21+ Best Things to do in Steamboat Springs in Winter

Steamboat Springs is a frequent getaway for our family. While we absolutely love visiting in summer for the outdoor recreation, there are actually a lot of things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter with kids as well.

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From the typical ski town activities to digging in to some of the local events, there is still plenty to do outdoors. But I’ve also provided some great indoor options for if the weather is too crummy or cold.

No matter if you choose indoor or outdoor winter activities in Steamboat Springs, you’re sure to have a great time with the family!

Outdoor Things to do in Steamboat Springs in Winter

things to do in winter in Steamboat Springs include skiing: snow covered evergreens on a ski slope, blue sky with one giant puffy white cloud, 1 guy in distance skiing down

1. Ski or Snowboard

Visit in summer or fall and you’ll miss the great powder that Steamboat offers.

Colorado has some of the very best skiing in the country, and being in Steamboat is a real treat.

Steamboat Springs is home to 2 fantastic ski areas.

Howelsen Hill has been operating since 1915, making it the oldest operating resort on the continent. It is a smaller ski area whose main attraction is ski jumps.

It has attracted more than 100 Olympians to come and practice their skills. Howelsen provides about 50 acres of skiing on 17 trails.

Steamboat Ski Resort is the main resort in town. You’ll find 21 lifts (including 2 gondolas) and 171 trails to choose from. Your lodging may offer transportation, or you may be able to ride the free bus from where you are.

New to skiing or have young ones? You can sign up for ski school on the mountain. School lasts most of the day from 9-3. The youngest group will do a mix of ski lessons and indoor fun. As the groups get older, more time is spent skiing and less with various activities.

Adult ski school is offered as well.

2. Night Ski

Does Steamboat have night skiing?

Yep! You can get back on the slopes from 5:30 to 8:30 at Steamboat Resort for night skiing under the high tech lights. This is a fun way to pack in some skiing if you’ve spent the day on other activities.

Check out the night ski schedule.

Snowshoeing in Colorado in Winter, little girl pink snowsuit

3. Snowshoe with the Kids

Visiting Steamboat in winter provides fun opportunities like snowshoeing through the trees. After driving from Denver, this is a great way to get out and stretch and breathe in that fresh mountain air.

We love going to Rabbit Ears Pass and hitting the trails. But there are other areas you can snowshoe as well.

Howelsen Hill offers snowshoe trails as well, with a popular one being just beyond at Emerald Mountain (a BLM land), which is a medium-difficulty trail for snowshoeing.

Other snowshoeing locations that are great to bring kids along include the Lake Catamount Ski Touring Center, the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, or the Haymaker Golf Course just outside of downtown.

Grab top rated snowshoes before you head out.

And don’t forget snowshoes for the kids.

4. Cross Country (XC) Ski

Cross country skiing is another fun things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter with the family. This is especially fun if you have some hesitant downhill-skiers who want to get use to having skis on.

Check out Rabbit Ears for some great, forested trails. Some trails go on a while, but you can go as far as you’d like and turn around to keep it short for the kids.

You can find some XC trails all around Steamboat. The same places (listed above) that offer snowshoeing will offer XC as well.

snowmobiling in colorado

5. Snowmobile in Steamboat Springs in winter

This is one of the most fun winter activities in Steamboat Springs that we have done. When we stayed at the Steamboat Grand, we used their concierge to book a snowmobile tour for us. All we had to do is wear our winter gear and wait at the hotel entrance for a ride.

This is a fun family activity that most will be able to participate in. At Steamboat Snowmobile Tours you have to be 16 to drive the snowmobile, and passengers as young as 3 can ride with a driver 18+.

You’ll drive out to Rabbit Ears for some fresh powder on your 2 hour adventure.

6. Soak in the Hot Springs

Colorado has some really great hot springs, and some of the best are found right in Steamboat Springs.

While Glenwood Springs, a few hours away, has some of the most popular and largest springs, Steamboat has what has been named the most beautiful hot springs.

The most FUN hot springs for families will be right in town at Old Town Hot Springs. This recreation center has a nice outdoor hot springs area with pools and slides. It’s a great place for kids.

