A haven for outdoor pursuits: an inside guide to Aspen

Published

7 February, 2022

Edited

31 March, 2022

If a vacation isn’t complete without at least one adrenalin-pumping activity, then Aspen should be the next destination on your list. Nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with its snowy peaks, enchanting forests, and thriving mountain town, you’ll fall in love with your new surroundings from the moment you touch down.

Sitting around 8,000 feet above sea level, snowfall is usually seen at least six months of the year. From November to April, the many slopes of Aspen are bustling with skiers; their sheer number ensures both beginners and experts alike can enjoy the thrill of Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Aspen isn’t just reserved for skiers, though. Wander through the twinkling lights of downtown and you’ll discover a wealth of luxury boutiques and fine dining restaurants along its streets - often frequented by well-known stars during the annual festivals. Curious to learn more about this bustling mountain town? Read on for our exclusive Aspen vacation guide…

A destination bursting with culture

From Corkscrew Gully to Little Nell, there’s a slope for every expertise level on Aspen Mountain. The sheer variety in slopes keeps its visitors coming back for more - a single trip just isn’t enough to discover all the hidden spots. Even if you’re a total beginner, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities for private lessons and guided experiences taught by locals who really know their stuff. For those who like a challenge, the slopes of the nearby Aspen Highlands are sure to please. Snowboarding can be enjoyed on the terrain parks at Snowmass; the renowned training grounds of many iconic athletes.

Flick through any Aspen visitor guide and you’ll find that it offers far more than just mountains for skiing; its lively nightlife scene draws both young and mature crowds to the unique bars and restaurants in the town. From Cloud 9 to the Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar, there’s always somewhere to grab a drink and enjoy the company of fellow visitors and locals.

The beauty of Aspen is that there’s something for every kind of visitor here. Even those who aren’t drawn to the thrill of the slopes will find plenty to enjoy among this snow-dusted town.

Our Aspen visitor’s guide to the town

Just as you will find plenty of choices when it comes to ski slopes, you’ll also find a fantastic selection of stores among the pretty streets of Aspen. In fact, it’s actually regarded as a shopping hub for haute couture. From Prada to Gucci, all the biggest names are dotted along the streets. The Western-inspired Kemo Sabe is an incredibly popular store among visitors; offering custom cowboy hats, boots, buckles, and everything in between. Be sure to stop by Daniels Antiques, a time machine of a store where you can browse through luxury rarities and vintage Louis Vuitton pieces.

There’s a lot more than just high-fashion boutiques, though. As you stroll through the town you’ll discover an abundance of art galleries, displaying a blend of fine art and contemporary pieces. The Aspen Art Museum is a contemporary art venue, showcasing the work of talented local artists, and is well worth a visit while you’re in the area. There is a selection of smaller galleries in the vicinity, including the Forre Fine Art Contemporary Gallery and Cha Cha Gallery.

Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of Aspen

The varied landscape of Aspen is a delight to see in every season. During the cooler months, the town becomes a winter wonderland; stores and bars are lit up by glowing fairy lights, while the satisfying crunch of soft snow is always underfoot. As the summer months draw to a close and fall rolls in, the leaves of the trees transform into a vibrant display of ochre, amber and gold - the perfect backdrop for a whole host of outdoor activities.

Like many of Colorado’s ski resorts, hikers will enjoy an abundance of picturesque trails throughout Aspen. From the inspiring Maroon Lake Scenic Trail to the historic route along Smuggler Mountain, it’s so easy to forget about the bustle of everyday life as you explore and soak up the incredible sights of this region - it’s no mystery as to why so many talented artists are captivated by the natural beauty of Aspen.

If you feel like travelling a little further afield to see the rest of the sights, the peaks of the Maroon Bells are well worth a visit. Around 19 kilometres southwest of Aspen, the magnificent sights of these picturesque mountains are sure to take your breath away. Another notable location nearby is the Roaring Fork River, a huge 70 mile stretch of river with lots of scenic walking routes along its banks.

The Aspen guide to food and wine

There’s certainly no shortage of restaurants and bars in Aspen - and our Aspen travel guide wouldn’t be complete without us mentioning a few of our favourites.

White House Tavern

The snug White House Tavern, set in a traditional 19th-century miner’s cottage attracts plenty of patrons with its delicious burgers and sandwiches. Its cosy, wood-panelled interior is wonderful for warming up in - especially after hitting the slopes.

Clark’s Oyster Bar

Seafood lovers will want to make a pilgrimage to Clark's Oyster Bar, which serves up an array of fresh fish dishes as well as caviar service; ideal for date nights together. Get a seat at its marble raw bar and soak up the atmosphere as delicious oyster and caviar dishes are freshly prepared right in front of your eyes.

Aspen Hickory House

A classic in Aspen. For a friendly atmosphere and unfussy BBQ dishes, head down to the rustic Aspen Hickory House. Serving up a selection of slow-cooked meats and tender ribs, this is the perfect place for family dinners together.

There’s always a happy hour somewhere in Aspen

After tucking into a delicious meal, make an evening of it by hitting the town and enjoying the incredible atmosphere of Aspen’s many cocktail bars and taverns. Renowned to be the 'champagne capital' of the US, once the sun goes down, this small but mighty mountain town comes alive with laughter, set to the steady popping of bottles and clinking of glasses as visitors hop from one bar to another.

Bad Harriet

Escape the winter chill by heading underground to Bad Harriet, a suave subterranean bar. The menu here brims with expertly-blended craft cocktails, including the namesake Bad Harriet with Woody Creek single barrel rye, as well as a range of imaginative small plates - think elk sausage with jalapeño and cheddar or churro ice cream sandwiches.

7908

Afterwards, make tracks for 7908 - Aspen’s first restaurant, bar and nightclub all rolled into one - where you can pay homage to their infamous mantra ‘eat, drink and dance’, all night long should you wish.

Ajax Tavern

Grab a seat and make the most of Ajax Tavern’s lively atmosphere, a unique bar that offers fine dining with a welcoming, relaxing ambience. If you start to feel a little peckish, their famed - and incredibly delicious - truffle fries will soon stop any rumbling tummies.

Aspen Brewing Company

Enjoy a beer straight from the source at the Aspen Brewing Company. Just steps away from the mountain, this popular brewery serves up everything from German-inspired pilsners to fruity IPAs - the perfect pitstop for the ale fans in your group.

The onefinestay experience

At onefinestay, we understand that your holiday should be unique to you. Whether you’re planning on sailing down the slopes or enjoying a slightly slower pace of life in Aspen, we’re here to ensure your holiday is as incredible as it should be. Our selection of exclusive concierge services offers all you need to unwind and make the most of your beautiful surroundings. After a busy day, why not indulge in an in-home spa experience or have a private chef create a selection of mouthwatering dishes upon your return? We can plan these little extras before your arrival, so all you need to do is turn up, sit back, and enjoy.

Amazed by Aspen?

Picturing yourself among the snowy slopes and sparkling lights of Aspen? We can be your personal Aspen Colorado travel guide and help you find all the best hotspots in the area - and much more. Speak to one of our expert Travel Advisors to plan your visit to Aspen today.