Vegas is played. The beach is boring. Mexico is far. So why not plan your bestie’s bachelor or bachelorette party in Aspen!
Aspen provides a little bit of everything. And for anyone who has ever tried to wrangle a group of friends and keep everyone on schedule for a trip to celebrate a bride or groom to be, they know having lots of activities and options are key. From affordable lodging to multiple dining and nightlife options to daytime activities for the whole group, itineraries for large groups can be difficult. We want to help make it easier! We’ve put together a guide to help you in planning for your future wedded friend.
The Limelight Hotel Aspen is the perfect balance between luxury and value. Depending on the size of your group, a few rooms with two queen beds or one of the spacious suites should suit nicely. The Limelight Aspen is perfectly located right across from Wagner Park with great views of Aspen Mountain. Many restaurants are only a few blocks away and nearly all activities are either walkable or an easy car ride away via the Limelight shuttles. The outdoor pool and hot tub will fill any downtime hours of your trip.
But the real gem of the Limelight is the lobby. Live music graces the corner stage every few nights, a wood-fried pizza oven serves up plenty of eats, and the full bar complete with special Limelight sangrias keep everybody in libations. A huge breakfast buffet in the lobby is included with room rates so planning breakfast is sorted!
The soon-to-open Limelight Hotel Snowmass features modern decor and similar amenities. It’s perfectly located in the heart of Snowmass Village meaning your crew won’t have to go far to find great eats or activities. The two pool spas are a great place to unwind after activities or wind up for the evening and the pool-side cabanas will make sure you have everything you need while soaking.
The summer months are ripe for outdoor activities in Aspen and every good bachelor and bachelorette party needs to shake out some cobwebs every morning with a little physical activity. It might be as simple as hiking up the popular Smuggler Mountain in Aspen for a quick jaunt up some elevation for some views or maybe your group is a bit more ambitious and is willing to hike to the top of Aspen Mountain for true bragging rights. Snowmass features great hikes right from the village like Ditch Trail, Vista Trail and Rim Trail. Other hikes that don’t leave from town or the village but are easily accessible with a shuttle include hikes up Independence Pass, Sunnyside Trail, American Lake, Cathedral Lake, and the ever popular trails accessed from the Maroon Bells Wilderness.
Another great way to initiate some morning recovery is a group yoga session. Plenty of studios in town can accommodate groups such as O2 and Shakti. Mountain top yoga is also an option in the summer and winter. Taking the Silver Queen gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain makes for a thinner air, but a great wake up!
New for summer 2018 is the Lost Forest park at Snowmass. Complete with zip line, ropes course, disc golf, paintball, climbing wall, and gorgeous hiking, Lost Forest is perfect for some team building — or friend building — activities. There’s nothing like spending some time in the fresh air with adrenaline kicking to bring a group together.
Nothing says bachelor or bachelorette party like dancing! So whether you want to get sweaty late into the night or just want listen sway to some classical jams, Aspen has it all. The Belly Up is the spot in town for great concerts in an even better venue. The likes of Jimmy Buffet, Chris Cornell, Grace Potter, Lauryn Hill, LCD Soundsystem, and more have graced the well-known stage. With shows nearly every night, you can’t miss. The Benedict Music Tent has classical music concerts throughout the summer and Snowmass has jam bands each and every Thursday night in the summer outside on the mountain. DJs frequent local nightclubs and establishments like Bootsy Bellows and Escobar. And outdoor concerts with the Bud Light Hi-Fi series in the winter make for serious fun. There truly is something for everyone when it comes to music in Aspen.
If full-on mountain biking or road biking aren’t in the cards for your group, not to worry. There are still plenty of ways to get shoes on to pedals in Aspen that are more group friendly. E-bikes are growing in popularity and can be a fun way to even the skill level of a group and buzz around town or even up to the Maroon Bells. The WeCycle program is a bike share system that lets you use bikes as a mode of transportation to and from various places in town. They’re a great way to get from dinner to the music tent to the bar to yoga in the morning.