For a more relaxing environment, head up to Strawberry Hot Springs. Here you’ll find a beautiful, natural setting of hot spring pools for the ultimate relaxing experience. Kids will like this too, but it doesn’t scream “fun” like the other place.

Note that after dark is clothing optional at Strawberry Hot Springs. You must bring cash, and in the winter you’ll need a 4WD. You can also book a shuttle that can transfer you year-round.

large tree lit with Christmas lights, next to the Steamboat Springs courthouse

7. Attend an Event

Just because it’s winter in Steamboat doesn’t mean the fun stops. In fact, there are plenty of fun events and festivals during the winter. Here are just a few:

Winter Wonderfest brings in a ton of fun with bluegrass concerts, craft beers, drinks, coffee, and food trucks in March every year.. Kids will love the Town Hall Kids Zone where a giant heated tent will provide hours of fun, activities, and face painting.

Cardboard Classic is a great, unique event in Steamboat that is lots of fun for the family. Teams compete to create a sled out of cardboard (very impressive sleds, too!), and then race them down a run at the ski resort. This happens every April at Steamboat Ski Area.

Winter Carnival is a huge community event that comes around each February. Here, tons of snow is packed onto Lincoln (the Main Street of Steamboat) to create a ground of racing and events. Watch kids ski behind horses, a nordic sprint, ski joring, and more.

Saturday night, look to Howelsen Hill to see the lighted man with fireworks shooting off as he skis down.

You can also attend the Tree Lighting at the courthouse the weekend that follows Thanksgiving. Enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa. He leaves his sleigh at the North Pole and rides in one a Fire Truck instead.

8. Winter Hike to Fish Creek Falls

While there are many winter hikes you can do in Steamboat, getting to Fish Creek Falls will be quicker and easier with kids.

Come winter, this waterfall freezes over. It’ll only take a short walk down to the lookout, and then a steep but short walk back up to the car.

9. Go Snow Tubing

What better way to enjoy winter in Steamboat Springs with the kids than to go snow tubing?

This is a fun, classic pastime that is still enjoyed greatly, and you have a couple choices in Steamboat of where to go.

Saddleback Ranch offers snow tubing for families beginning each December. Ride up to the top on your tube, then fly down one of three hills back to the bottom. Your ticket comes with 2 hours of tubing.

Everyone can participate, but 4 and under must ride with an adult.

Howelsen Hill also offers tubing. It’s less money, but only comes with 1 hour. You must be 36″ to participate, and lap riding is not permitted. However, if you meet all those requirements, it’s pretty convenient to get here as it’s right in the downtown area.

a short, wide sledding area covered in snow, two evergreens in the background, a couple people standing on the snow

10. Go Sledding

Another of the great things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter with kids is go sledding.

We, once again, loved sledding in Rabbit Ears. We actually brought sleds along on our snowshoe journey and found a great clearing with a hill along the trail.

This was a lot of fun being in the wilderness a bit, though we actually weren’t terribly far from the car.

You can also take the kids to the community sledding hill at Howelsen Park. Head to 5th street and cross over the the parking lot by the rodeo arena. Then, enjoy this free hill for as long as you’d like!

11. Take a Sleigh Ride

Sleigh Rides are exciting all winter in Colorado, and Steamboat offers a high-quality ride around.

Glide through the Yampa Valley as two beautiful draft horses pull you and the family along on a sleigh ride.

You’ll begin at Haymaker with appetizers, and then climb aboard the sleigh and bundle under the blankets. The ride is just under 30 minutes through the area as you watch the sun sink and color the sky above.

Upon your return, you’ll get to sit down and enjoy a fabulous dinner that offers kid-friendly options as well.

colorful hot air balloon floating above brown grass, with green mountain behind

It’s fall in this photo, but the balloons go year round.

12. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Wild West Adventures has a great hot air balloon company in Steamboat Springs. Families with kids as young as 6 are able to ride.

It comes at a steep price, but if you mainly entertain yourselves with free things to do around the area, then perhaps your budget can accommodate this experience.

Wild West Adventures launches every morning (weather permitting) year-round, so it’s the perfect winter activity in Steamboat Springs for families.

