THE FULLEST Guide to Aspen
Easily one of the world’s most famous mountain towns, Aspen offers up the best ski runs or stunning hiking trails (depending on the season), a historic downtown, an abundance of foodie-approved restaurants, a thriving music and arts scene, and nature’s most magical experiences from mirrored alpine lakes to powder snow-dusted trees. Here’s our round up of the places you don’t want to miss any time of year.
If you like your ski lodges with a side of history, then look no further. Hotel Jerome has been the social hub of Aspen since its opening in 1889 at the height of the town’s silver boom. It has since been refurbished by hotel designers, Auberge. Back in the day it attracted cowboys, 10th Mountain Division soldiers, and even Hunter S. Thompson. Although it still hosts a few colorful characters, it’s now mainly ski lovers that flock to its bustling lobby bar, grab a bite to eat at its restaurant, or warm up with some caffeine at its cute coffee shop, Felix Roasting Co., before heading up to the slopes. Side note: it is a little ways away from the mountain.
The Little Nell
An Aspen classic, this is the town’s only luxury hotel with ski-in and ski-out access. Outside of its amazing location and creature comforts, you can get the full Aspen experience at its Little Ajax Tavern that is attached to the hotel. It’s a very fun place to hang out after a ski, hike, or meal.
Looking for a healthy lunch and breakfast spot? This is one of the few places in town that has homemade organic almond milk and does a really good coffee or matcha. It’s also easy to stop in after a big hike or skiing session or if you need a quick afternoon pick me up!
This well-known restaurant from Austin, Texas took over a classic Aspen building downtown and gave it their magic touch. If you recognize its exterior, it’s because it’s the former location of the beloved Little Annie’s. But don’t fear, it’s been taken over by MML Hospitality Group (also owners of Elizabeth St. Cafe and Josephine House in Austin) and still retains its charm and is a fun mixture of sea and mountain — definitely get the oysters!
This organic restaurant is located on the top floor of the sweetest bookshop in downtown Aspen. Chef Martin Oswals takes an interesting approach to the menu and is influenced by nutritarian recipes that describe dishes that contain the most micronutrients per calorie. Regardless, this cute little spot is one you’ll keep returning to throughout your stay.
Felix Roasting Co.
This is the first outpost of the New York-famous coffee shop. Nestled inside the historic Hotel Jerome, Felix has delivered their signature hot and cold beverages, meticulously infused with house-made, non-dairy milks, to the Rockies.
Aspen Farmers Market
If you’re there at the right time AKA between June 12 to October 9, spend your Saturday mornings at the Aspen Farmers Market. Since 1998, it has been a local tradition to stroll through the market buying Colorado-grown produce and Colorado-produced artisan products.
Pitkin County Dry Goods
It may be Aspen’s oldest clothing retailer but Pitkin County Dry Goods offers an amazing mix of modern designers and artisans across women’s and men’s fashion. Although you’ll find some impressive names on their list of labels, they have a sensible and stylish curation customized to their ski town home base.
This may be Aspen’s coolest retail experience. You can expect top of the line Western apparel and accessories from cowboy boots to jewelry to home goods. Everything is handmade with care and precision — and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, they are happy to make it for you. It’s the perfect place to have fun with mountaineer style.
Performance Ski Aspen
Stand out on the slopes with any of the amazing pieces from this high-end ski wear store. Somehow they’ve managed to make puffer jackets, ski suits, and bomber looks sophisticated.
MAX Clothing Store
Known in the Rocky Mountain Region for its incredible edit of top women’s clothing, footwear, and accessories designers, you’ll definitely find some key pieces that’ll have you feeling a million bucks and are sure to keep you warm and in the snow.
This family run store was founded in the mountains over 50 years ago and continues their tradition of bringing you the finest in ski, fashion, and home. From non-toxic laundry detergents, to holiday decor, and performance ski jackets, they have everything you need for the ultimate mountain stay.
Bike the Rio Grande Trail
This trail is perfect for a very pretty and easy bike ride along the Roaring Fork River. The trailhead starts in town; we recommend stopping at Newbury Park for a nice place to have a picnic along the way.
From Maroon Bells to Hunter Creek, there’s no shortage of hikes in Aspen, each with varying levels of intensity and nearly all of them with breathtaking views. If you’re there in the summer and fall months, you can take your pick of their endless trails.
Ski the Mountains
No other Colorado town boasts as many ski resorts in one location as Aspen. The four mountains make up a total of 5,527 skiable acres, 362 trails (from beginner to expert), 41 chairlifts, and access to the beautiful towns of Aspen and Snowmass Village. All four mountains are connected by short rides via the free bus system, making it easy to ski all four in one day.
Glenwood Hot Springs
The world’s largest natural springs are found at Glenwood Hot Springs. Native Americans called it Yampah, which means big medicine. Besides relieving aches and pains, soaking in the hot spring’s 15 minerals can help naturally eliminate toxins, increase circulation, and reduce blood pressure. Definitely worth a dip after a long day of hiking or skiing!