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Aspen's Summer Outdoor Dining Scene

Posted: 10 Jun 2018

Great food. Wonderful weather. Spectacular views. It's no secret why Aspen's restaurants with outdoor dining are so popular. The al fresco dining options in Aspen are many and varied. They range from spots at the base of Aspen Mountain with sunset views to rooftops with live music to walking mall hotspots with fantastic people watching. Some of our favorites are listed here with more to find and explore on your own. For just the right spot to fit your desire, check in with our concierge team to help you in your summer dining planning.

al fresco dining guide aspen bosq so cafe Ajax tavern

SO Cafe, 637 E. Hyman Avenue at the Aspen Art Museum - Offering Aspen Mountain views, SO Cafe is located atop the new Aspen Art Museum and features an innovative, rotating weekly menu of local ingredients. Art in combination with a delicious lunch and a stunning setting makes SO Cafe a hot spot among locals and visitors. Open for lunch only 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There is also beverage and pastry service from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Jimmy's Bodega, 307 S. Mill Street - The sister restaurant to Jimmy's American Restaurant & Bar, Bodega offers fresh seafood, a raw bar and specialty drinks in an airy space beside Wagner Park. The patio on the Mill Street pedestrian mall starts filling up for happy hour (daily from 3:30 to 5:30), and outside tables can be reserved. The spacious patio has large umbrellas, beautiful views, and great people-watching.

Grey Lady, 305 S. Mill Street - This summer hot spot next door to Jimmy's Bodega serves Nantucket-inspired fare, including grilled lobster, tuna burgers, crab cakes, clam steamers, mussels, scallops, and chowder. The patio is large and offers views of the dancing fountain, the Mill Street tree gardens, the historic Wheeler Opera House and Red Mountain. Grab a seat on this patio to relax, enjoy the views and eat delicious seafood while listening to groovy music.

Ajax Tavern, 685 E. Durant Avenue - Popular during wintertime for apres ski, the spacious patio at the base of Aspen Mountain is also lively all summer long. Known for its double cheeseburger and French-American fare, the Tavern is a casual place for lunch or dinner, and kids have their own menu of tasty treats. Watch the Gondola ferry people up and down the mountain while enjoying a delicious meal and a speciality cocktail or glass of fine wine.

Casa Tua, 403 S. Galena Street - Offering fine-dining on the Cooper Avenue pedestrian mall, Casa Tua is an upscale restaurant serving Northern Italian dishes. Locals select a sunny spot for happy hour every day from 4 to 6 p.m., and Aspen Music School students often perform nearby, adding to the heavenly atmosphere.

Hops Culture, 414 E. Hyman Avenue - Serving upscale pub food and 200 domestic and imported craft beers, Hops Culture's patio on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall is the place to be during the summer. A great place for a casual bite, we recommend grabbing a shaded seat to enjoy a cold microbrew. The patio is open for lunch and dinner and is always hopping!

Aspen Kitchen, 515 E. Hopkins Avenue, upstairs - With another great rooftop patio, this contemporary farm-to-the-table restaurant boasts incredible views of both Aspen Mountain and Red Mountain. Head to Aspen Kitchen's rooftop for brunch, lunch or dinner, and enjoy cocktails, an extensive wine list, great food and mountain views. After a late dinner, head downstairs to sister nightclub Rickhouse Social for after-dinner drinks and late-night dancing.

BOSQ, 312 S. Mill Street -- This intimate patio located on the walking mall across from Wagner Park provides one of the best locations in the summer for late afternoon and evening sun and the food served up by Chef Barclay Dodge is some of the most creative and up-scale in all of Aspen. Little known secret... one of the best burgers in town can be found at BOSQ. Even when it's not on the menu, ask your server and it will come out piping hot and delicious.

NEW: Living Room Terrace at Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main Street -- The newest addition to Aspen's outdoor dining scene is the renovated terrace at the historic Hotel Jerome. One of the largest outdoor areas in town and conveniently located on Main Street, the terrace is great for groups or long weekend afternoons of socializing. A carefully curated menu of salads, small bites, and some of the entrees locals love from Prospect and J Bar has something for everyone.

Looking for more? There's no shortage of other great locations around town that offer outdoor dining:

  • White House Tavern, 308 W. Hopkins Avenue - lunch and dinner sidewalk patio with views

  • Meat & Cheese, 319 W. Hopkins Avenue - lunch and dinner sidewalk patio

  • Cache Cache, 205 S. Mill St. - Courtyard dining, no mountain view

  • Red Onion, 420 E. Cooper Ave. - Expanded walking mall seating
  • Campo Di Fiori, 205 S. Mill St. - Courtyard dining, no mountain view

  • Ellina, 430 E. Hyman Ave. - Walking mall seating

Ellina patio aspen al fresco dining guide

Imagine summers full of fine dining and beautiful weather, walking to town on a cool evening, laughing with friends over exquisite appetizers and cocktails, savoring a memorable dinner and out-of-this-world dessert... It's all possible in Aspen! Start searching for your summer vacation rental here, or contact Frias Properties' Aspen-based reservations team for recommendations on where to stay.