The Bougie Millennial Travel Guide to The Perfect Summer Aspen Itinerary

Travel Advisor Eileen Maralian with a black patterned dress in front of the Eiffel tower.
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Eileen Maralian

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Green trees surrounded with mountains.
Curator’s statement

Aspen, Colorado, while more famous as a ski town, is also a summer paradise that until recently, was a secret guarded closely by the well-heeled locals. The cozy mountain town comes alive in the summer with al fresco dining, outdoor adventures, lazy afternoons at the pool and a bustling nightlife scene. With no shortage of activities during the day or night, it’s the perfect place for an adventurous group trip or a romantic couples getaway.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Aspen

Hotel Jerome Aspen

An Aspen icon on Main Street, done up in a winning mix of Old West-style and modern amenities.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Little Nell

At the base of Ajax Mountain, Aspen’s only ski-in/ski-out hotel is the spot for a lively après scene, top people watching and personalized service.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The St. Regis Aspen Resort

This Aspen icon is walking distance to both the gondola and town highlights, and home to an award-winning spa and Ralph Lauren–designed rooms.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in Aspen

Aspen lake between mountains in the summer.

Best Outdoor Activities in Aspen

Maroon Bells: Rent an e-bike and embark on a scenic ride to the iconic Maroon Bells. Marvel at the breathtaking views of the twin peaks and the serene alpine lake.

Kayaking: Experience the thrill of kayaking on the Roaring Fork River or the serene waters of nearby lakes, surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Fishing: Aspen is a paradise for anglers. Engage in fly fishing in pristine rivers and lakes, guided by experienced professionals.

Mountain Biking: Hit the mountain biking trails and explore the beautiful surrounding landscapes. Rental shops and guided tours are available for all skill levels.

Hiking within Aspen Town: Discover Aspen's scenic beauty through various hiking trails, such as Smuggler Mountain Trail or Rio Grande Trail, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and rivers — all accessible without getting into a car.

Bicycling to Woody Creek Tavern: Take a leisurely bike ride to Woody Creek Tavern, a local institution known for its casual atmosphere and made famous by former patron Hunter S. Thompson.

Ashcroft Ghost Town: Another great destination to go on an e-bike, Ashcroft is the remnants of of a silver mining town. Instagram influencers and history buffs alike will love touring this haunted locale.

Snowmass Jazz Festival: Experience incredible jazz music against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains at this annual affair.

Places to eat & drink in Aspen

A plate of cacio e pepe.

Best Party Restaurants with Great Food

Betula: This chic and modern restaurant offers a fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine. As a sister restaurant to Bonito in St. Barth’s, you can enjoy creative cocktails and a lively atmosphere from the people who pretty much perfected fine dining partying.

Casa Tua: Located in a charming Victorian-style house, Casa Tua serves exceptional Italian cuisine that screams La dolce Vita! With tasty cocktails and a distinctive wine list, this is the go-to place for big groups and couples who want a leisurely dinner reminiscent of summers in Italy. And for the best ambiance, go for a table on the gorgeous patio facing the town center.

The Snow Lodge: Set inside the prestigious St. Regis, The Snow Lodge offers fine dining alongside live DJs. this is the place to dance on the table, but only after indulging in their signature Cacio e Pepe.

Best Casual Restaurants

Clark's Oyster Bar: Known for its fresh seafood and Nantucket inspired atmosphere, Clark's Oyster Bar is a great choice for a casual meal. Locals and visitors flock here for lunch, dinner, and their famous happy hour. And while the seafood options here are abundant, many would say the star of the show is their burger.

Meat and Cheese: A trendy spot known for its farm-to-table concept, Meat and Cheese offers artisanal meats, cheeses, creative sandwiches and the famous rotisserie chicken board. It’s the perfect spot for a casual lunch or grab takeout for a picnic in the park.

J-Bar: Located within the historic Hotel Jerome, J-Bar is a local favorite that will make you feel like a cowboy/girl visiting the local saloon. Enjoy high quality farm-to-table comfort food, craft cocktails and live music.

Nightlife in Aspen

Belly Up: A popular venue for live music and entertainment, Belly Up hosts a variety of performances, from emerging artists to renowned musicians, creating an electric atmosphere.

Caribou Club: This exclusive members-only club offers a sophisticated ambiance in a rustic yet decidedly elegant basement room . DJ sets pump music late into the night and beautiful people crowd the dance floor.

Hotel Jerome Lobby Bar: Hotel Jerome's Lobby Bar is the place in Aspen to see and be seen where everyone is always dressed to the nines. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails and a cozy atmosphere perfect for pre-dinner drinks or a nightcap.

Escobar: This high-end nightclub features live performances, DJs and cocktails in a very club-like environment.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Akinda Johnson’s guide, Guide to a Dreamy Winter Escape in Aspen, CO.

Travel Advisor Eileen Maralian with a black patterned dress in front of the Eiffel tower.

Travel Advisor

Eileen Maralian

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Aspen.