Upscale dining. High-end boutiques. World-class skiing in winter and abundant outdoor adventures in summer. No matter when you choose to visit, there is always plenty to do and plenty to love about Aspen.
And while this mountain village, located 8,000 feet above sea level in the Rockies, is a genuine four-season retreat, the area always saves its best for last.
More than just the month that ski season heats up in earnest, December is a time for celebration, and few towns in the country celebrate Christmas better than Aspen.
Here are five can't-miss Aspen Christmas events:
If you love to both make cookies and eat cookies made by others, you can join your fellow baking enthusiasts at the Holiday Cookie Exchange hosted by the Aspen Historical Society. Guests are encouraged to bring at least a dozen cookies (the more, the merrier, of course) for exchange. This free event at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum also includes hot chocolate, cider, and mulled wine and caroling.
December 18th to December 21st, 2019
Technically speaking, the World Snow Polo Championship, now in its seventh year in Aspen at Rio Grande Park, isn't related to Christmas. However, the tony event—the only one of its kind in North America—where riders lead equines across fields of pristine-white snow, infuses the town with a little extra glam in the middle of the holiday season. Tickets start at $500 for single-day VIP packages and include food and drink.
December 20th to December 31st, 2019
When talking about the Christmas season in Aspen, it's impossible not to mention the town's signature celebration—The 12 Days of Aspen. Over the month's final 12 days, well over 50 individual events—many of which are free—take place in celebration of Christmas and New Year's. Highlights include a showing of The Polar Express at the Wheeler Opera House, A Musical Christmas Eve at Aspen Chapel, and Acrobats of Cirque-Tacular: Shimmer, also at the Wheeler Opera House.
December 21st to December 22nd, 201
The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker is an absolute must for fans of ballet and the classic holiday tale. Featuring over 60 performers, this original, creative, and, at many times, humorous update to the famous ballet is a favorite event on Aspen's Christmas calendar. There will be two performances on each day, with tickets ranging from $36 to $94.
On their own, fireworks are quite spectacular. When witnessed lighting up the sky over Aspen Mountain, they are otherworldly. Residents and visitors will gather at Wagner Park to witness two separate fireworks shows—the first at 8 p.m. and the second to ring in the New Year at midnight.
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*Image: Aspen Chamber of Commerce