We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Aspen

Free Newsletter

Interested in Aspen?

We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Aspen each week.

More Lists
Other recent lists by sassy_sally
Lists you may be interested in:
Trip List by sassy_sally

ASPEN: Insider Tips! How to vacation like a millionaire on a pauper's budget.

7 Jun 2006  Previously lived in Aspen, I have the inside scoop on local secrets!
5.0 of 5 stars based on 17 votes

Yes, you can vacation in Aspen for dollars a day and this list will show you how. Tons of FREE activities for the entire family.

  • Category: Other
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists, Pet owners
  • Seasons: Summer
  • 1. SET UP CAMP.

    The staggeringly beautiful wilderness surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village abound with ultra cheap places to stay: campsites. Look for sites nestled within dazzling Aspen groves along Highway 82 up past Kevin Costner's estate towards Independence Pass. Also, check out sites along Maroon Creek Road and Lincoln Creek. For more information on camping, contact the Aspen Ranger District at 970-925-3445.

  • 2. STRETCH YOUR LEGS...AND YOUR LUNGS.

    The Aspen/Snowmass vicinity is a hikers dream come true, from hard-core technical climbing to breezy riverside walks, the area has it all. Two quick 30-40 minute hikes with superb views of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley are the Smuggler Mine Road and the Ute Trail. The Ute Trail is a more demanding vertical climb, while the mine road is more of a casual moderate ascension. Both have lookouts at the top offering wide panoramic views of the valley below. Check in with the Tourist Information Office on Mill Street for local maps and directions to various hiking trails.

  • 3. NO MONEY. NO TICKETS. NO PROBLEM.
    http://www.stayaspensnowmass.com/p-free-summer-concerts.php

    Free outdoor concerts happen several times a week between Aspen and Snowmass. The free tunes range from blues to reggae to classical jazz, and there is always something for everyone in the family. Iguana's Restaurant at Highlands Village features local bands every Tuesday after 7pm on their expansive mountainside deck. Snowmass Village features national acts on Fanny Hill every Thursday evening during the summer with occasional Friday and Saturday concerts as well. Leave your wallet but bring the kids, the dog, and a picnic dinner to enjoy while you soak up the tunes and lay back on the cool grass.

  • 4. A NIGHT OUT AT THE MOVIES FOR FREE.
    http://www.stayaspensnowmass.com/p-summer-activities-movies.php

    Every Tuesday at Highlands Village and every Friday in Snowmass Village there is a free movie playing on a huge outdoor screen. Expect to find the latest Harry Potter or a comedic favorite like Wedding Crashers playing before a "sell-out" crowd.

  • 5. IN THE MARKET FOR SOME FUN?

    Every Saturday in downtown Aspen and every Tuesday afternoon in Highlands Village there is a free outdoor market selling everything from fresh organic veggies to unique jewellery and gifts. Don't be surprised to find smiling local kids putting on street performances between booths.

  • 6. BARBEQUE, BUCKAROOS, AND BUCKIN' BRONCOS.
    http://www.snowmassrodeo.org/

    Free for children 10 and under, the Snowmass Village BBQ Buffet and Rodeo occurs every Wednesday evening during the summer. Before the rodeo starts, kids can enjoy the free petting zoo, and even try mechanical bull riding and steerhead roping.

  • 7. DON'T FORGET THE CAMERA.

    Don't miss the bus tour to the most photographed peaks in North America: the Maroon Bells. Free for children 6 and under, the bus tour leaves frequently throughout the day from Highlands Village. Once at the Maroon Bells, venture off on one of several hiking trails to explore the surrounding National Forest or cast a fishing line into Maroon Lake. Bring a picnic lunch. Hours of hiking trails and wildflowers await a leisurely visit.

  • 8. CHOICES ATOP AJAX.

