posted in town
That’s it. Follow those four simple rules, and your life in Breckenridge will be safe and stress free. The Breckenridge police department are highly trained professionals whose job it is to keep the town and its wealthy visitors protected and feeling secured at all times, and they will quickly take care of any unsavory characters who might want to come and disrupt the peace. They don’t take kindly to anyone infringing on their territory, so please try to stay out of trouble.
Nearby Towns and Attractions
Breckenridge offers some fantastic attractions for both locals and visitors, and there are even more activities and fun things to do at some of the nearby towns. During the summer months there are several beautiful golf courses as well as some great tennis courts. Some of these are open to the general public, while others do have membership requirements.
Frisco is a charming mountain town with great shopping and dining options. This town is known for its mountain biking trails and its proximity to the ski resorts. Frisco also has a variety of shops and restaurants.
Dillon is another charming mountain town close to Breckenridge. It has some great “western style” bars and restaurants and is home to the Dillon Reservoir aka Lake Dillon, which offers a nice place to come for a swim or go boating during the summer.
Silverthorne lies just outside the Eisenhower tunnel and is considered the gateway to Summit County. It’s also the largest city/town in the county and as such offers many employment opportunities. The Outlets at Silverthorne provide lots of boutique shops, and are very popular with Breckenridge residents.
Top Annual Breckenridge Events
There are many fun events and attractions to entertain Breckenridge residents and visitors throughout the year. Some of the very best events loved by the locals include:
The International Snow Sculpture Championship
January – Breckenridge becomes a destination most people can only visit in their imaginations. Teams of ferociously talented ice sculptors from all over the world travel to Breck to compete in the Snow Sculpture Championship, widely regarded as the largest and best snow sculpture competition on the planet!
The Breckenridge Film Festival
Fall – The Breckenridge Film Festival has established itself as a significant film making institution not only in Colorado, but also throughout the rest of the United States, having previously hosted more than 40 film festivals. Film screenings, discussions, and social events are just some of the highlights of the annual festival, which runs during the first two months of Fall.
Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival
July – The Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival has quickly become a locals favorite. There are a wide variety of wines being offered ranging from easygoing to robust and adventurous. Attendees can also indulge in food offerings from skilled local chefs while sipping on some of the best wines around. This is a wonderful event that foodies and wine connoisseurs won’t want to miss!
Fun Historical/Educational Activities
- There are plenty of historical activities, such as panning for gold or visiting a real-life gold mine. Children will enjoy walking on historical cobblestone streets and the wonderful opportunity to see museums that feature historically correct buildings, such as a bank from the 1880s.
- The Country Boy Mine that has miniature donkeys for children to pet. They also offer real-life gold panning, and you can even keep what you find. There is even horseback riding, dog sledding, skiing, and much more!
- The Historic Park and Main Street: This is a great place to walk around and see the historic buildings that make up the town. There are also many shops and restaurants to enjoy.
Is it Expensive to Live in Breckenridge?
Yes, living in Breckenridge can be quite expensive. This is a world-class ski resort destination which also makes it an expensive place to live. A recent Lending Tree survey has found Breckenridge to be the second most expensive town in the United States to live in with regard to housing price. [efn_note] https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/most-expensive-towns-in-america/[/efn_note]
In recent years real estate prices have gone through the roof and have gone far above the national average for median home prices. Additionally, the cost of groceries and transportation are both above the national average in Breckenridge, but that hasn’t stopped people from pursuing their dreams for living in Breck. There are plenty of ways to save money while living in or visiting this town, and the locals have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to save money – some of which we will be exploring later on in this guide!
Buying A House in Breckenridge
The median price of a house in Breckenridge is currently (as of Sept 2022) – $1,270,688, which is significantly higher than the national average home price of $525.000. There are plenty of high end realtors based in Breckenridge who can help you find your dream home. Unless you have a very high net worth already along with an excellent credit score; purchasing a home outright in Breckenridge is going to be very financially prohibitive.