But possibly the most fun opportunity for groups with bikes is the weekly Tuesday Cruiseday ride that leaves from Aspen Brewery every Tuesday during warmer months. Pack a few beers or a bottle of wine and cruise with locals through Aspen.
Since breakfast is taken care of at the Limelight, party organizers only need to worry about lunches and dinners. Luckily, there are plenty of places to either be casual and let everyone fend for themselves, or book group reservations.
Depending on what activities your group chooses to take on during the day, lunch options could vary widely. If you make it to the top of Aspen Mountain, the Sundeck at the top or Ajax Tavern or Shlomo’s at the bottom make for great lunch options. Other casual options with counter service to point people to if it’s every man or woman for themselves are 520 Grill, CP Burger, Big Wrap, Grateful Deli, Jour de Fete, or Butcher’s Block in Aspen and Fuel Cafe or Francesca's Empanadas in Snowmass.
If a big group lunch — possibly with a cocktail or two — is more in the cards, Aspen offers up big time. Meat and Cheese is a unique farm-to-table option with great dishes to share. Aspen Kitchen has scenic outdoor seating and a delicious brunch menu. Element 47 at the Little Nell, Velvet Buck at the St. Regis, and Prospect and the J Bar at Hotel Jerome are options that come complete with hotel lobby lounging possibilities. Similarly, the Snowmass Kitchen at the Westin in Snowmass is great for large groups and lobby lounging as is Nest at the Viceroy.
Dinner options abound in Aspen and plenty take reservations for groups. Those looking for white table cloths and multiple courses will find exactly that in Ellina, Casa Tua, Pinons, and Bosq. Sushi is always a fun option for groups and even though Aspen isn’t anywhere near an ocean, the restaurants fly fresh fish in daily making it some of the best anywhere around. Matshuhisa is a sister restaurant to the Nobus of the world and the upper lounge is great for groups. Maru and Kenichi are also great sushi options. Kenichi has a private room you can reserve in advance allowing you to be a little extra loud if need be. They even have an auxiliary cord so you can play your own music. Steakhouse 316 has a great room in the back of the restaurant that comfortably sits 10-12 for the carnivorous groups, Aquolina is a great pasta and Italian option, and The White House Tavern has yummy sandwiches and a relaxed atmosphere.
Snowmass also offers a multitude of options for group dining including Mexican at Venga Venga, Italian at Il Poggio, pizza at Slice, and Latin inspired dishes at Toro. Of course classic American bar food is in abundance as well at Big Hoss Grill, Slow Groovin’ BBQ, and Base Camp Bar and Grill.
No bachelor or bachelorette party is complete without a night or two out on the town. If music and dancing is the priority, the Belly Up can’t be beat. Tons of bands and musicians are constantly in town to grace the Belly Up stage. And on the rare nights it doesn’t feature a band, DJs take the stage to light up the dance floor. Classic nightclubs where Djs, dancing, and drinks are the name of the game in Aspen include Bootsy Bellows and Escobar. For the more casual, but still late night options featuring billiards, darts, and the like, Eric’s is the place of choice for locals and visitors alike, but the new Silver City Saloon is an option as well. The Red Onion is a historical late-night watering hole in town where the bartenders are some of the best skiers in town.
No matter what you choose to fill your group’s itinerary, the 300+ days of sunshine, the outdoor options, fantastic dining and nightlife, and folds of friendship will make your party one the future bride or groom will remember for a lifetime.
Originally Published: July 2018
With nothing but a pair of skis and a journalism degree from Michigan State University, Nicole headed west looking for mountains, snow, and someone to pay her to put words to paper. She found the writing gig in Freeskier Magazine for ten years, but needed to be closer to the mountains to she packed it up and came to Aspen where she still crafts words but with more time on the snow.