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Your Guide to Experiencing Aspen Like a Local

Get insider tips on where to eat and what to do, from scenic drives to a park dedicated to John Denver.

Hikers stop to admire the flowers on the Crested Butte side of the West Maroon Trail.

Meadows filled with wildflowers in Aspen

Courtesy of C2 Photography/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Get the inside scoop on what to do, see, and experience in Aspen from those who know it best—the locals. Nurture your well-being at serene yoga studios and spas, enjoy free experiences like concerts and scenic hikes, dine at beloved restaurants, and explore lesser-known gems in nature. Plus, visit the city’s charming small businesses for a distinctive shopping experience. Keep reading as we uncover the insider tips that will transform your vacation into a genuine Aspen adventure.

Practice wellness at Aspen’s spas and beyond

Courtesy of Elle Logan/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Embrace self-care like a local with yoga, hiking, and more.

Courtesy of Elle Logan/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Bolster mind, body, and spirit (thanks to a local way of life known as The Aspen Idea) with an abundance of yoga classes, spas, and outdoor activities. Wellness is an integral part of everyday life in Aspen.

Explore areas like Hunter Creek for a serene hike or bike ride. See the panoramic view from Ute Trail, which is popular with many residents, including outdoor adventure photographer Sam Axness. Take yoga or other classes at local favorites such as O2, or follow a local skiing legend’s advice and head to the Aspen Tennis Club to play on the clay courts with views of Pyramid Peak.

Have fun for free with concerts, festivals, and more

Visitors relax to the music of a brass quintet on top of Aspen Mountain performed by the Aspen Music Festival & School in Aspen, Colorado.

Free music concerts are a great way to experience the culture in Aspen

Courtesy of C2 photography/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Enjoy free things to do in the area, including mountain biking like a local writer, road biking, and fishing. Use an Aspen Olympic snowboarder’s recommendations for live music with mountain views at events such as the Aspen Music Festival and School, Jazz Aspen Snowmass and Saturday Classical Music concerts at the top of Aspen Mountain.

Follow in the footsteps of Bosq restaurant’s chef and hike the Ute Trail or picnic off of Independence Pass (or simply enjoy the scenic drive). Hang out at the John Denver Sanctuary, where you might spot Cristal Logan from the Aspen Institute. If you want to blend in and look like a local, use the WE-Cycle bike share program, also a favorite pastime of cycling enthusiast Duncan Clauss.

Aspen’s dining experiences

Dine at local favorites like Highlands Alehouse, known for its hand-tossed pizzas, and the Pine Creek Cookhouse, where you can immerse yourself in nature before digging into a meal.

Sip a beer from a local brewery, such as Westy’s Tap & Tavern. Bite into golden fried chicken or Cajun Rocky Mountain trout at Woody Creek Tavern, a favorite spot of the founder of Sport Obermeyer. Alternatively, satisfy your sweet tooth with homemade gelato, pastries, and cookies from Paradise Bakery, a local mainstay.

Dog-friendly Aspen

Courtesy of Tamara Susa/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Pack a picnic to enjoy with your pooch in a local park.

Courtesy of Tamara Susa/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

For those bringing their furry friends, Aspen is a wonderful, dog-friendly vacation destination. Local canine Kodah has tips for popular activities to do with your pups while in Aspen, including hiking Smuggler and the Rio Grande Trail.

For pet-friendly accommodations, check into The Little Nell, a five-star hotel offering house-made peanut butter dog treats, or the Aspen Mountain Lodge.

Shop Aspen’s small businesses

Courtesy of Elle Logan/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Support the town of Aspen by shopping locally.

Courtesy of Elle Logan/Aspen Chamber Resort Association

Support Aspen’s small businesses by shopping where the locals go. Visit Pitkin County Dry Goods for men’s and women’s clothing and accessories curated with an eye for high mountain style. For essentials and souvenirs, head to Carl’s Pharmacy, a family-owned store where you’ll find everything from home goods to sporting equipment and jewelry.

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