Magic and merriness abound during the holidays in Aspen. From holiday events and activities to skiing, snowboarding, and outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone this holiday season.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Christmas season activities and events in Aspen. As these events continue to evolve, be sure to check the relevant websites for updates.
12 Days of Aspen
In Aspen, the last 12 days of December each year (December 20–31) are dubbed the “12 Days of Aspen.” The cozy downtown takes on an ambiance of merriment as it hosts a wide variety of activities for locals and visitors of all ages and interests. The Aspen Chamber posts each year’s 12 Days of Aspen activities and events on the Chamber website once details have been confirmed. Family- and kid-friendly activities generally include ice skating, meeting Santa (and his reindeer), eating s’mores, art workshops, plus cookie- and ornament- and stocking-decorating, and adults can look forward to the “12 Days of Après.” The annual 12 Days of Aspen culminate on New Year’s Eve with a light show or fireworks display on Aspen Mountain.
Aspen Skiing and Snowboarding for the Holidays
An always-white Christmas holiday in Aspen isn’t complete without hitting the slopes. By Christmas week, all four of the Aspen Snowmass mountains have opened their terrain to the public. While actual prices for tickets and passes change from year to year, you’ll always find the most current rates on the Aspen Snowmass Tickets and Passes page. And don’t forget – you’ll get the best lift ticket rates by booking at least 10 days before you arrive.
The Aspen Square is conveniently located just across the street from the Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen. There are also free buses at Rubey Park, just a couple of blocks from Aspen Square, to the three other ski areas ― Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass.
For XC options, the Aspen Cross Country Center, which operates the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System, will get you started with their extensive map of free groomed trails and tracks. Located just out of town on Hwy 82 at the Aspen Golf Course, the Cross Country Center offers gear rentals, lessons, cross country ski tours, ski tuning and repair services and men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Christmas Ice Skating in Aspen
If you’d like to enjoy Aspen’s downtown Christmas decor while sliding and gliding, the Silver Circle Ice Rink (right outside CP Burger and just a short walk from the silver Queen Gondola) is the perfect choice. The Silver Circle generally opens in December; ice skates are available for rent at the rink. If you’re more interested in skating indoors, the Aspen Ice Garden and Lewis Ice Arena — both operating under the Aspen Parks and Recreation Department — are both open for public skating and special events.
Snowmobiling for the Holidays in Aspen
If you’re eager to explore the Aspen valley over Christmas break but prefer the solitude of the backcountry to busy groomed runs, the T-Lazy 7 Ranch offers winter snowmobile tours in the White River National Forest (which includes the Maroon Bells). You can rent all the equipment you’ll need (helmets, boots, extra layers) before being taken for a ride (literally) by experienced and knowledgeable snowmobile guides. It’s the best way to see more of Aspen’s spectacular winter wonderland up close.
Holiday Snowshoe and Ski Tours
During the winter, snowshoe and ski tours are led on a daily basis by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) at both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. ACES partners with Aspen SkiCo and the US Forest Service to offer free educational naturalist tours for both children and adults. Be sure to check the ACES activity calendar to register for specific dates and times.
Ullr Nights Near Aspen in Snowmass
By venturing a few miles up to Snowmass, you’ll be able to celebrate Ullr Nights. It’s easy to take a free bus to Snowmass from Aspen Square – Rubey Park Transit Center is just a couple of blocks from our hotel. These family-friendly winter celebrations take place at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola, and honor Ullr, the Norse God of Snow.
Enjoy a bonfire, s’mores, and hot chocolate before or after you try snow tubing, ice skating, and/or snowbiking. You’ll be further entertained by live music and fire dancers, urging you to stay until you feel your adventure is complete.
Aspen Holiday Shows at the Wheeler
The Wheeler Opera House usually celebrates the magical month of December by producing a bounty of holiday-themed films and performances. In past holiday seasons, shows have included a variety of live music, magic shows, holiday films, comedy performances, family-friendly theater, and more. You can find details on the official lineup (as it’s solidified) at Aspen Showtix.
Aspen Christmas Tree Lightings
At 6pm on the first Sunday of every December, a 93-foot fir tree (one of Aspen’s tallest and oldest firs) in front of Aspen’s Sardy House on Main Street, will be lit by a long-time Aspenite. This Christmas Tree Lighting event traditionally includes front porch music by carolers and the Aspen high school and middle school bands. Santa will appear, and free cookies and hot cocoa are distributed.
The annual Little Nell Christmas tree lighting event begins with live holiday music, followed by the actual tree lighting in the courtyard. Listen to Christmas carols while waiting to take photos with Santa. If you’re lucky, the Aspen Animal Shelter may attend with “reindeer” pups for socializing.
The St. Regis lights up its 30-foot courtyard Christmas tree each year, accompanied by live music and Champagne sabering (deemed the signature ceremony of the St. Regis Evening Rituals).
Christmas Dining in Aspen
Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining options are curated and published on the ACRA Holiday Dining page each year. The Hotel Jerome usually offers a Christmas Eve buffet, and AJAX Tavern presents a prix fixe menu for Christmas Day, but they’re far from the only Christmas dining events available. In fact, you have dozens of restaurants from which to choose!
Christmas and Chanukah Holiday Services
No matter your faith, you’ll find many holiday services taking place throughout December in Aspen. The Aspen Chamber website updates their Holiday Religious Services page as new events are confirmed, so be sure to check back if you don’t see what you’re looking for at first glance.
The Best Holiday Lodging in Aspen
To fully experience the joy of the winter holidays in Aspen, there isn’t a more magical place to stay than right downtown! Book your stay with us at the Aspen Square Condominium Hotel — one of Aspen’s first condominium hotels noted for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere. To make your reservation, call us at 1-866-285-7876 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.