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19 Best Things to Do in Aspen, Colorado (2023)

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Aspen, Colorado, is a charming mountain town that offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to hit the slopes, explore the great outdoors, or indulge in some retail therapy, Aspen has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best things to do in Aspen, so you can make the most of your visit.

One of the main draws of Aspen is its world-class skiing. With multiple ski areas in the area, there are plenty of options for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. But skiing isn’t the only activity on offer in Aspen!

I visited Aspen for the first time in the fall of 2021 after moving to Denver and fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve made the trip out to this lovely town multiple times and have experienced the thrill of the town on more than one occasion.

Keep reading to learn all about the best things to do in Aspen!

๐Ÿš— Don’t forget to book your Colorado rental car! Click here to check rates.

Best Things to Do in Aspen

Visit the Maroon Bells

A hiking trail with ropes along the side that leads next to a lake at the foot of snowy mountains.

The Maroon Bells are one of the most iconic landmarks in Colorado! These peaks, known for their vibrant color, are located just outside of Aspen and are an absolute must-visit. You can take a scenic drive to the Maroon Bells or hike one of the many trails in the area.

You will have to make your reservation to visit here in advance. Click here to learn more.

We visited in November 2021 and did make our reservation a few months in advance. We found that the best time to visit was in the evening because there’s usually a lot less people!

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    Stay the night at Mountain Chalet Aspen

    A large field with a field goal at one end and a group of people sitting in the middle.

    Mountain Chalet Aspen is a cozy hotel located in the heart of downtown Aspen. This hotel is perfect for those who want to be close to all the action. There are comfortable rooms, a pool, great views, and a complimentary breakfast.

    I stayed at Mountain Chalet Aspen during my trip to Aspen, and I loved staying here. The entirety of the town was within walking distance. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Aspen, this is it!

    ๐ŸŒŸ Click here to check rates at Mountain Chalet Aspen! ๐ŸŒŸ

    Drive Castle Creek Road

    A winding road with fall colored trees along each side of the road.

    Castle Creek Road is a scenic drive that takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of Aspen. Along the way, you’ll see stunning views of the mountains and feel like you are taken back in time as you come up on the Ashcroft Ghost Town.

    This drive is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colors. You may also hear this road referred to as County Road 15.

    Keep in mind that this road is unfortunately only open during May through October due to weather. The drive is about 13 miles long.

    Visit Cathedral Lake

     A large circular lake at the base of a rocky mountain.

    Cathedral Lake is a beautiful alpine lake that is truly one of the best Aspen-area hikes. The hike to Cathedral Lake is challenging (it has around 2000 feet of elevation gain) but well worth it.

    Once you reach the lake, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The entire hike is about 5.5 miles long. I recommend getting there early; you might even spot some wildlife!

    Walk around and shop downtown

    A brick sidewalk on a pedestrian shopping street with trees on the left and stores on the right.
    Editorial credit: Oscity / Shutterstock.com

    Downtown Aspen is filled with unique shops and boutiques. Take a stroll down the pedestrian are and browse the many stores. You’ll find everything from high-end designer clothing to handmade jewelry.

    You may even be able to snag a souvenir or two to take home!

    Visit T-Lazy-7 Ranch

    T-Lazy-7 Ranch is a historic ranch located near Maroon Bells. This ranch offers horseback riding, fly fishing, and snowmobiling tours. You can also take a tour of the ranch and learn about its history.

    The ranch itself is almost 100 years old and is truly a site to behold. It’s beautiful no matter the time of year. Oh, and did we mention they also have cabins that you can stay in?

    Step back in time in Ashcroft Ghost Town

    A small wooden building with a short staircase leading towards it along a hiking path.

    Ashcroft Ghost Town is a well-preserved ghost town located just outside of Aspen. This town was once a booming silver mining town but was abandoned by the early 1900s.

    Today, you can take a tour of the town and learn about its history. There’s still an old hotel and saloon that you can check out. Consider going on a guided tour to get the best experience during your trip.

    Go white water rafting

    A person in a life vest and helmet white water rafting.

    The Roaring Fork River offers some of the best white water rafting in Colorado. Take a guided tour down the river and experience the thrill of the rapids.

    There are quite a few different companies you can go on a tour with. Some great ones to check out are Blazing Adventuers and Aspen Whitewater Rafting.

    Explore the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail

    A small hiking path leading along a lake at the foot of the mountains.

    The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is a beautiful hike that takes you around Maroon Lake and offers stunning views of the Maroon Bells. This hike is easy and perfect for families.

    The trail itself is about 2 miles long, and it is a loop trail, so you get to enjoy different views the entire time. It does have about 160 feet of elevation gain, and takes around 45 minutes to complete.

    Dine at Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop

    Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop is a must-visit restaurant in Aspen. This restaurant offers tasty cuisine and has a wide variety of cheeses and meats to choose from.

    Plus, there are great cocktails and other drinks that you can add to your meal.

    Ski at Aspen Mountain Ski Resort, Buttermilk Ski Resort, Snowmass, or Aspen Highlands Ski Resort

    Aerial view of a ski town in the mountains lit up at sunset.

    Aspen is known for its world-class skiing. There are four ski resorts in the area, each offering something different. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there is a ski resort for you.

