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Courtesy of the Town of Silverthorne

First Timer’s Guide: Silverthorne

If you’ve been treating Silverthorne as a mere outlet-mall shopping destination or a quick rest-stop on the way to Vail or Breckenridge, it’s time to take another look.

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Big things are coming to Silverthorne—namely, a Main Street of sorts. Fourth Street Crossing, a pedestrian-friendly downtown area, does not yet have an opening date, but once open it will provide new food, drink, and entertainment options for residents. The forthcoming district should also appeal to travelers who treat Silverthorne as a mere stopover on the way to ski resorts. Don’t ignore the mountain town while anxiously waiting for Fourth Street Crossing to go from rendering to real-life, though. Gorgeous vistas, low-traffic hiking areas—plus a new brewery and a fantastic Mexican carniceria—all offer ample reason to extend your pit stop a few extra hours or more.

The Odometer: 67 miles (about an hour and a half drive from Denver—barring ski traffic), one-way

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Arts and Culture

Though outlet malls take up much of the space in Silverthorne, the town is making room for the arts, too. First Friday celebrations began in February, offering a bevy of cultural pools in which to dip your toes, like a performance by UpRooted Band with Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root and a premiere of Stay Tuned, a film featuring Colorado Olympians Red Gerard and Kyle Mack. (Find future happenings on the town’s event calendar).

Plus, the Lake Dillon Theatre Company received a pretty sweet 25th birthday present this year: A brand new stage. The $9 million Performing Arts Center officially opened in June, moving the year-round performances from the professional theater group smack dab in the middle of Silverthorne. Three performance spaces reside within the new building, and rotating art exhibits show off an assortment of Colorado creatives’ work. This year, get tickets for Constellations, a two-person play fusing quantum physics and romance, which runs from November 23 to December 16 (Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake, which recently played at Denver’s Curious Theatre Company, opens March 15, 2019).

Get Outside

snowshoe
Photo courtesy of the Town of Silverthorne

If you just can’t bear to spend another second staring at taillights, Silverthorne is an ideal park-and-ride anchor on the way to Summit County’s ski resorts. Hop aboard the Summit Stage bus, which can transport you and your winter gear to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Keystone Resort, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge Ski Resort. (You may still encounter traffic, but at least you won’t be the one behind the wheel.)

Your quest for winter fun needn’t bring you outside Silverthorne, though. The Nordic Center at the Raven at Three Peaks is open December through March to cross-country skiers and snowshoers, who can shake winter’s chill in the Clubhouse with a glass of complimentary tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Rent snowshoes or other gear from Wild Ernest Ski Shop before exploring the snow-covered front- and back-nines. For a challenge outside the Nordic Center, attempt Acorn Creek Trail, which starts 10 miles north of Silverthorne and takes you to the summit of Ute Peak. When conditions allow, take the family ice skating at North Pond Park.

Eat & Drink

Sauce on the Blue
Don’t miss Sauce on the Blue’s hearty pies. Photo courtesy of Sauce on the Blue

Sunshine Cafe is the go-to place for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, but for a lighter option, try Red Buffalo. This little coffee shop plays with trendy latte flavors (the turmeric latte is a favorite) and serves monstrous, buttery croissants and hearty, avocado-topped bagels.

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Arguably Silverthorne’s best dining secret, Carniciera La Perla, hides within a grocery store along Blue River Parkway. Make a beeline for a plate of tender carnitas with warm corn tortillas and the requisite pile of refried beans and rice, plus a side of “elote” (corn), if you have room. A salsa bar lets you control just how spicy you want your tacos. If you’re craving carbs, stop by Sauce on the Blue. Get there early: The daily happy hour (3 to 5:30 p.m.) includes $6 small plates, such as fried ravioli and bruschetta, plus half-price scratch-made pizzas.

Finally, a visit to Angry James Brewery is essentially a two-for-one. Owner A.J. Brinkerhoff first began brewing his own beer in his Denver garage before opening a Silverthorne location in January. Try the Two Tone Footer Stout, which incorporates coffee beans from aforementioned Red Buffalo coffee shop. And be sure to check out Cultivate, a small eatery operating from the brewery’s catering kitchen, which serves sandwiches piled high with locally sourced ingredients, such as roasted beets.

Shopping

The Outlets at Silverthorne include enough stores to satisfy every type of shopper. Need new jeans? Try the Guess, Lucky Brand, or Levis outlets. After a piece of outdoor gear? Stop by the Eddie Bauer or Columbia Sportswear outlets. Curious about just how many dried meat variations can exist? Visit the Beef Jerky Outlet (really). Check here for a full list of options and store hours.

If You Do One Thing…

Silverthorne
Courtesy of the Town of Dillon / Valor McNeely

Ok, ok, so the Ice Castles in Dillon aren’t technically located in Silverthorne. But just a five minute drive brings you to the stunning display, back for its second season this year (opening dates were not yet released as of press time). Artists spend weeks creating the castles, which can reach up to 40 feet tall and use a total of 25 million pounds of ice. Translation: You’re walking through a real-life winter wonderland.

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