Aspen Summer Fun: 9 Ways to Celebrate With Locals
Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, summer in Aspen means spending time outdoors and mild temperatures. One of the best ways to celebrate the season is by attending one of these signature Aspen summer events, which showcase the city’s culture, laid-back vibe and tons of local goodies. Read on to learn about these top events and gear up for your quick weekend getaway or extended Aspen summer trip.
9 Aspen Summer Events: Where to Meet Locals, Have Fun
Dine in Style
Each June, Aspen welcomes celebrity chefs and foodies alike to the Food and Wine Classic. This festival ranks as one of the top of its kind in the U.S., featuring three days of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and panel discussions. While strolling through the area, meet local and international vendors and sample flavors from all over the world. This festival is only suited for guests ages 21 and older and welcomes some 5,000 attendees.
Have a Cold One
Can’t make it to the Food and Wine Classic? Then make plans to attend the Snowmass Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival in Snowmass, which runs for a full Saturday in June. Start by meeting brewers and sampling craft beer from more than 30 Colorado craft breweries. Later when the sun sets, visitors can kick back to live music with friends and family. The Rendezvous is more fun for guests over the age of 21, and discounts are available for groups.
Celebrate Your Independence
Get ready for lights in the sky as Aspen hosts an old-fashioned July 4th celebration for all ages. The event kicks off as early as 8 a.m., with a Boogies Buddy Race, then moves onto the America’s Birthday Carnival packed with games, bounce houses, live music and a BBQ lunch. Around 11 a.m., the parade starts on Main Street, and the afternoon welcomes a community picnic, free concerts and theater performances. After enjoying dinner with loved ones, get ready to experience the fireworks extravaganza over Aspen Mountain.
For more than 15 years, downtown Aspen has hosted the Aspen Antiques and Fine Arts Fair. Head to the Aspen Ice Garden, where visitors will find antiques, fine art, jewelry, silver and furniture from vendors all over the U.S. The show is open to the public and runs for nine days, giving visitors plenty of time to find that special piece.
Enjoy the Sounds
With summer comes outdoor concerts. One top spots to hear both local and international performers is the Aspen Music Festival and School, which runs the entire summer season. A typical eight-week season offers more than 400 classical music events, complete with full orchestras, solo artists, operas, lectures and children’s programs. Many of these Aspen summer concerts are free, providing a great date-night idea or place for the whole family to spend time together.
Jazz It Up
In nearby Snowmass, Fanny Hill hosts the Summer of Free Music. On select days in June through September, visitors enjoy rock, R&B, soul, jazz and Latin American performances from artists all over the U.S. Guests are welcome bring a picnic and blanket, however no glass or outside alcohol are permitted. In addition to the tunes, visitors can buy food and refreshments, including cocktails and beer. During select performances, kids are welcome in the Kids’ Zone full of fun things to do. Check the schedule for more information about the Snowmass Summer of Free Music.
Buy Local Art
From life-size sculptures to jewelry, the Aspen Arts Festival occurs in late July. This two-day festival has welcomed the art community to enjoy locally created pieces and meet the artists. Aspen Arts Festival welcomes all ages to browse photography, glass, paintings, ceramics and more. While browsing, try local goodies and enjoy scenic mountain views. Admission is free.
Experiment With Science
Take the kids to the Science Street Fair in early August, packed full of interactive exhibits, games and shows. Held, in Paepcke Park, families will enjoy dozens of exhibits and special performances from Dr. Kabaoom!, a German physicist and Mr. Freeze, a specialist in Cryogenic shows. The whole family can learn how things work, try new things and celebrate all things science-related. This event is free and open to the public.
Salute summer and cool off at the Ice Cream Social hosted by the Wheeler/Stallard Museum. In early August – for only $3 to $5 per person – the museum welcomes all ages to dig into ice cream or sip adult-only alcoholic shakes. While sampling these sweet treats, listen to a live performance from the Aspen Music Festival and School and learn about Aspen’s history. Those who can’t attend the ice cream social should try the ghost town tours in mid-August or the full-moon cemetery tour, both offered by the museum.