Top 25 Aspen Attractions & Things To Do You Can't Miss

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Nikki Jain

Aspen, Colorado, is known for its snow-capped peaks and endless winter adventures. It is home to four mountains that provide snowboarding, skiing, and so much more. This mountain town draws celebrities from all over the world, including Elton John and Jack Nicholson. With over 153 inches of snow per year, it is no wonder why this Colorado town is a winter hot spot. Aspen has so much more to offer than just that. Keep reading to learn about the top attractions and things to do in Aspen.

Things To Do in Aspen

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1: Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells

One of the most photographed places in all of Colorado is Maroon Bells. These two peaks are located in the Elk Mountains and are separated by only half a kilometer, creating stunning mountain peaks.

Maroon Bells is only ten miles from Aspen, making it a quick stop during your trip. Be sure to make reservations online to utilize the shuttle to Maroon Bells during peak season.

The shuttle is the only way to access the bells during summer and fall. In the winter months, the road will close due to heavy snowfall.

Once you get to Maroon Bells, be sure to take the scenic hike around the area. The Maroon Lake Scenic trail is only one mile and is recommended for all skill levels.

Get gorgeous pictures of the mountain while enjoying a stroll around the lake. Fall is the best time to visit for photographers; the yellow aspen collides with the white snowy peaks.

Make your bucket list photograph come true at Maroon Bells, one of the best things to do in Aspen.

Address: Maroon-Snowmass Trail, Aspen, CO 81611

2: Independence Pass

Independence Pass

Independence Pass is a staple in Colorado, enjoyed by visitors and locals, a road known for its endless mountain views.

This famous road is known for being beautiful and terrifying. The road is thirty-two miles of windy curves with steep drop-offs. Some of the roads have guardrails, while other parts don't.

The pass is not usually dangerous, as long as you go slow and pay attention. In the winter, closures are common due to unsafe driving conditions. Be sure to take advantage of the numerous stop-offs that provide breathtaking views.

Take advantage of the hiking trails located along the pass. Lost Main Trail is a moderate trail that allows access to a meadow and lake.

This trail brings you between the Roaring Fork water and the Lost Man Creek drainage. Enjoy the views of the Geissler Mountain and points on the Continental Divide.

Address: Hwy 82, 20 miles E of Aspen, Aspen, CO 81611

3: Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Mountain

The 14,000-foot mountain of Snowmass is also a ski and snowboard resort near Aspen. It is the largest of the three other mountains combined.

Hanging Valley is the spot for high-alpine terrain, recommended for expert skiers. A destination for those seeking a much-needed adrenaline rush. 

After spending your day on the slopes, head over to Snowmass Village, full of restaurants, hotels, and even an outdoor ice skating rink.

Grab dinner at one of the delicious dining options. Walk the village or even stay there for a close location to the slopes.

You will not be disappointed with this mountain, especially since it is only nine miles away from Aspen.

Address: 611 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

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4: Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain
Dreamstime/Jonathan Ross

Located in the heart of Aspen is Aspen Mountain. It is known as the "town mountain" and is a local favorite. Skiing trails range from quad-burning groomers and expert-style steep runs.

Ski through the aspen glades by using the powder stashes. Try out Bell Mountain, which provides iconic bumps and breathtaking views. Aspen Mountain offers something for every skill level.

Afterward, enjoy some of their dining options, one of the best things to do in Aspen. Ajax Tavern is a mountainside patio next to the Silver Queen Gondola.

This cozy restaurant is known for its delicious truffle fries! If you want to grab breakfast or lunch, stop at Bonnie's.

Coffee accompanied by an apple strudel is good when visiting Aspen Mountain. End your day in downtown Aspen, which is within walking distance from this resort.

Address: 601 E Dean St, Aspen, CO 81611

5: Silver Queen Gondola

Silver Queen Gondola

The Silver Queen Gondola is a part of Aspen Mountain and one of the top Aspen attractions. In 1986 the gondola opened and became the longest single-stage gondola in the entire world.

It connects downtown with the summit of Aspen Mountain. It also allows foot access to the Sundeck Restaurant. A restaurant with gorgeous views and yummy food. The ride to the summit of the mountain is only fourteen minutes.

Winter is not the only time to explore the top of Aspen Mountain. You can take the gondola in the summer to enjoy the world's highest official disc golf course.

Sunday Bluegrass Concerts are hosted here as well. Yoga is another activity that takes place at the top of the mountain.

In the winter, skiers and snowboarders will take the gondola to the famous trails. If you are not a skier, you can buy a "foot pass", which allows you to walk to the Sundeck Restaurant or even go snowshoeing!

