At 8,000 feet elevation, Aspen is a quaint, yet lively destination with the best views. A slice of American history, the many seasoned establishments are filled with culture and personality. From the great outdoors to the city’s bar scene and its rich cannabis culture, it’s a worthy escape for sea-level travelers.
I recently found myself at the historic Hotel Jerome in the heart of Aspen for a weekend of mountainous rest and recreation. The oldest hotel in the city, it made for an extravagant and luxurious stay. With two bars (plus an upcoming speakeasy), a restaurant, and a spa, it’s also an ideal hub for the weekend’s activities.
From drinking on top of a mountain to getting high with a perfect view, this brief guide will take your mountain escape to new elevations.
Check into Hotel Jerome, a beautiful piece of architecture with décor that reflects the city’s diverse history, from local indigenous culture to elements of old western style. At the front desk, be sure to take a shot of chloroxygen water, to help yourself adjust to the elevation. Don’t forget to greet Rocky, the hotel dog, on your way to your room.
Head over to the Aspen Art Museum, a modern structure from the unique eye of Shigeru Ban. The elevator to the rooftop comes with sweeping views of downtown and the surrounding mountains.
The SO Café on the Aspen Art Museum rooftop offers a weekly-changing menu with fresh, local ingredients. The open-format space provides views of both the city’s gorgeous mountain-scape and the museum’s art. Head downstairs after lunch for a stroll through the museum.
Head back to Jerome, and enjoy an afternoon at the pool (currently undergoing construction). Take a dip or enjoy the courtyard, expected to be a popular gathering spot, come summer 2018.
Make a stop inside at J-Bar, and order the Aspen Crud. A vanilla shake with a shot of Bourbon, it’s local notoriety dates back to the prohibition era. It also makes for a sweet, yet strong afternoon treat.
After freshening up, walk over to Belly Up. This open-seating bar is a perfect venue to enjoy some dancing or to catch a live performance.
Wake up refreshed, and head downstairs to Prospect, an upscale restaurant in the Hotel Jerome lobby. Flooded with natural light and decorated with interesting art from Mary Sprague, it’s a great place to enjoy some brunch. The avocado toast is a tasty option.
Take a trip with Blazing Adventures up to the Maroon Bells, a beautiful valley with a crystal-clear lake. Join a guided hike or horseback ride through the trail, a beautiful stretch of land with breathtaking views.
After conquering the Bells, head back to Hotel Jerome, and soak your muscles in a hot bath. The bathrooms come with Hermes products that will make you feel just as stylish as you are clean.
For a late lunch, head downstairs to J-Bar. Once a favorite spot of Hunter S Thompson, it’s now a popular eatery for locals and visitors alike. The confit lollipop chicken is incredible, but you can’t go wrong with the J-Bar burger.
For a little afternoon delight, visit one of the many dispensaries in Aspen. With a wide assortment of options and knowledgeable budtenders, Green Dragon is a good option. Whether it’s edibles or something more natural, enjoy your treats on the Hotel Jerome rooftop, with its peaceful seclusion and beautiful views.
After developing a healthy high, head over to Escobar, an underground nightclub with the best music. Its curved ceilings and colorful lights make it feel like a rave in a doomsday bunker. It’s a perfect location to dance the night away.
As you recover from yesterday’s strenuous hike and last night’s invigorating dance marathon, head downstairs to the Aspen Spa. Enjoy their serene lounge as you wait for your masseuse to guide you to your room. A signature massage is just what you need to wrap up a fun weekend in the beautiful and relaxing Aspen.
For a unique view of Aspen before you depart, take the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. Enjoy some disk golf and a hike. Or just buy some lunch and a bottle of sparkling wine to enjoy at the Sundeck Restaurant. It’s a picture-perfect way to end your trip.