Nestled in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Park City is a quaint ski town bursting with gourmet bites, comforting cocktails, a plethora of outdoor activities and a unique artistic bent. From the lauded Sundance Film Festival to a heralded whiskey distillery and a myriad of snowy sports, this Utah hot spot is worth a visit any time of year.
Come for the skiing, stay for the adventure and learn about the history of this once-humble mining community.
Stay at Waldorf Astoria Park City
One of the most luxurious hotels in town is located just minutes from the city center. More than just a plush place to rest your head, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Waldorf Astoria Park City offers its own dedicated ski lift right outside the front door, rustic mountain-inspired cuisine at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Powder and the sumptuous Waldorf Astoria Spa, where you can indulge in an array of rejuvenating treatments.
With lovely views of the mountain, fireplaces all over and a sauna at your fingertips, there’s nowhere better to rest after a busy day outdoors.
Drink at High West Distillery
Though many think of Utah as being dry, the state actually cast the deciding vote to end Prohibition in 1933. But it wasn’t until 2006 that High West opened its doors and became Utah’s first legal distillery in more than 130 years. Visit the venue to see where the four signature whiskies are distilled and then stop at the saloon to try a flight.
Have the bartender whip up a craft cocktail such as the Magnificent Seven, made with High West’s own Double Rye!, tequila, mango juice, cilantro and topped off with pineapple beer. Or opt for the barrel-aged Boulevardier, already bottled and ready to pour or to take it home as a souvenir. Comforting mountain fare is also served alongside the spirits.
Eat at Handle
To truly taste the bounty of Utah, chef Briar Handly has created a menu of mostly organic, locally sourced and seasonal eats at the trendy downtown restaurant Handle. This means you might get morel mushrooms on top of risotto with fava beans or a hearty pork shank with charred broccolini and local Rockhill Edam made into macaroni and cheese.
The menu changes all the time, but the restaurant’s dedication to delicious, well-thought-out food remains constant.
When you think of Park City, skiing definitely tops the mind. Located in the Wasatch Range, the scenic city surrounds you with gorgeous mountains just ready to be explored.
A skier’s paradise can be found on Park City Mountain, a peak that reaches 10,000 feet and offers access to 347 trails, eight terrain parks, 14 bowls, six natural half pipes and one super pipe, while the town and surrounding area delivers an additional 7,300 skiable acres.
Get historical at the Park City Museum
Though small, the charming history museum in Park City is worth a walk through, especially if you want to know how the town came to be. See a scaled model of the 19th-century Mega Mine, sit in an original car from the world’s only Skier Subway and take in modern art exhibits that speak to the city.
The museum is open every day and can be found right in the center of town.
Dine at Riverhorse on Main
Be sure to make a reservation to see and be seen at Four-Star Riverhorse on Main, located inside a renovated historic Masonic Hall on Main Street.
Enjoy chef Seth Adams’s new American cuisine by candlelight after a day of getting to know Mother Nature. Nibble on lobster pot pie, a fresh seafood tower, braised buffalo short rib and the restaurant’s signature dish, macadamia-nut-crusted Alaskan halibut with herb whipped potatoes.
The vibe is casual but the service upscale, the perfect balance for a fine ski town.
Get inspired at Kimball Art Center
Though opportunities for outdoor fun, eating and drinking run aplenty in Park City, you should take a moment to discover its artistic side as well.
The idea for a community arts center here was born in 1976, when Bill Kimball built one in his garage. Today, the Kimball Art Center is bright, shiny and well stocked with exhibits from nationally acclaimed artists. The gallery has showcased works by Richard Serra, Carl Richards, Christo and Jeanne-Claude and Kara Walker, among other solo artists and group exhibits.
The main attraction, though, is the Park City Kimball Arts Festival held downtown each August for nearly 50 years.
Adventure with White Pines Touring
One of the best things to do in Park City is take advantage of the glorious open spaces and nearby Wasatch Mountains. White Pines Touring can tailor hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing excursions to your party’s size, athletic ability and all-around adventure goals.
In the winter, expect cross-country skiing tours, fat tire biking through the mountains and snowshoeing. You can even take a break from civilization and book a yurt camping experience.
Caffeinate at Atticus Coffee and Teahouse
Don’t skip a visit to the laid-back Atticus Coffee and Teahouse on lower Main Street. Since 2010, this quaint shop has dished out cups of local Millcreek Coffee, steaming lattes, frozen mochas, cooling matcha lemonade and pot after pot of premium tea. Take it to go or stick around and peruse the rows of new and used books.
Attend the Sundance Film Festival
Every year, Hollywood stars and the people who love them flock to this darling mountain town for one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. The spectacle has become a beacon for independent filmmakers since actor Robert Redford raised the curtain for the first time in 1978.
Today, you can see dozens of movies, from foreign flicks to big-name thrillers and documentaries, all stuffed between a calendar of parties and primo people-watching. Though the exact dates always waver, the event usually begins in late January and runs for 10 days.