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These three rooftop spots in Aspen are hidden gems

Landon Hartstein
Special to The Aspen Times
Landon Hartstein
Landon Hartstein

Editor’s note: We’re experimenting with a series introducing residents and visitors to what they might not know about Aspen or reminding you what’s here.

Aspen sits at 7,908 feet in elevation. Unless you are partaking in the legal cannabis allowed in Colorado, it’s difficult to get much higher in this town. That is of course, unless you’re lucky enough to find yourself on one of Aspen’s hidden gems: the rooftops.

In this feature, I will highlight three fantastic rooftop spots in and around the city core. There are more to be sure, but the others you’ll have to ask a friendly local about.



The W Hotel

If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Aspen, you may not know that the W Hotel is new here, replacing the former Sky Hotel (A fun, party hotel frequented by locals because of its ground-floor pool). The W is in the exact same spot.

What you may not know is this: That property has to have a pool open to the public — something that made the former Sky Hotel a fun apres ski spot, and something that the W Hotel has hidden on its roof. You read that correctly: The W Hotel has a hidden rooftop pool open to the public (with purchase of food or drink from the hotel).




So, whether it’s a hot summer day in July or a blustery snowy day in January, you could find yourself soaking in the heated, outdoor, rooftop pool, or hot tub, drink in hand, enjoying the spectacular views of Ajax and the Aspen core.

The Art Museum

The art museum used to be the tallest building in Aspen. (It may still be, unless it’s the W now.) With a funky glass elevator going up the inside of the artsy decor, getting to the rooftop of the tallest building is not just easy; it’s fun. Free to enter, several floors of ever-changing artists and their exhibits are available for viewing. No charge for entry, and consistently different artwork makes heading to the art museum fun, whether you plan on checking out the rooftop or not.

Once at the top, you’ll be able to take some of the best photos of Aspen Mountain the heart of town has to offer. You can also sit down for a light lunch or snack at the Art Museum cafe, appropriately named The Rooftop Cafe. It’s open Tuesday-Sunday form 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as food items, make it a great place to pop in for lunch or a snack. If you time it right, you can catch a variety of live musical performances on this rooftop patio. The perfect glass of wine, an Aspen rooftop sunset, and one of the best photo opportunities in town.

Be sure to check the schedule of events if you’re planning on stopping by. This year, the Art Museum is hosting a happy hour.

The Mountain Chalet

Speaking of photo opportunities, the third rooftop worth exploring in Aspen is The Mountain Chalet. One of Aspen’s most historic buildings, the Mountain Chalet is a great place to get a feel for how Aspen used to be. Black-and-white photos of Aspen as a mining town hang on the lobby walls like a museum keeping record of the town’s roots. You can catch a glimpse of what Main Street used to look like with few buildings on it and compare it to the comparative metropolis Aspen has become today.

Making your way to the roof, after catching your breath from climbing the stairs, you will have it taken away again by the stunning, panoramic views of Aspen and Aspen Mountain. With windows surrounding the entire perimeter, there isn’t a bad view on this rooftop. You can get an even better view from the outdoor balcony. 

The Mountain Chalet will be hosting apres ski/happy hour this winter Tuesday-Sunday from 4-6 p.m. on the fifth floor, a.k.a. the roof.

There’s so much going on in Aspen, it’s sometimes difficult to know what do or where to go from the street, let alone up on the roof. Now, you know a bit more about finding your way to new nooks and crannies of what may feel like a small town, but one that is always full of surprises … if you know where to look.

Are you a know it all? Know something Landon doesn’t? If you have a suggestion or hidden gem you’d like Landon to highlight and share with the town, email him at LandonLikeAPlaneWrites@Gmail.com.