Around every corner in Aspen lies beautiful architecture, fine shops, restaurants, and lodges. There are very few towns in Colorado that are known for upscale, sporty fun like Aspen.
Located at an elevation of 7,908′ adjacent to some of the most beautiful mountains in the state, Aspen is an outdoor paradise. It’s urban yet secluded, with plenty of wilderness to explore and about 7,004 residents as of 2020.
Roaring Fork river nearby provides cliff jumping, rafting, and fishing opportunities. The Pitkin County town is also known for decadent restaurants, family-oriented ski lodges, historical sites, and many different local arts attractions. It is also home to Sport Obermeyer, a historic outdoor clothing maker.
Like much of Colorado’s westward mountain expansion towns, Aspen’s origins are strewn throughout the ashes of the once-thriving silver mining industries. But Aspen has always had something special about it. It’s not just another pioneer town peppered with colorful mining history.
Instead, Aspen has evolved from being a settlement of miners ignoring warnings of potential conflicts with the Ute tribes of the area, to the United State’s most productive silver-mining region in the early 1890s. Over the next 130 years, Aspen’s rollercoaster history led it to its current state, where, according to Zillow, the average home price is around $2.2 million.
Arts – The most popular cultural stop in Aspen is the Aspen Art Museum, which regularly hosts new, unique exhibits. The Red Brick Center for the Arts holds a close second to that title and is an excellent choice for those who want a more cerebral stop on their vacation.
Aspen/Snowmass Ski Resorts– Aspen offers four unique mountains for skiing and snowboarding: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk. In the summer you can find an array of alpine recreation at the ski resorts.
Maroon Bells Scenic Area – It’s probably the most photographed spot in Colorado. Recreation like camping, fishing, and hiking are popular here at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area. There is also hiking into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
Roaring Fork River – This raging river runs through downtown Aspen. It’s popular for fishing and even cliff jumping at Devil’s Punchbowl. Rafting on the Roaring Fork River is quite epic too, with fierce whitewater earlier in the season at Aspen, and more mild family trips down by Glenwood Springs.
Silver Circle – Aspen’s Silver Circle Ice Rink is a wonderful place to skate. The picturesque outdoor rink is open during the winter season. Come summer, Silver Circle transforms into a miniature golf course.
Read more about the top things to do in Aspen.
In addition to world-class ski slopes, other winter activities include cross country skiing, dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and snow tubing. During the summer, hiking and horseback riding are common activities around Aspen. Aspen also has many different health spas for when it’s time to relax.
- Maroon Bells in the White River N.F. has three well-maintained campgrounds.
- Situated about 14 miles east of Basalt on Frying Pan Rd, Ruedi Reservoir has four campgrounds.
- Backcountry camping can be found in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Make sure to obtain permits first.
- Read about camping near Aspen, Snowmass Village, and Basalt.
- Maroon Lake is about a ten-minute drive from town. It’s stocked with cutthroat trout.
- Crater Lake is a two-hour hike from Maroon Lake. Both lakes reside in the White River National Forest, with this one offering a more serene, secluded fishing experience.
- Read about the lakes and rivers to fish near Aspen.
- The 9.8-mile Government Trail is hugely popular among mountain bikers. Hikers can use it too, with backcountry camping available. It’s closed from May 15 to June 20 annually for elk calving.
- Hunter Creek trail is only a short drive from town and offers a 5-mile loop that is suitable for most hikers. It runs along a creek, with great views of the mountains and large wildflower fields in the forest.
- Read about the hiking trails near Aspen.
The Gant – An upscale 4-star hotel, The Gant is located a short walk from downtown.
Hotel Jerome – A historic 4.5-star luxury hotel built in 1889. It features 93 newly renovated guest rooms in downtown Aspen.
The Little Nell – This 5-star hotel is situated in the heart of town, minutes from all of Aspen’s attractions. The Little Nell opened in 1989 and features 92 luxury rooms.
St Regis – With probably the best location at the base of Aspen Mountain, the Saint Regis Aspen Resort is a true five-star property. It showcases 179 premiere rooms and great views of the mountains.
