3-Day Family Christmas Holiday Itinerary in Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado

3 days

Aspen Skyline
Winter scenery
Snowmass mountain range
Sunrise
Christmas lights

About Aspen, Colorado

Experience the magic of Aspen, Colorado, a premier winter destination renowned for its world-class skiing and snowboarding. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen offers four major ski areas, each with its own unique charm. Beyond the slopes, explore the vibrant downtown area, filled with high-end shopping, gourmet dining, and lively nightlife. In summer, Aspen transforms into an outdoor paradise with activities like hiking, biking, and fly-fishing. The city is also home to the Aspen Music Festival and the Aspen Ideas Festival, attracting intellectuals and artists from around the globe. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural enrichment, Aspen promises a memorable getaway in any season.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Art and Adventure in Aspen

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Aspen Art Museum. This non-collecting institution presents the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art. Enjoy the innovative and thought-provoking exhibitions.

Lunch

Enjoy a cozy lunch at a family-friendly restaurant in downtown Aspen, offering a variety of cuisines to choose from.

Afternoon

After lunch, take a scenic gondola ride up Aspen Mountain. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the snowy landscape and engage in fun snow activities like snowboarding and skiing.

Dinner

Have dinner at a restaurant offering a warm, rustic atmosphere and a menu filled with hearty dishes perfect for a winter evening.

Evening

End your day by attending the Aspen Annual Tree Lighting ceremony at the Aspen Pedestrian Mall. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, live music, and hot cocoa.

Morning

Begin your second day with a visit to the Wheeler/Stallard Museum, a Victorian era house that offers a glimpse into Aspen's past.

Lunch

Have lunch at a restaurant in the West End, known for its charming, historic buildings and quiet streets.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon ice skating at the Aspen Ice Garden, a popular indoor rink that offers open skating sessions for the public.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner at a restaurant known for its innovative dishes and cozy, family-friendly atmosphere.

Evening

After dinner, take a stroll through the Aspen Glow Holiday Display, a festive light display that illuminates the town during the holiday season.

Morning

Start your final day with a visit to the John Denver Sanctuary, a park dedicated to the late singer and his love for nature.

Lunch

Have lunch at a restaurant in the East Aspen area, known for its scenic views and peaceful atmosphere.

Afternoon

Spend the afternoon exploring the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, a nature preserve that offers guided tours and educational programs.

Dinner

Enjoy your final dinner at a restaurant known for its locally sourced ingredients and innovative menu.

Evening

End your trip with a visit to the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Nutcracker performance, a holiday tradition for many families.

Attractions in Itinerary (9)

Aspen Art Museum

1
Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum is a non-collecting institution that presents the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art. It offers thought-provoking, educational public programs and exhibitions.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Aspen Mountain

2
Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax, is a well-known ski area in Aspen, Colorado. It's famous for its black-diamond terrain and offers a variety of runs for all skill levels. The mountain also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Attractions
Sports
Landmarks

3
Aspen Annual Tree Lighting

The Aspen Annual Tree Lighting is a beloved tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season in Aspen. It's a festive event that brings the community together.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Wheeler/Stallard Museum

4
Wheeler/Stallard Museum

The Wheeler/Stallard Museum is a historic museum in Aspen that showcases the town's rich history and culture. It's housed in a beautifully preserved Victorian mansion.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Aspen Ice Garden

5
Aspen Ice Garden

The Aspen Ice Garden is a popular ice skating rink in Aspen that offers a variety of activities for all ages and skill levels.

Sports
Entertainment

6
Aspen Glow Holiday Display

The Aspen Glow Holiday Display is a stunning holiday light display that illuminates downtown Aspen during the holiday season.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
John Denver Sanctuary

7
John Denver Sanctuary

The John Denver Sanctuary is a park in Aspen, Colorado, dedicated to the late singer. It features a series of stone inscriptions of his lyrics, a beautiful flower garden, and a peaceful stream.

Parks
Cultural Experiences
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

8
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a non-profit environmental education center in Aspen that offers a variety of programs and activities.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Nutcracker

9
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Nutcracker

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Nutcracker is a beloved holiday tradition in Aspen, featuring a stunning performance of the classic ballet.

Entertainment
Cultural Experiences

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Rocky Mountain Trout

A local favorite, this freshwater fish is often grilled or pan-fried and is a must-try for seafood lovers visiting Aspen.

Colorado Lamb

Known for its tender and flavorful meat, Colorado lamb is often served roasted or grilled in Aspen.

