Travel Guide to Aspen, Colorado, in December

Icon Share


Advisor - Claire Herzog
Curated By

Claire Herzog

  • Aspen

  • Active Travel

  • Birthdays

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Mountains

  • Skiing

  • Sightseeing

  • Foodie

Two people cross country skiing, seen from behind, with a small, wooden cabin and tall trees.
Curator’s statement

If you know me, you know Aspen is my favorite place in the US, for good reason! For the last six years, I've spent practically every one of my (December) birthdays in Aspen, making it one of my preferred months to visit this fabulous ski town. But if you know where to look, there is so much more to do than ski. Whether you're an adrenaline junky looking to tear up the mountain, or you're more comfortable out of ski boots, Aspen, Colorado, in December delivers.

The Fora Difference

Book with Claire to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

[object Object]
Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

[object Object]
Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

[object Object]
Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Aspen

Unlock perks by contacting Claire to book your trip.

Things to do in Aspen

A view of a chair lift, above the slopes, with a view of the snowy mountains of Aspen.

Skiing & More

Aspen is home to four mountains, giving you all sorts of options when it comes to ski terrain. Be aware that not all mountains will be open at the start of December, specifically Buttermilk. If you’re looking to ski all four, I recommend going later in the month. Reach out if you need help picking the right mountain for your ski level or preferences, if you need ski passes, or even a lesson!

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing to Pine Creek Cookhouse - just outside of town, you can get away from the downhill skiing, and opt instead for cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Start at Ashcroft, where you’ll get fitted for the appropriate gear. Then, you’ll start your way up the mountain, which takes about twenty-thirty minutes. After taking in the views, you’ll enjoy a fantastic lunch before heading back down the mountain. If you’re not up for skiing or snowshoeing, you can take a horse-drawn sleigh!

Go tubing, hop on the alpine coaster & more - you don’t have to ski to enjoy the snow.

Snowmobiling - head out to nearby T-Lazy-7 to hop on snowmobiles and check out the gorgeous surroundings.


If you ask me, ski culture is really just an excuse to enjoy après! And in Aspen, that is synonymous with Cloud Nine. This is the ski-in / ski-out spot on top of Aspen Highlands, where you can eat lunch, spray champagne, and dance on tables before skiing down.

Not up for champagne spraying today? Head to Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain for truffle fries and the Veuve Clicquot cart, the Sundeck on top of Ajax Mountain for cocktails and views, CHICA for a DJ and margaritas, or even Aspen Art Museum on certain afternoons for great music, views, and a totally different vibe.


Kick your trip off with a stop at Kemo Sabe for the ultimate Colorado experience to create a custom cowboy hat branded with your own initials. You'll look and feel like a local, and you’ll be decked out for the rest of your trip!

Some of my other favorites are: Pitkin County Dry Goods, Gorsuch, Aviator Nation, MARCUS, Nick Fouquet, and Miron Crosby.


Catch a show at Belly Up. It is a small venue that brings in exciting performers, perfect for a night out on the town.

There are all different types of bars and nightclubs in Aspen, so the world is really your oyster! Whether you want a craft cocktail at Hooch, a beer at Aspen Brewing Company, a drink with the locals at Silver City or dancing the night away at The Sterling or Escobar, Aspen has it all! And this list doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Places to eat & drink in Aspen

The Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop's cozy dining area.

Meat + Cheese: In my humble opinion, this is the best restaurant in Aspen, plus it also has a gourmet food shop. Get the margarita (it regularly wins "best margarita in Colorado") and the rotisserie chicken board (with an extra side of the au jus to dip your bread in.) Go the first day, because I guarantee you’ll want to go back a second time before you leave.

Ajax Tavern: The perfect lunch or afternoon snack spot. I always head here for après, because their patio at the base of Ajax gets hit with direct sunshine all afternoon. Not to mention, the Veuve Clicquot cart and music, paired with their truffle fries or the grilled cheese & tomato soup will warm you right up on a cold December day.

Clark's Oyster: A cute and cozy bar with a fireplace. They have a fabulous lobster roll, excellent Crudo and a delicious burger. Don’t forget about their martini happy hour - another perfect après spot, whether you skied or not!

French Alpine Bistro: The ultimate Swiss chalet restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. It is all cozy vibes, furs, dark wood, candles and fondue - the perfect place for a celebratory dinner, a date night, or just a fun dinner with friends.

White House Tavern: Get here when they open at 11 a.m. for an early lunch as they do not take reservations. On a December afternoon, their patio offers heaters combined with plenty of sunshine to enjoy a margarita and chicken sandwich outside.

Casa Tua: A comforting Italian restaurant, especially after an active day, with chic cozy cabin vibes and a great patio view of the mountains. Plus, what's more of a comfort meal than delicious pasta and a fabulous glass of red wine in the winter?

Living Room at Hotel Jerome: Kick the night off here with an espresso martini and a snack if you're hungry. Or, after a day outside, enjoy their renowned chicken noodle soup.

Home Team BBQ: Amazing barbecue at the base of Buttermilk Mountain? Say less. If you’re just learning to ski, or you prefer long, easier, less crowded runs, Buttermilk is the mountain for you (my personal favorite), and Home Team is the perfect spot to stop for a comforting lunch between runs.

Matsuhisa: The original Aspen outpost of Nobu, this is the perfect spot to hide out from the snow and cold when craving sushi. Don’t miss the crispy rice spicy tuna (duh!) or the miso black cod lettuce wraps.

Paradise Bakery: The perfect spot for a midday snack and coffee or ice cream, their muffins and other baked goods are too good to pass up. Even in December, their ice cream is a must!

Advisor - Claire Herzog

Travel Advisor

Claire Herzog

Get in touch with Claire

Did you like this guide? Reach out to customize and book your own experience. Or, just to chat about travel in general.

You can normally expect a response from Claire within a business day or so. You’ll also be subscribed to our travel newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Aspen. Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, A Summer Guide to Visiting Aspen, Colorado, or Fora Advisor Angela Huang Walsh's guide, An Aspen, Colorado, New Year's Delight: Discovering Timeless Charm.