Aspen’s Best Summer Festivals | Things to do in Colorado

By Jayne Clark

Aspen may be best known as a must-visit place in Colorado where celebrities go to ski, but the summer has its perks too. This small town in the heart of the Rockies enjoys a good party, and it shows. When the snow melts, there are plenty of things to do in Colorado. Festivals celebrate everything from music to cycling to yoga. Here’s a taste of Aspen’s attractions when temperatures rise:

Aspen’s Best Attractions

Sample the Colorado summer’s finest at the Food and Wine Classic

In mid-June, celebrity chefs, vintners and hundreds of foodies convene for the Food and Wine Classic, a three-day epicurean fest to discuss – and sample – the latest culinary trends. Cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, and, naturally, lots of eating and drinking, take center stage.

Join the lawn party at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass

After its start as a classic jazz festival, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass events morphed into multi-day, multi-event concerts that kick off and close out the summer and spotlight pop and rock performers. The June Experience features four nights of headline acts performing in the Benedict Music Tent (with reserved, ticketed seating), plus a free nightly lawn party on the festival grounds with two music stages and food and drink vendors. The Labor Day Weekend Experience draws up to 11,000 fans each day at a main stage and two side stages. Snowmass Festival’s vendors sell food and crafts, and there are ample activities for kids.

Colorado in the Summer

Engage in Thought-provoking Discussions at the Aspen Ideas Festival

The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine sponsor the Aspen Ideas Festival, a lively forum featuring thought leaders and influencers discussing a range of timely issues and ideas. The experts represent a variety of disciplines, from science to the arts, to business and politics. Lectures, debates, interviews and informal interactions with presenters make for an enlightening experience. The 10-day conference, typically held in late June, is divided into three parts with a number of ticket options offered.

Shop local favorites at the Aspen Arts Festival

Artisans from near and far display their creative output along Monarch Street between Durant and Hopkins avenues each July during the Aspen Arts Festival. There’s a wide array of products, from life-size sculptures, to photography, to one-of-a-kind jewelry items.

Thinking about attending one (or all) of Aspen’s summer activities? Check out these amazing Aspen rentals.

Freelance travel writer Jayne Clark lives in Washington, D.C. She has been a travel reporter at USA Today and several other daily newspapers.