Founded as a silver mining boomtown turned ski resort, the fur-clad A-list glamour factor shines bright in this Rocky Mountain showstopper. Its high-altitude arsenal includes world-class snow sports in winter, hiking with to-die-for views in summer, a high-society après-ski scene and a slew of boutiques worthy of any label-loving woman. Being a serious alpine addict since one-piece ski suits were in fashion, I've been to many snow-capped towns around the globe, but Aspen is my all-time favourite. Here's why.
Top 3 Coffee Shops
1. Ink! Coffee
Forget everything you've heard about American coffee: this is the real deal. Piping hot caffeinated beverages from a menu that reads like a coffee/tea/hot chocolate lovers ultimate shopping list. Sublime sandwiches are also available.
520 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen CO
+1 970 544 0588
2. Victoria's Espresso Wine Bar and Gourmet Grazing
The minds behind Victoria's are passionate about the perfect cup of Joe. Expect excellent espresso and artisanal eats from this foodie haven.
510 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen CO
+1 970 920 3001
3. Paradise Bakery and Cafe
Follow your nose to this cute-as-pie baked goods café. The fresh from the oven cookies, brownies, and croissants are as delicious as they smell, as is the coffee.
320 S. Galena Street, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 7585
Top 3 breakfast spots
1. Spring Cafe
This organic food and juice bar is a bright breakfast beacon for the bleary-eyed. Everything on the menu is organic, with the colourful juices and protein-focused egg dishes providing a healthy pre-ski energy boost.
119 S. Spring Street, Aspen CO
+1 970 429 8406
2. Peach's Corner Cafe
Peach's Corner Café is located on a prime street style spotting junction at the corner of Hopkins and Galena streets. The brekkie menu is a revelation of palate-pleasing offerings with apt names like the New Yorker (a toasted bagel with salmon). Nice prices mean you can breakfast here every day.
121 S. Galena Street, Aspen CO
+1 970 544 9866
Poppycocks is always pumping, but particularly so in the early a.m. The décor is homespun, the wait staff cheerful and their signature oatmeal buttermilk pancakes are a standout.
665 E. Cooper Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 1245
Top 5 lunch spots
1. Meat and Cheese
This chic restaurant and providore follows the popular farm-to-table philosophy, which translates to a menu punctuated with curated cheese and meat boards, super sandwich offerings, craft beers and inventive cocktails. The ideal long lunch locale.
319 E. Hopkins Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 710 7120
2. Cloud Nine
Make a midday fuel stop at on-mountain alpine diner, Cloud Nine. The views, the fondue, the strudel, it's all here and it's all outstanding.
Aspen Highlands Mountain below the Top of the Cloud lift
+1 907 544 3063
3. Aspen Over Easy
Aspen Over Easy got the sustainable memo and incorporates it into their cuisine. Environment aside, this eatery does lunch like a pro with a menu of choose-your-own-filling burgers, stomach-satisfying sandwiches and essential carb-load fries.
304 E. Hopkins Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 429 8693
4. Main Street Bakery and Cafe
Age-old Aspen authenticity meets fresh-baked fare at the Main Street Bakery and Café. Casual vibe and eats.
201 E. Main St, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 6446
5. Big Wrap
Boutique bunker style joint with queues out the door serving gourmet wraps, heart-warming soups and tasty tacos. A good jumping off point for a speedy stand-up lunch before heading back to the slopes.
520 E. Durant Ave Aspen, CO
+1 970 544 1700
Top 4 restaurants for dinner
1. Ajax Tavern
This is alpine dining at its peak: think clubby and cool with relaxed, mouth-watering nosh and all-star American service. Chow down on Colorado striped bass and Ajax truffle fries while you watch how the high-style society set do après-ski. Also does excellent cocktails.
685 E. Durant Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 920 334
2. Element 47
An award-winning fine dining destination in the luxe Little Nell Hotel located at the foot of the Silver Queen Gondola. Aspen was founded for its silver and Element 47 pays due respect via their silver service breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. Go for the glamour factor.
675 E. Durant Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 920 6330
The Aspen outpost of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa's haute-Japanese eating empire. Discretely luxe digs with Matsuhisa's renowned Nippon nosh on the table.
303 E. Main St, Aspen CO
+1 970 544 6628
4. Pine Creek Cookhouse
Take the romantic lead via dinner at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. It involves a sleigh ride across the snow followed by fairytale snow-capped timber exteriors, candle-lit interiors and a four-course meal.
12500 Castle Creek Road, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 1044
Top 3 bars
1. 39 Degrees Lounge at Sky Hotel
39 Degrees digs the hipster scene hard. It's a swanky lounge with exceptional celeb spotting and Insta brags potential, rounded out with a well-equipped cocktail list to warm you up from head to toe.
709 E. Durant Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 6760
2. J Bar
In the landmark Hotel Jerome, J Bar is the kind of leather-clad lovely you can set your whiskey watch by. Filled with old-school charm, it's a must-drink Aspen experience.
Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main St, Aspen CO
+1 855 331 7213
Jumping neighbourhood bar and restaurant with possibly the most extensive wine list in town (if not the state). Four certified sommeliers on staff ensure glasses are always full of perfectly matched tipples.
