Outdoor Sports, Culture, Music, Dining and More
The chic ski resort of Aspen, Colorado, offers even more variety of activities in the glorious warm-weather months.
About 13 years ago I moved from New York City to Aspen “just for the summer.” Like most transplants in the area, after one glorious season in this charming mountain hideaway, I was hooked on its scenic beauty and laid-back style. I couldn’t imagine making my home in any place other than the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
There’s so much to do in Aspen in the summertime, it’s hard to pack it all into just one week’s vacation. To help visitors, here’s my top five list of things to do when you travel to Aspen between June and August:
1. Get outside
Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing. Hot-air balloon rides, tandem paragliding, wilderness tours by horseback. Fly-fishing, kayaking, river-rafting. No matter what your outdoor sport, it’s likely you can do it on your Aspen vacation. Gorgeous blue-sky days, a temperate climate and the most stunning mountain vistas around set the scene for incredibly enjoyable outdoor exercise.
2. Get groovin’
Live weekly outdoor concerts on the slopes of Snowmass ski area draw thousands of music lovers with picnic baskets in hand. The Aspen Music Festival brings classical artists to its world-famous music tent from late June through mid-August. Aspen Music School students often give impromptu concerts in the pedestrian areas downtown. Find bluegrass tunes weekly on Aspen Mountain. And nightclubs like Belly Up and theatre houses bring in major headliners, folk artists, and multi-cultural bands—you can listen to every type of music imaginable during an Aspen summer.
3. Get eating
Once warm weather hits, most downtown eateries open up their patios for dining al fresco. (An ideal vantage point for fun people-watching!) Restaurants in Aspen range from pizza joints and Mexican eateries to upscale French bistros—foods for all palates and budgets. One must-visit place for summer treats Paradise Bakery for its homemade ice cream, fresh lemonade, luscious muffins, and monster cookies.
4. Get shopping
Yes, Aspen is known for its luxury boutiques: Gucci, Chanel, Prada, to name a few. But take a stroll around the downtown core, and you’ll find dozens of little hole-in-the-wall, locally-owned clothing shops, art galleries, home-furnishing stores, and more. While an afternoon away at the best second-hand shops around Susie’s, Gracy’s and Aspen Home Consignment.
5. Get cultured
Besides the classical music offered by the beloved Aspen Music Festival, there are plenty of other ways to take in a little culture while you’re on your Colorado vacation. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs during the annual summer Aspen Dance Festival. Learn about Aspen’s fascinating mining and ranching history at the Holden-Marolt Ranching & Mining Museum or stroll through the Wheeler Stallard Museum in a Victorian-era home. The Aspen Art Museum rotates exhibits of contemporary art. And for those who want some truly intense intellectual stimulation, check out the lectures offered by the Aspen Center for Physics, the Aspen Institute, or the Aspen Given Foundation.