Founded during the heyday of Colorado’s Silver Boom, Aspen is now a year-round outdoor destination famous for its high-end boutiques and glitzy resorts. One day in Aspen gives you time to see both the mountains and town sights. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Aspen.
Morning: Explore the Aspen Mountains
Kick off your day in Aspen with a an outdoor adventure, in order to experience the town’s natural beauty. Regardless of the season, you can ride to the top of Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen Gondola for panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. If you’re visiting in winter, spend your morning at one of Aspen’s four world-class ski resorts, or go for a Nordic ski on several cross-country ski trails. In summer, explore the Smuggler Mountain Trail, which starts conveniently in the town centre, and in fall, take the bus up to Maroon Bells, one of the best spots in Colorado to see fall colors.
Afternoon: Historic Aspen
Reserve the afternoon for visiting historic downtown sights. Take a tour to learn about the area’s rich mining history and hear the town’s legends and stories from a local guide; tours typically cover the Wheeler Opera House, the Wheeler/Stallard Museum, Aspen's Victorian West End, and the John Denver Sanctuary in Rio Grande Park. If you have time, head east out of town towards Independence Pass and visit the Independence Ghost Town, the preserved remnants of a mining town from 1879.
Evening: Saloons and Stargazing
Spend the evening browsing downtown shops and checking out Aspen’s legendary saloons; the historic Red Onion is an Aspen landmark with a colorful history dating back to the silver boom. During the summer months, Snowmass Village puts on a free weekly concert series, while the Wheeler Opera House hosts outdoor-themed films as part of the Aspen Mountain Film Festival. You can also head back up into the mountains for a nighttime stargazing experience.