Aspen may seem like a high altitude playground for high rollers (it is), but it’s also a quaint and charming former mining town with historic architecture,
endless outdoor activities and some pretty cozy spots for a hot toddy or two…
WHERE TO STAY
The St. Regis Hotel has a super swank lobby and fancy touches like a daily champagne sabering ceremony in the courtyard. A ski valet offers rides to the base of Aspen mountain, about 4 minutes by car.
The Ritz Carlton is located at the base of Highlands Mountain, about 10 minutes drive from the main town of Aspen and a complimentary shuttle service is offered to guests. Tip: For large groups and families, condo units are spacious and have kitchens.
Further away from the gondola, is the Hotel Jerome, a former boarding house for miners during the 1800’s. The property has been lovingly restored and still retains a rustic charm. The Living Room bar is the best place in Aspen to while away an afternoon with comfy leather sofas and a roaring fireplace. Tip: As a bonus, most rooms are large enough for storing ski equipment.
Location-wise, you can’t beat The Sky Hotel. With ski-in access, it’s as convenient as The Little Nell, but with a more palatable price tag. The hotel is dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pooch.
WHERE TO EAT
The subterranean Creperie Du Village feels just like a cozy cabin in the French Alps. It’s on the small side, so you’d be wise to make reservations in advance. The tiny kitchen pumps out bubbling pots of fondue and both sweet and savory crepes. Try the lamb bolognese crepe for something different.
Ink Coffee is great for a morning pick-me up. They have a list of specialty coffees including the Avalanche (a mix of coffee, espresso and white chocolate).
Casa Tua is known for high-end Italian (read $$$), but happy hour at the cozy bar is the real draw (the Bolognese is fantastic).
White House Tavern is tiny and doesn’t accept reservations, so expect to queue, especially during peak season. The menu is small and doesn’t change from lunch to dinner, but they’ve perfected the classics (a great burger and kale salad). Tip: There are a handful of patio tables; try to grab a seat outside when the afternoon sun is in full effect.
J. Bar is a modern day saloon serving tasty cocktails and hearty fare. The portions are large and good for sharing.
Ajax Tavern has a popular patio scene on warm days and cozy booths for chilly afternoons. The menu has a French slant with shareables like fondue and cheese plates. Tip: Come for happy hour and try the burger/beer combo (it’s outstanding).
Chef’s Club is a concept driven restaurant located in the St. Regis hotel. It wasn’t a favorite during our trip; there is better food to be found in Aspen.
Main Street Bakery & Cafe cooks up a mean breakfast. The homemade buttermilk biscuits and pastries are delicious, and the service is warm and genuine.
The Living Room at The Hotel Jerome is a cozy spot for an afternoon drink, with tasty bar snacks and a roaring fireplace.
Cloud Nine Bistro, located on the top of Highlands Mountain, has a rowdy lunchtime scene catering to skiers. The champagne flows freely here. Tip: Try to snag a seat outside on the patio when the sun is out.
The Grey Lady has a seafood driven menu. We weren’t crazy about the service, but it was nice to eat somewhat light in a town where heavy mountain fare is the norm.
The Pine Creek Cookhouse is located in the literal ghost town of Ashcroft (an abandoned miners camp). Guests can x-country ski or ride their horse drawn sleigh to lunch or dinner.
GOOD TO KNOW
The Aspen airport is a stone's throw from town (about 15 minutes by car), making it an excellent option for a quick weekend out West. Tip: Most of the major hotels offer complimentary airport pick-up and drop off: a rarity in most ski towns.
WHAT TO DO
Shopping is taken seriously in Aspen with high-end shops (Prada, Louis Vuitton) sprinkled throughout town. For contemporary designers, check out Pitkin Country Dry Goods. Kemo Sabe is an Aspen classic for cowboy boots, deerskin gloves, hats and other Western wear. Tip: They'll happily brand any purchase for free!
Georgia Brown stocks gorgeous home accessories and one-of-a-kind antiques.
X-Country ski trails abound in Aspen; but the one with the biggest payoff is in Ashcroft, where your reward is a hearty lunch at the Pine Creek cookhouse.
Ride the Gondola up from the base of Aspen mountain for morning yoga or lunch at The Sundeck. Snowshoeing tours are also available daily (both morning and afternoon) and are a great way to experience the beautiful views if you’re not a skier.
Aspen is a ski town that takes fashion seriously. Channel your inner ski bunny with these pieces...