A mere 30 miles east of SLC via I-80, Park City (elevation 6900ft) skyrocketed to international fame when it hosted the downhill, jumping and sledding events at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Not only is Park City the Southwest’s most popular ski town, it’s also home to the US ski team. Come spring, the town gears up for hiking and mountain-biking season in the high peaks nearby.
A silver-mining community during the 19th century, the city has an attractive and remarkably well-preserved Main St, lined with upscale galleries, shops, hotels, restaurants and bars. And despite the sea of prefab housing that has spread across the valley and surrounding hills, the town remains relatively charming.
The biggest and most star-studded event here is the annual Sundance Film Festival (801-328-3456; www.sundance.org) each January. Independent films and their makers, stars and fans fill the town to bursting for two weeks, and tickets often sell out in advance.
One Visitor Information Center (435-658-9616; www.parkcityinfo.com; Kimball Junction, Hwy 224 & Olympic Blvd; 9am-6pm) is in the northern Kimball Junction area, but a second office is at the Park City Historic Museum (435-649-7457; www.parkcityhistory.org; 528 Main St; admission free; 11am-5pm Mon-Sat, noon-6pm Sun). The museum has interesting mining and history exhibits and a dungeonlike former territorial jail in the basement.