    The four different ski resorts are Aspen Mountain Ski Resort, Buttermilk Ski Resort, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands Ski Resort.

    Most people argue over whether Snowmass or Aspen Mountain is better for advanced skiers, so you can truly go to either or both if you’re looking for some higher-difficulty runs.

    Visit Wheeler Opera House

    A multi-story red brick building that wraps around the corner of a street.
    Editorial credit: jenlo8 / Shutterstock.com

    Wheeler Opera House is a historic theater located in downtown Aspen. This theater hosts a variety of shows, including concerts, plays, and movies.

    You can also go on a tour here if you visit over the summer! These tours usually happen just once a day.

    Even if you don’t go inside, it’s pretty cool to see the architecture of the building from the outside.

    Explore the John Denver Sanctuary

    A rocky river with fall colored trees lining the edge.

    The John Denver Sanctuary is a beautiful outdoor memorial to the singer-songwriter John Denver. This sanctuary features a variety of gardens and a large rock sculpture.

    If you’re looking for a quiet spot when it comes to the best things to do in Aspen, this is the place to go. It can be a great place for walking or even having a lovely picnic.

    Have a pint at Aspen Brewing Co

    Aspen Brewing Co is a local brewery that offers a variety of craft beers. This brewery has a cozy atmosphere and is the perfect place to relax after a day of skiing or hiking.

    Colorado is pretty well-known for its breweries, so Aspen Brewing Company is truly a must-visit. They are open every day, but hours are longer on the weekends. You can also enjoy some great pub food here, like pizza.

    Drive Independence Pass

    Overhead view of a road winding down a mountain covered in trees.

    Independence Pass is a scenic drive that takes you over the Continental Divide. Along the way, you’ll see stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding landscape.

    This is not the drive for you if you do not like heights! The highest point of this 32-mile drive is 12,000 feet, and it does have a switchback. However, the views truly are rewarding. It’s most beautiful in the fall.

    Go on an Aspen Ghost Tour

    Aspen Ghost Tours are a fun and spooky way to learn about the history of Aspen. These tours take you to some of the most haunted places in town and tell you the stories behind them.

    This fun Aspen DarkSide Ghost Tour is a great option! It’s about an hour long and takes place at night, so you can explore the streets with shadows. Along the way, you’ll have a professional guide who will tell you spooky tales.

    ๐Ÿ‘ป Book your Aspen ghost tour here! ๐Ÿ‘ป

    Visit the Aspen Art Museum

    The Aspen Art Museum is a contemporary art museum located in downtown Aspen. This museum features a variety of exhibitions and events throughout the year.

    Oh, and did we mention that there is also a rooftop cafe? You can have a quick bite with an epic view.

    Ride the Silver Queen Gondola

    View looking up at a gondola.
    Editorial credit: Eric Broder Van Dyke / Shutterstock.com

    The Silver Queen Gondola is a scenic gondola ride that takes you to the top of Aspen Mountain. Along the way, you’ll see stunning views of the mountains and the surrounding landscape.

    When visiting mountain towns in Colorado, you absolutely don’t want to miss out on the gondola rides. They are usually free and are a great way to see the beauty of the area that you are visiting.

    When you are at the top of the mountain, you can bike, hike, or even have a bite to eat.

    Hike Grotto’s Trail

    Grotto’s Trail is a beautiful hike that takes you past a waterfall. This hike is easy and perfect for families.

    It’s a 0.6-mile loop trail that takes around 15 minutes to complete. It does have about 30 feet of elevation gain and is best hiked during the summer months.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Aspen, Colorado

    The side of a red brick building with three different signs for stores handing off the side.
    Editorial credit: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock.com
    What are some fun activities to do in Aspen during the summer?

    Aspen offers a variety of outdoor activities during the summer, such as hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and fishing.

    You can take a scenic gondola ride up the mountain, attend outdoor concerts and events, or enjoy a round of golf.

    The Maroon Bells, a beautiful mountain range, is a popular destination for hiking and sightseeing.

    What are some unique things to do in Aspen besides skiing?

    Aspen is known for its skiing, but there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. You can take a hot air balloon ride over the mountains, visit the Aspen Art Museum, or go on a food tour of the town’s restaurants.

    What is Aspen, Colorado, famous for?

    Aspen is famous for its skiing and winter sports, as well as its beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. The town is also known for its luxury resorts, fine dining, and cultural events.

    Aspen has a rich history and is home to many historic buildings and landmarks.

    Is Aspen, Colorado, worth visiting?

    Yes, Aspen is definitely worth visiting! Whether you’re interested in skiing, outdoor activities, or cultural events, there is something for everyone in Aspen.

    ๐Ÿš— Don’t forget to book your Colorado rental car! Click here to check rates.

    Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Aspen CO

    Visiting Aspen comes with a unique set of activities and experiences. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or simply want to enjoy the city’s natural beauty, there are plenty of fun things to do in Aspen.

    No matter what type of traveler you are, Aspen has something for everyone. So come experience the best of Colorado – come explore Aspen!

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    Woohoo, you’re heading to Colorado! As Colorado locals, we have tons of posts for this state. Explore more below!

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