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The Definitive Aspen Destination Guide. The best ski hotels in Aspen and the best restaurants in Aspen. classictravel.com recommends stays at Virtuoso member hotels Little Nell, St.Regis, Jerome, Sky and now Viceroy Snowmass. If you're coming for the Aspen Music Festival consider the Aspen Meadows. Our review on each hotel explains why and you can book the best rates at these luxury hotels here at classictravel.com. Known mainly for its glitz and glamour skiing opportunities, Aspen has progressed from a mining town to ski resort to a multifaceted city with sumptuous accommodations, exciting events and delicious eats.
Aspen has also evolved into a world-recognized contemporary art venue with fine art galleries and the Aspen Art Museum. Additionally, a diverse and superior culinary scene will satiate the hungriest of appetites, including those of the annual Food & Wine Classic that brings the food world’s most influential players. Likewise, the nightlife is varied; there are clubs for those that want to see and be seen, and those for others who desire a laidback atmosphere where talented musicians play and mingle. The Aspen Music Festival is world class, but if its exercise you crave, the hiking and biking trails will please all from the beginner to expert.
No matter the season, the spectacular Rocky mountain scenery dominates the Aspen landscape with its splendid white-capped mountains and cerulean sky. Summer and fall are exquisite and festive with rafting and hiking jaunts available to explore. But, in the winter, downhill skiing and snowboarding, as the four glorious mountains—Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk—are drenched in the "champagne" snow and open to the sport.
Aspen is not just for skiing - check out these activities
Aspen Alpine Guides
The area around Aspen offers incredibly beautiful scenery. If your visiting and want to make the most of the time you should consider hiring a guide. Visitors and locals alike often hire a professional to guide them so that their time is spent meditating and enjoying nature and not wondering "Where am I now and how long is it to get back or where did I pack that trail map?" Whether your looking for a fitness hike that will get all your senses going or a leisurely overnight camping trip to Crested Butte, the pros at Aspen Alpine can organize it all.
312 teal street
Road biking, mountain biking or Nordic hiking, showshoing and cross country skiing can all be organized for beginners to experts through Sundog Athletics. Check out their "canoe and cruiser adventure". It incorporates a three-mile beach-crusier bike ride on the East of Aspen Trail. The stretch of flatwater you will meander through is one of Aspen's best kept secrets.
White water sledging or river surfing
It's the hot new Aspen sport and these guys are the experts!
Aspen Whitewater Rafting
520 Durant St.
Aspen Whitewater Rafting provides certified guides for those interested in exploring the various whitewater-rafting opportunities for their summer stays in Aspen. All guides are certified within Colorado, and prioritize safety and fun on your journey—whether it be a Class I stretch or foamy Class V river run.
The Aspen Historical Society
620 W. Bleeker St.
The Aspen Historical Society gives guided tours of the outlaying mining towns that provide the history of Aspen and its roots.
Aspen Art Museum
590 North Mill Street
This recent addition to Aspen maybe one of the more controversial happenings in years. Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has created this very modern structure which doesn't appear, at first, to fit in a city that abhores change. However, the museum's director and chief curator, Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, helps make this contemporary museum become a visual art destination. Although Aspen Art Museum is not a collecting museum, their programs are ambitious and showcase local art.
Wheeler Opera House
320 East Hyman Avenue
The Wheeler Opera House has been around since 1889. Today it's one of Aspen's favorite year-round performance venues, with events almost daily. Local performers and international stars perform here.
Maroon Creek Rd. 10 miles west of Aspen
Maroon Bells is a photographic treasure. Composed of two steep pyramidal peaks, visitors can take a 30-minute narrated bus tour from Aspen Highlands during the summer or early fall.
Aspen SantaFe Ballet Company
This world class ballet company travels (New York, Boston, Chicago, Israel) and of course, Aspen and Santa Fe. If you happen to me in Aspen when they are, be sure to go. There's something special about being in the Rockies and watching these amazing "athletes" do their thing.
Paragliding (winter and summer).
