It’s only taken me a month, but my updated Aspen City Guide is now here! Since I already made a pretty robust guide in 2017, I’m re-sharing it with some of my new favorite spots to eat + drink and things to do from our last trip. (Going skiing for the first time? Check out my packing list here.)
SHOP MY LOOK
Scarf | South Moon Under (similar)
- Pyramid Bistro – I always take a solo day off from skiing and on that day this year, I treated myself to a leisurely lunch at this “nutritarian restaurant” — aka: its menu was filled with foods that fit the definition of clean eating. The bistro is on the second floor of a bookstore and has beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows. I had a mango salad and two glasses of rosé while reading Fates & Furies and it was one of the loveliest lunches I’ve had in a long time
- Su Casa – I mean did you really think I wouldn’t put a Mexican restaurant on here? Su Casa is your typical Tex Mex restaurant with free chips + salsa and marg pitchers, but it’s great for groups and I never pass up a meal that involves melted cheese
- Brunelleschi’s – this restaurant has hands down some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. If you’re into thin crust pizza with tangy tomato sauce – this is your haven. The atmosphere is laid back, the food is fairly affordable compared to some of the white tablecloth spots, and the service is great
- White House Tavern – if you’re a sandwich lover, this is where you want to go. The space is super tiny (it’s a converted rowhome) but their piled high sandwiches pack a big punch and their “Macho Salad” is insanely good
- HOPS Culture – I struggled whether to put this under eat or drink so know that it’s a great spot for both! From mac n’ cheese to taco salads and wings, this is gastropub fare at its finest. Wash it down with a brew from what can only be considered “a bible of craft beer” – they seriously have every type you could want
- Hooch – this was my favorite cocktail experience during our entire trip. Set in a basement under Meat & Cheese, the bar has a speakeasy feel and freaking amazing decor. The drinks are pricey, but the ambiance was so worth it. I would have stayed there all night if it wasn’t $16 a cocktail!
- J Bar At Hotel Jerome – this is a seriously cool hotel. Built in the 1800s, this is one of Aspen’s oldest lodges and was one of the first hotels with running electricity! We just had some casual beers here, but it’s definitely worth checking out to take a step back in time
- Cache Cache – we randomly ended up here one night and had so much fun people watching at their square shaped bar. The bartenders are in the middle so it’s like you’re at a giant table and it’s perfect for mingling with others or just taking it all in
- Justice Snows – we loved this cocktail bar so much we went back twice in 2017 and had to revisit this year. The drinks are pricey, around $16 a cocktail, but the mixologists are amazing and these were seriously some of the best drinks I’ve ever had. They recently reduced their menu to around 9 cocktails, but I’m hoping they bring back the massive menu (FOUR PAGES!) for our next trip
- AJAX Tavern – nestled at the bottom of Aspen Mountain, this is my favorite spot for Aprés Ski because you can watch everyone come down the mountain while you sip your drink of choice on their heated patio. This is also the best place to watch the gay ski week drag race, but get there early because seats fill up fast!
- Aspen Tap – formerly Aspen Brewing Company, the laid-back bar is perfect for a night where you want to go out but don’t want to be hungover on the slopes the next day. They have small bites and pitchers and an atmosphere that makes you feel like a local
- Escobar – I’m throwing this in here due to its insane interior because there was no one there when we were there (apparently it gets the “late night crowd”) but this underground bar is definitely worth a visit. Completely Pablo Escobar themed, the bar mimics an airplane and has all sorts of crazy neon signs and lounge areas
- Boutique Fitness Class – I really hit my bougie stride and on one of my off days I took a Pure Barre class. To be honest, I prefer my Vida barre classes, but it was nice to have the option to get a workout in off the slopes. Aspen also has a SoulCycle and plenty of yoga and pilates studios!
- ISIS Theater – I know, I know, they need to change the name, but Gerald and I always love catching a movie here. They have super comfy reclining seats and beer and wine offerings!
- Aspen Art Museum – I fell in love with this museum before I even set foot in it because its facade is beautiful. The museum is smaller inside than you would think (you can get through the whole thing in under 45 minutes) but the exhibits are modern and innovative and they have great guidebooks for each installation. Top off your trip with a glass of champs at their rooftop cafe
- Smuggler Mountain – the manfriend told me we were going for a walk around town and ended up making me hike up a mountain. you can imagine how thrilled I was about that. In all seriousness, the hike was beautiful but make sure you are wearing the right shoes (I was wearing my massive snow boots that give me blisters after 20 minutes) and bring water (we had none) because the altitude makes you dehydrated very quickly. Needless to say I bitched the whole way up because of these circumstances but if I’d been prepared it would have been a very lovely hike
- Belly Up – one of my favorite nights of our 2017 trip was going to see Fruition at this amazing music venue. The concert hall has hosted everyone from Calvin Harris to Nappy Roots and has an intimacy that equates to the 9:30 club. Highly recommend catching a show here — even if you aren’t familiar with the band it will still be a blast!
- Mountain Chalet: the manfriend’s family has been staying at this quaint, family-run hotel for decades and it’s seriously the best deal in Aspen. Located downtown, it’s not very fancy, but puts you right in the center of the shops and restaurants, offers complimentary breakfast every morning, and always has fresh-baked cookies in the lobby. Not to mention, it’s one of the most affordable lodges in the town
- LimeLight Hotel: if you’re attending Gay Ski Week, this is where you want to stay. The hotel is the event’s main headquarters and throws multiple parties throughout the week, complete with open bars and drag queens
- The St. Regis: centered directly behind the Mountain Chalet, you probably saw this red brick hotel in a lot of my photos for the trip. The St. Regis is stunning and has an awesome bar and amnesties but is probably the least affordable option for lodging