A Travel Price Comparison for Colorado Aspen vs. Boulder for Skiing, Food, Nightlife, and Music

Should you visit Aspen or Boulder?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Aspen and Boulder can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.


Aspen is a charming, quaint, and vibrant ski town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. Visitors also love the nightlife, live music, and food.


Boulder is a nature-filled, biker-friendly, and outdoorsy city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include food, nightlife, and live music.

Aspen and Boulder: Pros and Cons

  • Popular for skiing
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Good music scene
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Less popular for skiing
  • Public transit not as usable

How is Aspen different from Boulder?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Boulder and Aspen. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Skiing?


While Boulder and Aspen both offer snow skiing, overall Aspen has more to offer.

Visitors will find world class skiing in Aspen. Near the town, there are 4 separate ski resorts. In town you'll find Aspen Mountain, which is known for it's black-diamond runs. Aspen Highlands, a couple miles away, has a mix of slopes and is less crowded. Buttermilk attracts many freestyle skiers and Aspen Snowmass is considered one of the best family-friendly ski areas.

Locals like to visit Boulder to take advantage of their winter sports. The town offers access within an hour or two to several great ski resorts including Eldora Mountain, Vail, and Breckenridge.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Food?


There are opportunities to sample the local cuisine at great restaurants in both Aspen and Boulder.

Many restaurants in Aspen have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Boulder. This is an often overlooked foodie town, with great farmer's markets and restaurants to try.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Nightlife?


It's hard to distinguish whether Aspen or Boulder has a better nightlife scene.

The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The people in Aspen know how to have a good time. The nightlife scene includes craft beer, live music, and dancing.

If you're looking for night time activities Boulder has a few options to choose from. The town has breweries, craft beer, and plenty to do in the evening. Check out The Bitter Bar or License No. 1 for a local vibe.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Music?


Live music enthusiatsts will find something to enjoy in either Aspen or Boulder.

Aspen has become a hotbed of musicians and artists. Popular music venues in town include Silver City Mountain Saloon and Belly Up Aspen.

You don't have to look far to find a unique music venue in Boulder. During the summer months there are often outdoor concerts. Head to Pearl Street for open air stages or see a concert at Boulder Theater.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Families?


Both Aspen and Boulder are fun to visit with kids.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Aspen. Families that enjoy skiing together hiking, rock climbing, and having adventures will enjoy a visit to this town. Aspen Mountain is not a great option for beginning skiers, but further away, Aspen Snowmass offers good beginner slopes.

Boulder offers lots of family activities. The city has parks, playgrounds, a planetarium, and climbing gyms that are fun for kids of all ages.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Couples?


Both Aspen and Boulder are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Couples visit Aspen frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy.

Boulder is a nice destination for couples. This is a great city for couples who love outdoor adventures, hiking, rock climbing, and cycling.

Is Aspen or Boulder Better for Public Transit?


Aspen provides more public transit options than Boulder.

You'll find some public transit in Aspen, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. There are several shuttle buses around the town.

Public transit is quite limited in Boulder. There are buses that run around town.

Is Aspen or Boulder a more walkable city?


Aspen and Boulder both are comparable when exploring on foot.

Aspen is a very walkable destination. The town is compact enough that it can be explored on foot. If you're planning to head into the mountains to hike, you'll likely need a car.

Boulder is somewhat walkable. The city has some nice walkable areas and it is very bike friendly.

Should I spend more time in Boulder or Aspen?

How long in Aspen or Boulder?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Aspen and Boulder. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Aspen than Boulder.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Aspen is 3-5 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Boulder is 2-3 days.

  • How many days in Aspen or Boulder? Ideal Length of Stay
    Aspen 3-5 
    Boulder 2-3

One day in Aspen or Boulder?

Aspen is a small town with plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This ski town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

In Boulder, many people enjoy the nightlife and live music that this outdoorsy destination offers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

A weekend in Aspen or Boulder?

Aspen might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Boulder. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Aspen or Boulder?

Aspen is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Aspen has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Boulder is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the food and nightlife when visiting the destination of Boulder. Visiting the old town is also a must. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Aspen or Boulder?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Aspen. Since Aspen is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the outdoorsy destination of Boulder. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Which city is cheaper, Boulder or Aspen?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Aspen is $235, while the average daily cost in Boulder is $153. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Aspen and Boulder in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Aspen $136
    Boulder $82
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Aspen $272
    Boulder $164
Compare Hotels in Aspen and Boulder

Looking for a hotel in Aspen or Boulder? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Aspen

Hotels in Boulder

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Aspen Hotel Prices and Boulder Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Aspen $45
    Boulder $41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Private Transfer: Aspen to Denver International Airport (DEN): $1,321
  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $796
  • Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Aspen: $400
  • Private Departure Transfer to Aspen Airport (ASE): $36
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Aspen Airport (ASE): $36

Is it cheaper to fly into Aspen or Boulder?

Prices for flights to both Boulder and Aspen change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Aspen $68
    Boulder $43

Typical Food prices in Boulder

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Boulder:

  • 2 Coffees
  • Nice Dinner for Two

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Aspen $36
    Boulder $26

Tours and Activities in Aspen

Here are a few actual costs in Aspen for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • Glimpse of Aspen Tour: $40

Tours and Activities in Boulder

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Boulder.

  • Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Boulder and Vail: $3.75
  • Downtown An audio tour around this weird and beautiful town: $5.00
  • A natural healing experience in a private epsom salt bath.: $16
  • Astronomy Tour: $41
  • Holistic & Medicinal Tour: $42
  • Amazing Boulder Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Wild West-End Hiking Tour: $49
  • Half-Day eBike Mural Tour in Boulder: $90
  • Electric Cruiser Fat Tire Bike Tour - Best of Boulder: $97
  • Best of Boulder E-Bike Tour: $104
  • High-Vibes Foodie Tour: $106
  • Denver/Rocky Mountain National Park Tour: $139

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Aspen $16
    Boulder $22

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Aspen and Boulder, we can see that Aspen is more expensive. And not only is Boulder much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Boulder would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Boulder and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Aspen would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Aspen than you might in Boulder.

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Aspen vs. Boulder Travel Comparison

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