Renting an Apartment in Breckenridge
Renting an apartment in Breckenridge is also going to be relatively expensive, but this is an option many residents make use of by living with one or more room mates. Many resort employees and other individuals who have chosen to live in Breck, simply go on Craig’s list, or consult the Summit Daily to find perspective roommates to help them split the cost of the rental. The average price for a one-bedroom apartment is around $2,000 per month, and the average price for a three-bedroom apartment is around $3,500 per month.
Living with room mates in Breckenridge can be a fun social experience for people in their 20’s or early 30’s who came to Breck to enjoy the mountain; but probably looses it’s appeal for those with families or who want to settle down. Still, if you can find the right people to live with, renting an apartment or house in Breckenridge might be the most practical way to stay here.
Hotels & Lodgings in Breck
Hotels and other lodgings are expensive, especially during the peak winter season. However, there are some ways to cut costs. For example, you can stay in a less expensive hotel slightly outside Breckenridge and use a ride share service to bring you to the slopes. Instead of splurging on restaurant meals, you can find a low cost hotel with a kitchen, so you can cook your own meals, and bring a pack lunch and snack with you, when you go to the mountain. There are also some discounts on lodging and activities to be found by visiting mid-week rather than on the weekends. For a list of the very best Hotels in Breckenridge – be sure to check out our full in-depth guide:
Visiting During The “Off Seasons”
During the “Off season”, Breckenridge hotels, restaurant and retail businesses put forth massive discounts to entice people to come visit. There are also a variety of fun events scheduled during these slower months which visitors can enjoy. In May, the Spring Fever Festival takes place, which includes concerts, races, and other activities. The end of September sees the Breckenridge Autumn Arts Festival take place, which showcases art from all over Colorado. Another event worth checking out is the Breckenridge Film Festival in October, which showcases local and international independent film makers.
While the “Off season” might not be the most exciting time to come to Breck, it still offers plenty of great events to attend, and while the mountain might not be officially opened, it’s still possible to hike or snow-shoe up the trails (some people have even been known to bring their skis and ride back down.)
It’s also a time when many of the locals, especially the resort employees take off for road trips, so the town is very peaceful and it’s a wonderful time to just walk around the town and absorb all of it’s little nuances, which are hard to notice when the streets are packed with tourists.
Cost of living in Breckenridge CO
In general everything from shopping, to dining to lodging and real estate is going to cost more in Breckenridge. There are limited options both in terms of accommodation as well as basic things like gas stations and grocery stores, so understandably the cost of living here is going to be substantially higher than in the rest of the country. The overall cost of living here is at least 60% higher than the national average.
The price of gasoline can be as much as 35% higher in Breck than in other parts of Colorado due both in part to transporting the gasoline into the Rockies, as well as the issue of fewer competing gas stations which equals less supply in general.
It’s important to remember that while the cost of living in Breckenridge is high, this is a wealthy town and many of the businesses cater specifically to affluent visitors, so incomes for residents are also higher.
How to Afford Living in Breckenridge?
Even with modest incomes, there are still plenty of ways for locals to live affordably in or around Breckenridge. For example, many people choose to live in nearby towns and commute to Breckenridge for work or recreation. There are also some affordable housing options for employees of certain hotels or those working for Vail Resorts.
For shopping and dining, The Outlets at Silverthorne provide plenty to chose from in terms of the latest in designer clothing, sports equipment and apparel, as well as anything you might need for your home at great discounted rates.
There are also plenty of après-ski specials running at many of the local bars and restaurants, as well as locals only discounts that many businesses extend to their fellow Breckenridge residents. Those working for Vail Resorts, or businesses registered with the Summit County Chamber of Commerce also have great savings opportunities for anything from discounted ski passes to Breckenridge airport transportation specials.
