Exploring Aspen’s Nightlife: What To Do


With over 100 bars, clubs, music venues, and late-night dining spots packed into its compact downtown area, Aspen delivers non-stop excitement when the sun goes down. From celebrity hot spots to local dive bars, you’ll find dynamic nightlife options to suit any taste and budget. Après-ski cocktails flow freely as world-class musicians and DJs turn up the energy at concerts and clubs.

The surrounding mountain landscapes also provide a picturesque backdrop for open-air events, winter carnivals, food and wine festivals, and more. Aspen simply has it all—skiing by day and revelry after dark in a setting like no other.


  • Over 100 lively bars, clubs, and music venues are packed into Aspen's compact downtown.
  • Celebrity hot spots to local dive bars offer dynamic nightlife for all tastes.
  • Après-ski cocktails, concerts, and DJs create a vibrant scene from afternoon to late night.
  • Festivals, carnivals, and open-air events with stunning mountain views.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the slopes and the nightlife, Aspen also shines through its distinct local culture rooted in the Old West. Historic landmarks like the iconic Hotel Jerome and the Wheeler Opera House connect the present with Aspen’s founding as a 19th-century silver mining town.

Visitors can embrace local heritage at venues like the Red Onion Saloon, an Old West-style bar, or the Aspen Mining and Historical Society, which features insights into the town’s origins. Annual cultural events also showcase local traditions—the free Aspen Music Festival spotlights classical performers, while Winterskol brings comedy acts and offbeat competitions like the Hairy Man’s Challenge.

Getting to know the locals is easy, too – just belly up to the bar at any of Aspen’s lively watering holes. Conversations flow freely, whether discussing the fresh powder at Highland Bowl or the display at the Aspen Art Museum. By mingling with the community, visitors gain a deeper understanding of this charming mountain town.

Après-Ski Bars and Winter Events

As a top ski town, Aspen equally excels in après-ski revelry. The moment the lifts close at Aspen Mountain or Highlands, skiers and riders flock to the dozens of nearby bars at the base of the slopes. Top picks like the Ajax Tavern, 39 Degrees, and the Sundeck offer expansive mountain views along with craft beers, cocktails, and shareable bites. Or enjoy wine and cheese fondue on the Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro patio 2,000 feet up Aspen Highlands.

Local favorite bars like Molly Gibson’s, the J-Bar at Hotel Jerome, and the historic Red Onion Saloon also buzz with animated conversations recounting the day’s epic runs. Aspen’s compact downtown means one can easily bar-hop between watering holes to sample different ambiances.

When it comes to annual events, Winterskol always brings wacky fun like the “Running of the Bulls” (with humans dressed as bulls). Food and Wine Classic spotlights both skiing and fine cuisine with grand tasting tents at the base of Aspen Mountain. For more cultural events, Aspen Laugh Fest hosts comedy shows while the Aspen Music Festival boasts orchestral and chamber music concerts.

Luxury Accommodations and Celebrity Nightlife

As an epicenter for the rich and famous, Aspen offers no shortage of luxury lodging options and celebrity sightings. Many of Hollywood’s A-listers have homes here, while top-tier hotels like the Little Nell, St. Regis, and Hotel Jerome provide five-star pampering. Expect exquisite on-site restaurants, lavish spa treatments, ski-in/ski-out access, and attentive personal service.

Hotspots popular among celebrities are the late-night Lobby Bar at the Jerome Hotel or the private tables at the members-only Caribou Club.

For those seeking ultra-VIP treatment, concierge services like Aspen Luxury Concierge offer access to the most in-demand restaurants, sold-out concerts at Belly Up, or complimentary airport transfers by Cadillac Escalade. Regardless of the budget, visitors can still feel part of Aspen’s glamorous scene by dressing up for a night out on the town.

Ski Resort Nightlife and Best Nightclubs

Aspen’s legendary nightlife isn’t confined to downtown – each ski resort area hosts popular clubs and live music right at the base. Snowmass stays lively year-round thanks to the Treehouse kids’ center, family-friendly Snowcat tours up the mountain at sunset, and the trendy Vue bar offering small plates until 1 AM.

Highlands and Buttermilk also boast popular après-ski spots like Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, where the party starts mid-mountain. At the base, mix and mingle with eclectic crowds at the local favorite Krabloonik restaurant and pub.

