When people think of Park City, skiing or Sundance likely comes to mind. While the area rightly deserves praise for its slopes (packed with “the best snow on earth”) and star-studded film festival, the town also offers more than enough action for visitors in the warmer months.
Park City’s origins date back to 1868 when soldiers stumbled across silver in the surrounding hills. Over the next 50 years, miners who hoped to strike it rich flocked to the area, turning it into a boomtown. As the mines depleted in the mid-20th century, Park City became a virtual ghost town until a federal loan funded the re-opening of the Park City Mountain Resort in 1963. During the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Park City played host to many events, earning the area its well-deserved reputation as a top ski destination.
Today, visitors come year-round for Park City’s delightful mix of low-key Western charm and upscale dining and lodging options. Plus, it’s super convenient to travel to, especially from Southern cities. A direct flight from Atlanta (ATL) to Salt Lake City (SLC) takes about four hours, and from there it’s only a 45-minute drive into the mountains to arrive at your final destination.
In other words, if you leave by lunch on Friday, you’ll be well on your way to an adventure-filled weekend by cocktail hour. Here’s all you need to know to build the perfect itinerary for a long weekend filled with fresh mountain air.
WHERE TO STAY
Located at the base of the Deer Valley Resort, the Chateaux Deer Valley is a great option in the mid-price range. A friendly staff, a delicious on-site restaurant and easy access to activities such as hiking and mountain biking make this a supremely convenient spot to stay. Guests also enjoy complimentary shuttle service to historic Main Street.
If you prefer a home away from home, check out Park City Lodging, which offers furnished condos and houses all over town at reasonable prices. You can walk to Main Street from many of the properties, or take one of the public transportation options: either an e-bike from the city’s bike share program or hop on the free bus.
Looking to up the ante? The ultra-luxe Montage Deer Valley is a high-end resort nestled in the mountains. While it’s still pricey, rooms are considerably less in the summer months than in winter while offering the same upscale experience. After a full day of activities, you can relax at the Montage Spa (the largest in Utah!) and dine at one of the five on-site restaurants.
WHAT TO DO
Take a hike. Park City abounds with trails hikers will love, ranging from family-friendly jaunts to more arduous adventures. Check out the Round Valley Trail System, which is easily accessible from town and offers nearly 700 acres of open space. For a smooth, family-friendly hike, head to Park City Mountain Resort to take Jenni’s tail, a 5.1-mile trek to the top of a mountain for panoramic views. If you’re looking for a more strenuous hike, start at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Lodge and take the Silver Lake Trail, which rewards your steep climb with great views of the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Uinta Mountains. (Find more detailed trail information here.)
Learn how to mountain bike. If you’re new to the sport, book a guide with White Pine Touring and head out into the hills to learn the basics. More experienced mountain bikers can head to the bike park at Deer Valley Resort, where three chairlifts will give you access to 70 miles of fun, twisty trails at a range of difficulty levels.
Go fly fishing. With two rivers flush with brown trout, the Provo River and the Weber River, Park City is a mecca for fly fishermen — or those curious to learn! Book a lesson with a guide from JANS, Trout Bum 2 or one of the many other fly fishing outfitters in town.
Go stand-up paddleboarding. Get a full-body high-intensity workout — and test your balance! — at a Surf Fit class with Park City SUP in Deer Valley. Or check out Park City Yoga Adventures’ yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards at the Homestead Crater, an ancient hot spring.
Get fit outside. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, head to the St. Regis Deer Valley for an outdoor bodyweight bootcamp class. Hosted by V The Art of Wellness, the class incorporates functional movements and yoga to strengthen and stretch your body.
Reach new heights at Utah Olympic Park. A former venue of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, this fun park has tons of activities for kids and adults alike to try their hand at, including ziplining, tubing on the Nordic jumps and even bobsledding.
Shop ‘til you drop. When you’re ready for some more low-key action, head to Main Street for a range of stores and galleries to explore, from high-end boutiques to touristy t-shirt shops.
Stroll through Park Silly Sunday Market. Every Sunday, lower Main Street closes off to cars and opens up to artists, crafters, farmers, musicians and more displaying their wares and treats. Grab a Bloody Mary or beer, and spend your Sunday afternoon exploring the 120+ booths.
Attend the annual Kimball Arts Festival. One of Park City’s biggest events takes place August 3-5. Over 22 artists will be on hand performing musical acts, showing their artworks and offering their culinary creations, all to raise funds for the local nonprofit, Kimball Arts Center.
Check out the Autumn Aloft Hot Air Balloon Festival. September 15 and 16, hot air balloons will overtake the airspace above Park City for a visual spectacle like no other.
WHERE TO EAT
Now for the most important question: Where should you fuel up for all your adventures? Below are some of the culinary highlights of Park City, but there are so many great spots in town that it’s hard to go wrong!
Start your day with a coffee or tea at Atticus, a family-owned coffee shop on Main Street that also offers a range of delicious breakfast options. Or head to Deer Valley Grocery Café in Deer Valley Resort, which serves yummy breakfast sandwiches, coffees, and more in an idyllic lakeside setting.
For lunch, check out Royal Street Café, located mid-mountain in Deer Valley, which offers creative American cuisine alongside epic views of the mountains. Don’t miss their award-winning blueberry mojito. If you’re near Main Street, head to Harvest, where you can choose from creative, locally sourced dishes. It’s gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it a great option for those with food restrictions or special diets.
When you start thinking about dinner, a staple in Park City is Riverhorse on Main, one of the town’s most established — and most awarded — restaurants. Whether you go for the surf and turf or one of the vegetarian entrees, you won’t be disappointed, especially since the wine list is top-notch as well. If you’re in the mood for sushi, check out Shabu, also on Main Street, which serves creative spins on traditional Japanese cuisine.
A little further off Main Street, Silver Star Café, a family-owned spot at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, has it all — creative dishes, views of the mountains and live music on weekends.
It may not be New York City, but Park City has a lively nightlife scene as well. If you’re a whiskey fan, you need to check out High West Distillery — it’s the only ski-in, ski-out distillery in the United States. Go for a whiskey tasting and stay for the delicious custom cocktails.
No Name Saloon is another classic Park City establishment. Located in a historic building known as the Alamo, the popular bar features eclectic decor, a fun atmosphere and a spacious rooftop overlooking Main Street.
When you’re ready to plan your trip to Park City, start your research at VisitParkCity.com.
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