Affordable places to live in Breckenridge Colorado
There are a number of affordable places to live in Breckenridge Colorado. These accommodations are not going to provide the luxury and luster of the 5-star premium hotels and residences that Breckenridge is famous for, but they do offer comfortable and convenient places to live for the town’s working families who love living in Breck. [efn_note] https://www.townofbreckenridge.com/your-government/departments-services/human-resources/finding-housing [/efn_note]
List of affordable places to live in Breckenridge:
Below you will find some suggestions for finding an affordable place to live in Breckenridge. Apartments at these complexes fill up very fast, and sometimes have a wait list. If you are planning on moving to Breckenridge, it’s best to make sure you have your long term accommodations set up well in advance.
- The Summit at Breckenridge
- Breckenridge Pines
- Breckenridge Springs
- Trailhead Lodges
- Sawmill Creek
Craig’s List and The Summit Daily
Many Breckenridge locals secure their accommodations by living with room mates with whom they have either moved to Breck together with, or have found by using either Craig’s List or The Classified Section of the Summit Daily (Breck & Keystone’s main local news paper).
Both of these publications have a “for rent” and “looking for room mates” section which is an invaluable resource for finding a place to live in Breckenridge. As always, you must do your research on both the property, as well as the people you will be living with, but these two sources are how a vast majority of Breck residents have found themselves a nice and affordable place to live.
Employee Housing in Breckenridge
There is some employee housing available in Breckenridge. This type of housing is provided by both Vail Resorts (the owners and operators of the ski resort in Breck), as well as some of the larger hotels operating in town. Employee housing is how many people who first arrived in Breck found themselves a place to live.
Breckenridge Employee Housing for Vail Resorts Employees is located at: 1360 Airport Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424
Employment Opportunities in Breckenridge
Breck has plenty of “no skills necessary/ job training provided” type employment opportunities for people looking to move here. The biggest employer in town is Vail Ski Resorts, but there are also plenty of positions available for restaurant workers, bar tenders, retail staff, transportation services and much more.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Vail Resorts owns and operates the ski resort here. They are a massive global corporation that has plenty of job opportunities in Breck. Everything from chair lift operators to ski instructors to on mountain restaurant staff, and reservation agents. The company offers great employee benefits such as a free season pass for the mountain (the main reason people work for the resort), health insurance, discounted meals, employee housing and much more. Working for Vail Resorts is how many locals first got started living here.
To find current job openings available in Breckenridge through Vail Resorts check out the Vail Resorts Careers website:
Breckenridge Airport Transportation Providers
Lucrative job opportunities exist in transporting affluent Breckenridge visitors to and from Denver International Airport. Many guests opt to take a private car service to Breckenridge vs renting a car due to the comfort and convenience it provides them. Instead of worrying about parking or paying for valet services, a private car service to and from DIA is the most hassle free way to come to Breck.
Airport transportation providers in Breckenridge are always looking for dependable drivers to take their clients to and from the resort. These positions offer a great tipped wage (drivers can earn up to $50/hour), as well as a flexible work schedule i.e. you can work mostly evening routes, and still get most of the day to enjoy the mountain.
Being the ritzy and glamorous Rocky Mountain Resort destination that it is, Breckenridge has it’s fair share of premium 5-star hotels which employ quite a lot of people.
Job Opportunities at Breckenridge Hotels Include:
- Reservations Staff
- Valet Drivers
- House Keeping
- Maintenance Staff
- Banquet Workers
- Managerial Opportunities
- Front Desk Specialists
- Bell Hops
Hotels are a great place to work in Breckenridge as the guests staying there are typically well off financially and are known to be generous tippers, so these positions can provide a great source of income, as well as the potential for career advancement.
Just like with the hotels operating in Breckenridge, there are numerous world class dining establishments that cater specifically to a very wealthy clientele. These restaurants are expensive, check averages are very high, and the tipped staff at these establishments makes very good money.
These positions can be hard to come by because the income is so good, and typically staff at these places stay for many years, but there are going to be openings from time to time. While entry level work at some of the more casual bars and restaurants will be easier to secure, the higher end establishments are going to want to hire only the most experienced and professional servers.
