I first moved to Park City six years ago when I got a job with U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “We’re just moving for a year or two” was my go-to mantra as we said our goodbyes to friends and family in Boulder, Colorado. But quickly and unintentionally, I fell in love with Park City. It wasn’t just that my job was here, but that there were world-class mountains 10 minutes from my house. There are tons of great dining options. The town and its people are charming. It’s always sunny, but yet we have massive powder days.
So now, as a certified local (we just bought a house!), a total food snob (I did move here from Boulder) and a die-hard Deer Valley Resort skier (much the chagrin of friends who frequent the Cottonwood Canyon resorts), here’s what I recommend to create the perfect weekend in our little ski town.
I thought about moving to a mountain town for a long time, but Park City became the perfect option for one major reason: access to the Salt Lake City International Airport. It’s so dang close to this town. The easiest way to get up to Park City is utilizing the trusty Lyft/Uber situation. There are always tons of cars available and it’s significantly more affordable than a shuttle service, if you’re in a smaller group. But if you’re a larger group, there are a variety of shuttles available. It’ll take about 30-40 minutes to get up to Park City from airport pickup, depending on where you’re going in town.
Pro tip: If you take an early flight, you can even sneak in a few runs after landing. The mountains are that close.
Arrive at the Washington School House Hotel. It may not have the name-brand recognition of a St. Regis or Montage, but this little boutique hotel is a gem. Built as a school in 1889, there are only 12 rooms and each one is spectacularly decorated. There’s also a heated pool built into the hillside, a gourmet breakfast provided by the roaring fireplace each morning, an après spread for when you’re done shredding, a small spa, a movie room and more. It’s gorgeous and conveniently located in the heart of Park City’s Old Town—making it easy to walk out the front door to the shops, restaurants and even Park City Mountain.
For a more affordable option, Park City Peaks Hotel offers easily accessible lodging close to the base of Park City Mountain. For a more opulent option, Montage Deer Valley is at the base of Deer Valley’s Empire Express and has luxury rooms, an excellent spa and a bowling alley.
Now that you’ve settled in, put your coat on and walk about one minute to Park City’s famed High West Distillery and Saloon. The first legal distillery in Utah after Prohibition, this bar/restaurant is located in an old livery stable and features western fare, flights of their whiskeys and delicious cocktails featuring their spirits. I recommend their Devil’s Eye—High West’s Double Rye whiskey, cold brew coffee, amarti, crème de cacao, cinnamon and an egg white—so you can power through the rest of the evening with a little caffeine buzz. But if you don’t like whiskey, they have plenty of great beers and wines available to kick off your vacation nicely.
Just a few blocks from High West is a little restaurant called Handle. With some of the most creative food in the town, this place has grown in popularity over its short lifespan—having been featured in top-tier food publications and its chef/owner nabbing a James Beard nomination in 2020. The menu features small plates perfect for sharing with your travel companions, such as their famous cauliflower and unreal fried chicken.
The night isn’t over yet. Utah’s bars stay open until 1 a.m. and you’re just a quick walk away from your hotel. Given that you’ve spent all evening drinking fancy cocktails (did you try the Rattlesnake at Handle?!), it’s time for a cheap beer. Head over to the infamous No Name Saloon—a Park City establishment with a rowdy late-night scene—and close out your evening with a PBR on their heated roof deck. If No Name is too crowded, The Spur also has a great scene, the obligatory mountain town shotski and live music on weekend evenings. Remember that you’re skiing tomorrow though and maybe head home before 1 a.m. hits.
Wake up feeling awesome because you just stuck to one last beer last night and indulge in a gourmet breakfast at the hotel. But if you’re feeling a little worse for the wear and need something greasier, here’s a list of grab-and-go breakfast burrito and bagel places we recommend.
Just .1 miles away from your hotel is Park City Mountain's Town Lift—a three-person chairlift that delivers amazing views. In minutes, you’ll be at the top of Park City Mountain, able to cruise groomers or crush powder to your heart’s content.
Park City Mountain, purchased by Vail Resorts in 2014, was combined with neighboring Canyons Resort in 2015 to make it one of the biggest ski resorts in North America. Be sure to hop the Quicksilver Gondola to check out the Canyons side—the Ninety-Nine 90 Lift is a can’t-miss for more advanced skiers.
Evaluate where you are when your stomach rumbles for lunch. Skiing burns a lot of calories, so breakfast won’t stick around for long. If you’re on the mountain, book your Time to Dine on the EpicMix app and head to one of Park City Mountain’s plentiful restaurants or lodges. Cloud Dine is beautiful and one of my top choices—located on a mountain top on the Canyons side with views for miles. If you’re down at the base of Canyons village, the new Kuchu Shabu serves excellent ramen and poke bowls in their cute ski-themed restaurant. If you’re nearer to the Park City side, The Bridge Café has delicious burgers right at the base of Town Lift.
