Things to do in Aspen

Things to do in  Aspen

High class at high altitudes

Long a favorite of snow-seeking celebrities and other jet setters, Aspen is Colorado’s poshest ski resort, with acclaimed restaurants, upscale shopping, and the high-altitude price tags to match. Beyond its four mountains of world-class terrain, Aspen is also a cultural destination with a focus on arts and sustainability. When the snow melts, the stunning scenery of Independence Pass and Maroon Bells—where a jagged crest of peaks are reflected in an alpine lake—makes Aspen an irresistible summertime destination, with plenty of things to do.

All about Aspen

When to visit

Colorado’s famously fluffy powder usually blankets Aspen from November to mid-April, with winter’s best conditions generally arriving December–February. Playing in the snow isn’t Aspen’s only draw: There is also world-class hiking, cycling, and festivals throughout the warmer months. Following a season-long lineup of music and other events, September brings cooler nights and the 3-day Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival.

Getting around

It’s easy to navigate Aspen without a car, relying instead on a network of Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) buses and off-road cycling paths. The downtown Aspen Pedestrian Mall—where many shops and galleries are located—is closed to vehicles, and strolling there is a favorite for locals and visitors. Some hiking trails are within walking distance of town, but to reach farther-flung destinations it’s helpful to have a car. Rentals are available at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport.

Traveler tips

Even in tony Aspen you can find affordable fun. On some summer Saturdays, students from the Aspen Music Festival and School offer open-air classical music performances atop Aspen Mountain. The music is free, but you’ll need a gondola ticket to get to the top. Also free? The John Denver Sanctuary that’s a tribute to the musician who penned “Rocky Mountain High,” with gardens and rocks inscribed with Denver’s own lyrics.

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People Also Ask

Is Aspen, Colorado worth visiting?

Yes. If you love being outdoors or enjoying fine dining, shopping, and wellness experiences in the mountains, Aspen is well worth a visit. Best known for its ski resorts, Aspen also has plenty of year-round attractions and activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and even music and film festivals.

How many days is enough for Aspen?

Whether you visit in winter, spring, summer, or fall, 4–5 days is the ideal length of time to spend in Aspen to take in all the attractions. Even if you don’t ski or hike, there’s plenty to do here, including relaxing, visiting museums, exploring the historic town center, and enjoying world-class dining.

What can you do in Aspen if you don’t ski?

While Aspen may be best known for its skiing, non-skiers don’t have to miss out on all the fun. There are plenty of other winter activities here, including snowcat stargazing and dinner tours, dog sledding, ice skating, tubing, and even an alpine coaster, as well as a world-famous après scene.

Why is Aspen so popular?

Aspen has enjoyed a boom in popularity over the last few decades, especially among celebrities. The stunning mountain scenery is a big draw, as are the iconic ski resorts, but there are also luxury lodges, fine dining, upmarket shopping, festivals, and plenty of other attractions that keep people coming back year after year.

What month is best to visit Aspen?

Aspen may have plenty to offer visitors all year, but the prime time to visit is between December and February. Not only are the conditions perfect for hitting the slopes, but the town shines brightest then, too, with the lodges, restaurants, and lodges warmed by roaring fires and twinkling lights.

Is Aspen or Vail more luxurious?

Aspen and Vail are two of the most popular ski resort towns in Colorado—however, Aspen is definitely the more luxurious of the two. Not only does it have a richer history and heritage, but it’s also a little more prestigious, with fewer people and more upmarket accommodation and dining options.

Frequently Asked Questions
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