The best places to eat, stay, drink, and hit the slopes in Aspen, Colorado, according to Aspen Brewing Company founder Duncan Clauss.
As the founder of Aspen Brewing Company—the only brewery in the popular Colorado ski town—Duncan Clauss has been bringing brews with a view to Aspen locals since he arrived in 2008.
“I think Aspen locals are most often overlooked, but they’re my favorite part of the town,” Clauss says. “From local business owners and creatives to the service industry employees, Aspen is full of hard-working and smart people.”
One of the most popular places to hit the slopes in the United States, Aspen’s gastronomic and drinking scenes are just as excellent as its scenery. Below, find Clauss’s guide to embracing the “first chair, last call” lifestyle that keeps locals in the mountains all day and sipping Colorado craft brews late into the night.
Duncan Clauss’s Perfect Day in Aspen, Colorado
9 a.m. – An Americano in Paris
My go-to is an Americano at Jour de Fete, a small French cafe with great food, delicious coffee, friendly staff, and a handful of morning regulars to say hello.
10 a.m. – Breakfast with a View
My favorite overall breakfast is Bonnie’s on Aspen Mountain. Eating a delicious oatmeal pancake in the timeless mountain lodge on the side of Aspen Mountain can’t be beat.
Afterward, go skinning up one of the mountains in the winter or take a long trail run in summer—being outside in the morning is the only way to start the day.
12:30 p.m. – Four Places to Lunch Like a Local
A lap on Highland Bowl is hard to beat. Thirty minutes of hiking from the top of Aspen Highlands to some of the best ski terrain in Colorado.
Also try skiing for the 1A chairlift on Aspen Mountain. Amazing terrain where you will often get the slopes all to yourself.
4 p.m. – Reach for the Skye
There are great local art galleries to check out. The Gonzo Gallery featuring work from the Hunter S Thompson days by Ralph Steadman, Tom Benton, and others is a must. Checking out what’s new at Skye Gallery is always fun, too.
5 p.m. – It’s 5’O Clock in Aspen
It’s time for an afternoon coffee break at Local coffee shop: another go-to (unless it’s time for a beer).
Late night, it’s either the Belly Up for world-class live music or the Red Onion, Aspen’s oldest bar, where most locals are on a first-name basis. It’s hard to beat national music acts in a 400+ person venue like the Belly Up, and even the worst seats are better than front row at an arena.
The Aspen Essentials
Read (and Watch) Before You Go
Aspen Extreme, the novel? Just kidding, that’s a classic 80’s ski movie about Aspen. Anything by Hunter S Thompson or Edward Abbey.
Know Before You Go
The altitude is a real thing. Drink plenty of water and be ready to go: early morning coffee, work or activities all day, Après, dinner, and straight into a night out. Aspen locals are known for their “first chair, last call” ideology.