Some may choose to ski bell-to-bell, but for those that are feeling a little tired after making turns all morning, Park City offers excellent shopping. Old Town is full of adorable shops and stunning galleries. We at Ski Utah recommend checking out Stio for some new ski gear, because everyone always needs a new jacket to rock on vacation (plus, my husband helped build out the store and it’s gorgeous!) and you’ll probably want to stop by Meredith Marks because I assume that everyone is like me and watching Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.
When the skiers have finished and the others have shopped to their hearts' content, it’s time for the time-honored tradition of après-ski. While I’ve put together an inventory of the best après ski spots at each resort in Utah, you’ll have skied back into Old Town, which isn’t included in that list. Enter: Old Town Cellars, an award-winning winery in the heart of a Utah mountain town. Who knew that existed?! Founded by Stephen MacKay and Jason Morgan, these two guys have branded OTC as the “official wine of après,” so you know you’re doing it right. Check out their newly built lounge and taste through their wines to find your fav. I love their Perpetual Pinot—and the bottle makes a great souvenir to bring home.
Venture away from Old Town for the evening to see some of the rest of what Park City has to offer for dinner. One option is Twisted Fern, an unassuming restaurant in a strip mall that serves some of the town’s best farm-to-table food. Their elk is stunning and ravioli is melt-in-your-mouth good. The other option is Deer Valley Resort's Fireside Dining. Take a horse-drawn carriage or snowshoe from the base over to their Empire Lodge, where you’ll be greeted with a multi-course meal inspired by the Swiss Alps. Think warm raclette cheese on freshly baked breads and fire-roasted lamb leg cooked in a stone fireplace. Yum.
As you head back to Old Town to your hotel, swing into Firewood for one last cocktail. While they have a great restaurant upstairs, hidden downstairs is their Nickel Bar. Firewood has leaned into its historic building’s history (it was built in 1906!) and its dark and cozy bar features classics with a twist. Give your bartender freedom to make whatever they’d like with a spirit of your choice. I promise it’ll be good.
It’s already your last day?! Time flies. Head out first thing and hit Five5eeds—the best spot for an on-trend breakfast. Their breakfast board is perfect for trying a little bit of everything and features their smashed avocado and pea toast and a housemade chia pudding alongside freshly squeezed orange juice. For a heartier meal, their pulled pork benedict (pulled pork, poached eggs, apple cider hollandaise, granny's apples on toast) is amazing. Don’t miss their coffee options, as well.
Woodward Park City is the newest addition to the ski resort community in our town. But it’s not just a ski resort. This behemoth is an action sports mecca with indoor and outdoor facilities to encourage progression in skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, biking and more. If you’re feeling adventurous, spend a couple hours inside working on your tricks on the trampoline before heading out to their world-class terrain park to try outside. If that sounds intimidating, they have the longest tubing hill in Utah. And if all of that sounds too much for you, Woodward has lessons to let your kiddos explore Woodward to their hearts’ desire.
If you aren’t feeling action sports and are looking for something a bit slower, Park City is full of cross-country ski trails. White Pine Touring offers tours led by local guides, who will show you around the extensive trail system at whatever speed you’d like, or take a lesson and learn how you can become the next Jessie Diggins or Kikkan Randall.
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite after flipping into the Woodward foam pit or skate skiing all morning, head over to Kimball Junction to check out the newest addition to the Park City food scene: Chop Shop Park City. Started by a butcher with a ridiculous culinary pedigree, Chop Shop is a full-service butcher shop that makes some of the best sandwiches you’ll find anywhere. I devoured a porchetta sandwich after skiing Deer Valley this weekend and can’t say enough good things about this place. Every piece of meat and wedge of cheese is responsibly sourced and will give you some ideas about renting an Airbnb or VRBO next time you visit, so you can cook up one of their massive tomahawk steaks.
Now that you’re down in Kimball Junction, head across the street to the Utah Olympic Park. As one of the hosts of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, those of us that call this town home are incredibly proud of our Olympic legacy. During the Games, the UOP hosted bobsled, skeleton, luge, ski jumping and nordic combined events and now you can get in on the action yourself. Take a real bobsled ride, where a professional bobsledder will take you down the Olympic track. Or if speed and G-forces aren’t your thing, head over to the Alf Engen Ski Museum, which tells the rich history of the ski industry in the Wasatch. There’s even a mountain sports simulator that allows you to ride a downhill mountain bike at Deer Valley, take a powder run at Alta Ski Area or go speed flying in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Your 48 hours in Park City have come to an end. Head on back to the Salt Lake City Airport invigorated, exhausted and excited to plan your next trip. We’ve barely scratched the surface of things to do, food to eat and sports to explore. Do you see why I moved here now?!
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