A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Aspen vs. Seattle for Food, Nightlife, Music, and Hiking

Should you visit Aspen or Seattle?

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 Seattle 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

Aspen is a quaint, vibrant, and artsy ski town. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include live music, food, and hiking.

Seattle

Seattle is a bustling, progressive, and cultural city. As it's a big city, visitors will find plenty to do, too. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include museums, theater, and nightlife.

Aspen and Seattle: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Numerous theater shows
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
  • Home to the Space Needle


Is there more to do in Aspen or Seattle?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Seattle. Although Aspen and Seattle are popular destinations, Seattle has more sights and attractions for tourists. Seattle is very popular for its museums, theatre productions, beaches, and big city activities, while Aspen attracts visitors for its skiing, food, resorts, shopping, christmas markets, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Aspen is famous for its world-class skiing, many food, film, and music festivals, and its stunning mountain hikes. Seattle is famous for its beautiful waterfront setting, diverse culinary scene, thriving art and cultural venues, and being the home of many international tech companies. It is also well known for The Space Needle.

How is Aspen different from Seattle?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Skiing?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is renowned for snow skiing. However, Seattle is not a skiing destination.

The snow ski experience you'll have in Aspen is among the best in the world. 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.

Seattle is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Aspen or Seattle?

Aspen
Seattle

Seattle is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. However, Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Seattle. The city's most iconic landmark is the Space Needle. There's also a zoo, aquarium, and a handful of nice museums. Several favorites include the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of History & Industry, and the Seattle Art Museum.

Aspen does not have museums and landmarks.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Theater?

Aspen
Seattle

Seattle is a city with good options for its shows and theatre. However, Aspen is not a theatre destination.

With some theater and performance venues, you might want to see a show in Seattle. There are a handful of theaters where you can enjoy traveling Broadway shows or smaller productions.

Aspen is not a theatre destination.

Is the Food Better in Aspen or Seattle? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is renowned for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Seattle is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Aspen is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. The town hosts many food festivals and there is a growing selection of diverse restaurants. In town you'll find cafes and restaurants that cater to both the local crowd and the travelers who flock to the area during peak seasons.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Seattle. The city has many diverse dining options that make it a popular foodie destination. The seafood is world-class with many restaurants offering fresh caught salmon and oysters. There are also many great Asian restaurants with Pho, sushi, and dim sum all being popular around town. Seattle is also famous as the birthplace of Starbucks coffee, and both chain and independent coffee shops are common. Finally, make sure you check out the donuts at Pike's Place Market.


Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Nightlife?

Aspen
Seattle

It's hard to distinguish whether Aspen or Seattle 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. There's a local vibe, particularly during the off-season times when the tourist crowds are less.

The nightlife in Seattle has something for everybody. The city is known for its breweries and eclectic nightlife scene. There is a thriving theater scene as well as many bars and trendy restaurants. The best neighborhoods for nightlife include Capitol Hill, Belltown, and Downtown.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Music?

Aspen
Seattle

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

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

Seattle has a thriving music scene. The city has developed its own music culture around several genres including alternative rock and grunge.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Resorts?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is notable for its resorts. However, Seattle is not a resort destination.

Aspen is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Popular resorts in the area include The Little Nell, Hotel Jerome, and St. Regis Aspen.

Seattle is not a resort destination.


Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Beaches?

Aspen
Seattle

Seattle is a city with good options for the beach. However, Aspen is not a beach destination.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Seattle. The city is surrounded by water so there are a number of rocky and sandy beaches nearby. Some beaches are more popular with locals while others attract a large amount of tourists. Alki Beach Park, Discovery Park, and Golden Gardens Park are among the best.

Aspen is not a beach destination.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Hiking?

Aspen
Seattle

Both Aspen and Seattle are destinations which offer high quality hiking.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Aspen. During the summer and fall seasons, hiking is a great way to explore Aspen's nearby beauty. Popular trails include the Ute Trail, the Lost Man Trail, and the famous Maroon Bells Scenic Trail.

Many visitors go to Seattle for the hiking trails. It's famously an outdoorsy city and the hiking will not disappoint. Within a half hour drive of town you'll find beautiful forests and stunning natural beauty. Head into the Cascades, to the coastal rainforests, or around Mount Rainier for all kinds of diverse landscapes. Seattle is well situated for you to experience hiking through the diverse Pacific Northwest landscapes.

