Introduction: I am Marla, founder of Shop Gotham, longtime NYC lover and dweller, extensive traveler and perpetual explorer. My favorite trips are brief: 3-4 days, long enough to see, touch, taste and revel in the best of each place, with minimal recovery and less packing. While I do take longer trips – such as those abroad – I will still condense each article to a Perfect 3 days.
I am awakened by new environments and intrigued by different cultures, yet as a longtime Urban dweller in THE MOST urban of dwellings, I find myself seeking out places with a certain je ne sais quoi: an energy, a visual stimulation, options and always always, a good coffee spot to people watch. Thus, these travel guides come from the heart and mind of a New York City girl.
Late Spring/Summer (June – August)
Best known for it’s skiing and ski season, Aspen is a jewel to visit in late spring and summer. The 80 degree days are spectacular, the setting is gorgeous and there is a wealth of things to do.
This gorgeous all season mountain town, set beneath the Rocky’s, looks like a pristine movie set of the west. Ski and hiking trails are the backdrop to a town vibrant with ample shops – both indies and designer labels – restaurants and galleries galore. There is no shortage of outdoor activities, music and world class lectures. As Aspen caters to a high percentage of wealthy residents and visitors, the services are sophisticated, with prices that reflect. But if you can find a way to visit in the summer, it is well worth it.
Colorado is the overall fittest state, and hands down, Aspen has the most toned legs. And bring your Dog! It’s the ultimate dog friendly town.
Who you will find in Aspen in the summer: There are 3 primary visitors: The Affluent who partake in it all – outdoor activities, designer shopping, lectures, theater and dining out; families with young children who revel in the outdoors and day camps (apologies – our suggested itinerary is not for you); and those who simply want to hike and bike until the sun goes down.
The annual Aspen Ideas Festival run by The Aspen Institute is the foremost week-long program of discussions, seminars, panels, and tutorials from famed journalists, designers, innovators, politicians, diplomats, presidents, judges, musicians, artists, and writers. It’s held the last week of June, so if you are going to Aspen at that time, get yourself on their mailing list and book tickets as soon as you can. They draw the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Angela Merkel, Lisa Ling and Tom Hanks, as well as less famous but oh so interesting participants. During all the summer months, the Aspen Institute hosts a variety of other lectures and outdoor musical concerts.
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. This premier culinary event, typically held the first week of June will be mid June 2022. Three incredible days of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, Grand Tastings of delectable bites and worldly wines and panel discussions led by world-class chefs and wine experts.
The Belly Up Pop & rock musicians as well as comedians play this intimate theater. Summer is when it’s hot. Keep an eye on schedule.
Saturday Farmers Market: right on town. three block of food, clothing, apparel, a dog rescue, and great people watching
WHAT TO WEAR
Casual chic is the attire. LuluLemon, hiking wear or shorts/dresses with flats are generally seen by day. Current jeans and on-trend tops with leather jackets in the eve. Leave your stilettos at home; cobblestone streets are meant for sneakers, platforms, flats or if you have.. crack out your cowboy boots.
SAMPLE ITINERARY: 3 Glorious Spring/Summer Days, Aspen, CO
(June – August)
Acclimate to the 8,000 ft. altitude, by skipping activities such as hiking
MORNING ACTIVITY: Rent a bicycle and ride the beautiful Rio Grande trail. Pick up the trail right in town and with it’s variety of paths, you can choose a leisurely or more strenuous. At the commence of the trail, stop at the very special John Denver Sanctuary to read the stones embedded with his song lyrics and to peek at Theatre Aspen, a well regarded regional theater for live performances.
LUNCH: It’s a 7 mile ride to Woody Creek Tavern for lunch. This casual mexican-ish and burger/beer joint is a rite of passage for visiting Aspen. Don’t feel like biking back? Good news: a bus will bring you and your bike back to town.
SHOP: PE 101. (women’s) Indie boutique for trendy casualish sportswear for women, such as Jakkett, Lauren Moshi, Johnny Was, Goldie and more. Ample inventory with new deliveries daily. tees, jeans, tops, sweaters, etc.
Kemo Sabe An Aspen institution for western wear:
hats, boots, buckles Oh My!
DINNER: Betula. A definite splurge meal at the buzziest and chicest place in town. Fish and meat heavy with a lovely burrata & green pea salad appetizer.
POST DINNER: Check out Silverpeak or Green Dragon cannabis dispensaries. Whether your partake or not, worth a peak to see what it’s all about.
MORNING ACTIVITY: Hike Hunter Smuggler, to get a real feel for Aspen. Just 10 minutes from the center of town, its a 2 hour engaging hike, beginning to end with spectacular views and lots of shade.
EAT/LUNCH. Lunch at Spring Cafe, Healthy & delicious; LuluLemon crowd can be found here following morning activities. No resies.
SHOP: Pitkin County Dry Goods (women and men’s) Iconic and popular store. large selection of men’s and women’s midrange “name” sportswear, sneakers and costume jewelry.
COFFEE BREAK: Local Coffee House Sit outside for people watching, over an interesting coffee drink and healthy snack. Cute houseware selection too.
AFTERNOON TREAT: Stretch Zone .Treat yourself to a 30 minute stretch by pros who attend to your screaming body parts. Worth it!
DINNER: Meat and Cheese. Take it down a bit of a notch tonight (but not too far down). Yes lots of cheese and meat options, but plenty of other fine fare in a warm “farmish” style spot which focuses on locally sourced ingredients. A small specialty market within as well.
COCKTAIL: Then bring it up a notch at the elegant Living Room lounge at Hotel Jerome. A touch of an old world feeling, sink into a couch, sip a martini and conclude the day.
Yoga on Aspen Mountain. Whether you are a yoga devotee or a neophyte, this not-tough class is a not-to-miss morning experience. Ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain, enjoy the spectacular views, while getting your Zen on. Note: yoga mats provided, but limited. So if you are running late, bring a towel (not just for women!)
LUNCH: Ajax Tavern. At the base of the gondola, this indoor/outdoor mountainside hub for French & American fare, has lots of sun, people watching and great truffle fries.
SHOP/COFFEE: Gorsuch. Great coffee and the best selection of
On Cloud (OC) sneakers
DINNER: Acquolina. Italian cuisine and pizza. Stylish and vibrant crowd
DESSERT: Paradise Bakery. Hands down, the most popular spot in Aspen. Best cookies and ice cream. Local student musicians almost always outside, entertaining the lingering crowds.
Travel to Aspen, John Denver Memorial