Elk Steak

Elk is a game meat that is leaner and sweeter than beef. It's a popular choice in Aspen and showcases the region's hunting culture.

Buffalo Burger

A healthier alternative to the traditional beef burger, buffalo meat is lean and flavorful. It's a common menu item in Aspen, reflecting the state's bison population.

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain Oysters

Despite the name, these are not seafood. They are deep-fried bull testicles, a unique delicacy in Aspen and throughout Colorado.

Palisade Peaches

Grown in the nearby town of Palisade, these peaches are known for their sweet and juicy flavor. They're a summer staple in Aspen.

Colorado Green Chili

A hearty and spicy stew made with pork and green chilies. It's a popular dish in Aspen, especially during the colder months.

Olathe Sweet Corn

This sweet corn variety is grown in Olathe, Colorado. It's a favorite at summer barbecues in Aspen.

Colorado Craft Beer

Colorado is known for its craft beer scene, and Aspen is no exception. There's a wide variety of local brews to try.

Colorado Whiskey

Colorado's high altitude and pure mountain water contribute to the unique flavor of its locally distilled whiskey.

Aspen Crud

A milkshake with a twist, the Aspen Crud is a vanilla milkshake blended with bourbon. It was created during Prohibition and is a unique local treat.

Chokecherry Wine

Made from the tart chokecherries that grow in Colorado, this wine is a local specialty in Aspen.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Aspen, Colorado largely depends on what activities you're interested in. If you're a ski enthusiast, the best time to visit is from December to February when the ski season is in full swing. However, if you're more interested in hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, the summer months from June to August offer warm weather and plenty of sunshine. The fall months of September and October are also a great time to visit for the spectacular fall foliage. Keep in mind that Aspen is a popular destination, so it can get crowded during peak seasons.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) provides extensive bus service throughout Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. It's a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around.

Uber and Lyft are both available in Aspen. These services can be a convenient way to get around, especially if you're traveling with a group or have a lot of gear.

There are several taxi companies in Aspen, offering convenient door-to-door service. They can be a good option for getting to and from the airport, or for trips when you don't want to worry about parking.

Aspen is a bike-friendly city with plenty of bike lanes and paths. Renting a bike can be a fun and healthy way to get around, especially in the summer months.

There are several car rental agencies in Aspen, including major chains. Renting a car gives you the most flexibility to explore at your own pace, but keep in mind that parking in Aspen can be challenging during peak times.

We-Cycle is Aspen's bike share program. With stations located throughout the city, it's a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around for short trips.

Aspen offers free shuttle service around town and to the ski areas. These shuttles are a convenient way to get around, especially if you're staying in a hotel or condo that's on the shuttle route.

Aspen is a walkable city, especially the downtown area. Walking can be a pleasant way to get around, especially if you're not in a hurry.

Renting a scooter can be a fun way to get around Aspen. It's best suited for short trips and can be a good option if you're comfortable riding in traffic.

For a more luxurious travel experience, consider hiring a private car service. This can be a good option for special occasions or if you prefer not to drive.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Aspen, Colorado as a first time visitor

1

Aspen is located in the Rocky Mountains, so the weather can be unpredictable. Always pack layers and be prepared for sudden changes in weather.

2

The altitude in Aspen is high, over 8,000 feet (2,438 meters). Some people may experience altitude sickness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, and fatigue. It's important to stay hydrated and take it easy for the first few days.

3

Aspen is a year-round destination. It's famous for its winter sports, but also offers hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities in the summer.

4

Aspen is a small town, but it's a world-class destination. Expect prices for accommodations, dining, and activities to be on the higher end.

5

Aspen has a free public transportation system, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), which can take you around town and to nearby areas.

6

Aspen is a very walkable town. Many of the shops, restaurants, and galleries are located within a few blocks of each other in the downtown area.

7

Aspen has a strict recycling program. Be aware of the recycling rules and try to minimize your waste.

8

Aspen is home to four ski resorts: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. Each offers a different experience, so research ahead to see which one suits your skill level and interests.

9

Winter temperatures in Aspen can drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius), while summer temperatures can reach up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).

10

Aspen is a dog-friendly town. Many hotels, restaurants, and shops allow dogs, and there are several off-leash areas and trails for dogs.

11

Aspen has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues. Check the local listings for current shows and exhibitions.

12

Aspen is known for its luxury shopping. You'll find high-end boutiques from designers like Prada, Gucci, and Moncler, as well as local artisan shops.

13

Aspen has a wide range of dining options, from gourmet restaurants to casual cafes. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

14

Aspen is a popular destination, so it's recommended to book accommodations and activities well in advance, especially during peak seasons.

