Ever wondered what it's like inside a giant castle of ice?
The Dillon Ice Castles are a great excuse for a road trip to the mountains, a fun family outing, a night out with friends, a date, or an exciting activity to do on your ski vacation in Summit County.
These man-made structures are truly a sight to see as they as solely created from ice.
Before trekking up to see the Dillon Ice Castles though, we have a few simple (yet easily overlooked) recommendations to follow in order to make the most out of your visit.
Buy Your Tickets in Advance
The Ice Castles are known to sell out, especially on weekends. Book your tickets online in advance so you are guaranteed entrance. The last thing you want is to get to these enchanting castles and be denied entrance because they are sold out. Ticketing is organized by time, so buying your tickets in advance is also helpful so you don’t end up waiting around to enter, or worse, missing your time window. Tickets are also cheaper if you purchase them online.
What is timed ticketing? Upon purchasing a ticket you will be asked to choose a 30-minute time window to enter the castles. You must enter within your allotted time slot, otherwise, you will not be admitted entrance. Once you have entered the castles, you are free to stay as long as you wish, but once you exit, there is no re-entry. Most visitors generally spend between 30 minutes to an hour at the castles.
Are They Open? (Seriously!)
The Ice Castles are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so they don't make for a great mid-week adventure unless you enjoy looking through a fence. The Ice Castles are not open in the morning. They until 12 pm on weekends and 4 pm on weekdays.
Like the Breckenridge Ice Sculptures, these things don’t last forever (but seriously, Breckenridge could have kept the sculptures up for at least a week right?). The Dillon Ice Castles are scheduled to close their doors for the season on March 9th. This is their scheduled closing date, but weather can always factor in that changing.
What to Wear
Yes, you want to look cute for your frosty photo op...but keep in mind that these castles are MADE OF ICE. Be prepared because they are cold! If you want to make the most out of your time in the castles, warm clothes are going to give you the best opportunity to experience them as a whole without wanting to go running for warmth.
Here’s what we recommend to wear:
- Snow Boots: The ground is snowy and slushy, so regular shoes will not keep your toes warm. Cold toes = cold everything. If you don’t want to wear snow boots, at least wear shoes with some grip so you don’t slip.
- Beanie/winter hat: Warmth escapes from your head, so a good winter hat is the foundation for a warm (and stylish) winter outfit.
Need a cute hat for your Ice Castles visit? Everything Colorado has a wide variety of beanies starting at $15.00.
- Winter Coat: A sweater is probably not going to do it for you at the ice castles...unless you are wearing many layers. You can always take your coat off for a photo, but you definitely do not want to leave it in the car.
- Optional: Snow Pants, scarf, gloves/mittens, and feet/hand warmers. If you want to securely walk into the ice castles with confidence in your warmth, these items are a good idea. Snow Pants are great because the ice castles have slides, seats, and tunnels that you can interact with.
Are the slides and tunnels worth it?
If you are an adult, most likely you are going to take a look at the slides and the ice tunnels and ask yourself, “Is it really worth it for me to get on my hands and knees and crawl into a small ice cave? Do I really want to slide down a slab of ice? I don’t know if it’s worth it.”
The simple answer, YES, IT IS WORTH IT. You are at the ice castles, now is the time to take in the whole experience and have some fun with it. The tunnels and caves are really neat to experience, and the slide is actually extremely fun! So, if you are not accustomed to getting down on your hands and knees to crawl around in the snow, yes snow pants or at least gloves are a great idea.
Avoid the Crowds
Like every good Instagram, many times when you see pictures of people visiting the ice castles those pictures are missing one significant thing: the crowds. As always, weekends are going to be much busier than weekdays for a visit, so if you want to do endless laps on the ice slide, visit on a Monday or Thursday.
Day or Night?
This one is up to you! In the day time, you will have some incredible natural lighting and deep blue ice for the inevitable photo shoots that are bound to take place. At night, you get to enjoy the fun colored LED lights that light up the Ice Castles as well as a dark sky full of mountain stars to gaze at on a clear night. Pictures taken at night will most likely result in a silhouette of you unless you use the flash.
Do you want to experience both day and night? Book your entrance time window just before sunset so you can be inside the ice castles for both.
What to do after?
Warm up! After experiencing the Ice Castles we highly recommend to head on inside to warm up with a delicious cup of hot chocolate at Cameez. You won’t need directions, it is very close and walkable (just follow the signs at the exit). If you are over 21 and tend to warm up better with tequila, we recommend heading into Tacos Tequila for a large margarita.
If you are looking to continue the fun for the evening, the Ice Castles are located just across the street from Lakeside Bowl as well. I mean, who doesn’t love a good game of bowling?
Now that you know the ins and outs of the Ice Castles, go get that picture perfect moment to share with the world and tag us in your Dillon Ice Castle photos @everythingcoloradoco.
Good To Know
Occassionally the ice castles will put on special performances including live concerts, dancing violinists, fire twirlers, and light shows. Keep an eye out on their website for all upcoming events and performances.
Have any other Ice Castles questions? Leave a comment below or check out the Dillon Ice Castles Frequently Asked Questions.