Park City gets a lot of buzz during the winter. That’s completely warranted given the epic, powder-dusted conditions for skiing and snowboarding as well as the Sundance Film Festival, which brings upward of 46,660 movie buffs to the place in January. But this Utah mountain town is far from a one-season destination. Overlooking the warmer months means missing out on the heaps of outdoor adventure and alpine fun. Summer is the perfect time for hiking, cycling, eating great food, listening to live music and enjoying amenities at some of the fabulous hotels.
Want to plan a trip to Park City this summer? Here are some seasonal highlights sure to take your trek to the next level:
How to Get There
Flights from all around the country regularly arrive at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). It’s a major hub for Delta, Alaska Airlines, American, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Southwest and United. A few other regional airlines also serve the airport. Once you land, it’s easy to call an Uber or pick up a rental car (my personal recommendation).
Where to Stay
If you’re keen to stay in downtown, I highly recommend Washington School House, an intimate boutique hotel that occupies a historic hammered limestone schoolhouse. Given when the building was constructed and the fact that it survived the Great Fire of 1898, it’s chock-full of history. The owners did an outstanding job hanging onto the heritage while injecting statement-making enhancements like a huge white lacquered antler and crystal chandelier in the grand living/dining area. This pint-sized property also happens to whip up one of the best breakfasts around, so folks staying on-site not only get to wake up in comfy beds fitted with Pratesi sheets but also saunter downstairs for fluffy pancakes and house-made mixed berry jam.
Located atop Empire Pass, Montage Deer Valley is a five-star alpine refuge with the highest caliber resort amenities (ahem, fine dining and a 35,000-square-foot spa). It’s also just a short drive from Main Street, so you get access to spellbinding nature, posh perks and all the excitement of Old Town. Lovers of luxury flock to the Waldorf Astoria Park City in the summer to swim in the outdoor pool and laze in the cabanas, soak in the scenic vistas and hit the links.
Situated in the middle of Canyons Village, Pendry Park City takes a modern approach to mountainside lodgings, doling out heaps of contemporary slope-side style. While the European-inspired aprés lounge and relaxation-inducing spa exude an adult atmosphere, the hotel itself is delightfully family-friendly, with a mini jeep full of stuffed animals (that in real life you’ll find around Park City waiting to greet little guests at the reception desk), an epic kids club and residential-style accommodations. Some even have rooms with bunk beds for extra cool points.
How Park City Survived a Year Without SundanceWhat happens to a resort town when its biggest draw stays home?
What to Do
Park City is a mecca for adventure, even when the snow melts and the sun shines bright. That’s the ideal time to try out the myriad opportunities for outdoor recreation that don’t require bundling up.
Whether you’d rather commune with nature on foot, bicycle or horseback, it’s all waiting. Stunning hikes for all skill levels abound, from the easy Dawn’s Trail to the moderate Bloods Lake Trail to the more challenging 24-mile Park City IMBA Epic Loop. When you tire of trekking (or just feel like changing things up), saddle up for a horseback riding excursion through the beautiful scenery or go mountain biking. Anglers come from far and wide for fly fishing in the pristine rivers. (Don’t worry about hauling your own gear; just bop over to one of the tackle shops.) Other water-based pursuits include white rafting, tubing and stand-up paddle boarding. If heights aren’t a concern, consider a hot air balloon ride 1,000 feet up in the air. On the more leisurely side of things, a trip to Park City also comes with access to more than a dozen golf courses.
There’s also a lot happening in a small footprint in downtown. One of the most popular attractions, the Town Lift offers spectacular views from the gondola that climbs to the top of Park City Mountain. Main Street brims with stylish shops. Eager to introduce some Western flair into your wardrobe? Burns 1876 stocks splurge-worthy handcrafted cowboy boots and hats. A few doors down, Park City Museum gives visitors a deeper look at the history and heritage of this former silver mining town through exhibitions and a video that plays inside a passenger train car. And, of course, you’ll want to snap those requisite photos with the bronze bear on the bench and the colorful moose statue.
Open seasonally from June to September, Park Silly Sunday Market brings artisans, food stalls, drinks and tunes together in a fun-filled free event that takes over the base of Main Street. Speaking of entertainment, the summer music scene in Park City turns up the volume with big-name acts like the Beach Boys drawing crowds at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater. There’s also a community concert series and local talent performing at smaller venues around town.
After all that movement (and, yes, dancing counts), I love a trip to the spa to soothe sore muscles, with a massage followed by a schvitz in the sauna, or maybe a hot and cold plunge pool moment. Park City has so many fantastic wellness spaces. Even better, you don’t have to be a guest to book a treatment and use the facilities at Spa Pendry or the massive wellness sanctuary at Montage Deer Valley.
Where to Eat and Drink
When a day promises endless adventure, you’ve got to caffeinate accordingly. My top pick? Atticus, a family-run coffee shop and tea house on Main Street that also serves breakfast items like muffins and bagels and sells a curated assortment of books, many by local authors.
Park City and Courchevel are sister cities. The alpine roots of both destinations run deep. If you’re looking for a little French flair on your trip to Utah, make a reservation on the sun-drenched terrace at Courchevel Bistro. Seasonal small plates, creative cocktails and a stylish atmosphere make Handle worthy of a date night or a meal with friends and family. We brought our toddler and had a very pleasant experience savoring steelhead trout and mushroom bolognese in one of the plush booths.
Sushi in Park City? Yes! Yuki Yama is the place everyone said to go and, at first, I couldn’t wrap my head around eating nigiri and sashimi made from fish imported from Japan in a destination that’s all about locavore ingredients but it’s excellent and further proves that magic lives in the surprise and delight elements of travel.
I’m also a fan of The Goldener Hirsch Restaurant at Goldener Hirsch, Auberge Resorts Collection, which transports travelers to the Austrian Alps with its alpine fare and character-rich interiors. In the summer, snap some photos of the hand-painted murals in the dining room on your way to a table on the sun-drenched patio.
Ice cream from Java Cow is the ultimate joy-inducing treat for travelers of all ages. Despite Utah having some of the strictest alcohol laws in the country, folks looking to imbibe can still do so. High West Saloon pours a wide selection of whiskeys that pair well with the American gastropub fare.
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