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Photo by Shalabh Vyas
  • By Kim Grant

Aspen is a luxe and charming mountain town tucked into Colorado‘s magnificent Rocky Mountains. First-time visitors find the town’s blend of rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture alluring. With world-renowned ski resorts and the picturesque Maroon Bells as a backdrop, it’s a paradise.

But Aspen isn’t just about the great outdoors; it also boasts cultural gems (museums, historical landmarks) and an eclectic dining scene. This itinerary unlocks Aspen’s treasures in one memorable day. Drink in a dramatic sunrise, indulge in delectable meals, pick your own experience, and wind down with soothing jazz.

Maroon Bells, Maroon-Snowmass Trail, Aspen, CO, USA

JUS Aspen, East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Paradise Bakery & Cafe, South Galena Street, Aspen, CO, USA

Wheeler Opera House, East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Aspen Art Museum, East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Rooftop Cafe at the Aspen Art Museum, East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Ajax Tavern, East Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Silver Queen Gondola, East Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Aspen Historical Society, West Bleeker Street, Aspen, CO, USA

J-Bar, East Main Street, Aspen, CO, USA

PARC Aspen, East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

The St. Regis Aspen Resort, East Dean Street, Aspen, CO, USA

Limelight Hotel, South Monarch Street, Aspen, CO, USA

The Little Nell, East Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, East Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, CO, USA

Before Breakfast in Aspen & Snowmass

Maroon Bells

Sunrise is without parallel at the Maroon Bells. In fact, that photo you often see on Colorado tourism campaigns? It’s the Maroon Bells. It’s mesmerizing as dawn breaks and the sun casts a golden hue over the snow-capped (or aspen-golden) peaks. Get here an hour before sunrise to beat the crowd. Wear warm clothing as it can be chilly in the morning. The Maroon Bells is about a 25-minute drive from Aspen and parking is limited.

Best Places for Breakfast in Aspen & Snowmass

Jus

Jus is a trendy spot for fresh juices, smoothies, and healthful breakfast options. The interior is sleek and modern, with a casual vibe that’s perfect for a morning pick-me-up. Opt for the acai bowl, packed with antioxidants, or the avocado toast for a nourishing start. The extensive juice and smoothie menu boasts options like the Green Giant packed with greens and fruits. Leave feeling refreshed and energized.

Paradise Bakery & Cafe

The much-loved Paradise Bakery & Cafe is known for its inviting, casual, cheery atmosphere. They offer a delightful selection of pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and specialty coffee drinks. Treat yourself to one of their famous almond croissants. No matter how long the line, it moves.

Best Things To Do in the Morning in Aspen & Snowmass

Wheeler Opera House

The iconic Wheeler Opera House, built in 1889, is a cultural landmark. It has been impeccably restored, reflecting its original Victorian grandeur. Take a guided tour, learning about Aspen’s rich history and the Wheeler’s role in the community. Check their performance calendar, as the Opera House hosts a diverse summer of film screenings, operas, comedy acts, and rock bands.

Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum is a treasure trove of contemporary art, innovative exhibitions, and engaging programs. The architecture is itself a piece of art, designed by renowned architect Shigeru Ban. With free admission, the museum offers a culturally enriching experience.

Best Places for Lunch in Aspen & Snowmass

Rooftop Cafe

Elevate your Aspen experience with lunch at the Rooftop Cafe, located at the Aspen Art Museum. The cafe’s minimalist design with floor-to-ceiling windows provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Choose between fresh salads, sandwiches, and artisanal flatbreads, such as the butternut squash flatbread. The ingredients are locally sourced, and the dishes are thoughtfully presented.

Ajax Tavern

Ajax Tavern sits at the base of Aspen Mountain and is a favorite for its gourmet burgers and truffle fries. With its upscale-casual ambiance and outdoor seating offering mountain views, it’s a quintessential Aspen dining experience. Sip on a refreshing cocktail or dive into the sumptuous menu; either way, Ajax leaves an impression.

Best Things To Do in the Afternoon in Aspen & Snowmass

Silver Queen Gondola

Board the Silver Queen Gondola for a breathtaking ride to the summit of Aspen Mountain. This 20-minute journey offers panoramic views of the surrounding Elk Mountains. At the top, spend the afternoon hiking, playing disc golf, or simply taking in the views.

Best Places for Dinner in Aspen & Snowmass

J-Bar at Hotel Jerome

The historical J-Bar, lodged inside the legendary Hotel Jerome, boasts a classic saloon setting, complete with dark wood and vintage décor. It harkens back to Aspen’s mining era. Choose from upscale comfort food with a twist, such as a bison burger or truffle fries. It’s tough to choose between craft beers and signature cocktails. J-Bar fuses history, ambiance, and culinary excellence.

PARC Aspen

Round off your classic day in Aspen with a sophisticated dinner and impeccable service at PARC Aspen. This elegant restaurant embodies a chic and stylish setting with a touch of Parisian flair. The menu boasts a contemporary take on French-American cuisine with a focus on farm-fresh ingredients. Opt for the grilled rack of lamb or the seared diver scallops to savor the chef’s culinary artistry. The wine list is as extensive as you’d imagine.

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Best Places to Stay in Aspen & Snowmass

St. Regis Aspen Resort

The St. Regis Aspen Resort is the epitome of luxury. With its lavishly furnished rooms and suites, world-class spa, and personalized butler service, it’s a haven for those seeking indulgence. The resort’s architecture reflects Aspen’s rustic charm, while the interiors exude opulence. A stay at St. Regis Aspen Resort is an experience in itself.

Limelight Hotel

Limelight Hotel presents a blend of contemporary style and comfort. The spacious rooms and suites are modern and cozy. The outdoor pool, hot tub, and complimentary shuttle to Aspen Airport add to the convenience. The lounge is lively with live music and a selection of local beers. Limelight Hotel’s laid-back yet vibrant atmosphere makes it an ideal base for exploring Aspen.

After Dark in Aspen & Snowmass

The Little Nell

After dinner, head to The Little Nell’s elegant yet relaxed living room for an intimate night of jazz. With a stylish setting and world-class musicians, it’s the perfect place to unwind. The Little Nell’s craft cocktails perfectly pair with soothing jazz tunes.

On Thursday and Sunday evenings (6.30 pm to 9.30 pm) Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) hosts amazing summer and winter jazz performances at The Little Nell (Element 47), Here House, and on the rooftop of the Aspen Art Museum.

Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar

The craft cocktail bar, Hooch, pours amazing liquid creations. It has a speakeasy feel, warm lighting, and super comfy seating.

Bonus Pro Tips

Aspen Historical Society offers guided walking tours that take you through Aspen’s enchanting past. Discover the town’s Victorian history and the silver boom era that shaped its identity. Knowledgeable guides bring stories to life, making this a captivating experience for history enthusiasts.

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