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Top Things to Do in Aspen, Colorado

Known for its star-studded appearances, extravagant ski culture, and breathtaking location, Aspen is a haven surrounded by the world's most impressive ski resorts and nestled in the unparalleled beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you...

Known for its star-studded appearances, extravagant ski culture, and breathtaking location, Aspen is a haven surrounded by the world's most impressive ski resorts and nestled in the unparalleled beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you visit during the vibrant autumn colors, the pristine winter snow, the flourishing alpine spring, or the exhilarating high-elevation summers, Aspen offers a plethora of activities that will captivate your senses.

Year-round activities

From world-class dining to year-round attractions, Aspen has something for everyone, regardless of the season.

Tuck in your napkin and enjoy world-class dining

Aspen downtown, Colorado Aspen downtown, Colorado. Photo: Ken Lund

Aspen's thriving after-hours culture and celebratory mindset have transformed it into a haven for world-class cuisine. The town boasts an impressive array of high-class dining establishments, attracting those accustomed to the offerings of major dining destinations. Additionally, Aspen's proximity to Colorado's agricultural industry ensures that its restaurants offer a rotating menu of seasonal dishes, guaranteeing a new and exciting taste with each visit.

Discover the history of Aspen

The Aspen Historical Society preserves and maintains several fantastic locations, exhibits, and properties throughout Aspen, offering visitors a glimpse into the town's fascinating past as a mining town turned glamorous ski destination. Explore guided downtown walking tours, visit the Victorian west-end of town, or dive into the rich history of skiing by joining a ski-history tour during the winter season. The Wheeler/Stallard Museum and Holden/Marolt Mining Ranch Museum are also worth a visit for a deeper understanding of Aspen's captivating history.

Wheeler Opera House and Hotel Jerome

The Wheeler Opera House in downtown Aspen The Wheeler Opera House in downtown Aspen. Photo by Jared Hargrave.

Two of Aspen's iconic landmarks are the Wheeler Opera House and the Hotel Jerome. The Wheeler Opera House, Aspen's premier landmark and best tourist sight, hosts a variety of performances, ranging from traditional opera and classical shows to pop culture icons like Dave Chappelle and the late great Aspen hero, John Denver. Attending a show at the Wheeler Opera House grants you the opportunity to experience the rich history of the Wild West within its walls.

Hotel Jerome in downtown Aspen Hotel Jerome in downtown Aspen. Photo by Hotel Jerome Facebook.

For a truly authentic Aspen experience, consider staying at the historic Hotel Jerome. As a social hub since 1889, Hotel Jerome offers a glimpse into life in the 1800s with its elegant ambiance and modern comforts. Sit in the room where Hunter S. Thompson once mulled over his plans or allow their concierge to help you design a one-of-a-kind vacation. Hotel Jerome epitomizes the class and charm that make Aspen a truly unique destination.

Belly Up Aspen

Aspen's popularity among out-of-state visitors has attracted major performers to include the city on their tours. The famous Belly Up Aspen is the place to catch a live performance in an intimate venue. Although small in size, Belly Up Aspen hosts renowned artists such as deadmau5 and The Beach Boys. Make sure to check their schedule and plan your visit accordingly for an unforgettable night of live music.

Winter activities

Ahh, wintertime in Aspen. Covered in a blanket of fresh snow and surrounded by premier ski resorts, Aspen offers a lively après-ski scene and unparalleled winter experiences.

Take advantage of world-class skiing and snowboarding

Skiing at Snowmass, Aspen Skiing at Snowmass, Aspen. Photo: Kevin Chang

Aspen's main attractions are its world-renowned ski resorts. With Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Buttermilk all within reach, you have access to over 5,500 acres of skiable terrain and 332 runs. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, Aspen's high elevation and central location in the Colorado Rocky Mountains provide pristine skiing conditions that will leave you in awe.

Let loose with a legendary après-ski scene

After a day on the slopes, indulge in the exciting post-ski celebrations and festivities that Aspen is famous for. Whether you're relaxing on the sundeck atop Aspen Mountain or sipping drinks at the Limelight Lounge downtown, you'll find a party atmosphere filled with skiers and boarders exchanging stories and enjoying the vibrant nightlife. Aspen truly is the mountain town that never sleeps, creating the perfect ambiance to unwind and make memories after a day of winter adventures.

