“Vacation on a budget” might not be the first phrase that comes to mind when you think of Aspen, Colorado, but you might be surprised. While there are plenty of amenities that cater to those looking to spend a pretty penny, we’re here to enlighten you about the ways you can save a few and make that slightly-more-budgeted vacation a reality.

Lodging

Lodging in Aspen
Lodging in Aspen

In the summer you can consider the great outdoors your hotel, and you won’t have to spend much if have all of the necessary equipment. Check out our guide to camping in the Aspen Snowmass area.

Or, if you prefer a roof over your head, avoid the high seasons (summer and winter) and instead opt for “off season” (spring and fall) when prices are lower and the town is quieter. If that’s not an option, consider looking outside of downtown Aspen or Snowmass—Basalt, Willits and Carbondale all have cheaper options and will still land you 30 minutes (or less) from Aspen.

Activities

Hiking is the most budget-friendly activity in the area—some hiking shoes, snacks, water, and you’re ready to go. Our full guide to hiking the Aspen Snowmass area has all the details on the best trails with the best views. For those with bikes, you can check out a full guide to biking as well.

Aspen Snowmass also offers packages for summer activities like riding the Silver Queen Gondola, a bus ride to the Maroon Bells (not to miss) and passes to the brand new Lost Forestin Snowmass. At Lost Forest you’ll find an alpine slide, a zipline, a ropes course, a climbing wall, and more. Check out the full list of sightseeing packages available.
If you make it to the top of Aspen Mountain—whether hiking or riding the gondola—you can enjoy lunch at the Sundeck (reasonably-priced lunch options), play frisbee golf or listen to the Sunday afternoon bluegrass concert with a drink in hand.

Speaking of music, on Thursday nights head to Snowmass for a weekly concert series starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, alcohol is for purchase, and bringing a picnic dinner is highly recommended. The concert series is popular, so get there early for optimal viewing seats.

Parking in and around town can be tight, so we recommend taking one of the RFTA (Roaring Fork Transportation Authority) buses. RFTA is free (throughout Aspen and Snowmass) with a consistent bus schedule and an easy-to-use app. For those looking to save a few dollars, this is a great transportation alternative.

Dining

Your dining options can easily fit your pocket book with a little planning. Here are some delicious, budget-friendly eats.
Dining in Aspen
Dining in Aspen

The Big Wrap

You can easily get a filling meal for under $10 at this cash-only eatery. Salads and wraps with interesting names and fillings like “Pesto Wrapture” and the “Rock Your World” will have you returning multiple times.

520 E. Durant Ave. #101, open for breakfast, lunch, early dinner

New York Pizza

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a slice of pizza and the best place to go is “NYP.” It’s great for late-night eating (it’s open till 2:30 a.m.) and only accepts cash, so stop at the ATM first.

409 E. Hyman Ave., open for lunch, dinner, and late night


Bamboo Bear

From pho, to fresh spring rolls and noodle bowls, there are plenty of options at this hole-in-the-wall across the street from City Market

730 E. Cooper Ave., open for lunch and dinner



Published June 2018

About the Author

Celine Wright IAS
Celine Wright IAS

CELINE WRIGHT

Celine Wright is a Colorado native whose writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times and Colorado Springs Gazette, among other titles. During the day she can be found marketing brands in the outdoor industry at Carbondale-based Backbone Media and after hours (dependent on season) she can be found biking, skiing, and hiking in the Aspen area.

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