What are the five best free things to do in Aspen?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

Even though Aspen has a stigma for charging an arm and a leg for just about anything, there are actually a wide variety of events and unique experience that won’t break the bank. These are our picks for the five best free things to do in the city:

1. Summer concerts. During the summer months, catch a free concert on the slopes at Snowmass every Thursday night — but don’t expect to see Jay-Z or Rihanna perform, the performers tend to be locals. Everyone breaks out their blankets to picnic here and enjoy the music.

2. Hear more music. Snag a spot on the lawn outside the music tent and you can listen (even if you can’t see) to wonderful classical music performances by students of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

3. Visit the farmers’ market. Walk around the farmers’ market every Saturday from mid-June to early October. The intoxicating smell of kettle corn and roasting peppers wafts through the streets and will make your stomach rumble. But you’ll quickly fill up on the free samples of produce, baked goods and more that are handed out to passersby.

4. Check out the X Games. In winter, the best free show of all is the X Games, where the buzzing activity throughout the town proves almost as good as paying for a real ticket to see the extreme athletes.

5. Dance in the streets. During the week of the X Games, the city of Aspen puts on a free concert in the downtown streets. Bands such as Offspring have dispelled any impressions of Aspen being uptight or conservative, with people literally dancing in the streets.

Aspen has an abundance of free things to do. Here are our top five:

One favorite is lounging on the listening lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent in the summer. Classical music wafts onto the lawn, and you can bring your own picnic to enjoy as Aspen leaves flutter overhead. The Little Nell offers picnics packed in our kitchen for guests to take with them.

There are also a variety of free music concerts throughout the year. Look for free concerts on Aspen Mountain (there are various dates in the winter and on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer) and at Snowmass (there are various dates in the winter and on Thursday nights in the summer). Acts range from megastars to local bluegrass bands.

If you’re an art buff, you’ll want to check out the Aspen Art Museum. Thanks to a generous donor, entrance here is always free. The museum features modern art, as well as special programming throughout the year.

Hiking is a great (free) way to experience the beauty of Aspen without spending a dime. All you need is a pair of walking shoes, some comfortable clothes and water, and you’re off.

Special events in Aspen are often free and change frequently. Downtown art fairs, BBQ festivals, polo tournaments, lectures and films are just a few examples of free activities in town. Be sure to check the local newspapers or our concierge for an updated schedule.

Photo for Jimmy Yeager

1. Hike in the mountains during the summer or winter.

2. Listen to music, as so much of the music is free. On Sunday afternoons at the Benedict Music Tent you can sit on the lawn for free and picnic with hundreds of others while listening to world-class programs.

3. Visit the think tank lecture series — many of them are free.

4. Sit in the parks and open air malls and watch the day (and people) go by.

5. Be a spectator at any of the many great events: X-games, snow polo, Ruggerfest and many more.

Member Answers
  • Dean Weiler,
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