Snowshoe or Cross Country Ski

Hiking at Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, CO Hiking at Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen. Photo: Kevin Chang

If skiing or snowboarding isn't your cup of tea, don't fret. Aspen's natural beauty extends beyond the slopes, offering alternatives for winter exploration. Discover the winter wonderland of Aspen through snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. With 55 miles of trails in Aspen, Snowmass, and Basalt, you'll have plenty of options to choose from. Whether it's the Aspen Golf Course, Moore Trail, or Marolt Open Space, these groomed trails provide a unique way to experience the snow-covered landscape and immerse yourself in nature.

Fall activities

Aspen in the fall is a breathtaking sight to behold. Witness the transition from summer to winter as nature paints a masterpiece against the backdrop of the mountains. Here are a few activities to enjoy during the fall season in Aspen.


Fall Colors Below Capitol Peak, CO Fall Colors Below Capitol Peak. Photo: Bryce Bradford

Explore Aspen's trails adorned with vibrant hues of gold and amber during the fall season. Immerse yourself in the stunning fall colors as you hike through picturesque landscapes. Popular hikes include the Maroon Bells, Cathedral Lake, Hunter Creek, American Lake, and Crater Lake. Experience the clash of seasons as the first snowfall blankets the colorful foliage, creating a truly magical experience. While the peak of fall foliage is hard to predict, the third week of September is typically the best time to visit Aspen for an unforgettable display of autumn beauty.

Aspen Mountain Gondola

Aspen, Colorado Aspen, Colorado. Photo: Kevin Chang

Ascend to an elevation of 11,212 feet on the Aspen Mountain Gondola and be rewarded with panoramic views of the Roaring Fork River, the town of Aspen, and the majestic Elk Mountains. Once you reach the peak, take a leisurely walk, join a tour with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, or try your hand at the world's highest disc-golf course. The Aspen Mountain Gondola provides an exhilarating way to appreciate the beauty of Aspen from above.

Aspen Paragliding

A paraglider soaring over the mountains near Aspen A paraglider soaring over the mountains near Aspen. Photo by Aspen Paragliding Facebook.

For the adventurous souls seeking a bird's eye view of the fall foliage, Aspen Paragliding offers a thrilling experience. Soar above the town of Aspen strapped to a canvas glider and metal frame, taking in the breathtaking scenery below. The fall season provides favorable thermal conditions for paragliding, with guides taking their clients up to almost 18,000 feet of altitude. If you're up for an adventure and want to experience Aspen from a unique perspective, Aspen Paragliding is an unforgettable choice.

Aspen FilmFest

Taking place in the third week of October, the Aspen FilmFest is a prestigious film festival showcasing a wide range of arthouse, independent, and foreign films. The festival culminates with an awards show, and in recent years, it has expanded to include drive-in screenings at Snowmass Town Park, which have been immensely popular. Immerse yourself in the world of cinema and enjoy an unparalleled cultural experience during your visit to Aspen.

Spring activities

Spring in Aspen is a breathtaking sight with blooming wildflowers, vibrant trees, and the reemergence of wildlife. Experience a unique blend of winter and summer activities during this enchanting season.

Spring skiing under the blue skies

Skiing in Aspen remains possible until the end of April, depending on snowfall. While spring skiing may not offer pristine slope conditions, the opportunity to enjoy a day on the slopes under the blue skies, followed by lively après-ski celebrations, makes it an unforgettable experience. Take advantage of spring lift ticket deals offered by resorts and immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere during the closing days of the season.

Supreme fly-fishing

Fly fishing in Aspen Fly fishing in Aspen. Photo by Aspen Outfitting Company Facebook.

Cast your line in the world-class fishing waters of the Roaring Fork River or enjoy a fishing experience at a high alpine lake. Spring is the perfect time for fly-fishing as it marks the beginning of the dry-fly fishing season. The bugs are active, and the fish are hungry, creating ideal conditions for learning or honing your fly-fishing skills. Enjoy the tranquility of the river and the stunning surroundings as you embark on a memorable fishing adventure.

Summer activities

Aspen truly comes alive in the summertime, offering a wide range of outdoor recreation and cultural experiences. Explore the beauty of nature, indulge in thrilling activities, and immerse yourself in the rich history and vibrant atmosphere of Aspen.