They are absolutely fabulous! very professtional.
Rio Grande Trail
It's one of the best bike trails ever for scenery. It goes from Aspen to Glenwood Springs (44 miles). It's not difficult (mostly flat with some rolling hills) but if you decide you don't want to complete the tour there are buses at designated intervals to take you and your bike back. Click on the link below and go to trails or Bike Express.
301 E. Dean Street (Base of Aspen Mountain)
Even before it opened Nello Alpine was written up in just about every top newspaper. Why? Because in the 80’s Nello worked his kind of magic and turned a little bistro on New York’s Madison Avenue into “the” place, and especially at lunch, to see and be seen. It was never about the food and anyone that was there didn’t much care that a plate of pasta was upwards of $42. The “buzz” from the people watching was worth far more! And so Nello, who is actually quite gregarious and loves everyone to have a good time, opened more restaurants in all the expected places. New York’s Soho, The Hamptons, St Tropez and now Aspen. Après Ski here!!!!!
Steak House 316
316 E Hopkins Ave
Apparently, this is the steak house of the moment in Aspen. Clients tell us it's always crowded and getting a reservation is often not easy! But they all say the steak rivals any in the usual steak capital's of America. Sauces are ordered a la carte.
515 Hopkins Ave
This relatively new restaurant (Dec. 2015) brands itself as authentic and regional with homage to the craft of cooking and sharing hearty, rustic American food. The space is attractively big with high ceilings and an open kitchen. However, we wish the lighting was more complementary! Having said that, the service was caring and the food mostly good. We opted for the special 75 day aged ribeye which our server said was enough for two. Not!!!!! At 80.00 I'd opt for the 66,00 version aged for 55 days. Can you really tell the difference?
415 East Main Street
Salads, pizza and pasta are the mainstays of this Italian bistro during the day and in the evenings the menu offers a bit more with tasty entree's. The ambiance is pleasant and convivial. Most important, the food is really good. Share one of their special breads.
The Wild Fig
315 East Hyman
Meditteraneam food with a European flare in Brasserie type of setting.
525 E Cooper Avenue
bb's kitchen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a chic sort of diner settinng. The food is good, reasonable priced and staff very friendly. It's no surprise that it's a favorite with the locals.
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro
Top of Cloud Nine lift on the mountain
Cloud Nine is a sit down on the mountain restaurant that often seems like a nightclub! The food is good and the restaruant cozy with a good size deck if the weather permits. However, make sure you get there early if your main interest is in eating. Once the place gets busy and the party starts, eating takes sencond place. Then the Champagne starts flowing, the DJ turns up the music and the place can get pretty rowdy. Its not uncommon to see dancing on the tables and the waiters shaking bottles of Champagne and spraying the diners. It's all very bacchanal set high up with spectaular drop dead Rocky mountain views.
205 S Mill Street
Aspen's best restaurant for French and French inspired food. However, it's really about the great ambiance which includes wonderful lighting at night and cool soundtracks. You might say it's a combination restaurant/nightclub. The bar scene from cocktail time is fiilled with what seems a sophisticated congenial crowd of bi-coastal types and Aspenites. It's all so entertaining you may not want to move into the dining room for dinner. We suggest you get there 30 minutes before your dinner reservation and enjoy the bar scene first.
105 S Mill St.
Pinons has been around for eons, but not much has changed. It still has a great western ambiance and wonderful Colorado cuisine. Featuring traditional American food modified with local Aspen touch. Zagat consistently gives the elegant Pinons high ratings.
520 East Hyman Avenue
In a town thats seen many come and go, Syzygy continues to reinvent itself. Great contemporary ambiance!
303 East Main Street
Opened 1998, Matsuhisa was an instant hit, partly because of celebrated chef Nobu Matsuhisa, of Nobu fame, and partly because of the lounge filled with high tech audio and video systems. The fish is flown in daily from Los Angeles. If you desire Japanese cuisine or a spice of its culture while in Aspen, Matsuhiusa is a must destination.