A server or bar tender position in one of Breckenridge’s restaurants can be a great job choice in that typically you will be working only evenings, which freed up the entire day to go out and enjoy everything the mountain has to offer.
If you’re planning on living here in Breckenridge, it would probably be wise to be familiar with the demographics of the area as they provide some insight into who your new neighbors are going to be. Here we’re going to break down exactly who is currently enjoying the good life in Breck.
Cons of Living in Breckenridge
As with living anywhere in the world, there are going to be pros and there are going to be cons when it comes to making that place your home. So before deciding if Breckenridge is the right place for you, here are a few important cons to consider before making the move.
1) Lack of Privacy
By being such a small town, especially in the “off-season” when all the tourists are gone – Breckenridge does from time to time feel like a place where there is little privacy, simply because everybody knows everybody. It’s impossible to live in Breck and not become a familiar face to all the other locals anywhere that you go. While some people love this aspect of small town living, others may not be so keen on it.
2) Can Be Prohibitively Expensive
Some of the cons include that it can be expensive to live here, especially if you are not employed full time, or are living on a modest income. There’s also the issue of sometimes having too much snow (but then you probably don’t want to be living in Breck anyway); as the snow does make driving challenging, and needs to constantly be shoveled to clear driveways and rooftops.
3) Fewer Cultural Events
The other potential con of living in a town like Breck is that it doesn’t offer quite the same amount of options when it comes to cultural events such as theater productions, music concerts and sports. All these activities do take place in Breckenridge, but at a much smaller and more modest scale. The good news is that Denver is only 1 hour and 41 minutes away from, and offers plenty of those types of pursuits.
Final Thoughts on Living in Breckenridge
So there we have it – The Ultimate Guide to Living in Breckenridge, Colorado. We have covered everything from cost of living, to fun activities and nearby towns, as well as schools, employment opportunities and everything in between. If you are thinking about moving to or visiting Breckenridge in the near future, be sure to consult this guide, as we will be constantly updating it with new information and tips and tricks for making living in Breck as awesome as possible.
Obviously the small town mountain lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and moving to Breck can be expensive, so it’s very important to carefully consider whether or not this type of life is for you. But one thing is for certain – people living in Breckenridge are some of the happiest people on Earth, so we can probably safely assume that they made the right choice!
Living in Breckenridge FAQ’s
Breckenridge – Where Does The Name Come From?
Breckenridge was originally called Breckinridge after John C. Breckinridge, who was the 14th Vice President of the United States. John C. Breckinridge was also a Confederate general during the American Civil War. In 1861, while Colorado was still a territory, Breckinridge sided with the South. As a result, many Unionists in The Colorado Territory challenged the spelling of the name to be “Breckenridge” as an act of defiance.
Where Is Breckenridge Located?
Breckenridge is located in Summit County, Colorado and is approximately 2 hours from Denver International Airport and 1 hour from the town of Vail. The closest major city is Denver, which is about 100 miles away. Denver International Airport is the closest major airport for accessing Breckenridge.
Which County is Breckenridge In?
Breckenridge is located in Summit County, Colorado. The town is both an enclave of and is the county seat of Summit County. This county is famous for its many ski resorts and outdoor recreational opportunities. Some of the most popular ski destinations include Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, as well as Arapahoe Basin.
Where is Summit County Located?
Summit County is located in central Colorado and is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county was created in 1861 and named for the many mountain summits in the area. There are no incorporated cities within Summit County. The largest town by population in Summit County is Frisco, Colorado.
What’s the Closest River to Breckenridge?
Breckenridge’s Blue River is a majestic waterway known for its excellent fishing and eye-catching scenery. It’s the nearest river to Breckenridge for rafting and kayaking which are both very popular with the town’s local residents.
When is the “Off-Season” in Breckenridge?
The Breckenridge “off-season” runs from mid-April to early June and from September to early November. During this time you can find plenty of great deals both on accommodations as well as word-class restaurants which slash their prices but up to 70% in effort to draw more business during these quite months of the year.