How to enjoy summer in Aspen on the cheap |

How to enjoy summer in Aspen on the cheap

Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly Ian Abbott, left, of New York City, and Alex Jaffe of Miami, both 12, build an icosahedron during Physics is For Kids BBQ at the Aspen Center for Physics Wednesday evening June 26, 2006.

Aspen is notorious for its ultra-luxe, ultra-expensive lifestyle. And indeed, that exists. But take it from us full-time, hardworking locals: there is a way to enjoy all that our resort town has to offer on a dime — or even for free. Here is our list of “Aspen’s Great 8,” which includes one event to get you through every week of the summer high season (and yes, some are in Snowmass).


The best known of the free offerings — aside from the great outdoors — is probably the music: Thursday night concerts in Snowmass, Bluegrass Sundays atop Aspen Mountain, the lawn outside the Benedict Music Tent, to name a few.

INFO: for daily listings


The Aspen Center for Physics isn’t just for scientists. In fact, the center’s “Physics is for Kids” family BBQs are always packed with plenty of fun for the whole family. The Wednesday night BBQs feature a free outdoor picnic for families complete with liquid nitrogen ice cream, hands-on science demonstrations, experiments and games, with brief lectures by visiting scientists tailored to families and school-age children.



It might cost you to shop at the market, but strolling the streets is free and an excellent way to begin your summer Saturday. The 19-year-old market features nearly 100 local vendors selling products — from farm-fresh vegetables and locally sourced meats to handcrafted clothes and one-of-a-kind art pieces — that are all made, grown or produced in Colorado.



There are plenty of studios to get your yoga fix while visiting Aspen. But for a true Rocky Mountain experience, we suggest getting outside. While not “free,” the classes offered by Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and Aspen Skiing Co. are well worth the small price.

INFO: and learn/programs/wild-yoga-17


You won’t find this in the official tour guide to Aspen, but it’s free, fun and a uniquely local community event. Join some 100-plus bikers as they cruise through town, with the ultimate destination being a cold one at Aspen’s only local brewery.



For a small mountain town, Aspen boasts a top-notch art museum. And admission is totally free, as are drop-in spotlight tours (led by museum staffer every Saturday and Wednesday at 1 p.m.), exhibition opening receptions, regular artist talks, Movies at the Museum and more.



Just up the road, but a world away from Aspen it seems, Snowmass Village has its own summer scene. Tops on the list to check out is the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. From a tour of the working artist studios to exhibit openings to the impressive lineup as part of the Summer Series & Critical Dialog program, you’re sure to walk away with a new take on Snowmass and the arts.



It goes without saying, there is some outstanding people watching to be had in Aspen. From kids running through the dancing fountain to buskers entertaining the crowds to everything in between, the No. 1 free thing worth doing this summer is to pull up a bench downtown and watch the world go ‘round – Aspen style.

INFO: No website for this one, but we welcome our input and photos on the the things you see out there; email

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