I set off on a task– to find Aspen, Colorado’s best shopping and souvenirs. While it might seem unusual to write about shopping in a town where Olympians train, Aspen is no ordinary ski town.
Sure Aspen is well-known for its majestic slopes and first class skiing and snowboarding– a dream vacation for any winter sports buff. But Aspen sets itself apart from its neighboring ski towns for its other reputation– as the playground of billionaires, jetsetters and the occasional celeb.
To keep all these jetsetters entertained, Aspen has evolved into far more than a small ski town. In Aspen, even the non-skiers have plenty to keep themselves busy. From spa services to afternoon cocktails at apres ski to gourmet dinners and designer shopping, the off the slope activities are just as abundant as those on the slopes.
I was definitely curious to check out the best of Aspen’s famed shopping scene. I wondered what kind of souvenirs a visiting billionaire might pick up on a whim, was Aspen’s shopping really that different? I won’t leave you in suspense, yes the Aspen shopping scene is crazy– here are my tips for the top Aspen shopping.
Quick Content Guide
- Unique and Best Shopping for Souvenirs in Aspen
- Shopping Aspen for the Ultimate Souvenir: a Million Dollar Woolly Mammoth
- Aspen’s 24 Karat Gold Bicycle (the “Gold Bike”)
- Shop Western Cowboy Hat and Boots at Aspen’s Kemo Sabe
- Shopping Aspen for Locally Themed Photographs at Lik Fine Art
- Shop Aspen for Original Posters from Omnibus Gallery
- Pick up a Wine Glass from the Caribou Club
- Shop Climbing/Hiking Gear from Ute Mountain Goods
- Shop a Fur Trimmed Coat for your Dog as Aspen C.B.Paws
- Shopping for the Thrill of the Hunt at Aspen Thrift Shop
- Recreate Apres Ski with Mountain Rocks
Unique and Best Shopping for Souvenirs in Aspen
For a small ski town, Aspen has a ton of shopping. Many come to Aspen to shop at the same high-end designer boutiques they might find on Madison Avenue or Rodeo Drive.
I skipped the designer shops and set off in search of best unique Aspen shops and souvenirs. Regardless of whether I visited high-end shops or affordable places, one thing was always the same– every single shopkeeper and sales person was genuinely nice. There was zero attitude or snobbery, and I felt completely comfortable browsing for the fun of it without buying anything.
Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to do a comprehensive overview of all of Aspen’s best shopping, as I was hampered by snowstorms and chilly weather. But with the help of a local, I did manage to find both over the top souvenirs and realistic options for the rest of us.
Shopping Aspen for the Ultimate Souvenir: a Million Dollar Woolly Mammoth
Extinction does not deter billionaires in search of a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Why admire a woolly mammoth skeleton in a museum when you could decorate your living room with your very own? For the billionaire who has almost everything, a coveted woolly mammoth skeleton makes sense. If a million seems high, you can pick up a prehistoric cave bear skeleton for about a tenth of the price.
Aspen’s 24 Karat Gold Bicycle (the “Gold Bike”)
Called the world’s first 24 karat gold extreme mountain bike (presumably, there are other 24 karat bikes?), this gold bicycle graces the shop window of one of Aspen’s art galleries. The gold bike is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s not just all gold– there are also 600 black diamonds, 500 golden sapphires and a water bottle covered in stingray. I assumed this gold bike was some kind of decorative item, but it is in fact a fully operational mountain bike that can take on Aspen’s roughest trails. You might want to buy a very big lock for this bike.
Shop Western Cowboy Hat and Boots at Aspen’s Kemo Sabe
Aspen is more than just mountains, there are plenty of full on ranches in the immediate area. So dressing up like a cowboy isn’t costume-y here, but part of the ranch culture. Leave your dime store cowboy hat at home though, that will simply not do. Regulars know the best shop for cowboy hats and boots is Kemo Sabe.
Kemo Sabe even has its own VIP bar tucked away upstairs for regulars (locals keep their own tagged bottles behind the bar and celebs have been known to dance on the bar and serenade the crowd).
Shopping Aspen for Locally Themed Photographs at Lik Fine Art
Photographs of locally themed Aspen landscapes are a hot tourist item at Lik Fine Art. While the gallery claims to have sold the most expensive photograph in history, which would put it squarely in the “over the top” category, that figure has been called into question.
At any rate, it’s worth visiting the gallery where the artist himself has told the New York Times, “I’m the world’s most famous photographer, most sought-after photographer, most awarded photographer.”
Shop Aspen for Original Posters from Omnibus Gallery
When I heard there was a poster shop, I thought oh, a place to buy a more reasonable souvenir. But this being Aspen, the Omnibus gallery isn’t a typical poster shop. There are absolutely no reproductions here. Omnibus gallery has one of the largest collection of original rare and vintage posters anywhere. Prices start at $1500 and can quickly escalate to $100,000.
Pick up a Wine Glass from the Caribou Club
Aspen is well known for its hopping social scene so I figured one of my souvenirs should reflect that. I don’t know whether these are for sale or not, but when we visited one of Aspen’s famed private clubs the Caribou Club, this distinctive wine glass definitely caught my eye. It might be a fun glass to serve drinks in back home.
Shop Climbing/Hiking Gear from Ute Mountain Goods
I’ve never seen a store completely devoted to mountaineering goods so I thought Ute was worth an inclusion. You don’t have to be a climber to visit this store, they also have everything for the casual hiker.
Shop a Fur Trimmed Coat for your Dog as Aspen C.B.Paws
When I saw there was a dog boutique in Aspen, I imagined it would be filled with completely ridiculous, frou frou and impractical doggie gear. But while there were a few crazy items, most of the merchandise here was extremely well made, stylish and reasonably priced. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir for your pet.
Shopping for the Thrill of the Hunt at Aspen Thrift Shop
Even the wealthiest billionaires can have a frugal streak, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find one shopping Aspen’s thrift store. I was excited to visit the thrift shop, and imagined the wealthy population dropping off last season’s Prada and the unknowing staff pricing them for a song. But like all thrift stores, this one is hit or miss. On the day I visited, the designers were more Gap than Gucci and the merchandise was well-worn. But you might hit it big on another day. And in any case, if you forgot your ski pants or gloves, the thrift shop is an excellent alternative to the spendy shops in town.
Recreate Apres Ski with Mountain Rocks
Apres ski is practically its own sport in Aspen, and repeat visitors all have their favorite spots. While my personal favorite for the decor was the Western look of the Hotel Jerome, the chill vibe at Little Nell came in second. Little Nell was the out and out winner though as far as bar snacks go. Along with the usual nut medley and olives, we were also served these addictive candy coated chocolate candies. Like an especially tasty m&m’s we quickly emptied the tray and demanded a refill. When my friend Alison spotted the candies for sale, we learned they are adorably called “mountain rocks” and make the perfect gift souvenir.
Have you been to Aspen? Where is your favorite shopping and souvenirs?