There’s Endless Adventure in Downtown

Published by at under Aspen News

Downtown Aspen, Colorado, is a magical, one-of-a-kind mountain wonderland.

Full of shopping, culture, dining and nightlife, downtown Aspen has something for people of all ages.

Full of shopping, culture, dining and nightlife, downtown Aspen has something for people of all ages.

A large portion of what is considered “downtown” in Aspen is a pedestrian walking mall, and motorized vehicles are not allowed. The pedestrian mall stretches from Galena Street on the east, over to Monarch Street on the west. The north boundary of the pedestrian mall is Hopkins Avenue between Mill Street and Galena Street, while the south boundary is Durant Avenue.  Within this area is Wagner Park, the Aspen Fountain, the Wheeler Opera House, and a number of other notable destinations.

When planning your downtown Aspen adventure, the best place to start is the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) Guest Pavilion on the Cooper Avenue Mall. The Guest Pavilion is located at the corner of the Cooper Avenue Mall and Galena Street. It is open year round, seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the winter. The Guest Pavilion provides guests with maps, discounts and other useful information.

From there, begin your walking tour of downtown. Going west from the Guest Pavilion, head down the Cooper Avenue Mall. Enjoy the brick walkway and dual streams that flow during the summer. Stop in and see the historic bar at the newly renovated Red Onion restaurant. (During the summer months, enjoy outside dining at ‘The Onion.’) Head over to the Aspen Candy Company and take a look at a 7-pound gummy bear or other classic treats. Then, stop in at Aspen Sports and stock up on all the latest summer and winter gear. From there, head over to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a treat, or stop in retailers Gorsuch and North Face to see all the new styles.

There’s plenty of outdoor seating during the summer near Wagner Park, a large, open rugby/polo/football field (it’s used for all three!) that’s also used prominently during the annual Food & Wine Classic held every June. Snap a photo of the clock tower with majestic Shadow Mountain in the background. Read up on Aspen history and let the kids play at the rock park before heading north toward the Aspen fountain. The fountain runs during summer months and shoots water into the air in intervals.

Kids (and adults) love trying to dodge the shooting water! Try balancing a balloon on the water. It actually works!

Kids (and adults) love trying to dodge the shooting water! Try balancing a balloon on the water. It actually works!

Then, be sure to take in a majesty of the Wheeler Opera House. One of the most historic buildings in Aspen, the Wheeler Opera House has a number of shows annually. Be sure to see what’s coming! Afterward, pop over to the Popcorn Wagon, Pacifica, the Wild Fig, Su Casa or Above the Salt for a bite to eat. Not hungry? Swing in to Eric’s Bar for a game of pool or a drink, or check out the Cigar Bar if that’s your thing.

From the Wheeler, head back east through the Hyman Avenue Mall. Head upstairs for some New York Pizza, or head downstairs to Finnbar. (In the summers, you can dine outside at Finnbar as well as at Ellina.) If you’re in the mood, visit our local psychic for a reading then stop by Annette’s Bakery. Smells are free! Endulge yourself in everything from pop art and vintage Louis Vuitton luggage at Daniel’s Antiques to handmade platinum, gold and silver jewelry at Ross Andrews.

Then, head back south toward the Guest Pavillion. Don’t forget one final stop at Kemosabe, a popular country and western store, before stopping in for live music at the legendary Belly Up Aspen (rated by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the best clubs in America!).

If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s close to downtown, check out the historic Independence Square hotel straight ahead (toward the mountain) at 404 S. Galena St.

The Independence Square hotel is Aspen's only lodge on the downtown mall.

The Independence Square hotel is Aspen’s only lodge on the downtown mall.

The Independence Square hotel sits in the heart of Aspen, and is only one block from the Silver Queen Gondola and Aspen Mountain. Complex amenities at the Independence Square include daily housekeeping services, a rooftop sun deck and hot tub, free continental breakfast served daily, on-site check in and front desk services, on-site laundry facilities, ski lockers, and an après-ski wine reception on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during ski season.

The historic hotel is also only a few steps away from the Rubey Park bus station, which provides free bus service to all the area ski mountains – including Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass.

 

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