Looking to find the best things to do in Aspen throughout the summer? From mountain-top yoga to fine dining experiences, arts festivals to hiking, this beautiful, vibrant town comes alive in the summer. Aspen is the perfect year-round destination; discover our 48-hour guide including the best places to stay, eat and explore in Aspen, Colorado:
Aspen in the Summer: Things to Expect
Aspen’s winter reputation precedes it, with the famous Aspen Snowmass resort offering the best skiing on the planet, attracting ski-enthusiasts from all over the world every winter. Home of Aspen Mountain, locally known as Ajax, in winter this mountain town is flooded with visitors for its incredible ski and snowboarding experiences. But Aspen is so a lot more than the usual winter destination, and when you’ve never visited this incredibly scenic town in summer, you’re in for a real treat. As locals say, you come for winter and wind up staying for summer.
Lesser know is the town’s great summer cultural scene, which embodies The Aspen Idea, a distinctive ethos of a town that strives for additional. The Aspen Idea is really a vision for community focused on mind, body and spirit, originally created by Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke within the 1940s during the town’s cultural renaissance. Today, that spirit manifests like a summer jam-packed with holistic activities, cultural events along with a real focus on community, arts and going through the area’s natural splendor. There’s a sense of serenity and calm about Aspen in the summer that I’ve not experienced elsewhere in the world; don your Lulu Lemons and are available explore what the town provides in summer for yourself.
Summer in Aspen offers a real possibility of outdoor recreation and getting back to nature, with everything else from rafting to hiking, fishing, golf, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning and rock-climbing. You name it, Aspen has it. Summer in Aspen also boasts a lively events calendar, with a diverse programme of events from Aspen’s cultural and arts institution throughout the summer, pulling in a global audience. Read on to discover the best Aspen provides in summer – and how to do it in fashion.
Aspen in the Summer: Where to Stay
Aspen in the summer provides a great selection of accommodation, to suit all budgets. If you want to stay in the heart from the town, here’s our pick of 3 of the best:
For an extravagance Stay: The Jerome, Aspen
You can’t miss The Jerome when staying in Aspen throughout the summer. One of the finest luxury hotels in Colorado, the newly renovated Jerome Hotel is the perfect retreat in Aspen, offering fine dining, elegant accommodation and a world-class spa under one roof. The oldest hotel in Aspen, The Jerome is really a boutique spot, with a unique mountain aesthetic that feels so… Aspen. The accommodation, ranging deluxe rooms to luxury suites, is all newly renovated with custom furnishing, luxury bathrooms and 24-hour room service.
We loved the style of the hotel; stylish and contemporary, each one of the hotel’s bedrooms are individually designed and pay homage towards the hotel’s past. The Jerome is also a foodie’s delight – it will happen supply some of the best food in Aspen, using the Living Room, headed up by Executive Chef Rob Zack, showcasing ingredients from local farms. It’s even the spot to be seen during the summer – come here for a drink in the J-Bar, an Old Western-inspired Saloon, and sip down on the very best Negronis in town.
For a Unique Location: The small Nell
The Little Nell, a 5* luxury hotel in Aspen, includes a unique location, with the city of Aspen in their door, Aspen Mountain in their back door – the perfect spot for mountain activities, for example hiking, yoga and biking in summer. Among the finest luxury stays in Aspen, the facilities of the hotel are perfect, having a heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi, 24-hour room service, ski concierge (in winter) and great restaurants. Should you prefer a luxury base in Aspen, this is the one, because the hotel offers complimentary bicycles, transportation out and about as well as an on-demand concierge team who can help curate your stay.
There’s something distinctly local relating to this hotel; The Little Nell captures the spirit of Aspen using the feel of a luxury private home, with stunning suites, a spacious lobby, family room as well as their restaurant Ajax Tavern, all through an eye on design. The accommodation is amazing; The small Nell features 92 rooms, with 52 guest rooms, 26 premium guest rooms and eight suites, which were all renovated in 2017 with a modern, Aspen feel. We’re talking private balconies, gas log fireplaces and plush interiors. Desire a room with a view? All rooms overlook Aspen Mountain, the Red Mountain range or Continental Divide, Durant and Spring streets, or even the courtyard and pool. We love. The Nell, their signature restaurant, opened to rave reviews, with unique design aspects such as glass wine wall, large artwork and bespoke lighting. This really is one hotel you don’t wish to miss.
For a contemporary Stay: Limelight Hotel
I really loved the vibe of Limelight Hotel in Aspen; it’s a hot, contemporary hotel, that’s ideal for families and adventurers. For a start, the accommodation is excellent, rich in ceilings, big windows, modern decor and king beds. Plus, there’s all of the modern essentials like super quick WiFi, lcd TVs, coffee machines, iPads on request and luxury spa products in-room. There’s a little resort fee using the room, which gets you some good perks, including airport transfers, in-town transport, daily ski shuttles and continental breakfast.
The food offering is solid; starting with continental breakfast, served community style within the lounge, then après drink and food specials and a full dinner menu. There’s also live music through the week in the hotel, and specials such as Rosé Wednesdays ($6.50 a glass, bargain), whisky flights and Sangria evenings. They’ve got a bit of great curated experiences in summer, including ready-made picnic hampers for day trips, including water, three homemade sandwiches with local produce, cookies and trail mix. Perfect.
