Once the snow has melted and the ski gear has been stowed away, the Aspen area comes alive for the summer. The mountains sing with vibrant shades of green, dotted by bright pops of wildflower hues, and the expansive blue skies are usually clear (with the exception of the occasional afternoon thunderstorm). This makes Aspen the perfect place to experience numerous annual outdoor summer events. Enjoy a summer filled with entertainment while surrounded by nature’s beauty.
Here’s our guide to our favorite annual Aspen summer events.
Aspen Summer Art Events
Aspen Arts Festival (late July)
During late July, you’ll experience Aspen as an open air art gallery when the Aspen Arts Festival takes place. You’ll have a chance to meet a brilliant array of more than 150 local and national artists bearing their various creations, including paintings, mixed media pieces, sculptures, photographs, etchings, fired ceramics, handmade jewelry, and more.
Aspen Summer Music Events
Snowmass Free Concert Series (summer Thursdays)
For over 29 years, the Snowmass Free Concert series has been an Aspen valley tradition. Every Thursday evening (plus the occasional weekend day), crowds gather on Fanny Hill in Snowmass to enjoy live music performances by various talented artists while surrounded by mountains and relaxing in the open air. Food and drinks are available for purchase.
Aspen Music Festival and School (weekly events)
Throughout the summer, Aspen Music Festival and School offers classical music programs and recitals Tuesday through Friday plus Sundays, for a total of 150+ summer events. Hear star soloists and perform well-known works and rarer pieces by talented classical composers.
JAS Aspen Snowmass (late June, Labor Day, and weekly)
JAS Aspen Snowmass presents the Café, the June Experience, and the Labor Day experience each year.
• The JAS Café series runs from mid-June through mid-August, and hosts shows on the Aspen Art Museum rooftop, as well as at the St. Regis. The Café features two performances per night, at 7 and 9:15 p.m.
• The annual June Experience includes multiple days of live music, taking place indoors across several predetermined downtown Aspen venues. Tickets include all shows taking place on a particular day.
• The annual Labor Day Experience is considered the JAS Aspen Snowmass closing festival. The 3-day open air event is a local staple, known for its lineup of legendary performances at Snowmass Town Park.
Aspen Summer Culinary Events
Aspen Saturday Market (summer Saturdays)
Every summer Saturday, you can stop by the Farmers Market in downtown Aspen. A local's Saturday tradition, the market allows only Colorado-made, -grown and -produced items. You’ll also find local crafts, live music and a food court where you can stop for a leisurely Saturday lunch.
Elk Camp Farm to Table Tuesdays at (summer Tuesdays)
Every summer Tuesday, head a few miles downvalley to Snowmass and take a complimentary Elk Camp Gondola ride up to the Elk Camp restaurant for a locally-sourced, à la carte dinner prepared by Chef Bradley Murphy. Further extend your summer evening enjoyment with local beer and distillery tastings, outdoor activities and tickets to Lost Forest adventures.
FOOD & WINE Classic (mid-June or early September)
The Aspen Food & Wine Classic is a three-day event packed with cooking demos, wine tastings, and panel interviews with culinary stars, prestigious chefs, and wine experts. Watch seminars with internationally accomplished chefs and sommeliers; sample innovative food, and socialize with other event-goers at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen event is considered the best culinary festival in the nation.
Snowmass Wine Festival (September)
The weekend-long Snowmass Wine Festival takes place at Snowmass, and features a four-course wine dinner plus Grand Tasting event. Sample the world’s top wines along with paired plates from Aspen area restaurants. You’ll also encounter live music and a Silent Auction to benefit numerous non-profit organizations, as well as local student scholarships.
Aspen Summer Community Events
Old Fashioned 4th of July (July 4)
Every 4th of July in Aspen, close to 20,000 people come together for a nostalgic American celebration. Traditional and whimsical festivities include a 4th of July parade, family activities, and live concerts, culminating in a spectacular firework show (fire bans permitting) over Aspen Mountain.
Snowmass Rodeo (summer Wednesdays)
The Snowmass Rodeo is one of the longest-running rodeos in Colorado, having taken place for over 45 seasons. An authentic Western event, the Rodeo showcases bull riding, team roping, barrel racing and bronco riding, as well as calf scrambling, mutton bustin’, a petting zoo, and campfire marshmallows for the kids.
Snowmass Balloon Festival (early September)
For three days every September, 30 hot air balloon pilots compete in multiple challenges during one of the highest-altitude balloon events in the United States. Pilots compete in a distance race across the entire Roaring Fork Valley. Attending the annual Balloon Festival event is free.
Aspen Summer Athletic Events
Audi Power of Four Trail Run & Mountain Bike Races (July and August)
The Audi Power of Four Race Series is a premier endurance race series. For the Aspen trail run, athletes choose between a 10K, a 25K or a 50K race covering all four Aspen Snowmass mountains across a mix of singletrack and dirt roads. The Audi Snowmass 50 MTB race will replace the event previously known as the Power of Four MTB, and will take riders across 25 miles of the best Snowmass singletrack, while ascending a total of 5000 feet.
Spartan’s Mountain Series (August)
Hosted by the U.S. Air Force Special Ops, this relatively new event in the Aspen valley features a series of races across obstacle courses to showcase the endurance and athletic abilities of individuals across all ages and skill levels. With origins in the legendary mountain races of Europe, courses like those at Spartan Snowmass have been designed for both experienced athletes and weekend recreationers. Participants can choose one of three distances: 30-mile Ultra, 13-mile Beast, or 3-mile Sprint. Races for kids are also available.
Aspen Backcountry Marathon (August)
The annual Aspen Backcountry Marathon (and Half Marathon) makes use of the scenic dirt mountain trails around Aspen. All athletes will challenge their limits with the diversity of terrain and elevation gain. The spectacular views along the race course make this a memorable event for all participants.
VIDA Women's MTB Series Skills Clinic (August)
Each summer, VIDA brings its flagship 2-day mountain biking clinic to the Aspen valley. Take your MTB skills to the next level with their immersive mountain experience. Connect with experienced bike coaches and perfect proper form. You’ll come out of the clinic with newfound confidence to take on your next trail challenge.
Aspen Summer Lodging
Now that summer’s here, you deserve a fun-filled trip to the mountains. Start planning for your mountain retreat by finding an Aspen vacation rental. If you have questions about where to stay, or you’re ready to book, contact us by phone at 1-866-209-1540, or send us an email.