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Aspen Real Estate | Aspen Property Brothers

This Colorado charmer packs in plenty of appeal—restaurants, galleries, museums, hot springs, and spas—all with lodging priced at a fraction of the cost of an Aspen-based vacation.

By Ashlea Halpern Jul 07, 2020

This Colorado charmer packs in plenty of appeal—restaurants, galleries, museums, hot springs, and spas—all with lodging priced at a fraction of the cost of an Aspen-based vacation.

Though COVID-19 has stalled a lot of travel plans, we hope our stories can offer inspiration for your future adventures—and a bit of hope.

Carbondale is located only 30 miles west of Aspen but feels a world apart. Once viewed as a sleepy bedroom community for staffers of Aspen’s glammy ski resorts, the charming western town has come into its own in recent years.

Nestled at the foot of Mount Sopris, deep in the Rockies, Carbondale is home to nearly 7,000 residents. It’s a curious mix, too, with generations of ranchers, potato farmers, and coal miners who were joined by free-wheeling hippies in the 1970s. That merging spawned a motley but creative populace interested in everything from organic farming and solar energy to music, art, and food.

The Carbondale of today is packed with restaurants and galleries; slightly farther afield are hot springs and world-class art museums. If you’re turned off by the see-and-be-seen peacockery and astronomical pricing of Aspen, it’s high time you got to know its chiller, more down-to-earth sister.

Things to do in Carbondale

Carbondale is one of the stops along the year-old Colorado Creative Corridor, a 331-mile route linking five artsy small towns. Each has been designated by the state as a “creative district,” so it makes sense to start your exploration in the galleries. Carbondale Clay Center has been getting locals fired up about pottery since 1997; R2 Gal