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Aspen Summer Festivals - the Classics and the Alternatives

Starting in June, Aspen becomes populated with lanyard-wearing festival-goers on any given week. Between the Aspen Ideas Festival, Food and Wine Classic, Art Crush, and Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival -- along with many others -- Aspen summer festivals draw high-profile guests and locals alike into grand event tents, intimate salons, and iconic venues like the Aspen Institute. Aspen's marquee summer festivals have become so popular, they sell out nearly immediately. If you can secure tickets to these creme-de-la-creme events, great! If not, we have exceptional alternatives that offer a similar caliber with easier access.

Read on to learn more about Aspen's lesser-known events happening this summer. Once you've found a festival that strikes your fancy, contact our reservations team to book your lodging in a condo or hotel that gives you front-row access to Aspen's best.

Aspen Ideas Festival

A titan on Aspen's summer calendar, Aspen Ideas Fest brings the world's preeminent thought-leaders to town for two weeks of dialog and discourse. The primary sessions sell out, and they come with a hefty price tag, but there are other options.

Aspen Ideas Fest Aspen CO

Alternatives to the Aspen Ideas Festival

Aspen Summer Words Literary Festival

For writers and readers alike, the Aspen Summer Words stimulates ideas and explores theories beyond the written word. Workshops taught by award winning authors include fiction, book editing, beginning writing, and a readers' retreat. After mornings of workshops, evening panels at the Belly Up carry on the inspiration and insight, and other evening events include readings, receptions, and the Aspen Words Annual Benefit Dinner. The six-day literary celebration runs from June 17 - 22, 2018.

Aspen Summer Words Festival

Spotlight Health

A recent addition to the Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight Health starts the event with three days exploring a mix of topics related to medicine and health. This event isn't just for medical professionals; using the Aspen Institute's approach, cross-discipline tracks tackle big ideas through interactive formats such as question-rich panel discussions, breakout sessions, speaker forums, and small-room discussions. Tickets are more reasonably priced and are still available for the event, which runs from June 21 - 24, 2018.

Frias Properties' guests receive $100 off Spotlight Health passes using code SH1900 when registering here.

Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

The Food and Wine Classic has been basking in the glory of the Rocky Mountains for 36 years. And revelers from all over the world come to Aspen to bask as well. This makes getting tickets a little bit tricky, and when you can get them, a bit expensive. So if pulling out the stops for Food and Wine isn't happening this year, there are a couple other festivals in the area that might make up for it.

Alternatives to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Snowmass Wine Festival

Snowmass in September is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And when drinking a wonderful wine, it's even more beautiful. The Snowmass Wine Festival is a two-day smorgasbord that features an amazing four-course dinner as well as a spectacular grand tasting. This event is perfect for oenophiles and foodies alike.

Snowmass Craft Beer Festival

If you prefer hops to grapes, then the Snowmass Craft Beer Festival will more than satisfy the beer lover in you. This two-day event hosts more than 30 craft breweries from around Colorado. Give all the fruity beers a try, or stick to the dark ones, but none will disappoint. And the live music elevates the mood even further!

Aspen ArtCrush

The annual Aspen Art Museum fundraiser is the premier art event in Aspen. With a wine party, gourmet dinner, silent and live auction among some of the enticements, art collectors and art lovers will be in heaven at the beautiful Aspen Art Museum and other various locations around town. But again, tickets don't come cheap, and the Art Museum isn't the only game in town when it comes to high-profile artists and ways to experience the beautiful art in town.

Alternatives to Aspen ArtCrush

Art Aspen

With over 30 of the country's preeminent art galleries presenting in this art fair dedicated to contemporary art, Art Aspen will surely provide something for everyone. Pieces ranging from 1950 to present will occupy the Aspen Ice Garden for three days July 27 - 29, 2018 for collectors and patrons to explore.

Anderson Ranch Summer Series

It may not be a festival, but the Anderson Ranch Summer Series brings together patrons and artists for weekly conversations about contemporary art and artmaking from July through August. Featured artists and speakers foster conversations in the relaxed, picturesque Snowmass setting and sessions are open to the public.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass - Labor Day Festival

The preeminent music festival in Aspen during the summer is no doubt the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival that essentially wraps up the season. This year's lineup includes such greats as Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, the Zac Brown Band, and Michael Franti among others. But we know a lot of people have to be back in their hometowns by Labor Day for school and other commitments.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival

Alternatives to Jazz Aspen Snowmass's Labor Day Festival

Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival

Can't do August? How about June? It may not have as big of names as the Labor Day Festival, but the venue is undeniably stunning in June. Rather than in Snowmass Town Park where the Labor Day Festival takes place, the June Festival is held at the Benedict Music Tent near the Aspen Institute. Hamilton fans will be over the moon to see Leslie Odom Jr., and other headliners include Lyle Lovett and Georgia On My Mind, a Ray Charles tribute band. The stage lights up June 22 - 30, 2018.

Aspen Music Festival and School

Classical music lovers will find no better place to spend a summer than Aspen with the Aspen Music Festival and School putting on a tour de force each season. The Harris Concert Hall, the Benedict Music Tent, and the Wheeler Opera House all play host to the many world-class shows and concerts throughout the season. The theme of the 2018 season is "Paris, City of Lights," and Aspen will transform with the sounds of Europe from June 28 through Aug. 22, 2018.

Aspen Music Festival and School