15

Aspen has a rich history, dating back to the silver boom of the late 1800s. The town's historic buildings and sites are worth exploring.

16

Aspen is located in bear country. Be aware of bear safety guidelines, such as not leaving food out and keeping a safe distance if you encounter a bear.

17

Aspen has a lively nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and live music venues. Be aware that alcohol can affect you more at high altitudes.

18

Aspen is a great base for exploring the surrounding areas, including the Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed spots in Colorado.

19

Aspen has a strong commitment to sustainability. Many businesses and events are eco-friendly, and there are numerous opportunities for green travel.

20

Aspen is home to the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School, both of which offer a range of cultural and educational events.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Warm coat

  • Sweaters

  • Long-sleeve shirts

  • Thermal underwear

  • Jeans or other sturdy pants

  • Waterproof boots

  • Thick socks

  • Gloves

  • Scarf

  • Hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Swimsuit (for hot tubs)

  • Sleepwear

  • Underwear

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Floss

  • Deodorant

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Body wash

  • Razor

  • Shaving cream

  • Moisturizer

  • Sunscreen

  • Lip balm

  • First aid kit

  • Prescription medications

  • Contact lenses and solution (if needed)

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport/ID

  • Boarding passes

  • Hotel reservation confirmation

  • Car rental reservation confirmation

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash

  • Emergency contacts and important addresses

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger for smartphone

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Charger for camera

  • Power bank

  • Adapters (if traveling from abroad)

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Books or e-reader for downtime

  • Travel pillow

  • Earplugs

  • Eye mask

  • Ski or snowboard equipment (if not renting)

  • Hand and foot warmers

Weather Conditions

When visiting Aspen, Colorado, it's crucial to consider the weather as it can greatly influence your activities and overall experience. Aspen is known for its cold, snowy winters and mild, pleasant summers. During the winter months (December to February), temperatures can drop as low as -1°F (-18°C) and rarely rise above 45°F (7°C). This is the perfect time for winter sports enthusiasts to visit as the city is renowned for its skiing and snowboarding. However, be sure to pack warm clothing, including thermal layers, a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat. Spring (March to May) sees a gradual increase in temperature, with highs reaching up to 60°F (15°C) and lows around 20°F (-6°C). This season can still be quite chilly, especially in the evenings, so it's advisable to pack layers. Summer (June to August) in Aspen is mild and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 40°F (4°C) to 80°F (27°C). This is a great time for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Pack lightweight clothing, but don't forget a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings. Autumn (September to November) brings a beautiful change in foliage but also a drop in temperature. Highs can reach 70°F (21°C) in early fall, but can drop to 30°F (-1°C) towards winter. Pack a mix of light and warm clothing. Regardless of the season, Aspen's high altitude can lead to intense sun exposure. Don't forget to pack and regularly apply sunscreen, even in winter. Also, it's important to stay hydrated to help prevent altitude sickness. Remember, weather can be unpredictable, so it's always a good idea to check the forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Enjoy your visit to Aspen!

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

-1° / -15°

January is the coldest month in Aspen with temperatures often dropping below freezing, making it a perfect time for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.

February

1° / -14°

February is still quite cold with a high chance of snowfall, ideal for those who enjoy winter activities.

March

7° / -9°

March sees a slight increase in temperature but still remains chilly, with snowfall likely, offering beautiful snowy landscapes.

April

11° / -3°

April brings warmer temperatures and the snow starts to melt, making it a great time for hiking and exploring the outdoors.

May

17° / 1°

May offers mild temperatures and the landscape begins to bloom, perfect for outdoor activities like biking and fishing.

June

23° / 5°

June marks the beginning of summer with warm temperatures, clear skies, and lush greenery, ideal for camping and rafting.

July

26° / 8°

July is the warmest month in Aspen with long, sunny days, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities.

August

25° / 8°

August continues the warm trend with occasional rain showers, making it a great time for sightseeing and photography.

September

19° / 3°

September brings cooler temperatures and the start of the fall foliage, offering stunning views of the changing colors.

October

13° / -1°

October sees a drop in temperatures and the fall colors are in full swing, making it a beautiful time for scenic drives and hikes.

November

6° / -8°

November marks the beginning of winter with colder temperatures and the first snowfall, a good time for early season skiing.

December

2° / -13°

December is a peak time for winter sports with plenty of snow and festive holiday activities in Aspen.

Did you know?

Did you know that Aspen, Colorado is home to the highest concentration of ski resorts in the U.S.?

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