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The famed ski town of Aspen has long been a favorite for bohemian winter lovers and the rich and famous alike. That’s because it’s the perfect mix of charming natural spaces and a see and be seen culture up and down Main Street. Truly, it’s a winter bucket list destination. Here’s everything you need to see, do, and eat when you go to check it off your list.
Where to Stay
There’s a place for everyone in Aspen. For anyone looking for a tried and true favorite, check into American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property The Little Nell. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, The Little Nell is at the heart of all the action. Ideal for ski-in and ski-out vacationers, or those who want to be walking distance to just about everything. The Little Nell is made up of both hotel rooms and residences, meaning travelers can head there solo or bring their entire crew along too. (Pro tip: Ask for a mountainside room for the ultimate view.)
Another fan favorite in Aspen is the Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection, and an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. The 94-room hotel was built in 1889 and has been a town mainstay ever since. Each room even holds on to much of its Old West charms thanks to its leather, wood, and cowhide decor.
For anyone looking to experience Aspen but still get to escape the scene, head just a few miles over to Snowmass and book a stay at American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property Viceroy Snowmass. The ski-in, ski-out hotel sits directly on the slopes and comes with delicious dining options along with a 7,000-square-foot spa. It also offers up residence-style rooms, complete with kitchens and washing machines, making it a great choice for families.
Where to Eat
Foodies are in for a treat while visiting Aspen. On every corner there’s a new tasty delight to try. Begin your gastronomic journey at Poppycock’s, located just a few feet from the mountain’s gondola. For more than four decades the restaurant has helped visitors start their days with classic menu items like waffles, pancakes, eggs, and every type of sandwich under the sun.
For lunch, swing by the White House Tavern, another Aspen institution. The restaurant sits in a 19th-century miner’s cottage, and is just as warm and cozy as you’d imagine. Grab a burger, fish sandwich, chicken meatballs, or anything else you’re craving.
If you want to find a perfect spot for dinner in Aspen all you need to do is close your eyes, spin, and point. However, if we had to pick a spot to send our friends to it would be Matsuhisa. Sure, sushi may not be the first thing you think of while traveling to a land-locked state, but trust us, this chef Nobu-run spot is as delightful as they come. Go for one of the two omakase tasting menus because Nobu knows best.
Where to Explore
Yes, Aspen is first and foremost a ski town, but there’s a lot happening off the slopes too. On an off day, head to the Aspen Art Museum for a bit of culture. The contemporary art museum is home to a revolving collection of pieces, so every time you go you’ll be surprised with something new.
For those looking to get outside and get a little exercise there’s the Aspen Cross Country Center. There, visitors can take a Nordic or skate-skiing lesson and catch a glimpse of the gorgeous mountain surrounds. And, for anyone hoping to keep the outdoor magic going, there’s the Silver Circle Ice Rink located downtown. Head over after the sun goes down to take a spin under the twinkling lights and stars above.
Want something a bit more relaxing? Aspen has plenty to offer there too. The folks at Remède Spa inside the St. Regis Aspen Resort, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, are more than happy to massage out every tension or let you just come and sit in one of its relaxing lounges by its massive fireplaces to melt all your troubles away.
Hit the Slopes
Visiting the mountains is mandatory when traveling to Aspen. Luckily, Aspen’s more than 5,300 acres of terrain provides something for everyone—from true novice to experts among experts. Those who want to level up can always take part in its ski and snowboard school as well.
The mountain is so huge that it even offers tours for those interested in getting the lay of the land. Guests meet their tour guide to take a few intermediate runs down the mountain for about two hours before heading out on their own.
To get on the mountain, skiers and riders can either pick up a day pass starting at $174/day for adults. Those looking to ski next season should also consider purchasing an Ikon Pass, which includes access to Aspen.