It’s time for my second travel guide and this time we are going to Aspen, Colorado! A few weeks ago I did my first travel guide ever to Steamboat, CO (click here to view). I had so much fun doing it and it seemed like everyone liked it so I thought we’d do another one!
Aspen is one of my favorite places and it was my third time to visit with Daddy Russ. Aspen is so different from the other ski towns in the U.S. Many of the others are laid back, with a Western edge but Aspen is fast and full of glam. It’s definitely the ski town for the fashionista and shopper! But it’s also a phenomenal town for true skiers with four mountains to choose from!
I hope you like this Travel Guide: Aspen, Co! Let me know if you ever have any questions I can answer about the places we visit!
Where I Stayed: Private Home
We actually stay in a gorgeous private home in Aspen each year. It’s one of my favorite homes I’ve ever been to. It has a stunning view – the entire back wall of the house is windows overlooking the mountains and an icy creek runs behind as well. I love the heated floors so my tootsies are always warm! I spent one morning sitting at the kitchen table, reading a good book and glancing across the snowy mountains (perfection).
Here’s a little video off the back porch of the house.
Where To Eat: J Bar, Zane’s Tavern, Base Camp Bar & Grill, AJAX Tavern, Mezzaluna
AJAX Tavern: (To view the full menu click here)
I’m going to start with my FAVORITE place to eat in Aspen – AJAX Tavern. You HAVE to go and order the Truffle Fries (best thing ever)! The restaurant is located right at the base of Aspen mountain (also known as AJAX). To drink I ordered their “Rosy Cheeks” cocktail which includes citrus vodka, contratto, guava nectar and sparkling wine.
I now have a NEW favorite Caesar salad and it’s their Kale & Quinoa Caesar. I also had their onion soup which was warm and delicious. TIP: I recommend eating on their outdoor patio for an early lunch. Once the sun goes behind the mountain the temperature drops FAST.
J-Bar at Hotel Jerome: (to view the full menu click here)
We have a tradition of flying in to Aspen and heading straight to J-Bar at the famous Hotel Jerome to get the vacation officially started. This bar feels like an authentic bar from the Old West with delicious food and drinks. I was a little bit bummed because they used to have my favorite Caesar Salad but they cut it off the menu. It’s ok though – they have lots of other yummy entrees.
I particularly recommend starting with their Bloody Mary which they garnish with BACON!
For food I recommend starting with their Wok Charred Spicy Edamame. I so want to learn how to make this! It’s a bit spicy with shoshito peppers, sesame and garlic.
This is their Turkey Club which has roasted turkey, apple-wood smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, honey dijonaise all served on a pretzel roll.
I ordered their Chicken Milanesa that has string cheese, avocado, cabbage, tomato, onion and spicy aoili on a sesame bolillo roll.
Daddy Russ ordered their Pastrami Reuben which I had a bite of and it’s phenomenal! It’s house-smoked beef brisket, pimento cheese, pickled cabbage on a sourdough-onion rye bread.
Base Camp Bar & Grill: (To view the full menu click here)
Base Camp Bar & Grill is located at the base of Snowmass. We always eat lunch there because the food is good and it has a great outdoor patio so you can ski in and ski out. They have a fun and lively atmosphere too.
My favorite dish we ordered was the Asian Chop-Chop Salad. It had great flavors with roasted chicken, cabbage carrot slaw, field greens, candied nuts, green onions and peanut ponzu dressing.
I ordered the Spinach and Avocado Salad which was really good as well. I loved the feta and “Green Goddess” Dressing on it.
If you order anything – MAKE SURE TO ORDER the Siracha Mac n’ Cheese. It’s so a-mazing! We ordered a skillet of it and shared.
Zane’s Tavern: (To view the full menu click here)
Dining out is pretty pricey in Aspen but if you are looking for something simple and moderately priced try Zane’s Tavern. It’s typical bar food, nothing fancy but you can enjoy a good time with friends over some beer and wings.
Mezzaluna: (To view the full menu click here)
I have honestly never dined INSIDE Mezzaluna which offers italian cuisine. BUT we did order out like 20 pizzas which were delicious! We were too tired after a long day of skiing and just wanted to enjoy wine at the house so Mezzaluna’s take-out was perfect!
Where to Have Drinks: Eric’s Bar, Justice Snow’s, Little Annie’s, Red Onion, Jimmy’s, Bootsy Bellows
This is a super popular hot spot in town to go out. They play fun music and also have a billard’s lounge. Tip: It’s kind of hard to miss. You’ll see a sign and then you actually have to go downstairs to go in. Click here for more info.