Address: 611 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

6: Aspen Brewing Company

Aspen Brewing Company

Aspen Brewing Company is a unique brewery that creates its beers at 7,908 feet in the air.

This famous spot was founded in 2008. Since then, they have been creating delicious craft beers for both visitors and locals to enjoy.

Their passion for making craft beer is appreciated by everyone visiting their two locations. They have a taproom with food and drinks or you can view their brewery, where the magic happens!

Their Taproom is located in downtown Aspen and provides delicious entrees. Indulge in spiced nuts and marinated olives while enjoying a cold beer.

You can even try out one of their infamous sourdough pizzas. Want to try one of the cool things to do in Aspen? Take a brewery tour!

Check out their brewery location, which is near the Aspen airport. See where the beer is made and taste it for yourself.

Address: 121 S Galena St, Aspen, CO 81611

7: Wheeler Opera House

Wheeler Opera House

Looking to enjoy a show when visiting Aspen? Then head over to Wheeler Opera house.

This historic stone building was built in the 1890s and was once ruined due to a fire from arson.

It was later bought by the city and redesigned. Today, the upstairs auditorium is now home to events and shows ranging from hilarious comedy shows to sold-out concerts.

Their 2021-2022 season is packed with new entertainment. Film festivals are hosted here, along with lyrical debuts for artists.

If you are in town, be sure to stop by their box office. You can see what is happening when you are in town and support Aspen's hidden gem.

Address: 320 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

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8: John Denver Sanctuary

John Denver Sanctuary
Flickr/Simon Morris

John Denver lived in Aspen, Colorado, for most of his life. This famous musician and humanitarian is known for some of his greatest hits, such as Rocky Mountain High.

He spent most of his life in Colorado and has become a staple of the area ever since. He passed away back in October of 1997 when his plane crashed in California.

Aspen is now home to the John Denver Sanctuary, located by the river behind the Rio Grande Field.

Spend some time on the landscape engraved rocks, which are surrounded by gorgeous aspens. This is a popular spot to enjoy a picnic with your friends and family.

You will see visitors meditating on the large rocks. Yoga classes are also held here to enjoy the peace of the area.

The sanctuary also has a stage for entertainment as it houses Theater Aspen. This is one of the best things to do in Aspen. Stop by and pay your respect to this loved Aspen musician.

Address: 470 Rio Grande Pl, Aspen, CO 81611

9: T-Lazy Ranch

T-Lazy Ranch
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

The T-Lazy Ranch has been family-owned and operated since 1938. Five generations of the family have worked together to make this a fun Aspen spot.

Rent a cabin here and spend some time in nature. The cabins were built in the 1930s, providing a rustic and historic charm.

It is a great place to disconnect and recharge. Take some time off while you relax in the lush Colorado forest.

When you are ready to explore, the ranch offers a variety of things to do! Take a snowmobile tour through the snowy forest.

In the summer, enjoy horseback riding or fly fishing. There is something for everyone in the family.

There is also an event venue for special events and concerts. Be sure to try the food! All of their menu items are farm to table. This includes all-natural beef, eggs, honey, and even hay.

Address: 3129 Maroon Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

10: Buttermilk Mountain

Buttermilk Mountain
Dreamstime/Richard Gunion

Home to ESPN's Winter X Games XII is Buttermilk Mountain. The mountain attracts all winter extremists from all over the world.

The mountain has three areas to enjoy, making it one of the fun things to do in Aspen. Tiehack is great for uphills, main Buttermilk for all skill levels, and West Buttermilk is the other option.

It is an excellent mountain for expert skiers and snowboarders to perfect their skills. 

On the contrary to the X Games, Buttermilk Mountain also has one of the best beginner-friendly slopes.

So the mountain is great for all skill levels and even those new to skiing or snowboarding.

Want to try some unique dining out at Buttermilk? Then sign up for one of the Full Moon Dinners, hosted by Aspen Skiing Company.

The dinners are only held on select evenings in the winter and are indeed a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Address: 38700 Highway 82, Aspen, CO 81611

Looking to visit other amazing places in Colorado? Check out our lists of things to do in Breckenridge & things to do in Denver!

11: Grottos Trail

Grottos Trail
Flickr/mark byzewski

Located off of Independence Pass is a bucket list hike, the Grottos Trail. The trail features ice caves and even a waterfall.

Begin your trek towards the caves, which take you over a wooden bridge. Once you reach the caves, you can peek inside and grab some photographs. From there, follow the trail back out to the waterfalls.

The best part about this hike is that it is only 0.6 miles long. A great option for all skill levels since the elevation gain is only 29 feet.