Is the Shopping Better in Aspen or Seattle?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is notable for its shopping areas. Also, Seattle is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Aspen. There are many great local shops and art galleries where you can pick interesting items or fine art.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Seattle. Shopping in town has an eclectic mix of high end brands, local vendors, and vintage shops. There are farmers markets as well as the famous Pike Place Market, but also major malls with all of the standard department stores.


Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Christmas?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is renowned for its Christmas activities. However, Seattle does not offer Christmas activities.

Aspen is a fantastic destination at Christmas. There are a number of beautiful activities that will bring the holiday season to life in the town.

Seattle does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Christmas Markets?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is notable for its Christmas markets. However, Seattle does not offer Christmas markets.

Aspen has a lively atmosphere around its Christmas markets. The town has a charming Christmas market that is fun to explore and has around 40 vendors.

Seattle does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Families?

Aspen
Seattle

Both Aspen and Seattle are nice 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.

Seattle offers lots of family activities. This is an outdoor city with plenty of places where kids can run around and experience nature. There are several good museums as well as outdoor activities, parks, and a zoo. Make sure you check out the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Volunteer Park, and Artists at Play Playground.


Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Couples?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen is notable for couples. Also, Seattle is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for romance.

Aspen is a very popular place to visit for couples. Aspen is both a popular ski destination as well as an established town. There are many great restaurants and activities that couples can enjoy and the setting is cute and very scenic, making it a beautiful and romantic destination.

Seattle is a nice destination for couples. The city has a laid back vibe, a nice downtown area, and plenty of outdoor activities. There are a diversity of restaurants to enjoy and a great nightlife scene that makes for a good couple's getaway.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Aspen
Seattle

Seattle is a city with good options for backpackers. However, Aspen is a ski town with minimal options for backpackers and budget travelers.

Seattle is a good city to visit for backpackers. Although it's not the most popular city for backpackers in America, the city's chill vibe, fun breweries, and lively setting make it a great spot for young backpackers.

Aspen is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Because it is both a town and a ski resort, there are a couple of more affordable accommodation options. Even so, this is an expensive destination that isn't always ideal for budget travelers.

Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Students?

Aspen
Seattle

Seattle is a great destination for students. However, Aspen is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Seattle. It is a major IT center with a large university, so international students will have plenty of opportunities here. It's also a vibrant city with many outdoor recreational opportunities and a fun nightlife scene.

Aspen is not popular with students.


Is Aspen or Seattle Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Aspen
Seattle

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Aspen and Seattle.

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.

While Seattle offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a light rail system, a monorail, a street car, and buses.

Is Aspen or Seattle a more walkable city?

Aspen
Seattle

Aspen and Seattle both are high quality 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.

Seattle is very walkable. Many neighborhoods are very walkable, particularly in the downtown and major tourist areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Aspen Worth Visiting? and Is Seattle Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Seattle or Aspen?

How long in Aspen or Seattle?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Aspen and Seattle. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Aspen than in Seattle. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Aspen, and 2-3 days is enough time in Seattle.

Families should spend more time in Aspen than Seattle. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Aspen, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Aspen than Seattle. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Aspen that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Seattle than Aspen if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Seattle.


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

One day in Aspen or Seattle?

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.

Each neighborhood in Seattle has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. 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 Seattle?

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 Seattle. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking 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 Seattle?

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.

Seattle is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the food and shopping when visiting the big city destination of Seattle. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

A week in Aspen or Seattle?

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 shopping and museums around the outdoorsy big city of Seattle. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America, and The Best Adventure Tours to United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Seattle or Aspen?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Aspen is $293, while the average daily cost in Seattle is $205. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Aspen and Seattle in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Aspen $170
    Seattle $120
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Aspen $340
    Seattle $240
Compare Hotels in Aspen and Seattle

Looking for a hotel in Aspen or Seattle? 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 Seattle


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 Seattle Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Aspen $56
    Seattle $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Aspen

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Aspen:

  • Aspen hotel or address to Denver Airport (DEN) - Departure Private Transfer: $217
  • Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) - Private Transfer Arrival or Departure: $269

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Seattle

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Seattle:


