The things to do in downtown Aspen Colorado are almost limitless – during both a winter and summer vacation.
At an elevation of nearly 8,000 feet, the small ski town of Aspen, Colorado is home to only 7,000 residents annually and is a premier destination for skiers and snowboarders alike.
Every year an average of 300 inches of snow hit the ground allowing travelers to enjoy this joyous winter wonderland and I was lucky enough to come out, find a job working at the Gant Condo Resort, and ended up living here for a handful of seasons spending my time mountain biking in the summer, going on extensive overnight backpacking trips, giving a go at paragliding off the side of a mountain, and of course snowboarding in the Aspen/Snowmass ski resorts.
But without further ado, take a look at these top things you can do while walking through downtown Aspen – there really is no other mountain town quite like this one!
5 Things to do in Downtown Aspen
1.) Downtown Aspen Shopping
The shops in downtown Aspen are definitively known for catering to the rich and famous – the various high end stores like Gucci, Prada, and the like certainly dominate the majority of the market.
But don’t let this fool you. Aspen is home to a handful of shops that can cater to your average joe. Between the thrifts store, consignment shops, and secondhand used sports store, you can certainly find a diamond in the rough as the upper class donate their hand-me-downs for a fantastic deal that you can pick up.
Pro tip: This bodes especially well after winter when spring cleaning is at its most popular.
2.) Art Gallery in Downtown Aspen
Walking down the beautiful red and black brick sidewalks, make your way to Paradise Bakery and grab two scoops on a waffle cone of their butter pecan ice-cream.
Once your treat is in hand, take a stroll through downtown and enjoy window shopping at the art galleries. Aspen is renowned for some of the most interesting, and authentic, art in the world. Between the plethora of fine art, glass art, and themed galleries, you’ll definitely have a relaxing afternoon viewing the finer things in life.
3.) Downtown Aspen Restaurants
The restaurants in Aspen are quite diverse considering just how small this ski town is. You can always dine at old school classics like the Red Onion located on the Hymen walking mall, Jimmy’s over on restaurant row, and Rustique Bistro. But where can you go for a meal that’s a bit more budget-friendly?
The City Market has a pretty good meal deal that makes up a great, quick 3-course meal for under $10. Otherwise, check out The Butcher’s Block for some of the best sandwiches in Aspen, as well as the breakfast sandwiches at Ink coffee shop, and (my personal favorite) try the “Secret Sandwich” over at Annette’s Bakery.
4.) ACES – Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
With the sole mission to inspire a life-long commitment to the earth by way of education for environmental responsibility, and conservation through the balance of natural communities, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a fantastic place to learn more about the local environment.
Taking a day trip here is fantastic, especially if you have children as you’ll be able to entertain yourselves with guided nature tours on the mountains as well as get up close and personal with some of the local inhabitants of the area. Have another adventure in mind? ACES is more than happy to assist with an opportunity to hire a personal guide for private, custom tours.
5.) Hike Smuggler Mine Trail in Downtown Aspen
If you’re vacationing in Aspen, take an hour or two to yourself and hike up the Smuggler Mountain mine trail. From downtown, you can easily walk there in just 5 to 10 minutes.
Afterward, once you reach the trailhead, it’s a moderate climb uphill until you reach the viewing platform. From there, you will be given fantastic views of the city of Aspen as well as Buttermilk Mountain and Highlands Mountain in the backdrop.
Have you ever spent a vacation exploring downtown Aspen, Colorado?