When visiting Aspen in the summer, outdoor dining is one of the best activities to indulge in! Aspen is known for its extraordinary food scene, so what’s better than basking in Aspen’s mountain ambiance over a mouthwatering meal in the sun? Below are our recommendations for summer dining for all types of visitors to Aspen. Whether you’re on a couple’s getaway looking for the best espresso martini or a family seeking delicious homestyle dining on an outdoor patio, see below for the best summer dining in Aspen:
Parc Aspen: A Farm-To-Table Local
Parc is a newcomer to the Aspen dining scene, opening in December of 2022. Located on Hyman Avenue in Downtown Aspen, Parc offers a stunning dining room and outdoor patio with delectable fine dining to match. There is a local bar menu and an extensive full dining menu offering levels to its dining options. Parc showcases its talented team through its farm-to-table style offerings. We recommend the “Mushroom & Polenta” dish and the “Colorado Hybrid Bass” for a luscious summer meal.
Pine Creek Cookhouse: The Most Magical Restaurant in Aspen
The Pine Creek Cookhouse is a magical spot for summer dining with arguably the best views at a restaurant around Aspen. It is located a 30-minute drive from Downtown Aspen, at the base of the picturesque Elk Mountains. Dine on their outdoor patio overlooking stunning Colorado scenery with the sounds of a nearby creek or in the rustic indoor dining room. They serve a set menu for lunch and dinner, and our favorites are the “Summer Cookhouse Salad” and the “Joyce Farms Crispy Poussin Chicken.”
Matsuhisa Aspen: Sushi and Cocktails in Downtown
A staple of Aspen dining, Matusuhisa is a classic summer dining option. From chef Nobu Matsuhisa, the intimate Japanese restaurant offers a seasonal outdoor dining patio overlooking Main Street. The restaurant also offers a casual upstairs dining room and an upscale dining room with sushi bar downstairs. For refreshing summer dining, we recommend “The Gardener” cocktail and the “Nobu Crispy Rice with Tuna.”
Ajax Tavern: Mountain Views and Summer Patios
At the base of Aspen Mountain lies one of Aspen’s most popular lunch spots, Ajax Tavern. For good reason! Ajax Tavern hosts a large outdoor patio with sun umbrellas, an outdoor bar, and stunning views. Enjoy happy hour Monday through Thursday from 4 pm – 6 pm during summer. The picturesque location is the perfect summer spot for an Aperol spritz, oysters, and truffle fries in the warm Aspen breeze!
Clark’s Aspen: A Happy Hour for Seafood Delights
Nothing is quite as refreshing as seafood and cocktails in the summer. For one of the best happy hours in town, visit Clark’s Oyster Bay on E Hyman Ave. Daily from 3 pm- 5 pm, enjoy half-price burgers, martinis, and 50¢ off oysters all summer long. This classic Aspen restaurant has a nautical aesthetic with delicious seafood, a marble raw bar, and steaming clam chowder for those (rare) cloudy summer days.
White House Tavern: Signature Aspen Summer Dining
Located on “Restaurant Row” in Downtown Aspen is a renowned cottage housing the White House Tavern. With their signature yellow umbrellas, the outdoor patio comes alive during the summer months. The restaurant is known for its casual but delicious food, and a personal favorite is the “Crispy Chicken Sandwich” or “Smoked Trout Dip.” Head inside the cottage to see their intimate open kitchen.
Meat & Cheese: Farmhouse Staples in a Casual Setting
A local icon, Meat & Cheese, is a restaurant and farm shop known for its delicious “World Farmhouse” cooking. Open for lunch and dinner, Meat & Cheese has an extensive outdoor patio on East Hopkins Ave. Delight in a spicy table-side shaken margarita, a rotisserie chicken board, and, of course, a meat & cheese board! With different specialties daily, this restaurant is the perfect lunch spot for all visitors to Aspen this summer.
