With exclusive wine tastings and star-studded parties with gourmet food and delectable drinks, it’s no wonder that the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen is a sold out event every year. Whether you booked your reservations early or you’re scrolling the Internet to search for extra tickets, don’t forget that there’s plenty to do around town this time of year: Aspen is bustling with action all weekend.
Here are a few of our favorite places to visit in and around Aspen when we’re not tied up at the festival.
If you couldn’t get tickets to your preferred event, or if you just need a break from the crowds, head over for a day of hiking and sightseeing at Maroon Bells. Located just 12 miles outside of Aspen, Maroon Bells offers expansive fields of wildflowers, majestic lakes, and peaks stretching up to 14,000 feet. Cars aren’t allowed in the area, so bike in or reserve a spot on the Maroon Bells Guided Bus Tour.
It’s not enough to tell your friends back home about your Colorado vacation. Nor will photos, postcards, or Facebook posts suffice. Real travelers take home a piece of their Colorado visit, and they do it in style with Kemo Sabe, Aspen’s number one outfitter for unique western gear. When you’re not busy at the Food and Wine Classic, pay a visit to Kemo Sabe where you’ll find hand-crafted belt-buckles, serious cowboy boots, and a whole set of hats that mean business. Kemo Sabe is the perfect place to pick up an authentic Colorado souvenir for yourself or someone back home. Kemo Sabe, 434 East Cooper Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611. (970)925–7878.
If all of that eating and drinking at the Food and Wine Classic has you needing a breather, try taking a gondola ride and literally rise above it all. The Silver Queen Gondola will sweep you high above Aspen Mountain for some out of this world sightseeing, while the Elk Camp Gondola and Elk Camp Chairlift in Snowmass will take you (and your mountain bike!) up to 11,000 feet for hiking, biking, and exploring. You’ll find more information on schedules and pricing here.
Does the wining and dining have you wanting to add a little more culture to your day? Try the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, where you’ll find a lot more happening than Carmen and La Traviata: comedy shows, live music, and film festivals take place here all year round, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s happening during your visit. Wheeler Opera House, 320 East Hyman Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611. (970)920–5770.
Whether you can’t wake up without your morning jo, or you need an extra jolt to counteract the gourmet wine from the festival, ink! Coffee Company is sure to set you right. This is the perfect place to snag an espresso before the Food and Wine Classic, or to grab a post-festival pick me up. There’s more than just fantastic caffeine at ink! Coffee. Don’t miss out on their fresh smoothies, the huge selection of teas, and the delicious salads and sandwiches. ink! Coffee Company, 520 East Durant Ave., Aspen, CO 81611. (970) 544–0588.
With so much happening in Aspen and Snowmass, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do. Just remember to make reservations well in advance: during the Food and Wine Classic weekend, restaurants, hotels, and tours fill up quickly.