Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spending Christmas in Colorado - Denver, Breckenridge and Vail

We drove from Asheville, North Carolina to Denver, Colorado for the Christmas holidays last year. ( You can read about our road trip here) We - Mr. UR, myself and our youngest - spent 2 1/2 days driving across the Midwest to arrive in Denver to visit our son and his girlfriend, who live in Denver, and our middle daughter who flew in from Boston. We spent a few days in Denver and then drove west to Breckenridge where we rented a condo for the holiday. (The original condo we had rented on vrbo.com unfortunately had a fire a month before we arrived and the owner found us another condo in the same development at the last minute) Here's a recap of our holiday and some things to do in Colorado at Christmastime.




Denver

The Denver Art Museum - I had found a coupon online for free family admission to the Denver Art Museum. We spent a fun afternoon discovering this huge museum located downtown. After visiting the museum, we ate at Lime: A Mexican Cantina located in the Denver Pavilions, also located downtown.







Denver Christmas Market - This was my second visit to the Denver Christmas Market. I haven't been to any other Christmas Market so my comparisons are limited, but I really enjoy visiting here. We had some gluhwein (warm, spiced wine) and walked around the outdoor booths smelling all the roasting nuts and delicious scents. There is a small ice rink across from the market with very low prices for skating and rental - I think it's $5 total.















Denver Botanical Gardens - The Denver Botanical Gardens has an awesome Christmas lights display. Just beautiful. I really enjoyed walking around and seeing the lights one evening. I highly recommend a trip there to see the lights. 










Denver City Hall Christmas Lights -  Denver's City Hall all lit up is quite the sight to behold. Lit up in multicolored lights with Christmas music playing, you can walk or drive by City Hall and really get into the Christmas spirit - if you aren't already!













Breckenridge
Our condo rental in Breckenridge was located just outside of town on the shuttle bus line. It had plenty of room for the 7 of us and a kitchen to make Christmas dinner - which when we spend it in Colorado has turned into a tradition of Christmas tacos (ha ha long story!) We had more than enough snow to have a White Christmas and we enjoyed playing out in it since we rarely get snow where we live.











Breckenridge is a small ski town about 80 miles west of Denver via I-70. (It should take about 2 hours to drive as long as you don't run into bad weather or ski traffic) A former mining town, Breckenridge is known for it's skiing and it's Main Street which is the Breckenridge National Historic District lined with shops,restaurants and galleries. We didn't spend alot of time in town - we spent more time at the condo - but we did go into town on Christmas evening. We stopped in at the Oxygen Bar - which is really, truly a bar where you receive oxygen to deal with the altitude - and had drinks at Burke and Riley's Irish Pub.













Vail
Vail is a ski town located about 40 minutes further west of Breckenridge on I-70. It's modeled to look like a Bavarian mountain town and is known for it's lavishly priced ski slopes, lodging and shops. (There are three fur shops in the small town) We drove over on Christmas Eve to have a walk around and experience Vail for the holidays. There were loads of people out doing the same and it had a bustling Christmas spirit vibe going on. A few fun facts about Vail: you will hear many languages as you walk about as it's an international destination, there is free parking in the parking garage in Vail and you won't notice any snow on the sidewalks because they are heated. Yes, heated. No need for shoveling here! 
























And as a special treat, the skies opened up and it started snowing just as we were leaving. A peaceful, snowy Christmas Eve and we were all together. Nothing better.




This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Albom Adventures and Weekend Wanderlust Facebook Travel Blog Party!









14 comments:

  1. I was in Breckenridge a few years ago when the snow sculpture contest was going on. I really love that town! Good food, good skiing, and good beer! :)

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    1. It is a great town! Have been a few times now and love visiting there! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  2. I love your tradition of Christmas Tacos. I'd like to hear that story. Beautiful photos that show a season so different to ours in Australia.

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    1. Well, I'm not good at making long stories short but we didn't grocery shop until Christmas Eve and they were at of all the traditional Christmas foods here so we were scrambling to come up with something and my daughter said "How about tacos?" And we thought, why not? And everyone loved it though it's not what we would ever have dreamed of having. So now it's Christmas Tacos for us! (There was a bit more involved but you can get the gist of it :) And someday I hope to spend a Christmas in Australia - would love to experience the different-ness of it!

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  3. Oh, it looks like a wonderful places to spend the holidays! I am looking forward to spend the season in the cold weather. I am flying to New York tomorrow. I am hoping to see lights, decorations and markets just like you. #TPThursday

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    1. Have a blast, Ruth! I have never been to New York at Christmastime but my daughter just moved there and I'm hoping to make it next year to see all the lights, decorations and markets, too!

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  4. What a fabulous place to spend Christmas - the snow (I love snow at Christmas but we hardly ever get it in the area of the UK where I live)and those lights are fantastic. Vail - has heated pavements???? wow And an oxygen bar?? I need to visit - its going on my bucket list of places I want to spend Christmas. #weekendwanderlust

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    1. I loved Christmas Eve in Vail - and wish I could afford to stay there. But, alas, our budget wouldn't allow it. But it is beautiful town to visit at Christmas (and the rest of the year for that matter!)

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  5. Vail looks cozy! Never been to winter destinations in the US. #wkendtravelinspiration

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    1. Colorado is a very good winter destination for the US - they know how to do winter! Thanks for stopping by The Unpaved Road!

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  6. If I were in Colorado in winter, I would think snow sports. However, your photos show an amazing array of colorful night lights on everything from a city hall to the botanic gardens. I'm all into artistic displays.

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    1. Me, too - especially the older I get. Not sure why. There were plenty of winter sports offerings (ice skating in Denver and Vail and skiing - which my kids did - but I passed as it was -1 outside!) I stuck with the Oxygen Bar as my unique experience.

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  7. Your photos are beautiful. I have never had a white Christmas, it looks so lovely.

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    1. it is beautiful and what songs are made of! Thanks for visiting, Lyn!

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