Woody Creek Tavern: A Local Treasure in the Roaring Fork
A quintessential restaurant in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Woody Creek Tavern is a fun, family-friendly option for summer dining. Known for its interior, showcasing over 40 years of local memorabilia, the restaurant is a 15-minute drive from Downtown Aspen. The Woody Creek Tavern serves a mix of Latin and American dining, so enjoy a freshly poured beer and lobster roll on their covered outdoor patio!
After reviewing our best Aspen summer dining options for 2023, we hope you have some excellent ideas for your perfect vacation! Whether you want lunch in a remote mountain cabin or a downtown favorite with gorgeous outdoor seating, Aspen has options for all. For more local recommendations, view our Ultimate Aspen Summer Itinerary or our Aspen Snowmass restaurant guide.
The Perfect Plan for an Adventure-Loaded and Relaxing Vacation in Aspen
Welcome to the ultimate Aspen summer itinerary! If you’re looking for a vacation filled with adventure and relaxation in the stunning surroundings of Aspen, then this is the plan for you. From breathtaking hikes and scenic bike rides to indulgent dining and spa experiences, we’ve curated a five-day itinerary that combines local knowledge of Aspen’s outdoor beauty and its luxury offerings.
Arrival: Enter Aspen Vacation Mode!
Arrive in Aspen and check in to your luxury vacation home. Relax by the hot tub or with a glass of wine on your outdoor patio in the evening sun.
Day One: Rewarding Hikes and Sweet Treats
Start your day with coffee and breakfast at Jour De Fête cafe before heading out on a hike up ‘Ute Trail.’ This steep but rewarding hike leads to some of the most spectacular views Aspen offers. After about 30 minutes of incline hiking, you will reach the peak with 360° views over Downtown Aspen and its surrounding mountains. Ensure you bring lots of water to combat Aspen’s high altitude!
For lunch with a beautiful view, visit Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain. With a large summer patio, enjoy a well-deserved wagyu cheeseburger and truffle fries after your morning hike. Then, for a sweet treat, walk to Paradise Bakery, Aspen’s renowned ice cream shop.
Return to your vacation rental to relax and reset before some late afternoon shopping around town. For a unique Aspen experience, visit Kemo Sabe or one of our many art galleries in town!
This evening, dine at one of Aspen’s many delectable restaurants. For outdoor dining, we recommend Betula, Campo, Cache Cache, the French Alpine Bistro, or Matsuhisa. These restaurants will book up, so ensure you reserve before arrival! For more options, view our restaurant guide.
Day Two: Farmer’s Market and an Exceptional Aspen Dinner
Enjoy a leisurely Saturday morning at the Aspen Farmer’s Market. Occupying Downtown Aspen from 8:30 am-2 pm every Saturday, walk through local food and art vendors with a stunning backdrop. Then, stroll through the stalls with a coffee and fresh croissant from one of our local bakeries!
For a mountain experience like no other, rent E-bikes this afternoon and head to the Maroon Bells wilderness area. Pack a lunch from Big Wrap, a local’s favorite takeout spot for healthy wraps and salads.
This evening, venture out to Pine Creek Cookhouse in Ashcroft Valley, a 30-minute drive from Downtown Aspen. This mountain-chalet restaurant is a quintessential Aspen summer experience. Choose to drive, hike, or horseback ride through the wildflowers ending with a rustic alpine-cuisine dinner. Then, view the sunset over the Elk Mountains as you dine in one of the most picturesque restaurants Aspen offers!
Day Three: Paddle Through Nature and a Bluegrass Afternoon
This morning, take a stroll in Downtown Aspen to Unravel Coffee for breakfast. We recommend walking through the pedestrian mall between Cooper and Hyman Ave for beautiful aspen-tree-lined streets and mountain views.
