Aspen is known for its premier skiing but Aspen blossoms in the summer with an abundance of festivals, events and outdoor activity. Check out the Aspen Chamber site for a calendar of events, recommended itineraries and activity options (https://aspenchamber.org).
WHERE TO START
Start at the base of Aspen Mountain. From here either take the Gondola to the top of the mountain or start a walking tour through town. The top of Aspen Mountain offers stunning views, trails for biking or hiking, kid’s activities, lunch at the Sundeck and Bluegrass concerts on Sundays. A stroll through town will take you by antique shops, art galleries, specialty boutiques, sports equipment and rental shops, a myriad of restaurants and eateries and entertainment options.
WHERE TO STAY
Lodging choices in Aspen range from resorts, bed & breakfast, condos or home rentals. The price range is extensive so where you stay can depend on your budget. The Little Nell Hotel (https://www.thelittlenell.com), located 675 E. Durant Ave, is the only 5-star, 5-diamond Aspen hotel and is a favorite of Aspen’s high-end clientele. Frias Properties of Aspen (www.friasproperties.com) offers budget friendly condos, private homes or luxury resort residences at multiple locations throughout Aspen. Condos or home rentals do give you the option of staying in and cooking for some of your meals, which is a money saver in Aspen.
WHAT TO EAT
Spring Cafe (https://www.springcafeaspen.com) is an excellent choice for breakfast. The menu consists of healthy options from breakfast bowls to pancakes to delicious egg dishes. For lunch, The White House Tavern (https://aspenwhitehouse.com) serves up delicious burgers and sandwiches along with a relaxed atmosphere. It is one of the oldest buildings in Aspen and was built in 1883.
One of my favorite dinner spots is the Meat & Cheese Restaurant (https://meatcheese.avalancheaspen.com) located on Hopkins Street. You will find homemade soups, freshly made sandwiches, tacos and a variety of “boards”. My favorite is the Meat & Cheese Board, which pairs wonderfully with one of the many red wines on their extensive wine list. At the end of your busy day, stop at Paradise Bakery (https://www.paradisebakeryaspen.com) for some good old-fashioned ice cream and/or cookies. The line might be long, but it is worth the wait and the line moves along fairly quickly.
WHAT TO DO
Aspen is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream in the summer but there are also plenty of events and activities for those not looking to go raging down the mountain on a bike. For the outdoor seeker, there are biking and hiking trails for all abilities (https://www.aspensnowmass.com/plan-your-stay/biking), fly fishing, rafting down Slaughterhouse Falls, yep, that’s what it’s called, and I survived it! There are a number of outfitters on the chamber website that offers outdoor packages. For those who are looking for something a little more low key, try a walking tour of Aspen (www.aspenwalkingtours.com). You can take the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain and enjoy lunch, disc golf, walking trails and music on Saturdays and Sundays. Take a short drive to Snowmass for the Snowmass Rodeo on Wednesday nights (http://www.snowmassrodeo.org). There are plenty of activities to keep you busy for a few days or a week.
Maroon Bells is worth the visit when you are spending a few days or a week in Aspen. It is located within the White River National Forest and is about 35 minutes or 10 miles from Aspen. Maroon Bells are two peaks in the scenic Elk Mountains and is known for its myriad of hiking trails (https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/colorado/maroon-bells-snowmass-wilderness), exceptional photography opportunities and camping. There are driving restrictions into Maroon Bells and parking can fill up quickly so you can choose to take the Maroon Bells shuttle. For more information about Maroon Bells, trails, parking or camping check out the Aspen Snowmass site at: https://www.aspensnowmass.com/plan-your-stay/maroon-bells