Attendee Information Guide

From where to pick up your pass and how to get around campus, to where to eat and what to wear, this guide is your go-to source for answers about the Aspen Ideas Festival and Spotlight Health.

Attendee Information Guide PDF


Hotels sell out quickly. Visit Stay Aspen Snowmass to get more information, or contact our travel agent Linda Crouch at She can be reached at or 866-324-9606.


Direct Flights:

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is three miles from downtown and a 30-minute flight from Denver International Airport (DIA).

Shuttle Service from Denver:

The Aspen Institute has partnered with Colorado Mountain Express (CME) to provide shuttle service from Denver International Airport. For reservations, call (800) 525-6363 or visit the Colorado Mountain Express website, Use the code "INSTITUTE" to receive a discounted rate of $99, one-way.

Driving Directions:

From Denver, Aspen is 220 miles via I-70 West to Glenwood Springs. From Glenwood Springs, take Highway 82 to Aspen.

A scenic route from Denver is I-70 West to 91 South through Leadville to 24 South, then west onto Highway 82 over Independence Pass.

From Grand Junction, Aspen is an easy 128 miles. Take I-70 East to Glenwood Springs. From Glenwood Springs, take Highway 82 to Aspen.

From Eagle/Vail, Aspen is about 70 miles, first on I-70 West to Glenwood Springs, and then connecting with Highway 82 to Aspen.


Ideas Festival Shuttle:

Shuttle service runs on a continuous loop, making stops at several hotels around town.

Bike Sharing:

WE-Cycle bikes are a fast and convenient way to get around. Stations are located throughout town and on the Aspen Institute campus near the Aspen Meadows reception and in front of the Paepcke building.

Bus service:

The City of Aspen runs a free, city-wide bus system. The cross-town shuttle runs every 30 minutes to and from downtown Aspen to the Aspen Institute campus and the Benedict Music Tent, between 7:54 am and 9:00 pm daily.

Outbound: from Rubey Park Transit Center (downtown Aspen) to campus at :06 and :36 past each hour.

Inbound: from campus (at the Benedict Music Tent parking lot) to Rubey Park Transit Center at :15 and :45 past each hour.

For more details about public transportation, call (970) 925-8484 or visit the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority's website.


There is no parking on the Aspen Institute campus (this includes the Benedict Music Tent parking lot). Attendees are encouraged to park at the Rio Grande Parking Garage and take the Parking Garage Shuttle. See the Transportation Guide for Shuttle times and stops.


Most Ideas Festival and Spotlight Health session venues are on the Aspen Institute's Aspen Meadows campus: 1000 North Third Street, Aspen, CO 81611. Registration is held on-campus. There are several "off campus" venues located in town. Locations for each session are listed in the Festival agenda.


Register upon arrival at the registration desk in the Ideas Pavilion, which is located in the Paepcke parking lot outside of Paepcke Auditorium. You will receive a Festival pass, gift bag, agenda and additional information and updates. Passes must be worn at all times when you are on the Aspen Institute campus or attending off-campus Festival programming.


Spotlight Health

Thursday, June 21, 10am
Programming starts in the afternoon.

Festival 1

Sunday, June 24, 11am
Programming starts in the afternoon. (Food service begins after opening session. Please join us for a welcome reception after the opening session.)

Festival 2

Wednesday, June 27, 10am
Programming starts in the afternoon.


Your pass gives you access to all on and off-campus Festival programming including plenaries, lectures, breakouts, evening sessions, and more. The majority of sessions take place on the Aspen Meadows campus, with additional sessions at venues around the city of Aspen. Please remember to wear your pass at all times. Do you have a friend or family member who doesn't have a pass and wants to attend an in-town session? Limited public tickets for in-town sessions go on sale at 9am (MDT) on June 15th at the Wheeler Box Office.

Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Arrive early. Seats fill up quickly and latecomers can be disruptive and distracting to speakers.



The full Festival agenda is released about a week prior to the Festival. It will be available on our website and mobile app.

Mobile App:

The 2018 mobile app will be released in spring/early summer. Available on iOS and Android, the mobile app is the go-to guide for the agenda, speaker information, maps, Festival updates, and much more. We recommend downloading the mobile app to your device before arriving in Aspen. Please allow push notifications, as we will use these to give real-time schedule and programming updates.

Stay Engaged:

Find updates, information about speakers, the agenda, and more on our website. Session videos, audio, and podcast episodes are added daily during and after the Festival. And find a variety of coverage, including Q&A's with and essays by Festival presenters. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, and on Apple Podcasts.


Breakfast and lunch are served daily during the Festival, both on campus and at off-campus venues. For information about dining and nightlife in Aspen, visit the Aspen Chamber.

Beverages and Refreshments:

All-natural snacks, like granola bars, popcorn, and fresh fruit, will be available at different locations around campus.

Lunch on Campus:

There are several options for dining on campus. You can find lunch and organized talks at the McNulty Room and the Aspen Meadows Restaurant. Start your own lunchtime dialogue at the Marble Garden Tent, Paepcke Tent, or Ideas Pavilion. Quick bites are available at the Let's Be Frank food carts, where all-natural hotdogs are served. The Mayer Courtyard Café is stocked with snacks, treats and drinks. Or, grab a picnic blanket at any of the outdoor venues and enjoy lunch outside.


Aspen is a walking city situated nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. (See Tips for Getting Adjusted to the Altitude). Cool evenings and afternoon thundershowers are common. Highs can be in the 80s, with lows in the 50s. We recommend layering and bringing a light jacket. Festival attendees dress comfortably, yet professionally. Comfortable walking shoes are essential.


Enjoy all Aspen has to offer! Visit the Aspen Chamber Resort Association to find popular recreational activities and attractions. For information about the surrounding mountains, visit the White River National Forest website. Find family friendly options at this website.


The Society of Fellows is a community of supporters who play a key role in sustaining the Institute's mission, expanding its programs, and ensuring its future. To find out more, visit their website or call Peter Waanders at 970-544-7912.


Lost and found is located at the reception desk in the Paepcke lobby outside Paepcke Auditorium.


Written cancellation requests are required and will be credited as follows:

Before June 1, 2018:

80% refund

June 1 – 15, 2018:

50% refund

There are no refunds after June 15, 2018. Please contact Katie Nix at or Karen Petersen at to request a refund.


In an email, please describe what you’re looking for and someone from our team will get back to you within one business day.