Aviemore represents the Gaelic form An Aghaidh Mhòr. Aghaidh may be Pictish and involve an element equivalent to Welshag meaning "cleft".
Prior to 1790 it was in an exclave of the county of Moray and from 1890 to 1975 it was in the county of Inverness-shire, until the later date being within the Civil Parish of Duthil and Rothiemurchus. The village began to grow as a result of it becoming a railway junction in 1898, following which the Highland Railway became a major employer constructing housing for its staff and the Aviemore Hotel. Aviemore became one of the first skiing resorts to be established in Scotland with the opening of the chairlift in 1961 After the ski centre opened the population of the village grew. The resort has since grown into Britain's most visited ski resort during the winter months. The Aviemore Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1950, and its site and that of its golf course were used in the 1960s for the construction of the Aviemore Centre. It was opened by Lady Fraser of Allander in 1966. "The Centre", as it became affectionately known, quickly developed into a major Scottish tourist destination, and in its heyday royalty were regular visitors, including Prince Charles and Princess Anne who attended Royal Hunt Balls hosted in the Aviemore Centre's Osprey Rooms. The very popular BBC TV show "It's a Christmas Knockout" was held in the complex twice in the 1970s. Rothiemurchus Golf Club, Aviemore was founded in 1906. The club and course closed at the time of WW2. Around 1998, many of the original John Poulson buildings were demolished as part of a promised £50 million overhaul. Although the visitor buildings were replaced, many of the other leisure facilities were not. In 2006 a privately led tourist organisation began a programme of attracting tourists to the area. It is also notable for being near the freely grazing reindeer herd at Glen More, the only one in the United Kingdom. The Cairngorm Mountain Railway, owned by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, was closed in October 2018 "due to health and safety concerns", or "structural problems" according to reports in summer 2019. At the time, an investigation was still underway to determine whether modifications would be "achievable and affordable". On 10 July 2019, an announcement stated that a contract had been finalised for the construction of the Badenoch & Strathspey Community Hospital and Health Care Centre in Aviemore. The 24-bed facility, to be built by Balfour Beatty, was expected to open in spring 2021. A previous report in February 2019 had provided additional specifics as to the plan. In addition to the rooms, the hospital was expected to have 12 consultation and treatment rooms, three minor injuries and out-of-hours treatment rooms, X-ray facilities and an outpatient department; paramedics would also be based here. During summer 2019, filming of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, took place in the town and in the surrounding areas of Cairngorms National Park. Temporary accommodations were constructed in a car park in the town for the production crew of around 300. Some scenes were also being shot at the Ardverikie House Estate, just outside the park, roughly southwest of the town.