It is a must-see on your Aspen journey! Especially in the winter months, so you can enjoy the ice cave to its fullest.

Address: 26692 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611

12: Ashcroft Ghost Town

Ashcroft Ghost Town
Dreamstime/Ronda Kimbrow

Visit the silver mining ghost town of Ashcroft. It is located eleven miles up Castle Creek Road, on the west entrance to Aspen.

The town features restored remains of historical buildings, including a post office, saloon, and old hotel.

The saloon was a popular attraction back in the 1800s. Ashcroft had 16 to 20 saloons in town at the high point of the boom, which came around 1883.

Ashcroft is a special place that was a mining hot spot in the early 1800s. The town had a population of 2,000 people.

They had two newspapers, a school, sawmills, and a small shelter. It is a truly historic place.

Visit during your trip for a self-guided tour and read all about the history of this mining town and the buildings that still stand today.

Address: 11 Miles Up Castle Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

13: Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Get ready to explore this nature preserve in Aspen. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies was founded in 1968.

The founder, Elizabeth Paepcke, donated her 25-acre property in Aspen's west end to develop an environmental center and preserve. Now it is a nonprofit organization with hopes to improve ecological awareness.

They offer a variety of events, such as birdwatching and solstice celebrations. You can also sign up for guided hikes in the surrounding areas to learn about nature as you walk.

Support this fantastic center by visiting or joining one of the educational events they offer. You can also donate on their website to support a great local cause.

Address: 100 Puppy Smith St, Aspen, CO 81611

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14: Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum
Flickr/Jimmy Baikovicius

The Aspen Art Museum was founded in the 1970s. In 2014, the new gorgeous building was completed and is now home to the museum.

Aspen Art Museum showcases an extensive collection of International Art. The museum offers yearly exhibits that are switched out and constantly updated.

Some exhibits within the past year were Precious Okoyomon: Every Earthly Morning the Sky's Light touches Ur Life is Unprecedented in its Beauty and Adam Stamp: The Slippery Slope.

In 2022, Andy Warhol: Lifetimes and Gaetano Pesce: My Dear Mountains are just a few of the exhibitions planned.

In addition to the exhibits, there are learning events offered at the museum for visitors to sign up for. This could include learning about specific art or artists. Check out their calendar for all up-to-date events.

Address: 637 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

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15: Farmers Market

Farmers Market

On Saturdays from June to October is the Aspen Farmers Market. The market has been running since 1998, drawing visitors to this quaint town.

The market is located in Downtown Aspen, where the streets are blocked off from vehicles once a week.

The streets are then lined with vendors and booths and even farm animals! Visit the adorable goat and alpaca, which can be commonly spotted at the market. A town favorite!

Then stop by and buy some Colorado locally grown produce. The market makes a fantastic place to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables from local providers.

A great place to stock up on some fresh fruit for your hotel or purchase snacks for the slopes.

You can even take a bit of Aspen home with you by shopping at the Artist's booths. Handmade crafts and paintings are a great way to support local artists.

Grab a hot coffee to enjoy while strolling the downtown streets. You can even stop by for lunch and try delicious food from restaurants and catering companies.

Address: East Hopkins and South Hunter and East Hyman, Aspen, CO 81611

16: Conundrum Hot Springs

Conundrum Hot Springs

Located in a remote area of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area of the White River National Forest is Conundrum Hot Springs.

An isolated hot spring that allows you to soak in thermal mountain water. There is a catch, though; you do need to hike overnight to reach it. A backpacker's dream when visiting Colorado.

If an overnight backpacking trip is on your list, then look no further. This eighteen-mile hike has an elevation gain of 2,791 ft and usually takes two days to complete.

You do need to reserve an overnight backpacking permit in order to take on this trail. You can purchase that online here.

The hike is well worth the relaxing soak in the hot springs and is recommended for all adventurer lovers. It is one of the best places to visit in Aspen due to its remote location.

Address: Conundrum Creek Rd, Aspen, Colorado 81611

17: Aspen Recreation Center

Aspen Recreation Center

The Aspen Recreation Center provides activities in Aspen for youth and adults for you to enjoy when visiting.

Youth activities range from basketball, swimming, gymnastics, and a batting cage. Adults can try out climbing, mountain biking, and even kayaking.

There are ski classes for visitors to take to help brush up on their skills. You can even namaste all day, with their yoga classes.

The daily admission rate to visit the center is $25 per person. This allows you access to the activities with a towel and a locker.

You can even enjoy public skating here or play hockey. Get in your activity fix at the Aspen Recreation Center. A fun place to take a break from slopes.