Hiking around Aspen

The Maroon Bells glowing in the summer The Maroon Bells glowing in the summer. Photo by Jack McLane.

Aspen boasts a variety of trails suitable for all levels of experience. From leisurely walks along the Roaring Fork River to challenging hikes like Capitol Peak and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, there is something for everyone. In mid-July, witness the burst of colors as wildflowers blanket the landscapes. Trails such as Cathedral Lake, American Lake, and the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail offer a colorful showcase and a chance to connect with nature.

Mountain Biking Trails

Both mountain biking and road biking are popular activities in Aspen during the summer and fall. For experienced mountain bikers, the legendary Government Trail is a must-ride. Beginners and intermediate bikers can enjoy routes such as Sky Mountain Park, Snowmass Cross-Country trails, Snowmass Bike Park, or the Smuggler-Hunter Creek loop. Explore Aspen's diverse biking trails and challenge yourself while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

Kayaking, rafting, or stand-up paddleboarding the Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River, CO Roaring Fork River. Photo: Justin Jensen

The Roaring Fork River winds through the heart of Aspen, offering exciting opportunities for kayaking, rafting, and stand-up paddleboarding. During the early summer months, when snowmelt and glacial runoff are at their peak, the river transforms into a thrilling playground. Join local guides for an adventure-filled trip through rapids suited to your skill level. If you prefer calmer waters, explore the wetland tributaries for stand-up paddleboarding or canoeing.

Enjoy Fall produce at the Aspen Farmers Market

Aspen Farmers Market, CO Aspen Farmers Market. Photo: Dan Nelson

From mid-June to mid-October, make sure to visit the Aspen Farmers Market on Saturdays. Indulge in vibrant live music, diverse food carts, and an array of shopping options. Support local Colorado vendors, both artisan and agricultural, and revel in the fresh produce on display. The Aspen Farmers Market is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the vibrant local community and savor the flavors of the season.

John Denver Sanctuary

John Denver Sanctuary, CO John Denver Sanctuary. Photo: Paul Iwancio

Pay homage to Aspen's beloved resident, John Denver, by visiting the John Denver Sanctuary. This serene sanctuary honors the singer and his philosophy of life, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and reflect on his legacy. Explore the Song Garden, adorned with stones engraved with lyrics from Denver's famous songs. Located near the Rio Grande Park along the Roaring Fork River, the John Denver Sanctuary is a peaceful retreat that celebrates the spirit of Aspen's golden boy.

Take the plunge at Devil's Punchbowl

Jumping Devil's Punchbowl Jumping Devil's Punchbowl. Photo: JBColorado

For the adrenaline junkies and cliff divers, Devil's Punchbowl offers an unforgettable experience. Located just outside of town, this natural formation of small waterfalls from the Roaring Fork River converges into one large pool, creating the perfect spot for wild cliff-jumping. Take a plunge from a 20-foot cliff into the ice-cold waters if you dare. Note that cliff jumping isn't advised, and there is no lifeguard on duty, so proceed at your own risk. Even if you choose not to jump, you can still enjoy observing others and capturing breathtaking photos of this unique natural wonder.

Explore Independence Pass and ghost towns around Aspen

The ghost town of Independence, CO The ghost town of Independence, CO. Photo by Ethan Beute.

Embark on a journey through history by exploring Independence Pass and the ghost towns surrounding Aspen. With an elevation exceeding 12,000 feet, Independence Pass offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and leads visitors to the deserted town of Independence. As the first mining site in the Roaring Fork Valley, Independence preserves remnants of a late 19th-century mining town, allowing visitors to glimpse into the past. Guided tours are available, or you can explore the ghost town of Ashcroft, which features well-preserved saloon buildings, jailhouses, and remnants of the town's once-thriving school. These ghost towns serve as reminders of the harsh life of mountain miners and the rich history that shaped Aspen into what it is today.

Aspen is a destination bursting with opportunities for adventure and exploration, regardless of the season. Whether you're a winter sports enthusiast, a nature lover, or a culture aficionado, Aspen will captivate your senses and leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Trust us—you won't find a single moment of boredom while immersing yourself in the diverse range of activities Aspen has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Aspen, Colorado!