After breakfast, rent stand-up paddleboards and explore the North Star Preserve 5 minutes East of Aspen. Then, book a guided tour or rental-only and enjoy the calm Roaring Fork River water with stunning scenery. We recommend Elk Mountain Expeditions for your rentals.
For lunch with great entertainment, venture up the Aspen Mountain Gondola for ‘Bluegrass Sundays.’ Enjoy live bluegrass bands with a beautiful mountain backdrop from 12-3 pm at the Sundeck Restaurant.
Let one of our highly experienced private chefs curate dinner at your vacation rental this evening. From 5-course plated meals to family-style feasts, our recommended chefs can elevate any dinner experience right in the comfort of your vacation home.
Day Four: Sunrise Hikes, Spa Afternoons, and Local Treasures
Rise and shine this Monday morning with a hike up Smuggler Mountain Road. This 2.9-mile hike boasts stunning views over Aspen Mountain once you reach the top.
After your morning workout, enjoy lunch at the White House Tavern on ‘restaurant row’ aka E Hopkins Ave in Downtown Aspen. They serve a simple menu of sandwiches, salads, and sides in a lively atmosphere. We highly recommend the ‘Crispy Chicken Sandwich’ and ‘Smoked Trout Dip.’
Enjoy a spa afternoon at the St Regis Aspen’s spa for a break from outdoor adventures. Relax with a spa treatment at one of the world’s best-known hotel spas, followed by the oxygen lounge, cold plunge and jacuzzi room. After rest and rejuvenation, complete your afternoon with retail therapy throughout downtown Aspen’s numerous luxury stores!
Drive down to a Roaring Fork Valley classic, Woody Creek Tavern, this evening. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the tavern’s rustic, friendly atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating and over 40 years of memorabilia décor.
Day Five: Pick-An-Adventure Day
Pick an adventure for the last day on your ultimate Aspen summer itinerary! From wilderness Jeep tours, fly fishing experiences, or white-water rafting journeys, let our concierge book you a day of adventure. With lunch included in most activities, pack sunscreen and a camera for views of a lifetime! See our comprehensive concierge options here: https://www.aspenluxuryvacationrentals.com/concierge-services/
For your last Aspen dinner, visit the beautiful Hotel Jerome’s garden patio with a delicious selection of garden-to-table menu items and seasonal cocktails in an idyllic garden setting.
Departure: Bid Farewell to Aspen with Lasting Memories!
We hope your summer vacation in Aspen has brought your life-long memories, culinary delights, and lots of exploring nature in the sunshine! For more ideas on summer activities in Aspen, visit our blog post: “15 of the Best Things to Do in Aspen in the Summer”.
Is Aspen worth visiting in the summer?
Absolutely, yes! There is a common saying that you come to Aspen for the winter and stay for the summer. There are just as many wonderful things to do and see in the summer in Aspen. From June to October, tourists visit Aspen Snowmass for the incredible wilderness, shopping, dining, and numerous festivals and events.
What is the weather like in Aspen in the summer?
Summer in Aspen is mild and pleasant! Daytime temperatures range from the 70s to 80s Fahrenheit (20s to 30s Celsius), while evenings can be cooler, typically dropping into the 40s to 50s Fahrenheit (5 to 15 degrees Celsius). It’s always a good idea to bring layers and a rain jacket for any weather changes.
What activities are popular during the Aspen summers?
Aspen offers a wide-range of indoor or outdoor activities in the summer months. Some popular options include hiking, mountain biking, E-biking, fly fishing, golfing, horseback riding, river rafting, stand-up paddleboarding, art museums, shopping, culinary adventures, and enjoying concerts and festivals.
Are there any festivals or events in Aspen during summer?
Aspen plays host to many world-renowned festivals during the summer. Some notable events include the annual Food & Wine Classic, the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Aspen Musical Festival and School, Jazz Aspen Snowmass, and the Snowmass Balloon Festival. For more ideas on the ultimate Aspen summer itinerary, see our Aspen Summer Events Calendar.