Winter Guide to Spending the Holidays in Aspen

Aspen with holiday lights

During the holidays, Aspen is a skiers’ paradise with plenty of holiday cheer and family-friendly festivities — even if you only sit by the warm fire in a charming lodge! Guests spending the holidays in Aspen at one of McCartney Property Management’s luxury Aspen vacation rentals are walking distance from the many venues, boutiques, and resorts in downtown Aspen.


There are a multitude of things to do during an Aspen, Colorado holiday vacation with music, theater, film screenings, and festive events each day to entertain visitors of all ages.


See below for how to get the most out of your holiday vacation in Aspen! It’s the best place to spend your Christmas or winter vacation!


Best Places to Ski in Colorado at Christmas


Families are sure to enjoy a skiing on their Aspen, Colorado vacation due to the varied terrain offered at the four ski areas, all accessible with one convenient Aspen lift ticket. You can stay in home and condominium rentals in Aspen, steps away from the Aspen Mountain Gondola. Known as Ajax to the locals, Aspen Mountain is ideal for advanced and expert skiers. Nearby Buttermilk Ski Area offers wide, groomed runs for beginners.


Après ski is its own sport in Aspen, with a range of restaurants and bars on the slopes or in downtown. The Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro on Aspen Highlands Ski Area is a favorite for advanced skiers to enjoy champagne and gourmet food in a decadent and celebratory atmosphere. (In addition to lunch and après ski, Cloud 9 also offers fabulous snowcat dinners on the mountain Wednesday and Thursday nights throughout the ski season – imagine a snowcat ride up the mountain on a clear, picture-perfect night followed by an elegant four-course meal.)


Things to Do in Aspen for Non-Skiers


Activities are still plentiful for anyone not interested in downhill skiing. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies leads snowshoe tours for children and adults. Nordic skiing is a popular way to see the beauty of Aspen in winter in areas such as Castle Creek Valley or up to Pine Creek Cookhouse to enjoy delicious mountain fare by the fire. A horse drawn sleigh ride, surrounded in a winter wonderland, is an experience you will never forget. For more information regarding the sleigh rides and dinner visit Pine Creek Cookhouse.


Ice skating is popular at the Silver Circle Rink at the base of Aspen Mountain. A larger indoor rink at the Aspen Rec Center is also open for public skating sessions as well as drop-in hockey. If you are up for a grand adventure and enjoy being one with nature a snowmobile tour through the White River National Forest is a great trip!


How to Celebrate Christmas in Aspen, CO


The long-standing tree lighting event at the Aspen Sardy House on December 2nd kicks off the holiday season in Aspen, with free cocoa and cookies. The annual Little Nell tree lighting ceremony on December 9th is another option to gather and imbibe free hot chocolate and cookies, listen to carolers, and see Santa with live reindeer. The expansive St. Regis Resort Aspen provides its own tree lighting ceremony on December 16, complete with complimentary drinks, dessert displays, and a chance to sit on Santa’s lap after they illuminate a 30-foot tree.


Other Christmas events for the “12 Days of Aspen” include Ice Skating in downtown Aspen with Santa’s Elves, visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the Aspen Fire Department’s annual “ride around town” with Santa in view for all to see.


Many of the Aspen, Colorado resorts and fine dining restaurants in town host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. Advanced reservations are recommended in order to ensure a table for the festivities.


Hanukkah Celebrations in Aspen


Aspen’s Chabad Jewish Community Center on Main Street celebrates with a Hanukkah on Ice event on the 1st night of the holiday. A community Shabbat dinner is also held on December 28 at the center.


The St. Regis Aspen will be holding a daily public Menorah lighting December 16-24, from 4:45-5:00 p.m., with Rabbi Mendel Mintz. A Hanukkah celebration in Aspen is also held at The Aspen Chapel for families and visitors.


Winter Arts and Culture Events in Aspen


While visitors flock to Aspen starting from Thanksgiving through the New Year, the “12 days of Aspen” launches on December 20 as an unofficial start to the holiday and cultural events held across town. For young children, the Aspen Art Museum offers winter workshops for 4–5 year-olds and 6–10 year-olds to take inspiration from artists on view at the museum.


The iconic Wheeler Opera House holds annual holiday-themed performances such as “Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol.” The Wheeler also hosts the annual Aspen Laugh Festival featuring talented and well-known comedians who have appeared on Saturday Night Live, America’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show and more.


Aspen also hosts the Winter X Games January 24-27, 2019, with the top skiers and snowboarders in the world competing in Big Air, Slopestyle, and Superpipe, as well as snowmobile and snow bike events. The music lineup throughout the event features Lil Wayne, Louis the Child, The Chainsmokers, and Kygo.


It should be no surprise that Aspen is considered one of the most iconic places to spend a holiday ski vacation. Staying with McCartney Property Management for your Aspen, Colorado vacation is the ideal solution to creating lasting memories for groups large and small. Join us for the winter holidays in this gorgeous Rocky Mountain destination by calling 800-433-8465. We wish a very happy holiday season to one and all!