Last summer Mike and I drove through Colorado, making a quick stop at Maroon Bells, one of the most photographed areas in all of the world – at least according to the Colorado tourism board. Not sure if that is true or not, but we lucked out and happened to get one of the very last camping spots right in the park, near the edge of the river. It was a perfect one night camp stop: being in the park meant that it would be easy enough to head up in the morning to watch sunrise over the famous peaks and close enough to Aspen that we spent the afternoon eating.

What to Eat

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

Meat & Cheese Restaurant Farm Shop
Our first stop was for a little afternoon snack at Meat & Cheese. Meat & Cheese is a combined cafe and shop that sells speciality foods. The restaurant side serves up local charcuterie and cheese as well as salads and hot dishes that feature seasonal produce. I had some cold brew (they have excellent nugget ice!) and Mike had a local beer and we shared a meat and cheese board that was epically good.

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

Clark’s Oyster Bar
Ironically we didn’t have oysters at Clark’s, but we did have one of the best burgers. We were looking for a good happy hour and someone suggested heading to Clark’s, a little neighborhood spot with a raw bar, freshly baked sourdough, and hella good burgers. The room is very cute: all marble and white with exposed wood beams and blue rimmed diner-style plates. Apparently Clark’s is from Austin, which we didn’t know at the time but makes sense I guess? The $12 happy hour burger was delicious: hand ground beef cooked to a perfect juicy, rosy, medium rare with lots of melty cheese and a mountain of thin and crispy matchstick fries.

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

Home Team BBQ
Home Team is a South Carolina BBQ joint (they have several locations in Charleston) that has a sprawling restaurant at the base of Buttermilk Mountain – how apt. We went because when else would you have the chance to try Southern BBQ in Colorado? They specialize in low and slow smoked meats with all the fixings. We got the specialty dry rub smoked wings with Alabama white sauce, the brisket, the chicken cracklings, and the ribs. It was amazing. Definitely get the cracklings if you like chicken skin, they were so crispy, crunchy and addictive.

What to See

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

Maroon Bells
Definitely make a trip to see the Maroon Bells, the two famous peaks in the Elk Mountains. The are a short trip (like not even 20 minutes) from the center of Aspen and they are two of Colorado’s beloved fourteeners, mountains that are at least 14,000 feet in elevation. One of the most viewed points in America is from Maroon Creek Valley. It’s so popular that they restrict car access in the summer. There’s a bus shuttle that’ll take you to the valley. There are lots of short hikes around, as well as people just hanging out to picnic. Sunrise and sunset are both popular times to visit.

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

Aspen Art Museum
This contemporary art museum is right in the center of town and housed in Shigeru Ban’s (a well known Japanese architect known for “invisible structures” and choice in materials) first permanent US museum. It’s a space that blends indoor and outdoor space and the light streaming through the building is beautiful. There’s a roof deck as well as a bar and cafe space for relaxing. It’s a non-collecting museum and the exhibits change quiet often featuring drawings, paining,s sculptures, installations, and media art. A super relaxing way to spend the afternoon.

Where to Stay

What to see, where to eat, and where to stay if you have 24 hours in Aspen! #aspen #travel #wheretoeat #bestof #24hours #travelblog

We lucked out and managed to get a camping spot inside the White River National Forest – there are three small campgrounds (Silver Bell, Silver Queen, and Silver Bar) but they fill up quickly. You do get an excellent view of the night sky and super early access to the top of the mountain if you’re hoping to watch the sun rise on the peaks.

Other than camping, there are a ton of places to stay in and around Aspen. If we didn’t luck out on the camping, our top pick would have been Hotel Durant, a cute and small boutique lodge with mountain aesthetic right in the middle of Aspen or maybe Aspen Meadows Resort, a modern mountain property surrounded by the rockies.

We loved Aspen and hope that we’ll get to go back soon. Let us know what we missed and what some of the must eats are!

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