What sets Park City apart from other mountain towns? Well, it offers tons of outdoor activities in addition to the obvious skiing and snowboarding, claims to have more chefs per capita than Paris and is easily accessible, only a 35-minute drive from Utah's Salt Lake International Airport.
Whether you’re visiting in winter or summer, you’ll find tons of dining options, endless trails and, if history is your fancy, a fascinating mining past to explore. From dogsled, mountain-coaster and bobsled rides to whiskey tastings, ghost tours and scenic drives, here are a few fantastic ways to spend your time in Park City.
Take a stroll down historic Main Street
Park City’s Main Street has maintained much of its late-20th-century silver-mining-town character, earning it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. With dozens of boutique shops, art galleries, outdoor gear shops, restaurants and bars, Main Street is a spirited gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. It's especially lively at the end of January, when celebrities and film-goers flood the streets for Sundance Film Festival events.
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Ski the perfect groomers at Deer Valley
Sure, most people come to Park City to ski Utah’s famous featherlight powder, but if there’s not much snow in the forecast, don’t be too disappointed – skiing Deer Valley’s velvety runs can be just as fun. This skier-only resort limits the number of daily tickets available, practically ensuring low crowd levels. First thing in the morning, warm up on the Jordanelle, a long cruiser that softens into the perfectly groomed run.
Drive Guardsman Pass, a scenic backway
This super-scenic mountain pass offers fantastic views of the Wasatch Mountains, just minutes from Park City’s Main Street. It’s only open from summer to fall, and best driven in mid-summer, when the wildflowers take over the mountainside, or in fall, when the aspens turn a vibrant shade of gold. A windy mountain route, it connects Park City with neighboring Big Cottonwood Canyon, which is home to the Brighton and Solitude Ski areas.
Explore local mining history at the Park City Museum
Park City is one of the few towns in Utah founded by non-Mormons – when silver was discovered in the 1860s, crowds of prospectors flocked here hoping to strike it rich. Like many old western mining towns, it has quite the wild and rambunctious past, and one fun place to explore that history is Park City Museum, located right on Main Street, featuring interactive mining exhibits, a film illustrating the town's transition to world-class ski destination and – the highlight – an old jail, which looks more like a dungeon.
Sample award-winning whiskey at High West Distillery
Despite Utah’s reputation as a dry state (due to the state’s dominant religion forbidding alcohol consumption), Park City is home to an award-winning distillery. In fact, Whisky Advocate named High West its 2016 Distiller of the Year – a huge honor for any booze brand, let alone one based in Utah. You can tour the distillery just outside of town, or simply sample the goods at the downtown saloon; just be warned that the state of Utah forbids free alcohol samples, so there's a charge for the tour's whiskey flights.
Try every action sport imaginable at Woodward Park City
If you’re looking for something to do with kids, Woodward Park City is an action-sports center like no other. Not only is it the perfect place for kids to learn to ski or snowboard for a fraction of the cost of the big resorts, but it also has an indoor sports center with a pump track, skate park, trampolines, parkour zone and more. Families especially love the tubing area, where a magic carpet whisks tubers up the hill.
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Bite into a huge, juicy steak at a Park City institution
A local favorite for more than 40 years, the family-friendly Grub Steak Restaurant has a stellar reputation for serious steak, seafood and game entrees, with a large rustic fireplace, Western decor and live weekend entertainment adding to the warm, casual vibe. Don’t miss the signature bread pudding, served with High West Distillery vanilla-whiskey sauce.
Try a pint of Polygamy Porter at Wasatch Brew Pub
Perched at the top of Park City’s historic Main Street, Wasatch Brew Pub was not only the first craft brewery in Utah, but one of the first in the entire US. It was founded by Greg Schirf in the early 1980s, when he moved to Utah from Milwaukee and discovered his new state had no brewery of its own.
Named for the mountain range that dominates the view east of Salt Lake City, the brewery often generates controversy for its tendency to poke fun at Utah culture – the best-known example being its Polygamy Porter (slogan: “Why have just one!”). In addition to its wide selection of award-winning brews, it also features a menu of pub favorites and weekend brunch.
Learn to cross-country ski at White Pine Touring Nordic Center
Park City may be best known for its downhill, but it's also a great place to learn how to cross-country ski. White Pine Touring Nordic Center offers affordable classic and skate-ski lessons, which include gear rentals and a ski pass; if you have your own gear, Round Valley's 15.5 miles of trails are free to enjoy. You can also explore the same ski trails used in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, in the nearby town of Midway.
Explore the haunted side of Main Street on a ghost tour
After silver prices dropped in the 1940s and before it was reborn as a popular ski area in the '60s, Park City became a true ghost town – and apparently a few ghosts from the town’s early mining days still linger here. Despite the reality of such claims, hopping on a ghost tour is another fun way to learn about the area's past, and to hear stories about the crazy characters who lived here during the town’s mining heyday. Tours are on foot and offered nightly on Main Street.
Browse local goods at the Park Silly Market
Each Sunday throughout the summer season, Park City’s historic Main Street closes to vehicle traffic, welcoming a booming open-air market with eclectic local crafts, fresh fruit-and-veggie booths, food trucks, live music and more. There’s even a beer garden, where you can sample local brews and sip one of the market’s acclaimed Bloody Marys.
See adorable sled-dog puppies at Rancho Luna Lobos
Just 15 minutes from downtown Park City, Rancho Luna Lobos is home to a family-owned sled-dog team that offers dogsled adventures, mushing lessons and kennel tours. The dogsled experiences offer a thrilling ride while also teaching participants what it’s like to be a real dog musher, and they include plenty of quality time with the pups. The experiences often sell out early in the season, so if you can’t nab a reservation, opt for a kennel tour, where you can learn about dogsled racing and meet – and hopefully snuggle – the new puppies.
Enjoy a thrilling ride on the Park City mountain coaster
In late spring, once all the snow melts, Park City Mountain Resort transforms from an epic ski resort into a fun summer-sports destination, with hiking and mountain-biking trails, scenic chairlift rides and a thrilling mountain roller coaster. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a whirl in this toboggan-style coaster, in which you control your own speed.
Cruise the smooth singletrack on the Mid-Mountain Trail
The mountains surrounding Park City offer more than 400 miles of public-use trails for hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Stretching 26 miles from Deer Valley to Park City Mountain Resorts, the Mid-Mountain Trail is a classic, passing through aspen forest and open meadows and offering lovely views of Park City along a ridgeline. You can find trail maps on the Mountain Trails Foundation website and information at the White Pine Touring gear shop in town.
Delve into the state's athletic legacy at Utah Olympic Park
No trip to Park City is complete without a trip to Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games for the bobsled, skeleton, luge and ski-jumping events. The park continues to host various competitions and serves as a training center for future Olympians. Guided tours – which get up close and personal with the tops of the Nordic ski jump and bobsled tracks – are the best way to experience the park. Adventurous travelers can also book a ride in a bobsled.
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