In Aspen Mountain village, the Sundeck restaurant’s legendary champagne powder parties cap off perfect powder days. Aspen HQ keeps the night rolling with DJs in the shadow of Ruthie’s chairlift. For late-night revelers, Escobar Nightclub and Belly Up Aspen are locally-loved institutions. With four clubs in one building, Escobar features everything from live music to Latin dance parties. Belly Up brings in major acts like The Chainsmokers, Zac Brown Band, and Jimmy Buffet for intimate concerts with full bars and dinner menus.

Live Music Venues and Winter Activities

Beyond its famous nightclubs and Aspen nightlife guide, Aspen’s music scene thrives in venues as varied as the town itself. At a cozy hotel bar like the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome, guests may catch a jazz trio or acoustic set from an up-and-coming local band. The historic Wheeler Opera House in downtown Aspen spotlights both renowned symphonies and edgy rock groups in a single weekend, blending the classic with the contemporary.

For a truly intimate experience, the underground speakeasy Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar features rotating musical guests ranging from soul singers to classical string quartets, showcasing the depth of Aspen’s nightlife. And the music doesn’t stop in the summer – the Benedict Music Tent annually hosts the Aspen Music Festival, featuring orchestral masterpieces, solidifying Aspen’s status as a premier music destination.

Aspen winters offer much more than skiing and snowboarding at renowned ski resorts like Aspen Snowmass and Aspen Highlands. Popular activities include snowshoeing and cross-country ski tours through snow-draped evergreen forests with companies like Aspen Expeditions. Or strap on ice skates for a few fast-paced laps around the Lewis Ice Arena in Snowmass Village.

Adrenaline junkies can also try ice climbing frozen waterfalls on Independence Pass guided by Aspen Expeditions professionals, offering a thrilling alternative to traditional winter sports.

Dining, Breweries, and Wine Bars

Aspen’s 200+ restaurants offer everything from casual comfort food to Michelin-starred cuisine. For five-star dining, Element 47 at the Little Nell charms with farm-to-table entrees and 1,300 labels in its wine cellar. Steakhouse enthusiasts flock to The Monarch, where dry-aged prime cuts are seared to perfection in a vintage mountain lodge setting.

On the more casual end, locals love the truffle fries, craft cocktails, and free-flowing champagne at Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain. Or sample inventive tapas plates at the Trecento Quindici Decano wine bar, which stays open until midnight on weekends. Beer aficionados will feel at home at Aspen Brewing Company, which has award-winning small-batch ales and a festive tasting room.

Shopping, Historical Landmarks, and Art Galleries

Beyond winter sports and nightlife, Aspen also appeals to shoppers, history buffs and art lovers alike. Downtown’s pedestrian-only Cooper Avenue offers locally-owned boutiques stocked with Aspen-themed gifts, stylish cowboy boots, fur jackets and handmade jewelry. For exquisite antique maps, mountain photography and Western collectibles, Carl’s Pharmacy is not to be missed.

Those interested in Aspen’s origins as a mining boomtown can tour the historic Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum. And art aficionados will appreciate the cutting-edge sculpture garden and rotating exhibitions at the Aspen Art Museum, noted for its avant garde architecture.


What is the best time of year to visit Aspen?

The winter and summer seasons offer the most entertainment, events, and tourist amenities. Winter is peak ski season from December through April. Summer brings music festivals, hiking trails, and outdoor events from June through August.

What’s the average cost for a night out in Aspen?

Nightlife costs can vary widely in Aspen. Après-ski drinks average $8-15 per cocktail, while craft beers are $5-7. At upscale clubs, cover charges range from $10-30, and cocktails climb to $15-25. Dinner entrees at nicer restaurants run $30-60 per person.

How do people get around Aspen at night?

Aspen’s compact, walkable downtown makes it easy to bar and restaurant hop on foot. Many hotels also offer complimentary shuttles to key destinations. Local taxis and rideshares like Uber are plentiful to traverse longer distances across town.

Where do celebrities hang out in Aspen?

Top celebrity hot spots include the late night Lobby Bar at the historic Jerome Hotel, the members-only Caribou Club, and the Bootsy Bellows nightclub. Escobar, Belly Up and the Aspen Music Tent also attract their fair share of VIPs.

What should I wear for a night out in Aspen?

Après-ski attire like ski pants and sweaters are fine earlier at casual brew pubs and bars. Stylish dresses, heels, button-downs, and sport coats are recommended for clubs, live music venues, and nicer restaurants. While not strictly black-tie, visitors who dress to impress will fit right in.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.