205 S. Mill St #2, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 6020
Honourable mention: Caribou Club. An exclusive members-only super luxe bar and fine diner. Holiday weekly membership yours for USD$500.
Top 4 places to stay
1. Hotel Jerome
Elegant, American-style rooms in five-star surrounds. It has a full-service in-house spa for essential post-ski pampering and excellent dining from the hotel's American bistro, Prospect. A grand hotel dame.
Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main St, Aspen CO
+1 855 331 7213
2. Little Nell
These designer digs were recently updated and have all the understated luxury accoutrements to prove it: think fur throws, museum-grade art, velvety soft furnishings and perfectly placed lighting. Accommodations range from chicly styled guest rooms to high-roller 4-bedroom residences. An outdoor heated pool and Jacuzzi complete the extravagant set up.
675 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen CO
+1 970 920 4600
3. The St. Regis Aspen Resort
Check your budget at the door, the St Regis is all the bells, whistles and pricing expected from one of the most opulent hotel groups on the planet. With a world-class Remède Spa, fitness centre, pool and Butler service, the St Regis is the high-end hotel goods.
315 E. Dean St, Aspen CO
+1 970 920 3300
4. The Gant
Staying longer than a weekend? Opt into an upscale condo at The Gant, which offers hotel-style service with the benefits of an apartment. Exceptional mountain vistas from the higher floors, heated swimming pool, gym, and lovely staff make this the globetrotting family-friendly go-to.
610 S. West End, Aspen CO
+1 800 549 0530
Aspen is seriously stacked when it comes to high-fashion apparel, all the labels are represented on a block radius of S. Galena St, E. Hyman Ave, S. Hunter St, and E. Hopkins Ave. Pick out a pair of rock-stud heels at Valentino, then get luxe cottoned up at LA brand James Perse, dig a trench at Burberry, select a cool trinket or three at Kate Spade, soft shoe shuffle over to Gucci for some new arm hardware or join the preppy ranks with a walk through Ralph Lauren. For denim die-hards hit Kali's Denim and if you have kids in tow, bribe - we mean treat - them with something sweet from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
Aspen is a sporting town so natch there's a Lululemon to cover your athleisure needs. For skiing gear, head to Aspen Sports, which has knowledgeable ski rental staff, excellent ski gear for tall and small travellers and 11 locations - there's basically one on every block.
Explore Booksellers is a gorgeous bookworm's paradise located in a too-cute-to-believe Victorian-style cottage.
The best place for live music
Belly Up Aspen
Has the rock star beats market cornered in this rocky mountain town.
450 S. Galena St., Aspen, CO
+1 970 785 8500
Top 3 must-do experiences
1. First tracks
Reserve your spot in the first tracks crew to make your mark on the slopes.
2. Aspen Art Museum
Located in the coolest purpose-built contemporary building in town, the museum is a must-see.
637 E. Hyman Avenue, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 8050
3. Ice Skating
Indoor and outdoor ice rinks are available in Aspen. It's a winter must-do.
The 3 best places to hangout in winter and summer
Winter: on the slopes
Winter is best spent skiing or boarding the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass set. From the beginner slopes at Buttermilk to the expert-only black diamonds at Aspen Mountain, all skill levels are comprehensively covered. It's also the home of the Winter X Games, providing on-slope entertainment while catching a ride up the chair lift.
Summer: Hiking, biking, river rafting
Summer in the Rockies is all about outdoor adventure sports set amongst stunning scenery. Get involved in a hike, bike or river rafting activity.
The Aspen Club: all year round
An old school country club with wellness, spa, and high-octane sport focus.
1300 Ute Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 8900
Best places to drop in for an exercise class
Limber up at the ballet barre prior to a day spent slaying it on the slopes. They have cute workout gear in stock, should yours not have made the luggage weight limit.
620 E. Hyman St, Aspen CO
+1 970 710 1501
The Aspen Club
Excellent high intensity classes with combined 60-minute weights and yoga class making it a health home run.
1300 Ute Ave, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 8900
Best day spa and tress care
Remède Aspen Spa
World-class wellness at the St Regis.
The St. Regis Aspen Resort, 315 E. Dean St, Aspen CO
+1 970 429 9038
Blow Out, the Blow Dry Salon
Exactly what your tresses need to survive the dry alpine climes.
520 E. Durant Ave #102, Aspen CO
+1 970 925 9800
3 tourist attractions off the beaten track
Camera-ready: the Maroon Bells Mountains, located 10 miles out of Aspen, provide the most picture perfect mountain vista in North America. Hike one of the trails for the ultimate #photooftheday.
Road trip: just east of Aspen is Highway 82, which winds through The Rocky Mountains up to the highest paved pass in Colorado, the Independence Pass. Scenic driving at its best.
Woody Creek Tavern
About 15 minutes' drive away from Aspen, the Woody Creek Tavern was Hunter S. Thompson's watering hole (word on the street is he almost drank it dry). It's got a kitsch but fun feel, stop by for a chill beverage, comfort food and local folklore tales.
2858 Upper River Road, Woody Creek, CO
+1 970 923 4585