Winter Walking Tour of Downtown Aspen
Aspen is perhaps best experienced in winter thanks to the champagne snow, gatherings around fondue and endless festivities ideal for the whole family. Tour Aspen after earning your turns on the slopes. Or as a full-day activity on a blue-bird winter day. You’ll discover downtown Aspen by foot through gallery hopping, boutique shopping, taste testing and aprés like nowhere else.
In terms of distance, there’s no reason to rent a car or navigate parking throughout this small downtown. Aspen is less than a mile each direction. You may also stay steps away from the action with vacation rental in Aspen with McCartney Property Management. Begin your walking tour of downtown Aspen by following the step-by-step guide below!
Your Full-Day Aspen Walking Tour
Start your day at the Aspen Gondola Plaza to see outdoor sculptures and the flurry of skiers. Grab a cup of coffee at the chic Gorsuch Ski and Café and check out the scene. If you can pull yourself away from people watching continue down Hunter Street two blocks and take a right on Cooper Ave. We recommend Casterline Goodman, as your first contemporary gallery stop. Window browsing is always fun but be sure to visit Local Coffee House. Located across the street, it is a chic artisan goods boutique where local makers display their wares. You will enjoy the “built in browsing,” while you wait for your homemade snack or fresh drink.
Turn left out of Local Coffee House, taking another left on Spring Street after .5 miles. Walk one block to reach the Aspen Art Museum. The entrance is right around the corner on Hyman Avenue. Soak in the iconic basket-weave facade designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban before heading inside. The design caused quite the stir among the Aspen residents with its unique style. The contemporary museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays. Don’t forget to go to the roof deck café for some of the best panoramic views of Aspen and Aspen Mountain.
Head left out of the museum passing by luxury brands such as Rimowa Aspen pop-up and the wellness haven and yoga studio Aspen Shakti Shala. After that, continue another block on Hyman to reach the Aspen Pedestrian Mall, a beautiful brick-lined street featuring additional shopping and dining opportunities. You may also turn right on Galena perusing the French-Italian brand Moncler on your way to Baldwin Gallery. The Baldwin Gallery features world-renowned contemporary and American artists on display and has held its storefront in Aspen for twenty five years.
Continue for .5 blocks on Galena until you reach Aspen Brewing Company featuring local craft brews, as well as a full bar, food and patio seating. The mountainside views are stunning from the outdoor patio. If shopping is on the top of your list, you are surrounded by luxury brands Gucci and Dior. Next door to the Brewing Company you will discover the eclectic three-story Aspen Thrift Store. The thrift store offers luxury and name brands for a complete bargain in the name of charity.
Wander down Hopkins toward Mill Street and Aspen’s restaurant row. Take a right on Mill Street and head two blocks to reach the historic Hotel Jerome. Believed to be haunted, step inside to see the luxurious grounds, cool artwork, dark décor, funky chandeliers, rugs rich with color and the iconic people watching in the J Bar and Lobby Bar. After you are sated, continue down Mill Street to reach the Rio Grande Park, home to the John Denver Sanctuary offering a gorgeous walk along the Roaring Fork River. Take a moment to meander through the Sanctuary reading the boulders peppered with his feel good lyrics.
Retrace your steps back up Mill Street to get back into the action by taking a right on Main Street. Stop along the way to visit the antique shops and the Miner’s Building (everything you need shop) on your way to Explorer Books. Once there enjoy perusing the reading material inside a quaint former home, full of character. Continue strolling up Monarch Street exploring more shops and restaurants, ending back at Wagner Park.
Keep reading for apres time!
Après Tour of Aspen
After your last run down Aspen Mountain walk a few steps to Ajax Tavern for French dining, aprés drinks and convenient people watching on the patio as the last of the skiers come down. The Little Nell is known for its Chair 9 après party complete with ski in, hot tub and a DJ! Take a left on Durant Ave and grab a pick-me-up from Ink Coffee, located downstairs from the sidewalk, or at Victoria’s Espresso, both of which are open late. Next, you will find yourself by the world famous venue The Belly Up where you get up close and personal with famous musicians. Directly across the street is Rubey Park, the main transit station in Aspen. From here you can go almost anywhere in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Silver Circle Ice Rink is open for ice skating in the winter and transforms into a mini putt-putt course in the summer.
Take a right on Galena go one block to get to the scenic pedestrian mall on Cooper Avenue. You will pass the Raven Gallery specializing in minerals, one of a kind glass works- a real treat visually. Visit the Red Onion, located a half-block left on Cooper, and one of the most historic bars in Aspen that was first established in 1892. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the local’s hangout, head along the brick street toward Wagner Park, a popular spot for puppies, families and more people watching. Across from Wagner Park is the family friendly, Limelight Hotel, great for après with live music and brick oven pizza specials.
Take a right at the park to choose your own adventure! First option, head to the Hao House, a pop-up restaurant located serving Far East Street Food, sake and Korean-style chicken nuggets that are not to be missed. Near the end of the Hyman Pedestrian Mall you will discover the Famous Red Popcorn Wagon, the “Center of the Universe” with the Aspen fountain (great for kids in the summer) and the Grey Lady. Alternatively, keep walking down Mill Street until you arrive at the historic Wheeler Opera House. The adjacent Aspen Public House offers locally brewed craft beer and craft cocktails in a restored setting. No après is compete without a drink at Hotel Jerome. Where drinks at the J-Bar and hotel lobby bar include an expansive drink menu in a historic and luxuriously kitsch setting.
Tired of walking? Take the free shuttle home to your Aspen vacation rental. You can also wander back home soaking in the wintertime lights on display. Or a fresh snowfall to usher you home.
Discover History with Aspen Historical Society
Want to turn to the professionals for your Aspen walking tour? Take a walking tour with the Aspen Historical Society for a deep dive into some of Aspen’s most famous—and infamous—locations. Meet on Thursdays for a Historic Pub Crawl at 3:30 p.m. through Aspen’s historic haunts. Here you’ll learn about the establishment’s history and hear local lore over cocktails. Fulfill a need for speed on a winterized History Ski Tour available on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. where you’ll see Aspen’s history spread out from a bird’s eye view.
In conclusion, join us this winter to see all the walkable tours Aspen has to offer! Stay at a luxury vacation rental with McCartney Property Management to get the most out of your Aspen getaway this winter.