There's no shortage of activities in Aspen, Colorado during the summer or the winter! Sure, you can hike and bike in the summer, and ski and snowboard in the winter, but what about some fun that you can do all year long? With a town so full of events and activities, there has to be a few aEUoemust-dosaEU - things to do all year round. So this week our blog crew set out to tackle one objective: Come up with a list of the Top Three Must-Dos in Aspen. With so much to choose from, what made the list? Let's take a closer look.
#3 - Go Out To Eat. Aspen is a foodie's dream, offering everything from 5-star fine dining to some of the most quaint eateries you'll ever visit. There is an overwhelming number of restaurant options available, mostly all within a four-square-block radius. Some of our recommended fine dining includes:
- Steakhouse No.316 (American cuisine)
- Jimmy's Bar and Restaurant (American)
- Pinon's (Colorado-inspired cuisine)
- L'Hostaria Ristorante (Italian)
- Cache Cache (French)
- Kenichi (Japanese)
- The Wild Fig Restaurant (Mediterranean) of these restaurants offer dining either seasonally or year-around. In the summer months, outdoor dining is great because of the temperate climate in Aspen. During the summer, outdoor dining is popular at restaurants like the White House Tavern (American), Mezzaluna (Italian), Ellina (Italian) and Takah Sushi (Japanese). Looking for a view? Rooftop dining option include BB's Kitchen (American) and Jimmy's, and offer great views of Aspen Mountain. Popular outdoor dining spots include:
- Creperie du Village (French/Bistro)
- Zocalito Bistro (Latin/Bistro)
- Aspen Over Easy (American/Breakfast)
- Boogie's (American/Burgers)
- 520 Grill (American/Burgers)
- Hickory House (American/Barbecue)
#2 - See a Concert. Aspen offers a great music selection year around at the Wheeler Opera House and the Belly Up Aspen. In addition to these two venues, seasonal concerts through Jazz Aspen/Snowmass and the Benedict Music Tent ensure the valley will be rocking all year long. The Wheeler Opera House is Aspen's historic venue for everything from cutting-edge artists to professional dance troupes. Located in the center of town - at the corner or East Hyman Avenue and South Mill Street - the Wheeler can't be missed. It recently underwent an entire balcony renovation that included updating the projector and seating at the facility. Over the years, it gained national acclaim as host of HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, and has hosted everyone from musician John Denver to comedian Lily Tomlin.
The Belly Up Aspen opened in 2006 and quickly earned the reputation as one of the best small venues in the nation. The 450-seat capacity downstairs bar and concert venue has hosted everyone from blues icon B.B. King to country music star Pat Green to hall-of-fame rappers Public Enemy. The Belly Up always has monumental concerts during high points of the season like New Year's Eve, but the calendar for the rest of the year is always solid. Be sure to check who's playing while you're in town! Most of the concert tickets are very affordable, and it's an unforgettable experience. The Jazz Aspen/Snowmass concert series runs June through Labor Day, and brings some of the biggest names in music to Aspen. For more than 25 years, JAS has brought music to the valley, ranging from rocker Steve Winwood to New Orleans' own Trombone Shorty. The outdoor concert never disappoints, and is the focal point of the Labor Day celebration. It's a great way to close out a summer! In addition to these, there's also numerous concerts on the Cooper Avenue Mall and occasional performances on Aspen Mountain or at Gondola Plaza on Durant Street. And don't forget about great shows at the Benedict Music Tent in the summer. Aspen gives you everything from major music headliners to Aspen Music Festival & School students and other locals playing for free around town! Always check our Aspen calendar of events to see what coincides with your visit!
#1 - Ride the Gondola. If there's one recommendation during your Aspen visit, it's to ride the gondola. The Silver Queen Gondola, located at Gondola Plaza in downtown Aspen, can whisk you to the top of Aspen Mountain while providing breathtaking views of downtown Aspen and the entire Roaring Fork Valley. Ride through the White River National Forest in your gondola car that's safe and comfortable, and take in the views.
Yes, you can ride the gondola up and down! So even if you're not a skier or snowboarder, it's still worth the ticket. At the top of Aspen Mountain is the Sundeck, which has amazing views of the Elk Mountains. Enjoy a great meal at 12,000 feet! In the summer, there's plenty of activities for kids including a rope wall and walk, hula-hooping, rock climbing and a bungee trampoline. There's also some great hiking trails and some of the best scenery that you'll ever lay eyes on. Be sure to check the temperature at the top before planning your trip. It can get cold up there, even in the heat of summer. The gondola runs in the summer and winter, and tickets are available at Gondola Plaza.