Local’s Guide: Aspen, Colorado

downtown aspen colorado

Aspen, Colorado will always remain my favorite mountain town in the states, if not the world. Living here for the past six years might make me a bit biased, but once you visit this charismatic town with the ambiance of a big city, you’ll quickly understand. Below are a few of my top picks for a trip to Aspen,  but I’m always happy to share more! Comment below with your email, or send me a note on the contact section of the blog to receive additional suggestions.

momo smuggler aspen colorado


  • Hike- Boasting an array of hiking trails accessible from the doorstep of any lodging option in Aspen, exploring the local trails stands as a must do on your itinerary! A few of my favorite hikes include Smuggler Mountain (easy), Crater Lake (easy to moderate), Cathedral (moderate), American (moderate), and the hike from Aspen to Crested Butte (moderate to hard). *spring-fall, contact me for my top ski/snowboarding runs
  • Bike- If hiking isn’t your thing, try out biking. For an easy cruise that any sea-level visitor can handle, head down the Rio Grande Trail to Woody Creek Tavern for their famed margaritas and Hunter S. Thompson memorabilia. Step up your road cycling game with a ride to the renowned Maroon Bells, or try out mountain biking in the Hunter Creek Valley. *spring- fall
  • Belly Up– This amazing 450-capacity venue hosts a number of artists from local bands to Greg Allman, Widespread Panic, Snoop Dogg, and Graham Nash to name a few. *year-round

downtown aspen colorado spring


  • Matsuhisa– While Nobu Matsuhisa now owns many restaurants across the nation, there is something truly unique about Matsuhisa in Aspen , Colorado. Maybe it’s the charming blue Victorian building, or the laid back vibe upstairs combined with the bustling scene downstairs. Whatever the allure factor might be for you, make sure to book a reservation in advance (or sit upstairs if you can’t get a ressie) and order the Adam Roll with a bottle of the TK40 sake. *dinner only
  • Bosq– One of Aspen’s newest additions to town, the fare at Bosq can be described as new world cuisine. Sit at the bar and enjoy an inimitable cocktail from Alexis, and opt to order a few different appetizers for a tapa style dinner. Favorites include the eggplant, tempura shitakes, and beef tartare. *lunch + dinner in summer, dinner only in winter
  • Pyramid Bistro– Located upstairs in Explore Booksellers (Aspen’s only bookstore), Pyramid Bistro serves up healthy fare that Chef Oswald has coined “nutritarian fare.” The restaurant is best on a warm, sunny day outside on the cozy patio. *lunch + dinner, but I prefer lunch

momo aspen colorado


  • Kali’s Denim– Kali’s carries some of my favorite brands from Show Me Your Mumu (hello, perfect summer dress) to Dolce Vita, and Spell & The Gypsy Collective (check out this cute blouse). Don’t miss the KCOR Designs jewelry made exclusively by one of the gorgeous owners, Drita!
  • Georgia Brown- For the antique lover and home good enthusiast, do not miss Georgia Brown. The unexpectedly large store houses three floors full of treasures too good to pass up!
  • O2 Aspen– O2 has two locations in town- O2 Aspen the Boutique on Cooper Avenue (think must-have pieces like this SAM jacket), and 02 the studio & spa located on Main Street (with a new location opening downtown this summer). O2 Aspen the Boutique offers the best selection of women’s clothing and accessories in town. The studio and spa houses a selection of yoga and athleisure wear in front, as well as jewelry and accessories. Who else is craving a pair of white leggings for summer?

residence hotel aspen colorado


  • The Little Nell- Situated at the base of Aspen Mountain (aka Ajax), The Little Nell is the only five-star, five-diamond, ski-in, ski-out, hotel in Aspen. In other words, it’s simply the best! The hotel is definitely a splurge, but undoubtedly worth it, as the service is truly top notch.
  • Hotel Jerome– Established in 1889, Hotel Jerome is the oldest hotel in town, which makes it stand out among all other properties. The décor screams Colorado cowboy chic. Even if you’re staying elsewhere, make it a point to stroll through the gorgeous lobby, and enjoy a drink in the Living Room or J Bar.
  • Residence Hotel– The Residence Hotel sits directly in the center of downtown Aspen. The boutique hotel has eight rooms, each decorated with the owners antiques from all over the world. All rooms also have their own kitchens, perfect for those who don’t want to dine out for every meal during vacation. Ready to book? Call the hotel and tell them Melissa sent you!
  • Like a local- As much as I love staying in hotels, sometimes renting a condo or apartment can offer an even better experience. Check out Airbnb, VRBO, and Home Away for unique and affordable options in town.

3 Comment

  1. Lolli says: Reply

    Such good suggestions!

    1. melissa says: Reply

      Thanks Lolli! Got to love Aspen 🙂

  2. In certain circles, I hesitate to reveal the town I live in. There are situations—say, fueling up a snowmobile at a gas station in a British Columbia logging town—where I simply say I live in Colorado.

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