Updated July, 2016

Breckenridge is world renowned for its skiing and riding, situated above a Victorian town with plenty of restaurants, bars and shopping. But not everyone thinks of Breckenridge as an arts and entertainment hub, which is surprising, because the A&E scene in Breck is busy enough to fill a couple weeks of vacation without one day on the mountain.

Here are a few places to start when it comes to art, theater and entertainment in Breckenridge.

Breckenridge Backstage Theatre

The award-winning Backstage Theatre has been around since 1974, and it just keeps getting better and better. In

The newly renovated Backstage Theatre is full of laughs.

The newly renovated Backstage Theatre is full of laughs.

fact, it has physically expanded with more seating and a larger lobby in which to mingle with cocktails (yes, they even sell specialty drinks to match various productions) before the show and during intermission.

That means the Backstage can produce more complex musicals, comedies and dramas, with stunning sets and larger casts. Spacious, cushy seats allow guests to sit back and enjoy the shows in luxury.

Recent shows include Broadway hits like “Chicago” and “Hairspray.” And that’s not all it holds in store; the intimate theater also screens films every so often and has a long season lineup; check the schedule for every production.

Breckenridge Arts District

The Town of Breckenridge has infused millions of dollars into its Arts District, and it just makes you want to quit your day job and become an artist. Luckily, they’ve created a schedule of art classes that fit in with a working person’s time frame, and budget.

The Tin Shop hosts resident artists from around the world. Photo by Liam Doran

The Tin Shop hosts resident artists from around the world. Photo by Liam Doran

If you’re in town for a few weeks, you can learn how to throw on the potter’s wheel and then glaze your ceramics with Raku Firing class.

Those who love all that sparkle and shine can learn to make rings, necklaces and earrings in jewelry classes (and we’re talking real silver, here, not just beads).

Then there’s figure drawing, glass work, creative writing, painting, printmaking, photography, textiles — nearly any class to fit your needs, and your kids’, with special craft classes for the little ones.

As the epicenter for creativity, the Arts District merges renovated historical buildings from the gold rush period and beyond with innovative classes and free, amazing festivals, themed around elements like fire and bringing together international acts ranging from aerials to traveling art installations.

Gallery scene

Want to see some of the finest artists’ paintings? Head to one of the finest galleries in the nation: Breckenridge Art Gallery on 124 S. Main St. The gallery has displayed some of the most exceptional paintings and sculptures available in the region.

Stunning art can be viewed at one of the many local art galleries on Main Street. Photo by Liam Doran

Stunning art can be viewed at the local art galleries on Main Street. Photo by Liam Doran

If you’re not into serious-minded art but want something that’s high in quality and will give you a good laugh, check out Art on a Whim on 100 N. Main St. They believe art should be both unique and accessible.

Love what you see outside and want to take a stunning photograph of it home? Head to Gary Soles Gallery on 300 S. Main St.

Need something smaller, like jewelry, to wear as a keepsake? Stop into J&M Jewelry on 100 N. Main St. The jeweler offers Breckenridge mountain bands and cool, contemporary styles.

For a peek at local artists’ work, check out Arts Alive! at 500 S. Main St. They may be local, but they’re still great. Local artists staff the gallery and are happy to show you around and tell you about our many talented residents, who produce stunning art pieces, from paintings to jewelry; it’s a great way to bring an authentic piece of Breckenridge home.

Then, don’t miss the Gallery Walks, like the free, hour-long tour of public art called Art Around Town.

Victorian architecture

A sometimes overlooked aspect of art lies in the architecture of Breckenridge.

Take a stroll through historic downtown check out the Victorian style buildings. Photo by Bob Winsett

Take a stroll through historic downtown and check out the Victorian style buildings. Photo by Bob Winsett

You can drive around and view the mix of historic homes and multi-million-dollar second homes, but Breck’s history is best seen through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance’s Historic Walking Tour. The pros will take you through the Victorian town’s nationally registered Historic District and tell stories about everything from the most humble cabins to beautiful Victorian homes.

Other tours bring history to life in fun ways, like the Paranormal Investigations Tour, which recounts the haunts of Breckenridge, summer hikes that highlight history, including gold panning, and Ski Through History in the winter, in which a local tours people through Breckenridge Ski Resort’s beginner and intermediate runs, or the Summit Ski Exhibit, which showcases skiing in Summit in its infancy.

Snow sculptures

You have to catch it quick, because it lasts less than two weeks: The Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships are an incredible sight to behold, both day and night, when colored lights add new dimensions to the sculptures.

Downtown Breckenridge is transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Photo by Carl Scofield

Downtown Breckenridge is transformed into an outdoor art gallery. Photo by Carl Scofield

Teams of four people, from all over the world, come to Breckenridge’s Riverwalk Plaza to transform 2-ton, 12-foot tall blocks of snow into amazing sculptures that tell stories. This is definitely an event to revolve a trip to Breckenridge around; the event takes place in January, and depending on the year, can stretch into February.

Keeping creativity alive

So whether you like your art “on ice” in the form of snow sculptures, or prefer the warmth of an oil painting or intimate art class, Breckenridge has something to keep your creative side alive.

For more information, visit www.breckcreate.org.


About The Author

Kimberly Nicoletti always knew she was meant to escape gray Chicago winters and spend her days skiing the Colorado Rockies. So, two months after she turned 18, she moved to Breckenridge to be a ski bum "for a season," assuring her parent's she'd return to Illinois to finish college. But, the ski bum life stuck. After three years of full-time skiing in Summit County, she decided to finish her degree at CU-Boulder in Creative Writing (granted, she took a semester off to ski). Once free of classes, she took yet another year off to ski in Summit (do you see a pattern here?). Then, she moved back to Boulder to earn her master's degree in Somatic Psychology/Dance Therapy. Upon graduation, she spent a winter teaching skiing at Mammoth Mountain. (Surely you see the pattern now.) In 2002, she moved back to Summit full time, to work at the Summit Daily as the arts and entertainment editor. She stayed with the company for 10 years, enjoying Summit's great events and later working as the managing editor of magazines covering the High Country. She still revolves her life around adventure and creativity, taking time to travel, ski, paddleboard, dance, ice skate, play with her dogs, learn new things and generally enjoy life. She's highly addicted to powder skiing and keeps her winter mornings commitment-free so she can indulge in "deep play" when Mother Nature cooperates. Off the mountain, she's a freelance writer and editor and teaches fitness and mind/body classes throughout Summit County.

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