Ever since I bought my Rocky Mountain Super Pass (a ski pass, for the uninitiated), I’ve been dying to visit Steamboat Springs, CO.
Dan and I went to Crested Butte last year, which is where I had my first (and only to date) ski lesson. It was only my second time skiing—the first time being quite the chaotic introduction to this beloved Colorado winter sport.
Anyway, Crested Butte is one of the ski resorts that offers a few included days with the Rocky Mountain Super Pass (RMSP). Crested Butte is about five hours away from Denver, so ideally, you go for a weekend and use up your ski days for the year.
Likewise, Steamboat Springs Ski Resort is pushing three hours from Denver—or six if you were us on our way back home in god-love-it Colorado weekend traffic. Both Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs offer some of the country’s best skiing at a reasonable driving distance from Denver. Steamboat Springs also has an airport if you can afford the direct flight (no need for TSA Precheck in these short security lines)!
Though there is some question as to what the Rocky Mountain Super Pass will offer in the future (thanks to a bunch of recent acquisitions with participating mountains), passes are technically already on sale for the next season—so you should be able to use yours to visit Steamboat Springs for the next season!
Although I fell in love with Crested Butte’s beautiful winter wonderland last year, I think it’s safe to say that Steamboat Springs stole me away without even a glance back this year.
Besides (and ok, including) the famous Steamboat hot springs, here are seven things to do in Steamboat Springs:
Steamboat Springs Lodging
As of this writing, the Rocky Mountain Super Pass grants passholders anywhere between a 20-30% discount on lodging, depending on the length of your stay. This might be the best value if you plan on shredding pow and not much else while considering various things to do in Steamboat Springs.
Of course, if you’re not phased by the cost, staying at the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort will also give you easy access to the downtown, via the free bus stop located here. If you plan to swing back one too many on the lifts but want to go out to the bars for your apres-ski, it’s easy to do from the resort.
Although both Dan and I have a RMSP, we rented an Airbnb condo on the free Steamboat Springs ski resort bus line. If you’re looking for a good deal, you might also check availability for local Steamboat Springs lodging options on Groupon Getaways. As advertised, this place was only 5 minutes or so to the resort—and just a tad longer going back on the same route.
It was about $500/couple for three nights and we had so much space. We were also fairly close to the downtown—but not in an easily walkable way (more on that in a moment). We had a hot tub in our rented condo complex: it seems like a common amenity when it comes to Steamboat Springs rentals.
Renting a condo is nice because you can stock up on food (yay kitchen) and save yourself some money otherwise spent going out to eat (the food in Steamboat Springs is nothing special). Condo rentals also tend to have washer/dryer units, which can be extremely useful after a messy ski day.
Steamboat Springs Transportation Options
During the day, our primary transportation was the Steamboat Ski Resort free bus that operated between our condo neighborhood and the resort. We took Uber/Lyft at night, so that everyone could unwind after the day’s shredding and enjoy adult beverages.
If you’d prefer to begin and end your ski day in your own car, you’ll be happy to know that Steamboat Springs Ski Resort does offer a free parking lot—so that’s definitely an option.
I don’t think there are a whole lot of Uber drivers in Steamboat Springs. Either that or they were just completely overwhelmed during the Winter Carnival we just happened to be in town at the same time as. The average Uber was $12-15 between our condo and the downtown. Fares jumped to $30+ to get back to our condo in the evening, just a few miles away, during the climax of the festivities.
Fun fact: In Steamboat Springs, you can order an “Uber Ski”, big enough to hold all of your party’s ski and snowboarding gear!
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort & Steamboat Springs Lift Tickets
Of all the things to do in Steamboat Springs, you really have to give the slopes a try!
Although I can’t speak from experience, I’m sure the true allure of Steamboat Springs is the fact that it’s mostly made up of black diamond runs. You could really go crazy seeing how badass your ski skills are, here.
While you’re in the zone, why not show off with a fancy travel tank top? I’d recommend our “Snow SL,UT” tank.
Here’s the Women’s Salt Lake City Utah “Snow Slut” Tank:
But if you’re a total beginner—fear not. There are lessons and tons of easy greens. Just make sure to set up lessons well in advance of your trip. They tend to book up fast, especially during winter weekends in the prime of ski season.
If you have the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, you’ll get four days of Steamboat Springs lift tickets included—definitely enough for a long weekend. Even if you don’t want to ski every day, you can use your passes to ride the gondola, which is quite a fun feature of this ski resort.