This was my first time at Jimmy’s and I really liked it. The atmosphere was lively and fun and the cocktails were excellent. We didn’t eat there but I looked at their menu and really want to eat there next time. For more information click here.
Bootsy Bellows is the new hot spot in town owned by David Arquette. If you are looking to have a good time this is the place – but note this is definitely the club scene for a younger crowd. The DJ was hopping and the girls were wearing little to nothing despite the freezing temperatures outside. Additionally, the bartenders would regularly walk around pouring free shots in everyone’s mouth (no lie). Needless to say, I danced the night away! For more information click here.
Also located in downtown Aspen, Justice Snow’s is a fun place for drinks and has great food as well. It’s actually the old opera house building from 1889. I will admit though that the bartenders aren’t super friendly but maybe that’s their “thing.” For more information click here.
Picture courtesy of Justice Snow’s
Here’s a video of me sitting at the bar in Justice Snow’s
Little Annie’s is also a tradition for us. Basically it’s the cheapest place to drink in town. They have a great special for a pitcher of beer and 5 shots for like $20. We’ve never eaten there but I’ve heard the food is really good – it’s always packed. For more information click here.
The Red Onion:
On the day that we didn’t go skiing we stopped at the Red Onion to have a drink. There was the sweetest bartender named Alisa who makes great drinks! I have to say though I don’t recommend eating there. We ate there one time and it wasn’t very good for the price. For more information click here.
Where To Get Ski Equipment: Four Mountain Sports
Whenever Daddy Russ and I don’t bring our equipment we always look for a place to rent as close to the mountain as possible so you don’t have to trek your skis everywhere. In Aspen I recommend renting from Four Mountain Sports. They have shops on all four of Aspen’s mountains. They have an excellent selection of equipment and the best part – they will store and transfer your equipment to another mountain FOR FREE. Tip: If you want to transfer your equipment to another mountain you have to tell them in person. For more information click here.
What I Skied: Line Skis – Pandora 95 – Length: 162
I have tried out TONS of skis but these are so far my FAVE (and it just might be time to trade up my skis for a pair of these)! These were an incredibly intuitive ski and very versatile. They particulary excel in the powder and made it easy to turn. To learn more about these skis click here.
About The Mountain(s):
One of the reasons I love skiing Aspen is there is actually FOUR mountains. I’ve skied all of them so let me tell you a bit about each one.
Aspen Mountain (also known as AJAX) is located right in the middle of town. It’s pretty steep with NO greens on it what so ever. If you are a new skier – DON’T GO HERE! Tip: There is a fantastic bar up top and, of course, AJAX Tavern at the bottom.
Snowmass is actually located about 20 minutes outside of town and is the largest mountain. It’s name is pretty accurate because it’s MASSIVE. There is something for everyone and Snowmass Village at the bottom of the mountain is lots of fun. If you don’t want to come down the mountain to eat at Base Camp I recommend Sam’s Smokehouse – the food is good and it has a PHENOMENAL view. TIP: We always park at the Two Creeks lift on Snowmass. They offer FREE parking if you car pool. Normal parking at Snowmass Village is $30. Plus, there is a Four Mountain Sports there to rent from AND never any lines at the lift.
Aspen Highlands is known as the locals mountain. I’ve only skied it once and had lots of fun. It’s no where near as big as Snowmass but it has great proximity to the town. They have a bowl that you can hike which I hope to do one day!
Buttermilk is the easiest of all the mountains and is also where X Games is held. If you are a beginner skier or have kids then Buttermilk is the perfect option.
What I Wore:
I’ll be honest, if you saw me on all of my ski trips you’d see that I pretty much wear the SAME thing on each trip. For Aspen I’ll bring a couple extra outfits for going out or shopping days. Particularly, I love having a chance to bust out my FURS! Furs are a MUST in Aspen. Everyone is wearing them – and I don’t mean faux furs! I wore my Red Fox fur coat that I inherited from my grandmother that I love SOOO much!
In case you are loving furs I pulled a few faux furs for you that are great buys before the end of Winter! Click any of the below to shop:
Where to Shop:
There isn’t a ski town like Aspen when it comes to shopping. Downtown Aspen is filled with stores from every major designer including Burberry, Prada, Ralph Lauren and many more. One of my favorite stores is Kemo Sabe, which is a really cool Western wear store that has a pair of these amazing boots that are all blinged out that I’m totally going to buy one day.
Another awesome ski trip in the books! Each year I hope we get to come back again the next year. Aspen definitely holds a special place in my heart!
Disclaimer: I received compensation for portions of this trip. All opinions expressed here are my own.