For years, many people only knew Aspen as a quintessential American ski town and nothing more. Now, the cat is out of the bag and people understand that Aspen is a bustling year-round destination with a surplus of activities and attractions in all four seasons. These attractions span the entire valley, but at the root of it all is Aspen’s Downtown Core.
The Aspen Core, spanning approximately five by ten blocks, has no lack of richness in architecture, culture, and history. All three aspects were predominantly inspired by the Silver Rush and by Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke and Bauhaus-trained artist Herbert Bayer who both found themselves in Aspen in the 1940s. They invited Walter Gropius, the legendary founder of the Bauhaus, to design a master plan to guide Aspen’s restoration and growth. Gropius declined, but famously offered this advice at a town meeting, “Restore the best of the old, but if you build, build modern.” We can see this advice expressed through Aspen’s core as modern masterpieces sit next to historical buildings that have been protected for over half a century. We also see many buildings with historical Victorian exteriors open to contemporary and modern interiors, a unique staple of Aspen architecture.
What do we have now in the Aspen Core? We have the richness of architecture, culture, and history, coupled with modern amenities and luxurious dwellings. The two R’s, restaurant and retail, dominate most of Aspen’s street-level square footage with top-tier hotels including The Hotel Jerome, The Little Nell, and St. Regis. Visitors have no shortage of dining and shopping options when visiting town, just be sure to make reservations in the high season! About 45 art galleries call the downtown core home along with the Shigaru Ban-designed Aspen Art Museum, a non-collecting contemporary art museum for international exhibitions as well as local artists including: drawings, paintings, sculptures, multimedia, and electronic media. The farmer & chef rooftop café enjoys one of the best views in Aspen. There is a decent supply of smaller condos for purchase scattered throughout downtown, with the luxury penthouses and townhomes coming to market less frequently.
At the heart of it all lies the Silver Queen Gondola, named after the Silver Queen (the largest nugget of silver ever to be found), which was discovered in our very own Smuggler Mine. The gondola takes you from downtown to the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain for quick access to everything the mountain has to offer. In the winter, enjoy breakfast at Bonnie’s, guided backcountry skiing and snowmobiling, fresh groomers from top to bottom (3,267 vertical ft.), and deep, in-bound powder stashes if you know where to look. In the summer, enjoy bluegrass at the Sundeck, mountaintop yoga, frisbee golf, hiking, camping, and more. Combine the history, amenities, and outdoor activities of Aspen and you have the most sought-after, all-encompassing, year-round mountain town in North America. Please find current listings in the Aspen Core below and let us know if we can help in any way!