  • Lightrail from Airport (for 2)
    $5.50
  • Roundtrip Ferry to Bainbridge Island (for 2)
    $15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Seattle

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Seattle:

  • Airport Transfer Luxury SUV Seatac to Seattle: $138
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Seattle Airport SEA to Seattle in Luxury SUV: $102
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Seattle Airport SEA to Seattle in Luxury Van: $114
  • Departure Private Transfer: Seattle to Seattle Airport SEA in Luxury Van: $114
  • From Seattle Airport - Transfer to Hotel & Homes: $175
  • From Seattle Hotels - Hotel Transfer to Airport: $265
  • From Seattle Hotels - Hotel Transfer to Airport: $175
  • From Snoqualmie Falls and Wineries Tour w/ Transfer: $145
  • One-Way Transfer: Cruise Piers to Airport : $28
  • One-Way Transfer: SeaTac Hotels to Seattle Cruise Terminals : $33
  • Private One-way Airport Transfer(Seattle Airport To/From Seattle): $57
  • Private Seattle Hotels to Smith Cove Terminal Departure Transfer : $74

Is it cheaper to fly into Aspen or Seattle?

Prices for flights to both Seattle 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Aspen $85
    Seattle $51

Typical Food Prices in Seattle

Some typical examples of dining costs in Seattle are as follows:


  • Expresso & cookie at Pier 70
    $7.00
  • Cashews at Pike Place Market
    $6.00
  • 6 Mini Donuts at Pike Place Market
    $3.25
  • Chinese Lunch in International District (for 2)
    $21
  • Breakfast at Lowel's in Pike Place Market (for 2)
    $32
  • Breakfast at French Cafe (for 2)
    $37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Seattle

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Seattle.

  • Seattle : Fun Cooking Classes With Chef Seamus: $60
  • Seattle Delicious Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $65
  • Seattle Holiday Donut Adventure & Walking Food Tour: $65
  • Chef Guided Food Tour of Pike Place Market- 2 Hours: $67
  • Pike Place Market Chef-Guided Food Tour: $67
  • Eat Around the World Seattle Food Tour: $69
  • International District Food Tour: $69
  • Plant Based Food Tour in Pike Place Market: $79
  • Secret Food Tours: Seattle Pike Place Market: $84
  • Private Pike Place Market Tour and Cooking Class with a Local: $88
  • Pike Place Market Food Tour: $99
  • Craft Cocktail Gourmet Food Tour: $135

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Aspen $45
    Seattle $16

Tours and Activities in Aspen

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

  • Aspen Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Highlights of Aspen Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Tour: $40
  • Aspen's DarkSide Ghost Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Past to Present Historic Tour: $40
  • Dark History Ghost-Themed Guided Walking Tour: $40
  • From Past to Present History Walking Tour: $40
  • City Highlights Walking Tour: $40
  • Aspen's Off the Beaten Path Scenic Walking Tour: $40

Tours and Activities in Seattle

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Seattle are as follows:

  • Space Needle Park Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Seattle by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Downtown Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour: $12
  • Seattle Self-Guided Audio Tour: $14
  • National Nordic Museum Entry Ticket: $20
  • Seattle Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • Sky View Observatory Admission Tickets: $23
  • Terrors and Ghosts Guided Walking Tour: $26
  • MoPOP Entry Ticket: $27
  • Woodland Park Zoo Day Admission Ticket: $28
  • Beneath The Streets Underground History Tour: $29
  • Columbia Center Sky View Observatory Entry Ticket: $29

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Aspen $20
    Seattle $16

Sample the Local Flavors in Seattle

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Seattle:

  • Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $38
  • Where the Hops Grow! Yakima Brewery Tour : $40
  • Woodinville Wine Country: Downtown Wine Tasting Pass: $65
  • Woodinville Wine Country: Artisan Hill Wine Tasting Pass: $65
  • From Snoqualmie Falls & Woodinville Wine Tasting: $262
  • Snoqualmie Falls + Wine Tasting: All-Inclusive Small-Group Tour: $263


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Aspen and Seattle, we can see that Aspen is more expensive. And not only is Seattle much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Seattle would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Seattle 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 Seattle.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Aspen Expensive? and Is Seattle Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Aspen or Seattle?

Seattle has a larger population, and is about 100 times larger than the population of Aspen. When comparing the sizes of Aspen and Seattle, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.