Steamboat Hot Springs
It’s literally in the name—Steamboat hot springs are worth adding to your list of things to do in Steamboat Springs.
There are two Steamboat hot springs and they seriously couldn’t be more different:
- Old Town Hot Springs: More like a heated public pool than a relaxing place to soothe your muscles after a gnarly day on the mountain. There are tons of kids, which means that the water quality is questionable at best. That said, it also means that there are water slides. This place costs $18 per person, with a cheaper ticket ($10) if you come near the end of the night or if you add on a hot springs service to a spa visit. Bring some quarters—the lockers are coin operated!
- Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs: Basically where you should go if you want to get a tight Insta shot. It’s absolutely gorgeous here. But if you don’t have a car with four wheel drive, you’ll get f*cked with the $45 per person (round trip + admission) shuttle that’s about to brave the rough terrain. Get there on your own and it’s just $15 per person (cash only)—clothes optional after nightfall. You’ll honestly probably find that clothes are optional at any time of day, as there’s just one crowded changing hut on the premises—and many kids and adults awkwardly trying to change just about everywhere else.
In either case at either place, you’ll find your Steamboat hot springs experience enhanced by remembering to bring flip flops, a towel, and honestly? A robe. You’ll also benefit from changing into your swimsuit ahead of time—at least when it comes to Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs.
Steamboat Springs Restaurants Possibly Worth Visiting
After a day of skiing or steaming, you’re bound to get hungry. And definitely dehydrated—make sure to stay on top of that while at high altitude (especially when you add drinking to the mix).
At Old Town Hot Springs, I found a coupon book that included awesome deals for many restaurants and things to do in Steamboat Springs. Look for it at touristy places around town to make your trip a little easier on the wallet!
While in Steamboat Springs, our group checked out:
- Mountain Tap Brewery: Tons of delicious beers on tap. Come by for some wood fired pizza then bring home the leftovers to mop up tomorrow’s hangover. It’s a great vocal point for seeing the Winter Carnival’s star attraction: the lighted man (jump to the bottom to see WTF that is).
- Vaqueros: A pretty standard Mexican place. A good crowd pleaser. They make their own (hoof) tequila.
- Steamboat Smokehouse: A decent BBQ place—definitely try to grab a reservation if you intend to go on a busy weekend night! The cheese curds and coleslaw were on point but mac ‘n’ cheese was noticeably missing from the menu.
Note that just about all things to do in Steamboat Springs, including the aforementioned restaurants, can be pricey compared to what you’re used to. When visiting Steamboat Springs, you have to realize that it’s a resort town and they’re pricing everything with a certain type of customer in mind.
Things to do in Steamboat Springs: Everything Else
I’ve already shared enough things to do in Steamboat Springs that your upcoming trip may be basically already planned.
If you have a little extra time on your hands, consider the following things to do in Steamboat Springs:
- Go shopping. You’ll notice signs for M. Light & Sons all over the highway (and even one encouraging you to turn around as you leave!). They offer all sorts of Western wear but even if you’re not interested in that, they also have a ton of great Steamboat Springs souvenirs at somewhat reasonable prices. The downtown actually has a lot of cute shopping, if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Book a spa day. As with ski lessons, the earlier you do this ahead of time, the better your chance of getting the date and time you want!
- Come for a festival. We were there during the Winter Carnival, where we got to watch a skier (the “lighted man”) complete a run lit up with LED lights shooting fireworks out of his back. Definitely not something you see every day! They had a bunch of other fun stuff going on, too.
via Digital Alex
- Get outdoorsy. You don’t have to ski to enjoy the beautiful scenery that Steamboat Springs has to offer. Other totally legit options: snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and horseback riding.
- Visit a dispensary. Why not? It’s legal in Colorado.
Steamboat Hot Springs & 7 Other Things to do in Steamboat Springs
I visited Steamboat Springs during a particularly rough few weeks, almost dreading having a trip like this planned amidst the negativity. It took no time for Steamboat to work it’s healing magic on me—taking me out of my pain for what I’ll look back on as an amazing weekend trip.
Whether you could use the break, or actually really need it, look through this list of things to do in Steamboat Springs to get you pumped about planning a mountain retreat!
What would you add to this list of things to do in Steamboat Springs? Tweet at @tanksgetaround and we’ll share your insider tips!