We often see the balloons riding high in the sky from our hotel room in Steamboat and it’s beautiful watching the colorful flights over the mountain.

night time with a glowing ice rink in the middle of a ski village, a few people on the rink enjoying things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter

13. Ice Skating

Steamboat Springs hosts a couple great, quaint outdoor ice rinks.

The first is between the Howelsen ice arena and the rodeo grounds. It’s open all day until 10 pm, though getting there early or late will help with ice conditions, as opposed to the middle of the day.

This rink does not rent skates, so you can bring your own or you can go into the ice arena to borrow some.

Skeeter’s Ice Rink is a picturesque rink in the middle of Steamboat Square at the resort. It’s located at the bottom of the gondola with beautiful open walkways through the ski village all around.

Winter is decorated with lights all around the plaza, making a lovely ambiance for skating. We love warming up by the fire pits around.

Using the rink is free, but if you need to rent skates it’s $20-$25/hour. Bring your own, if you have them.

Indoor Things to do in Steamboat in Winter for Families

14. Ice Skating (indoors)

One of the best things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter with kids (or really anywhere, with anyone!) is to go ice skating.

Head to the Howelsen for an indoor option at the Howelsen Ice Complex. The rink goes through a rotation of ice activities like hockey, figure skating, and broomball, so make sure to check the schedule for public skate times.

This is open in summer as well, but makes a nice winter activity if it’s too cold to brave the outdoors.

15. Ice Bumper Cars

One of the winter activities in Steamboat that deserves its own mention is the Ice Bumper Cars. While it is available year round, it goes with the theme of cold and ice, so I’m going to throw it in here.

The Howelsen Ice Complex is one of the only places you can go to participate in this unique activity. You must reserve your spot ahead of time (according to the same schedule linked in the above section).

Then, show up a little early and get ready for a fun, family, indoor activity in Steamboat Springs!

16. Go to the Library

Maybe this isn’t on your vacation radar, but the Steamboat Springs Bud Werner Memorial Library library is pretty cool and any bookworm in the family will especially enjoy it.

Cozy up with a cup of coffee from the cafe and enjoy the views out to the Yampa River. It may be the most scenic book hub you’ve been to, and it’s perfect for a rainy or cold, snowy day.

Located at 1289 Lincoln Avenue

exterior of a bookstore in steamboat springs, looking up to the outside sign that reads "off the beaten path" with three lights hanging out over the sign

17. Visit the Local Bookstore

If you need another cozy book option, visit Off the Beaten Path in the downtown area. This place feels warm and welcoming when you arrive. Grab a snack or hot chocolate inside and browse plenty of fun, popular books of all genres.

My daughter found some great books she enjoyed during some downtime on one of our trips. We loved the selection and popular authors featured.

Support this small, local business as you purchase your fun finds and bring them along.

close up of the back of someone's bowling shoes as they stand at the end of a lane, about to bowl

18. Go Bowling

Rack up a few strikes at Snow Bowl Steamboat. Take the kids for a fun, indoor activity during the winter in Steamboat Springs with a day of bowling. Rates are per-hour per-lane, not per-person.

In addition to bowling, you’ll find different events and themes. Enjoy Cosmic nights when the place is dark, yet glowing, or enjoy free music concerts.

Snow Bowl is located just beyond town along highway 40.

Located at 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza

19. Enjoy an Evening of Music

While “concert in the park” is always a fun event to look forward to, winter in Steamboat Springs limits how many outdoor concerts arrive.

Instead, look to a few indoor locations for catching some music.

As just noted, Snow Bowl hosts musicians fairly often, so you can enjoy music and bowling in one go. Check out the upcoming live music schedule.

A popular place in town to hang out with some tunes is Schmiggity’s, though it’s not really geared for families. The tunes usually start at 9pm on the weekends, which coincides with our kids bedtimes. 🙂

Other interests like karaoke, dance lessons, and guitar are featured as well on week nights.

Strings Pavillion is a great place for music in Steamboat Springs. They offer music in performance settings.

More concerts and performances come through during the summer, but you’ll still see a few during winter in Steamboat.

