Falling for Utah and Its Picture-Perfect Locations

By Paula Colman Dec 29, 2022
Utah is picture-perfect. Here, you'll find the right backdrop for your next rom-com, action-adventure or Instagram-inspired vacation.
Falling for Utah and Its Picture-Perfect Locations

Watching Falling for Christmas on Netflix from a hotel room in Tampa (yes, I travel to places other than Utah), I had only one question: 

How many rom-coms have a romantic interest named ‘Jake’? Sixteen Candles, Sweet Home Alabama, Falling for Christmas,…. 

Meanwhile, it seems that the rest of the internet was asking, “Where was that film shot? Are those hotels real?” Within the first 60 seconds, I knew the answers and kept myself amused for the remaining 90 minutes identifying locations throughout Utah serving as supporting characters in this alpine holiday romp. If you’re dying to recreate the scene where this Jake eventually professes his love to Lindsay Lohan, read on to discover the locations for this and other streaming gems shot in the Park City area.

Falling for Christmas is a seasonal postcard from Utah, with a collage of snapshots from some of its most-stunning places. 


Set in the fictional town of Summit Springs, the movie was shot in the very-real locations of Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. Lohan plays a hotel heiress whose father owns the chic and luxurious Summit Hotel. However, the numerous drone shots panning an acrylic pool jutting out precariously from a multi-story rooftop quickly reveal this to be the new Residences at Goldener Hirsch, an Auberge Resorts Collection property. As the film implies and the hotel acknowledges, this reimagines “the spirit of the Austrian Alps through a modern lens.” Lohan, her fictional father and (the other guy) Tad float through the well-appointed suites, restaurants and lobbies of this sleek and stunning hotel as the manor-born and fill their social media accounts with picture-perfect poses. The Residences, indeed, offer the same feelings of luxury and celebrity.


In the literal background stand the underdog love interest, Jake, and the competing and, supposedly, on-its-last-leg hotel. However, locals and visitors alike will likely recognize this as none other than the iconic (and far from scraggly) Inn at Goldener Hirsch. Adjacent to the new Residences beside Silver Lake Lodge at Deer Valley, the dead giveaway is a panel of gold keys hanging behind the lobby desk; they aren’t props. Like its sister property, the Inn provides guests with a sumptuous experience in an intimate, more traditional alpine setting. Think tumbled stones, hearty timbers and wool blankets for snuggling with a boyfriend or a good book. Discover these and all of Goldener Hirsch’s exquisite elements on your next trip.  


But the hotels aren’t the only places featured in this festive flick. The ski scenes were shot at various ski resorts here in Utah. Leaving aside skiing without helmets, traveling into the backcountry, or operating snowmobiles without guides, the cinematography captures the wondrous Wasatch Mountains in winter. If you regularly ski here, you’ll recognize the green lifts at Deer Valley Resort and the red ones (and gondola) from Park City Mountain. The blue lifts identify nearby Solitude Mountain Resort in Salt Lake City’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. Similarly, the clock tower in several scenes makes it easy to determine that Silver Summit’s town square is none other than Solitude Village. The ‘lost-in-the-woods’ scenes also look similar to the area near its Yurt. Finally, locals will identify the outdoor market scenes as Gardner Village in West Jordan, a lovely collection of small free-standing, quaint shops featuring local artisans and some of the most festive holiday displays any time of year. Whether looking for an off-the-slopes activity or the perfect place to propose, any of these locations provide hours of entertainment.


Those not looking for The Greatest Snow on Earth® will be forgiven if they find themselves drawn to Utah for its luxurious hotels and picturesque towns. They wouldn’t be the first. However, Falling for Christmas isn’t the only escapism featuring The Beehive State. While definitely not a rom-com, television’s most popular streaming series, Yellowstone, caught the attention of its creator and cast and showcased more Utah lodgings, locales and landscapes.

Despite its name, Yellowstone was largely shot and produced in and around Park City, Utah, during its first three seasons. Kevin Costner loved the place, appreciated the potential and recently penned a deal to make Horizon, a five-movie epic set in Southern Utah. Visitors can understand what captured his heart and imagination. Although the exterior shots of Yellowstone’s Dutton Family lodge were located at Chief Joseph Ranch in Darby, Montana, many indoor scenes were recreated at Utah Film Studios, the massive production complex on Kearns Boulevard near the ice rink in Park City. Shots of downtown Bozeman were, in fact, taken on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street. The evil developer (more accurately, the first of many evil developers), Dan Jenkins, hatched his ill-fated plans from the perch of his modern manse. This was the Nicholas Clubhouse at the Promontory Club just east of Park City. More than a dozen other sites along the easily-accessible Wasatch Front and Back stood in for wild and remote parts of Montana.

There’s even a Jake in Yellowstone! While he’s not a love interest, fans love Jake Ream, the bespeckled bunkhouse character, and will love to know he is the real-life Jake Ream, cowboy and owner of Ream Performance Horse in Palmyra, Utah. Ream originally started as a set consultant responsible for keeping the cast and livestock safe. But, after sneaking in some stunting and roping, creator Taylor Sheridan kept adding him to more scenes, giving the show a greater feel of place…and, maybe inadvertently, Utah.

So, whether you’re in Tampa, Tulsa or Tempe, Utah is picture-perfect for your next rom-com, action-adventure or otherwise-inspired vacation. From its snow-capped mountains to its stylish lodgings, you'll find the right backdrop. You might even find a Jake to take the snapshot.