    There are three ways to access the plethora of activities available on top of Aspen Mountain: hike from town to the top in about 2 hours, fork over some dough and take the gondola, or drive up the back side from Castle Creek Road. Once on top, there is at least a full day or two worth of activities to choose from which include free guided nature walks, disc golf on the world's highest course, obstacle course races, the Silver Nugget Dig, a rock-climbing wall, numerous hikes of varying difficulty, and the SunDeck Restaurant with unsurpassed views of Highland Bowl and surrounding mountain range. Also keep in mind that if you hike to the top of Ajax, you always have the option of riding the Gondola back down for FREE.

  • 9. EAT ON THE CHEAP.

    Best places to enjoy some cheap eats are:
    Poppycocks - BEST breakfast in town, always crowded with locals
    The Grill Next Door - hamburgers, fries, grilled chicken, and one amazing salad
    Johnny Mcguire's - one of a kind sub sandwiches
    McDonalds (if you must...)
    Gusto - famous $10 power lunch and $15 power dinner includes starter, entree, and drink
    Red Onion - affordable yet flavorful American and Mexican dishes, laid back casual atmosphere

  • 10. SKIP GUCCI AND PRADA.
    http://www.luckymag.com/shopping/stores/guides/aspen

    Within blocks of uber-expensive designer boutiques are ultra cheap places to shop like Gracy's Cool Consignments, The Thrift Store, and Susie's Consignments - all of which tend to be drop boxes for celebrity duds. Each one carries a wide and unique inventory of mainstream and designer clothing at closeout pricing. Also stop by Boogies, Ute Mountaineer, Polar Revolution, Roxy/Quicksilver, and Sugar Sweet Clothing for affordable prices and great sale items.

    Lucky Magazine published a really great Aspen Shopping Guide in 2011 - view it online at the website above.

  • 11. BECOME A CLASSICAL MUSIC CONNOISSEUR.
    http://www.aspenmusicfestival.com/

    Since 1949, the Aspen Music Festival & School has brought classical music and world-renowned musicians to the Aspen area for the community to enjoy. While you may balk at many of the ticket prices, keep in mind that lots of events are offered throughout the day, many of which are absolutely FREE. Here are a few examples to peak your interest:

    Chamber Music
    Listener's Master Class: Baroque Era
    Preconcert Talks
    American Academy of Conducting Orchestra
    High Notes - composers in residence talks
    Spotlight Recitals - hot, up and coming young talent
    Music on the Mountain - student ensembles atop Ajax

    And, many many many more options to choose from, just check the event calendar on the website for times, locations, and pricing. Don't pass up the Aspen Chamber Symphony or the Aspen Festival Orchestra Dress Rehearsals either. Compare the dress rehearsals ticket prices of $10-$15 to the actual performance ticket prices of $60-$80 and smile knowing that you've seen the same performance for A LOT less.

  • 12. THE CHEAP WAY TO INDULGE AT ASPEN'S MOST GLAMOUROUS SPA.
    http://www.remede.com

    Heated waterfalls, champagne, vapor caves, complimentary flavored oxygen bar, and other "secret amenities," all at Remede Spa at the St. Regis Resort. This is Aspen's newest and most luxurious spa, but how can the traveler on a budget even get in to enjoy all that it has to offer? Here is the secret: you don't have to book a massage, simply book the service of your choice that you can afford. For example, book a $15 lip wax or perhaps a $30 eyebrow wax and the spa and all of its amenities are available for you to enjoy as long as you want. However, if you choose to do this, please be respectful of the staff, the facility, and other clients who may be buying $600 in services. Indulge in the offerings, but do not act unreasonable and do NOT ask for more than your fair share of champagne and truffles. The staff will treat you as the most distinguished guest if you are polite and tip generously for your service(s).

    Also, check out www.stregisaspen.com

  • 13. ART AFTER HOURS.
    http://www.aspenartmuseum.org

    Every Thursday evening, the Aspen Art Museum welcomes the public to a free gallery tour of the current exhibition. The museum does not house a permanent collection, but does have exhibitions of world-class contemporary art. Admission to the museum is free on Fridays, but does not include a gallery tour. Check the AAM website for more details and other free events including talks with the artists, performances in the museum's outdoor amphitheater, and Free Family Days.