Address: 0861 Maroon Creek Rd, Aspen, CO 81611

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18: Mill Street Fountain

Mill Street Fountain
Flickr/Rick Kimpel

Cool off during hot Colorado days at the Mill Street Fountain. These dancing fountains are a crowd favorite, not to mention a great place to sit back and relax.

Children and dogs take advantage of the cold water when the summer heatwaves take place. The mountain views in the background are just an added bonus.

There are a few places nearby where you can grab some frozen yogurt or iced coffee. Sit back and relax while watching the water dance in the air!

There are plenty of benches to sit at that are surrounded by flowers. The Mill Street Fountain is a fun place for people to watch while enjoying some of the best summer attractions in Aspen.

Address: Mill St & Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

19: Theatre Aspen

Theatre Aspen

Check out Aspen's performing arts scene. Theatre Aspen features local performers as well Broadway performers.

The theatre was newly renovated in 2012, adding gardens and ponds around the facility.

They offer an Apprentice Program for students, which helps them learn all about the theatre process and work alongside professionals.

The shows are ever-changing, so you can check their schedule here. This past summer shows such as Chicago The Musical and Rock of Ages were performed.

Support the local performing art scene by enjoying a show at this remarkable theatre.

Address: 470 Rio Grande Pl, Aspen, CO 81611

20: Silver Circle Ice Rink

Silver Circle Ice Rink
Dreamstime/Pavel Ilyukhin

Visit Aspen's only outdoor ice rink! Silver Circle Ice Rink, which is a quarter-mile away from the Aspen Mountain Ski Resort.

This winter ice skating rink is open from December through February and sometimes longer during colder weather seasons.

Spend some time skating under the Colorado sky with mountain views all around you.

It is one of the best places to visit in Aspen, even in the summer. You can still check out the rink; you just won't be skating on it.

The outdoor ice rink is transformed into an 18-hole mini-golf course to enjoy in the warmer months.

Grab your friends and family and get competitive. Want to know the best part? The mini-golf course is the only one in Aspen.

Address: 433 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

21: Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum

Located on the former Holden Mining and Smelting Company facility on the western edge of Aspen is the Holden Mining & Ranching Museum.

This special place was recognized as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

What makes this place so historic? Back in 1891, it was built to process ore mined from the mountains around the city into silver. As a result, Aspen became one of the largest silver producers.

Today you can visit the museum by reservation. The visit includes touring the buildings with an old miners-cabin that is now turned into a Victorian home.

In addition, there is a barn and a chicken coop, which are both being restored. The ranching museum is an interesting stop during your aspen journey. Learn about the once-booming silver industry in Aspen, Colorado.

Address: 40180 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611

22: Snowmass Balloon Festival

Snowmass Balloon Festival

If watching a sky full of hot air balloons flying over the Rocky Mountains is on your bucket list, then head to Snowmass Balloon Festival!

Every September, this three-day festival draws visitors from all over the world. You can watch the balloons from the comfort of your car or hike to them. There are three different trails that provide an up-close view of the balloons.

Make a weekend out of it! This Aspen attraction has three-morning balloon launches and a Friday evening Balloon Night Glow.

There are even breakfast food trucks for the morning Balloon Takeoffs. Grab a blanket during sunrise and enjoy some delicious Aspen food during the event.

Ready for the best part? The festival is free to visitors! Head to the Snowmass Balloon Festival rated one of the best things to see in Aspen.

Address: 2909 Brush Creek Rd Snowmass Village, CO 81615

23: Downtown Aspen

Downtown Aspen
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

Downtown is the place to go when visiting Aspen. The endless amount of dining and nightlife provides entertainment for everyone.

First, you will shop until you drop! Antiques, bookstores, boutiques, floral and high-end shops are a few places to explore.

There are even multiple thrift shops for you to take advantage of more affordable options.

Don't forget about the dining scene. Aspen has one of the best culinary scenes in all of Colorado.

Food varieties showcase American, Asian, Barbeque and so much more. Local bakeries and coffee shops are famous. Italian, French, Seafood and Mexican food are great options for dinner.

Most restaurants use local ingredients, some even cooked up by five-star chefs. Have dinner and drinks downtown after a day of exploring the town, one of the fun things to do in Aspen!

Address: 450 S Galena St, Aspen, CO 81611

Also Read: Top 20 Best Downtowns in the USA

24: North Star Nature Preserve

North Star Nature Preserve
Flickr/Tony Webster

The North Star Nature Preserve is spread over 245 acres of land. One of the main attractions in the preserve is the roaring fork river that flows through a flat valley created by a glacier.

Using the river is a popular activity here and is used by paddleboarders and small boats. Fishing is common along the riverside as well.