Two Rivers Road in Basalt
This down valley restaurant is the talk of the town, although it is 30-minute trip from Aspen. Dogwood Grill’s menu is a homey, hearty southern inspired treat. With real Virginia ham sliced thin atop grilled asparagus and prawns and baskets of warm biscuits, crispy fried okra and, of course, buttermilk fried chicken.
675 East Durant Avenue
Aspen, Colorado 81611
Montagna at the Little Nell has been replaced by Element 47. The decor is much more contemporary and so is the new menu. Locals are giving it high marks. Continental food with an Asian flare.
411 South Monarch Street
The Monarch, formerly Brexi brasserie, is located on the ground floor of Dancing Bear residences and just across from the St Regis. Steak is the main attraction here although other comfort food like roast chicken, fillet of sole, salads, pasta and three types of Caviar. Yes, Caviar! This, after all, is Aspen!
430 East Hyman
This new restaurant, specializing in northern Italian food, is just starting to make a mark on the Aspen dining scene.
Cuvee World Bistro
305 Gold Rivers Court
This down valley restaurant is all about the wine. The winebar is a top of the line preservation system that dispenses 40 wines by the glass from $5.00 to $17.00 per. And if you get hungry the food by Chef Mitch Levy (formerly of the Little Nell and Snomass club) is outstanding. Try the Colorado lamb or the Mahogany roasted duck.
Campo de Fiori
205 South Mill Street
Great Italian and very popular.
403 South Galena Street
This Miami hotspot is now in Aspen as well. The private club and restaurant has a great Italian vibe with food to match. The creamy burrata cheese is from Italy as are some of the employees and patrons.
Aspen being the International town it is the restaurant has concocted their house cocktail "Casa Tua Aspen". It's a mix of prosecco and Martini and Rossi rosato.
434 E. Cooper
Everyone loves this store. It's where cowboys and cowgirls go for their hats, belts and buckles etc.
520 East Durant
This Men and Women's clothing store is where Aspenites often shop. They have their own line called "Gray Aspen"
David Floria Gallery
525 E. Cooper Ave.
Aspen, Colorado 81611
Art enthusiasts rejoice: David Floria Gallery has a fine collection of artists around the US and from Aspen available for viewing and purchase.
Aspen Lugage Company
427 E Hyman Avenue
You've arrived at Aspen airport but your lugage and clothing are not together (literally). Everyone is aghast at seeing your silk long underwear sliding down the conveyer belt. Aspen Luggage Company has an amazing selection of really good luggage in every price range. You just may want to trade up!
Aspen Block Building
433 E. Hyman Ave
Long synonymous with silver screen sirens Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot on holiday, the 40-year-old label makes its U.S. home in Aspen. The brand was among the first to use army zippers and parachute for on-mountain outerwear. Today, Jet Set works exclusively with Italian mills to develop its line, which is not for those who want to keep a low-profile-down jackets come in a rainbow of prints. Jet Set will feature a selection of limited edition pieces exclusive to the Aspen store.
520 E Cooper
Marijuana, Pot, Cannabis or whatever you call it, it's legal in Colorado. There are at least four shops in Aspen but this one may be, for at least the moment, the most upscale and professional. The staff is totally knowledgeable. That's what you need in this new age. Baby Boomers beware! Thiis is not the same stuff you may have smoked secretly years ago.
209 South Galena Street
310 South Galena Street
201 South Galena Street
501 East Cooper Avenue
400 Hyman Avenue
Specializing in clothing for toddlers and babies, this Netherlands based clothier is a new import to Aspen with a selection of bright, European patterns. A few steps away is the Aspen Leaf Soap Factory, which specializes in lotions, soaps and lip balms created out of organic ingredients including flowers and herbs. Customers also can create customized soaps.
Looking to book a Ski Chalet in Aspen/Snowmass or just an all inlcusive package at one of the best condo's? John is your man! He's an expert on Aspen (lives there) but he's also maintains a portfolio on luxury villas all over the Colorado and Utah Rockies. Just tell him Richard at ClassicTravel.com sent you!