Aspen in the summertime: Things to Do
There’s some many excellent achievements to see within this mountain town over the summer. From stand-up paddle boarding to hiking, here’s our pick of the greatest things to do in Aspen this summer:
For Getting Outdoors: Hiking, Cycling, Fishing & More
There’s a lot of great outdoorsy activities during summer in Aspen; whether it’s hiking, biking or just a gentle walk out and about. There’s bikes throughout Aspen – the town is cycling mad! The Rio Grande offers up a lovely, mellow cycle on the paved path from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, and comes highly recommended by locals. If you’re searching for something more adventurous, you can go off-road having a mountain bike and explore the nature great thing about Aspen.
Aspen is simply made for hiking; lace your hiking boots and check out one of the many trails around the town. One of the most challenging hikes is the Ute Trail – this steep trail, on the southeast side of Aspen ascends 700 feet in only 0.9 miles. For something a bit more gentle, try the Rio Grande trail, that is well-liked by locals. Hiking is a great method to see Aspen flowering, with the beautiful mountain flowers blossoming this time around of year.
There’s also lots of great activities on water in the Roaring Fork River in summer, including guided rafting, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. If it’s fishing you’re after, the Gold Medal rivers supply some good fishing of trout – perfect for flyfishing.
For Stunning Scenery: Maroon Bells
For good reason, The Maroon Bells are the most photographed peaks in all of Colorado. You’ve never witnessed such natural splendor; these red rock formations reach upward from Maroon Lake in excess of 14,000 feet. You will get the shuttle from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Lake to determine the lake – they are beautiful very first thing, when you are able watch the sun rising within the mountain and lake. There’s lots of trails near the Bells, should you fancy a beautiful, nature-filled walk around the area.
For a Ride: Experience the Silver Queen Gondola
It’s a must-do activity in Aspen; hop on the Silver Queen Gondola, which takes you up, up and away. You’ll take breathtaking views of the Colorado mountains and vista, and be able to try taking some great photographs. In the Silver Queen, you will get to Sundeck restaurant, that has plenty of free activities in summer, including yoga, hiking, meditation and much more.
For a Cultural Fix: Galleries, Concerts and More
Aspen comes alive with cultural activities throughout the summer; from the Aspen Jazz Festival to the Aspen Ideas Festival, which both occur in June, attracting travellers all all over the world. For first-timers, the cultural hub of the town, Aspen Art Museum, is a must-visit. A real home of contemporary art, The Aspen Art Museum is really a non-collecting institution presenting the most recent, most significant evolutions in international contemporary art. They've regularly changing exhibitions all year round, in addition to special events, concerts and dinners at their rooftop restaurant (which is seriously delicious). Take a look at their latest exhibitions here and find out their calendar of events here.
Aspen in the Summer: Where you can Eat
There’s so many fantastic restaurants in Aspen in the summer; from quick al fresco bites to romantic restaurants, the Aspen foodie scene is something you *need* to discover. Here’s a lot of our favourite Aspen restaurants:
For Brunch: Prospect Restaurant
Prospect Restaurant is the spot to come for brunch in Aspen; a modern American bistro serving up delicious local dishes at the trendy Jerome Hotel. The brunch here is some of the best I’ve ever endured – Executive Chef Rob Zack strikes balance between classic and contemporary cuisine and gets it simply so right. Come here for all of the brunch delights; we love the avocado toast with soft poached eggs, mushrooms and piquillo peppers on house-made multigrain and seed toast. You can’t miss their house-made granola with fresh fruit, or the delicious blueberry pancakes with citrus butter and maple syrup. Now we’re hungry.
For Mountain-Side Lunch: Ajax Tavern
Ajax Tavern is really a glamorous and yet casual restaurant found at The Little Nell, which is ideal for lunch through the mountains. It’s an excellent spot for people watching; you could spend hours here eating French fries and watching the world go by. Located right next to the Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Tavern may be the hub for Aspen locals to soak up the climate over great food. We love the meals at Ajax Tavern; try the truffle fries, they're using this world, and the tasty kale and quinoa caesar with Manchego crisp. Local, hearty food doesn’t get much better than this.
For Healthy Eats: Pyramid Bistro
Locally know as Aspen’s most healthy restaurant, Pyramid Bistro is really a quaint spot in the bookshop that delivers healthy dishes by having an Asian twist. Calling itself like a Nutritarian restaurant – meaning they cook food having a concentrate on nutritional benefits – there’s lots of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes only at that restaurant. The food is anything but boring; expect delicious dishes for example mango spring rolls, galangal curry bowl and kaffir lime marinated shrimp. Delicious stuff.
For Italian Fare: L’Hostaria
If you’re within the mood for pasta, don’t miss L’Hostaria for authentic Italian cuisine – expect great wine, food along with a romantic atmosphere. Headed up by chef Tiziano Gortan, the restaurant brings a genuine taste of Italy to Aspen, with some classic dishes given a gourmet spin. Our personal favourites are the Caprese salad, melty Burrata, and handmade pastas – try the gnocchi with chopped tomatoes, basil pesto, parmesan and Tuscan olive oil or even the divine spinach & ricotta ravioli with brown butter and sage. Delicious.
For Cheese and Wine: Meat and Cheese Aspen
Meat & Cheese does what it really promises; great cheese, delicious meat, all inside a vibey low-key atmosphere. Located on Restaurant Row in Aspen, Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop is really a hybrid specialty food store and restaurant in a single – an ideal spot to dine with friends, or pick up some gourmet treats to take home. Their cheese-centric menu is excellent; you can’t miss their burrata salad with smoked cherry tomatoes, pickled fennel, croutons and pine nut pesto, it’s a nearby favourite. If you’re feeling nibbly, try their boards – our personal favourite is the meat and cheese board with a selection of three cured meats and three cheeses served with the perfect accoutrements. Heavens for cheese and meat lovers, we are saying.