20. Go Rock Climbing at Old Town Hot Springs

Head indoors at Old Town Hot Springs to the recreation area. Inside you’ll find fitness classes, a spa, and fitness center.

But you’ll also have access to a huge climbing wall, making the perfect way to spend a winter day in Steamboat Springs. This makes the perfect family activity as there is no age limit, though climbers do need to be at least 25 pounds.

The climbing wall is an impressive 37 feet tall, perfect for all ages to enjoy.

And if you are there on a Tuesday evening, you can participate and improve during one of the climbing classes on site.

21. Catch a Movie

Located off Mt. Werner Circle you’ll find Steamboat Springs’ Wildhorse 6 Stadium movie theater. This cinema keeps the latest and greatest current feature films rolling through.

You’ll enjoy stadium seating and advance-purchase option tickets with reserved seats.

Tip: If you’re around on a Tuesday, you can watch the big screen for reduced prices.

22. Enjoy a cultural show at the Chief (Future Opening)

The final, coolest thing to do in Steamboat Springs in the winter is to head to the Chief Theater located right on Lincoln Avenue downtown. However, you can’t see anything at this moment.

We’ve walked into the Chief in the past when it was operating and felt like we’ve walked into another world. Though right on main street, you walk in and feel a secluded energy of being taken away.

The Chief isn’t open at the moment because it’s going through some renovations to bring a variety of cultural shows and performing arts to the area. But when it does open, this needs to be on your list.

Enjoy shows, plays, music, and more at this classic landmark in Steamboat Springs. Stay up to date on the progress and future opening of The Chief.

What to Pack to Visit Steamboat Springs in Winter

In addition to the typical clothes, toiletries, etc that you typically pack, here are a few other items that will really help you have a great time in Steamboat during your winter visit.

Here’s what to bring if you have the space. It will help you save money from renting a bunch of equipment, but if you don’t have space, you can always rent skis, boards, sleds, and ice skates.

  • Winter Coat
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Hand Warmers (if you need extra warmth!)
  • Winter Boots
  • Socks
  • Base Layer (if you get cold easily)
  • Swimsuit
  • Snowshoes
  • Sneakers (for indoor activities like rock climbing)
  • Skis / Snowboard (and gear: goggles, helmet, poles)
  • Sled
  • Ice Skates

Tip: Steamboat has a Walmart and a Ski Haus, so if you forget any winter gear or equipment, you can find it in town.


Where to Stay in Steamboat Springs in Winter

I always recommend the Steamboat Grand any time of year. This place is huge, comfortable, has great heated pools (even in winter!) and hot tubs, and offers options to fit a large group in one unit with a kitchen and living area (option).

But it’s especially great in winter because the Steamboat Grand is located just a couple minutes’ walk from the ski resort.

If you need to rent ski equipment, you can do so right at the hotel. Then, they will store it across the street right by the resort so you don’t have to lug all the equipment around.

Our Pick
grand entry way to hotel, steps leading up to sitting area with poinsettia tree

Steamboat Grand

  • Year Round Heated Pool (and hot tubs)
  • Full Spa
  • Fitness Center
  • Basic to multi-level apartment-style units
  • On Site Ski Rental
  • For Large units, book direct
  • For basic rooms, earn rewards booking with link below

*Earn rewards with link above by signing up for a free hotels.com account and start earning free nights!

Things to do in Steamboat Springs in Winter for Families

As you can see, winter is a great time to visit Steamboat Springs! Whether you like to ski or not, you can fill your days with fun for the whole family.

Which of these best things to do in Steamboat Springs in winter with the kids are you looking forward to most?

I love a day in the cold snow, enjoying the outdoor activities, and then a dip in a warm hot spring.

But it is especially fun to catch one of the town’s fun, local events if you’re in town.

So pick your favorites and enjoy your winter getaway in Steamboat Springs.

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Best Free Things to do in Steamboat Springs

Why the Steamboat Grand is Perfect for Families

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pinnable images of Winter Activities in Steamboat Springs for Families; little girl in pink snowsuit with adult in snowpants and white parka, snowshoeing on a packed down trail

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