Ski & Adventure Travel Specialist
P. O. Box 8945
Aspen, CO 81612
Office Hours: 900 a.m. – 500 p.m. MST
Office: 800-755-1330 ext #281
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
ACES as it is known offers daily hikes and programs for all ages at Maroon Bells, Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Ashcroft, Independence Ghost Town and its campuses at Hallam Lake and Rock Bottom Ranch.
Tours of Historic Aspen
During the summer The Aspen Historical Society sponsors daily tours to different locations in and around Aspen.
Tuesday's Writer's Group
Every Tuesday this forum for writers, open to all genres and levels, meets to share and polish their work.
This will help you learn more about the four amazing mountains of this world class city. Restaurants, things to do. All are updated daily. You can even learn about the best deals on lift tickets as well
Rio Aspen Chamber of Commerce
For information and events during your stay, the Aspen Chamber of Commerce website provides current on-goings and advisories.
Nannies of Aspen
Established in 1997 and locally based, Nannies of Aspen provides babysitting and nanny service for those families visiting Aspen.
Aspen Skiing Company
Tel. 800.525.6200, 970.925.1220
The Aspen Skiing Company provides a variety of lessons for each individual, ranging from the beginner to experienced, at any age and every interest. With 1,200 instructors available for booking on all four mountains wanting to make ensure the best ski vacation, make sure to book your lessons online before leaving.
Silver Queen Gondola
Durant St & South Hunter St
Aspen, CO 81611
Tel. 970.925.1220 800.262.7736
For those who wish reach the mountain summit without climbing the hiking trails along Aspen Mountain, Siler Queen Gondola provides another option to ascend the 11,000-foot distance. During the summer months, the gondola ride also provides a gorgeous view of blossoming wildflowers.
June 14-Sep 2: 10:00 AM-4:00 PM daily
Rio Grande Trail
Aspen's bike trails are legendary and this one is one of the best ever for scenery. It goes from Aspen to Glenwood Springs (44 miles). It's not difficult (mostly flat with some rolling hills) but if you decide you don't want to complete the tour there are buses at designated intervals to take you and your bike back. Click on the link below and go to the "Rio Grand Trail" tab on the top of the site.
This is great resource not for just the area around Aspen, but all of the U.S. You can find campsite, RV sites, tent sites etc. You can sort by zip code or city.
308 E. Hopkins
Referred to as Aspen's new night life scene, it was renovated in 2014. The swanky club could be anywhere as it's one of the few places that pays no attention in defining a sense of place. Interestingly, it's partly owned by actor David Arquette, who named it after his late mother, a burlesque performer. After 11PM.
39 Degrees Lounge
709 East Durant
This bar at the very "hip" Sky Hotel is the place to hang in town for those who love to party. Atmosphere, creative cocktails and a crackling fireplace encourage another nightcap for all.
The Library Bar at the Hotel Jerome
330 East Main Street
Come here with the person you're with or want to be with. Sophisticated and cozy with overstuffed couches and warm lighting, this romantic Aspen venue specializes in single malt scotches, cognacs and sherries.
Woody Creek Tavern
0002 Woody Creek Plaza
In Aspen—the American West—everybody wants to see the local cowboys and cowgirls. Woody Creek Tavern is the spot where you can kick your boots up on the table and grab a famous, fresh lime margarita. While it’s a hike to get to the tavern, if hanging with the real locals is your thing it’s an absolute must. Open until 11PM, after all cowboys and cowgirls get up early.
450 S. Galena Street
This live music venue in Aspen is perfect for the "Cabaret" crowd. There are national, regional and local touring acts. Call first to get schedule of performances.
315 E. Hyman
Good for pool. A very busy nonsmoking bar with 14 beers on tap and over 50 single malt scotches.
411 East Hopkins Avenue
Aspen Colorado's exclusive private membership dinner and dancing nightclub. Great for late night.. they do weekly memberships!
426 East Hyman AVE
Late night club w bottle service.