beautiful scenery in Aspen Colorado

Aspen, Colorado is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in America, and it’s one of the most culturally rich as well. Here are three reasons (of many) why Aspen is a true cultural hub:

Aspen Ideas Festival

Aspen Art Museum installation

Part of Ernesto Neto’s exhibition “Gratitude” on display at the Aspen Museum of Art. / Image: via Instagram

Since 2005, the Aspen Ideas Festival has served as an opportunity to gather the world’s leaders in environmental issues, technology, health, education, and of course, the arts, together for a weeklong event. The Festival consists of discussions, seminars, panel talks, and tutorials from journalists, innovators, designers, politicians, musicians, artists, and writers. It’s considered to be “the nation’s premier, public gathering place for leaders around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.”

The 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival featured talks from National Jazz Museum artistic director Jon Baptiste, Hilary Rodham Clinton, Katie Couric, Al Gore, chef Ludo Lefebvre, film producer Jane Rosenthal, senior art critic Jerry Saltz, David Petraeus of KKR, and hundreds of other well known individuals. This event features the most innovative minds of our time, and exemplifies Aspen’s commitment to the cultural and cutting-edge.

Aspen’s Galleries and Museums

Aspen is home to dozens of art galleries and museums, some of which showcase the deeply innovative aesthetic of their owners, and all of which offer incredible access to both local culture and artworks from around the world. The Aspen Art Museum presents rotating exhibits year-round, and is dedicated to showcasing “the newest, most important evolutions in international contemporary art.” Prominent local art galleries include The Vickers Collection, the Drasner Gallery, Baldwin Gallery, Forre & Co. Fine Art Gallery, and many others.

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

The Food & Wine Classic is a yearly tradition presented by Food & Wine Magazine that takes place annually in Aspen. This event is always one of the most anticipated culinary happenings of the year, and showcases the best of what the food and wine industries have to offer. It’s also indicative of Aspen’s commitment to fostering cultures of all kinds, including an impressive culinary one.

Food and Wine Classic in Aspen 2014

The annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

The Food & Wine Classic consists of three days of cooking demonstrations, food and wine tastings that feature the talents of hundreds of vendors, celebrity and local chefs, panel discussions, and so much more. As “Top Chef’s” Gail Simmons says, “The Classic has done it right for almost 30 years. It’s intimate. The setting is unmatched. And you know that if you’re here, you traveled a really long way to get here…if you are in Aspen for this weekend, it’s because you LOVE food and wine.”

Have you ever traveled to Aspen? What were your favorite parts of its rich cultural identity?

Featured Image: Mark Gallagher via Flickr CC