Aspen For Cheapskates – New York Times
Over an $8.50 pint of craft beer from Aspen Brewing Company, which is comparable to what I pay at home in Chicago, I realized that Aspen, Colo., is not expensive by big-city standards. It’s expensive by small-town standards.
The Economic Research Institute, which compiles financial data for public and private organizations, pegs the cost of living in Aspen at 51 percent higher than the average in the United States, a little less than a city like Seattle.
As a professionally penny-pinching traveler, I try to avoid paying urban prices in the mountains. In the summer in Aspen, apart from my weakness for microbrews, I didn’t have to.
For those who don’t care to shop for Prada or Gucci clothing, or don’t maintain elaborate second mansions here, Aspen’s essential appeal lies in the outdoors — mountains, wildlife, rivers — which, compared with winter, when you might need to rent ski equipment or pay for mountain access, is a steal. Hiking and city bus transportation are free. Cycling, if you can avoid expensive rentals, is a bargain. Parks beckon picnickers, and free cultural attractions abound.
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