Aspen On Foot
From the bird’s-eye view in the Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen lays out like a picture-perfect postage stamp. It’s quaint, flat and contained. That means one of the best ways to explore it once you’re ground level is on foot. Ditch the car and bike, and learn about town by taking the trodden, and sometimes unbeaten, path.
- People flock to the Benedict Music Tent on Sunday afternoons to hear the Aspen Music Festival Orchestra perform. Classical music fans can either purchase a ticket to enjoy the music inside, or bring a picnic and set up on the lawn. But getting to the concert can be just as fun. Meet in the lobby of the Hotel Jerome at 2 p.m. for a free Walking Tour to the Tent, to learn about the residential neighborhood’s rich history and charming architecture before arriving for the 4 p.m. performance.
- Can’t make it for the Sunday afternoon stroll? The Aspen Historical Society offers a Victorian West End Walking Tour at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Knowledgeable guides – in period costume of course – walk guests from the society’s headquarters at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum through the West End to the Hotel Jerome. Participants will learn about the storied homes and the people who lived in them. $15/adults, $12/seniors, children 12 and under free.
- For more nocturnal adventurers, Aspen Walking Tours offers an Aspen’s Darkside Ghost Tour. Entertaining guide Dean Weiler navigates the alleys and side streets in downtown Aspen to share stories about Aspen’s seedier side. The tours leave at 9 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the summer. $25/person.
- Luminaries descend on the Aspen Institute campus during the summer for intensive thought sessions and collaborations indoors. But outside of those walls are one of town’s best treasure. Stroll through the serene campus to get a taste of how art is literally intertwined with the property’s architecture, like Andy Goldsworthy’s snaking sandstone wall that connects to Doerr-Hosier, or iconic designer Herbert Bayer’s Sgraffito mural on the exterior of the Koch building. Guided tours are offered by landscape architect Ann Mullins at 11 a.m. on July 28, Aug. 18, Aug. 25 and Sept. 8.
- If spirited walking is more your style, join the Aspen Historical Society’s Historic Pub Crawl on Thursday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. Animated leader Mike Monroney meets guests at the Red Onion for a stiff drink and then pops into historic haunts like Justice Snow’s and the J-Bar inside the Hotel Jerome to tell stories about the town’s raucous days. $20 includes three drinks.
If You’re Up High: Take a hike. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ naturalists lead free 45-minute tours from the top of Aspen Mountain out Richmond Ridge every day, on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s an opportunity to learn about native trees, birds and fauna in the high-alpine environment. If you’re in Snowmass, try the daily Wildflower Hike at 10 a.m., which meets in front of the Ice Age Discovery Center on the mall.
Out of time? Grab a Self-Guided Walking Tour map from the Aspen Historical Society, Carl’s Pharmacy or Aspen Chamber Resort Association for just $2 for a detailed tour passing by more than 30 historic buildings in downtown Aspen.