The preserve has a wetland and even a designated beach for you to relax at. There are plenty of species, including mammals, birds, and an elk migration area, which can be one of the best sights in Aspen.

Explore this preserve on foot! Hiking here is relatively flat and great for walking. Be sure to stay on marked trails since the rest of the land is being protected.

Hike to the Pedestrian Bridge, the Wildlife Viewing Platform, the Beach Access, South Gate, and James H. Smith Nature Trail.

The North Star Nature Preserve is a great place to get into nature before heading back to downtown Aspen.

Address: 43151 CO-82, Aspen, CO 81611

25: Columbine of Aspen

Columbine of Aspen

Still, thinking about what to do in Aspen? Go shopping at a famous Aspen boutique. Columbine of Aspen provides a unique shopping experience.

Browse through fossils, meteorites, and more. This company locates and provides the finest fossils and crystals from across the world. Their jewelry is inspired by Native American culture.

Their team visits the archaeology and geology sites and brings the findings back to Aspen. The company began 45 years ago with the goal of bringing jewels from all over the world.

They most certainly succeeded! Visit Columbine of Aspen today to find your special jewel or to learn about these incredible findings. This unique shop is one of the best things to see in Aspen.

Address: 675 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO 81611

Where to Stay in Aspen

1. Mountain Chalet Aspen

This friendly family-run hotel is located in the heart of Aspen. It is recommended for large families and even individuals. The property sits at the base of Aspen Mountain and is only two blocks from the Silver Queen Gondola. Walk to the mall, restaurants, and shops. Free shuttles to Buttermilk, Highlands, and Aspen/Snowmass are offered at this property. Great for easy slope access. The best part about this place is that it is one of the last old-time ski lodges that remain in Aspen.

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2. St Moritz Lodge

This hotel prides itself on being one of the most affordable hotels in Aspen. The property has a European chalet-style architecture, accompanied by gardens and an outdoor pool. It is located at the base of Shadow Mountain in the more lowkey section of Aspen. You will be walking distance from the center of town and only two blocks from the freeskier shuttles. The lodge provides comfortable and spacious rooms with a cozy lodge feel. Take advantage of their steam room and hot tubs during the cold winter months.

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3. Hotel Aspen

Enjoy spacious accommodations at Hotel Aspen. Their rooms range from junior suites to one-bedroom apartments. This spot is recommended for a romantic weekend away to indulge in one of the Fireplace Suites for those cold winter nights.

Want your own private hot tub? Hotel Aspen has got you covered. Stay in one of the Hot Tub Suites, which provides your own private hot tub located on your balcony. When you are not relaxing in your suite, enjoy the amenities. Relax by the hotel pool, which is open year-round and heated. Hotel Aspen is an affordable option that provides luxurious rooms and amenities.

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4. The St. Regis Aspen Resort

Want to experience a luxury stay in Aspen? Then stay at St Regis Aspen Resort by Marriot. This five-star hotel is located at the base of Aspen Mountain. Spend some time at the Remede Spa; an award-winning spa rated one of the best in the world. Relax in the heated outdoor pool or in the hot tub that overlooks Aspen Mountain.

Try the dining at this property. It is a host hotel of the Food & Wine Classic that is held in Aspen. The handcrafted cocktails and mountain cuisine offered at Mountain Social is a must-try. Want even more luxury? The St. Regis Butler Service is provided here and ready to assist you 24/7.

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5. Pokolodi Lodge

Located one hundred yards from the ski slope and adjacent to Snowmass Village is Pokolodi Lodge. Pokolodi is believed to mean "The small lodge of welcome and happy dreams," and this lodge follows that value. The rooms are comfortable and cozy. The amenities offer an incredible heated pool and hot tub onsite. Complimentary continental breakfast is provided daily in the lobby.

You can purchase your lift tickets in advance from them as well. That way, when you arrive at the property, they are waiting for you at the front desk. The Pokolodi Lodge is a cozy accommodation option convenient for those wanting to visit Snowmass Village.

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Plan your trip to Aspen soon!

From long days on the slopes to longer nights downtown, these Aspen attractions have it all. This winter destination is rated one of the best in the country. While being nestled right in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Skiing and snowboarding are just a few of the reasons to visit.

Enjoy their once-in-a-lifetime dining scene and mouth-watering local restaurants. Shop at the ski villages or boutiques in downtown Aspen. Snowshoe in the winter and summit mountains in the Summer. Whether you want adventure or relaxation, these things to do in Aspen have got you covered. This Colorado mountain town is waiting for you to visit, so pack your bags and head to Aspen!

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