I’m a warm weather girl, a mountain girl, a hiker and an all around outdoorsy person, and I don’t mean just taking back beers on a patio, either. From wildflowers to mountaintop yoga, this destination blooms during the summer just as much as it comes alive in winter months.
There are varying ways to arrive in Aspen. If you’re flying, booking a plane into Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is the easiest route. The regional airport is 10 minutes away from the center of town – few mountain resorts can claim these bragging rights! With that being said, flights into this airport are significantly more expensive than Denver International. Driving distance between the two cities lasts about 3 1/2 – 4 hours.
Four glorious mountains are accessible from Aspen: Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass. You know what that means…gondolas and mountain biking galore! Of course in the winter, my guide on skiing in Aspen will be helpful for when the snow starts to fall 🙂
American Lake Trail – This 6 mile out-and-back trail had an elevation gain of 2,020. It’s rated as difficult, and it’s one of my most favorite hikes I’ve ever done just based on scenery alone. The Aspen trees will take your breath away on arrival, and the pines will envelope you in their beauty. Finally, American Lake will cool you off if you’re overheated 🙂
Crystal Mill – This mill of dreams was built in 1892 as a wooden powerhouse in the middle of the mountains and has since been placed on the National Register of Historic Places list. It’s located in Marble and accessible via hike or 4×4.
Wishlist for next time:
Cathedral Lake Trail
Maroon Bells – Crater Lake Trail, Maroon Peak Trail
Conundrum Creek to Conundrum Hot Springs
Rock Climb Independence Pass
Rafting/Kayaking – If you’ve never rafted in Colorado, have you even been to Colorado?
Aspen Art Museum – Contemporary art museum housing the newest exhibitions
Reméde Spa Aspen – This relaxation station at The St. Regis Aspen Resort has been named the world’s best hotel spa by Travel + Leisure magazine.
Ultimate Taxi – This is not your average taxi. Jon has been driving for YEARS while performing shows behind the wheel. Yes, he’s an excellent multi-tasker, and I enjoyed the ride at 13 years old just as much as I did at 30.
Shop – Aspen has always been a place to see and be seen, so of course fashion is on point on and off the mountain. My favorite shops include Pitkin County Dry Goods, Boogies (big store out of business – Lil’ Boogies children shop now open), PE 101, and then you have your Rag & Bone, Intermix, Prada, Gucci, lululemon, etc.
I won’t lie to you. Aspen can set your bank account back a bit, but if you’re in the market and mood for a nice little mountain getaway, the below hotels are where you wanna be. There are also some super cute Airbnbs!
Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection – An iconic hotel with a storied past, I loved everything about our Aspen base. I’ve always wanted to stay here after spying on its lovely interiors and beautiful historic architecture for many years. It was special to finally be able to do so!
J-Bar – The best burger you’ll ever eat is inside Hotel Jerome in a fancy lil saloon, the oldest bar in town. Everything is made fresh on the premises, and while I’ve spent many minutes trying to figure out their secret, I think it’s both in the bread and quality meat. Go see for yourself!
White House Tavern – lively lunch or dinner spot, or as foodies say, gastropub, with a hearty salad and a great chicken sammy 😉
Pine Creek Cookhouse – Rent an ebike to get to eat in this log cabin with a view!
Woody Creek Tavern – Rustic tavern wallpapered with Hunter S. Thompson memorabilia & quirky photos that serves bar fare.
Poppycocks – family-run and serving breakfast to all of Aspen for almost 40 years. Oatmeal pancakes are the bomb.
Aspen Over Easy – sustainable breakfast and lunch spot with great juices.
Paradise Bakery – grab-and-go breakfast that Alex and I have been going to for ~20 years. The square muffin tops will change your life.
Meet & Cheese – meat, cheese, wine and farm shop sourced from local farmers. Open for lunch and dinner.
Jimmy’s – all american restaurant in downtown Aspen that’s proud of their dinner and wine menu.
Matsuhisa – opened in 1998 as the first Matsuhisa location outside of Chef Nobu’s original Beverly Hills restaurant.
Red Onion – historic lunch/dinner spot stablished in 1892.
Casa Tua – cozy yet fancy Italian spot that serves a mean bolognese.
Su Casa – mexican restaurant serving all the classics.
Bruno’s Pizza – damn good pizza. Enough said.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – Candy apples on a stick, chocolate covered marshmallows, sugar galore. Need I say more?
Prospect Patio – Inside Hotel Jerome lies so many nooks and crannies – make sure to stay awhile to see them all 🙂 Definitely check out the Patio with views of Ajax and The Living Room for a craft cocktail.
The Little Nell’s Element 47 – Aspen’s finest spot to wine, dine and unwind. Grab a glass of wine or dine your heart out. Can’t go wrong here!
Eric’s Bar – laid back bar with cold beer and great people-watching
Belly Up – awesome spot for some live music
Bootsy Bellows – the first expansion of LA’s Bootsy Bellows club
Caribou Club – private members’ club but if you can get your name on that list, you’ll have a night to remember, or not, depending on the amount of pricey cocktails you imbibe.
Interested in skiing this winter? Check out my guide to skiing in Aspen here.