The ultimate 48 hour travel guide to Aspen, Colorado. I’ll show you where to stay, what to eat and what to do!
Not only was this my first visit to Aspen, but this was my first time ever skiing in Colorado! I couldn’t wait to find out how it compared to skiing in Park City and Banff. (I already knew it wouldn’t compare to skiing in Michigan, that’s for sure.)
Of course, I quickly learned that there’s so much more to Aspen than skiing. In fact, I can easily see why so many people love visiting Aspen year round, both skiers and non skiers.
To kick off my 48 hour travel guide to Aspen, let’s start with where to stay! After having such an amazing experience at the Limelight Hotel in Sun Valley, Idaho, I couldn’t wait to experience their Aspen property.
Right away I felt cozy and at home in their spacious guest rooms, each equipped with a fireplace. Music to this gal’s ear since I always seem to run a little cold.
Similar to Sun Valley, you can start each morning at Limelight Aspen with a complimentary breakfast buffet. Offering both cold and hot items, I was very impressed with the healthy options including hearty oatmeal, hard boiled eggs and fresh fruit.
To start your first day in Aspen, head to Four Mountain Sports where they’ll hook you up with ski and snowboard rentals.
Aspen has four ski mountains to choose from: Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands. In general, Buttermilk has the most beginner runs and is the most family friendly. Snowmass offers a good amount of everything and is large so you never get bored.
If you’re an expert skier, head to Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands. Since I only ski out west about two times a year, I stick with intermediate runs. As a result, I spent my first day at Snowmass and my second day on Buttermilk.
What I loved most about skiing in Aspen is that the runs are so much longer than anything I’ve ever experienced in the midwest or anywhere else really. Each run would take 20-30 minutes to complete. A far cry from Michigan where you reach the bottom of the hill in 3 minutes.
The other thing that makes skiing in Colorado so special? BLUE SKIES! Offering 300 days of sunshine, there is nothing more beautiful or breathtaking that skiing through packed powder with sun shining on your face.
Ready for a bite of lunch while on the slopes? I have two great recommendations for you starting with Venga Venga Cantina and Tequila Bar located on Snowmass Mountain. The food was authentic and flavorful and the presentation was gorgeous. You can explore the whole menu here.
If you’re spending the day at Buttermilk, be sure to stop in to Cliffhouse Restaurant located right on the mountain. I travel all over the world for a living but it’s rare that I experience such incredible views from a restaurant.
The make-your-own Mongolian BBQ menu is a lot of fun and a great way to refuel during a long day of skiing. I decided to warm up with a rich bowl of pho which was out of this world.
After a long day of skiing, you might be ready to warm up with a hot cup of coffee. Local, a coffee shop in Aspen, is located right downtown just a few minutes away from Limelight. It’s the perfect place to pop in before heading back to the hotel.
When you’re ready to unwind, head back to the Limelight lounge for après drinks and bites. Pro Tip: Order their artisan pizza – it won’t disappoint.
On day two, head to Ajax Tavern located inside The Little Nell hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain to try out their infamous truffle fries. Everyone told me to go here and they were right – they are next level delicious.
When you get back to the Limelight, be sure to check out Aspen’s favorite local bands every Thursday through Monday from 6:30–9:30pm in the lobby. Learn more about menu selections and specials.
Not skiing during your visit to Aspen? No problem. For lunch options downtown, I have two suggestions starting with Clark’s Aspen.
Open year round, Clark’s Aspen offers a wide variety of seafood (think: oysters, lobster rolls, whole roasted fish, etc.), sandwiches, soups and more. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip.
Another great option for lunch downtown is Pyramid Bistro. A nutritarian restaurant, each dish on the menu offers as much nutrients as possible per calorie. How incredible is that? I was blown away by the curry dishes and the fresh rolls.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat in Aspen, look no further than Paradise Bakery. They’ve been serving their famous cookies since 1976 and I’m here to tell you – they are soft, chewy and perfectly balanced with salt and sweet. I decided to buy a bag to bring home to my boys.
For dinner, I have a couple options depending on what you’re craving. If you’re a sushi and Asian food lover like I am, head to Kenichi. Pro Tip: Order the shishito peppers. You’ll be glad you did.
Offering a small plates menu of sushi, sashimi, salads, entrees and more, every dish was inventive and flavorful.
My second dinner recommendation in downtown Aspen is Meat and Cheese Restaurant. Located on Restaurant Row, this gem is a hybrid specialty food store and restaurant.
While the menu offers everything from salads to sandwiches to entrees and more, my favorite were the share boards. The menu changes seasonally but I am confident you won’t be disappointed with whatever you order.
After dinner, before hitting the town, I highly recommended getting your namaste on at Aspen Shakti. Lucky for me, I happened to be visiting on a day that coincided with their Thug Yoga classes. If you love hip hop as much as I do, this class is a blast. Bonus: they include a complimentary beer from Aspen Brewing Company.
Want to skip the yoga and head right to the beer? You can do that too. Aspen Brewing Company is located right down the street.
Craving craft cocktails instead? Head to Hooch craft and cocktail bar located right on Restaurant Row.
Another great option for craft cocktails is Bad Harriet located inside the lower level of Hotel Jerome.
Since I firmly believe you can’t go wrong with a good Bloody Mary, make time to swing into the St. Regis also located downtown. Insider tip: every St. Regis offers their very own signature Bloody Mary recipe. You can sample the Aspen version or try one from around the world.
Last but not least, if you’re ready to end your day with a bang, head to Escobar, Aspen’s premier dance club. Featuring a live DJ most nights of the week, this is the spot to go if you’re ready to get down with your friends.
While I didn’t spend much time shopping during my visit to Aspen, that’s always a great option if you’re not into skiing.
There are certainly no shortage of shops and the entire town is extremely walkable and pedestrian friendly. PS: Notice all that sunshine in my face? Gotta love Colorado!
What cities would you like to see me cover next? Leave a comment below to let me know!
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Disclosure: Limelight Hotels hosted my hotel accommodations.