Viceroy Snowmass – This 4.5-star is the most luxurious property in Snowmass Village. The accommodation offers 179 suites, all beautifully appointed.
Viewline Resort Snowmass – Located in the heart of Snowmass Village, the 4-season getaway Viewline Resort is another upscale accommodation.
Aspen’s a foodie town. Local. Fresh. Organic. Your tummy will be treated well, just bring a fat wallet if you want to enjoy all the luxurious eateries around town. There are a few mountain towns with as many restaurants as Aspen, only Breck comes to mind.
When it comes to fine dining, it’s hard to find a Western town with more urbane tastes. Going to bars like the Library, Casa Tua, and the Sage Bar are great ways to kick off the night.
Red Onion – Historic saloon and restaurant in downtown Aspen. It’s the locals’ spot for a beer.
White House Tavern – Nestled in an old miner’s cottage, this tavern serves up delicious sandwiches and cocktails for any time of day.
Betula Aspen – A French Pan-American dining experience in a beautiful setting. Its sister restaurant is located all the way in St.Barth of the French West Indies.
J-Bar – Head to the historic Jerome Bar inside the 4.5-star Hotel Jerome for a laid-back night out on the town.
Read about the best bars in Aspen.
Jan – Winter X Games – Alone, they are the perfect excuse for visiting town, held every January in Aspen for over ten years. The world’s best winter athletes compete in extreme action sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The best part is that the competitions are open to the public and free to watch.
Mar – Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race – Epic ski mountaineering competition held annually in late February or early March.
Apr – Aspen Shortsfest – International short film festival featuring movies forty minutes or less, held in early April.
Jun – Aspen Fringe Festival – A 2-day event that celebrates performance art and highlights the work of a particular playwright.
Jun – Food & Wine Classic in Aspen – Food and wine lovers head to Aspen in the middle of June for this three-day event.
Jul-Aug – Aspen Music Festival – Throughout its summer season from July thru mid-August, the Aspen Music Festival and School host hundreds of classical music programs, from concerts to classes.
Sep – Aspen Filmfest – Founded in 1979, Aspen’s short film fest attracts visitors from all over in late September for this non-competitive, non-profit festival.
Dec – 12 Days of Aspen – A dozen holiday-themed days full of festivities at locations across town. Everybody gets in on the fun as Aspen welcomes the winter season each mid-December.
Read about the top events in Aspen.
Activities near Aspen
- Breathtaker Alpine Coaster (8mi)
- Buttermilk Summit Express Chair
- Elk Camp Gondola and Chair (8mi)
- Lost Forest Adventure Park (8mi)
- Silver Circle Mini Golf
- Silver Queen Gondola Ride
Cross Country Skiing:
- Capitol Peak
- Collegiate Peak Wilderness
- Crater Lake (10mi)
- Devil’s Punchbowl Swimming Hole (8mi)
- Grottos Trail to Ice Caves
- Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness
- Maroon Bells Scenic Area
- Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness
- Roaring Fork River
- Ruedi Reservoir (37mi)
- Snowmass Lake
- Weller Lake (7mi)
- White River National Forest
- Conundrum Hot Springs
- Glenwood Hot Springs Pool (41mi)
- Iron Mountain Hot Springs (42mi)
- Penny Hot Springs (43mi)
- Yampah Vapor Caves (45mi)
- Aspen Highlands Ski Resort
- Aspen Mountain Ski Resort
- Aspen Powder Tours
- Buttermilk Mountain Ski Resort
- Snowmass Mountain Ski Resort (8mi)
- Sunlight Mountain Resort (50mi)
- Snowmass Tubing Hill (8mi)
- Basalt (18mi)
- Carbondale (29mi)
- El Jebel (22mi)
- Glenwood Springs (41mi)
- Marble (58mi)
- Paonia (88mi)
- Redstone (45mi)
- Snowmass Village (8mi)
- Woody Creek (8mi)
- Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
- Blue Sky Limo DIA Airport Shuttle
- RFTA Roaring Fork Transportation Authority
- Ride Glenwood Springs
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