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Photo Credit: Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

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Welcome to Aspen, CO

One of the world's fabled resorts, Aspen practically defines glitz, glamour, and glorious skiing. To the uninitiated, Aspen and Vail might be synonymous. Between the galleries, museums, music festivals, and other glittering social events, there's so much going on in Aspen that even in winter many people come simply to "do the scene," and never make it to the slopes. High-end boutiques have been known to serve free cocktails après-ski.At the same time, Aspen is a place where some people live average lives, sending their children to school and working at jobs that may or may not have to do with skiing. It is, arguably, America's original ski-bum destination, a fact that continues to give the town's character an underlying layer of humor and texture. You can come to Aspen and have a reasonably straightforward, enjoyable ski vacation, because once you've stripped away the preciousness, Aspen is simply a great place to ski.Aspen has always been a magnet for cultural and countercultural types. The late bad-boy gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson was one of the more visible citizens of the nearby community of Woody Creek. One of Aspen's most amusing figures is Jon Barnes, who tools around in his "Ultimate Taxi" (it's plastered with rainbow glasses, crystal disco balls, and neon necklaces, and is redolent of dry ice and incense). You'll find everyone from socialites with <i>Vogue</i> exteriors to long-haired musicians in combat boots and fatigues. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you wear here, as long as you wear it with conviction. Explore

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    Downtown Aspen is an eye-popping display of conspicuous consumption. To get a mix of glitz and glamour, T-shirts,...
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Things You Can't Miss

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Ride Skyward on the Silver Queen

Watch the world pass below as you ride the gondola up 11,212-foot Aspen Mountain. Have a drink at the summit cafe or, in summer, hike a highland trail.

Ride Skyward on the Silver Queen

Image Credit: Alamy

The One Sight Every Aspen Visitor Must See

The Maroon Bells may be the most photographed mountains in America. The easy Maroon Lake Scenic Trail leads to wonderful viewpoints of the peaks.

The One Sight Every Aspen Visitor Must See

Image Credit: Alamy

A Reminder of the Silver Boomtown Era

Catch a concert in the 19th-century Wheeler Opera House or take a tour of the historic building, with its intimate, beautifully renovated auditorium.

A Reminder of the Silver Boomtown Era

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Drive to the Crest of the Rocky Mountains

Take Hwy. 82 east to reach Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. The only word for the alpine scenery up here is “spectacular.”

Drive to the Crest of the Rocky Mountains

Image Credit: Alamy

Relive Aspen’s Colorful Boom-and-Bust Past

Sign up for the DarkSide tour for ghosts, murder and mayhem. Go underground on a mine tour, and learn about the silver boom in nearby Ashcroft.

Relive Aspen’s Colorful Boom-and-Bust Past

Image Credit: Alamy

Samantha's Pick Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Take in a Naturalist Night lecture or go on a guided tour on snowshoes. There’s something to do here for the whole family — no matter what the season.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

Image Credit: Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

Samantha's Pick Gorgeous Hikes Abound

Go with Maroon Lake Scenic Trail for an easy afternoon, or if you’re looking for a challenge, hike to Cathedral Lake.

Gorgeous Hikes Abound

Image Credit: Getty Images

Samantha's Pick Aspen Restaurants Are Expensive!

To enjoy high-profile restaurants like Cache Cache and Element 47 at more affordable prices, go early to enjoy a drink and an appetizer at the bar.

Aspen Restaurants Are Expensive!

Image Credit: Ball and Albanese/Alamy

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Must Reads Before You Go

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10 Ski Trip Activities for Non-Skiers

by Laura Daily

Check out Yellowstone National Park or ski resorts such as Killington and Sugarloaf for activities for non-skiers like fishing, tubing and cross-country skiing.

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See America's Top 10 Natural Wonders

by Eric Peterson

Enjoy breathtaking photos and descriptions of the most beautiful places in America, including Yellowstone Caldera and Death Valley.

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10 Beautiful Mountains in America

See (or climb!) these majestic mountains in the United States: McKinley, Rainier, Shasta and seven more.

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8 Romantic Getaways for Couples

Cozy, intimate and fun vacation spots for you and your valentine.

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