The Top Things to Do in Park City, Utah
Sundance, some dance and some snow: welcome to Park City.
OK, so it sounds like they couldn’t be bothered to name the town properly. But Park City is more than the sum of its name's parts, and is known for one of the most prestigious and well-known film festivals in the world: Sundance. Speaking of the sun (what a segue), many travellers escape the hotter weather in the surrounding valleys for the cool and pleasant summer climate here. The weather and eclectic topography make for ideal conditions for exploring bike trails and walking paths.
In winter, temperatures drop (as you’d expect) and snow drapes the valley and its mountains. This means it’s time to show off your skiing skills, with two major ski resorts in the city: Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort. Take a lift to a mountain peak for stunning views of the town, lit up bright orange against the bright white of the snow. And hey, if none of that has impressed you enough, know this: scenes from Dumb and Dumber were shot here in 2004 (and it was also named one of the 20 prettiest towns in the country by Forbes Traveler Magazine). So, here’s the Plum Guide look at the best things to do in Park City, Utah.
We’ve touched on it above, but now for the nitty gritty of it all. Park City rivals the Rocky Mountains for skiing opportunities. Anyway, you can't have a list of things to do in Park City Utah without mentioning skiing. The Park City Mountain Resort is the most prominent and famous of the resorts spread across this scenic valley. Fly high above the mountains in one of its iconic red cable cars, taking in the unforgettable views. Don’t do that thing where you shake the cabins to annoy the person in your family with severe vertigo; they’ll throw up all over your shoes and you’ll regret it. Instead, behave and take up ski and snowboarding lessons, before rushing down the trails.
In terms of slopes, you’ll find all manner of blues, red and greens (and some blacks, if you’re brave enough) in the Deer Valley Resort at the southern end of Park City. In summer, take on the Spin Cycle Trails, soaking up the vistas of the surrounding mountains and the lakes of Frog Valley. Continue south for the ski slopes around Bald Mountain, or head north for the snowy mountains around the Canyons Village at Park City.
The city has a rich winter sports heritage, having hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and being home to the United States Ski Team.
Attend a festival
Sundance Film Festival is the largest and most prominent independent film festival in the world. Because it’s the apex of the indie film fan or producer, the town becomes overrun with hipster and alternative fans and producers of indie film. You might even spot a few famous faces (just look in the mirror, why don’t you). Check out some of the films and try to learn about the year’s big hitters in the movie industry before your friends do. That'll show 'em.
With all the hubbub around the film festival, you’d be forgiven for thinking the town is asleep the rest of the year. Not so: in summer, you’ve got the Park Silly Sunday Market every week, silly, while the Savor the Summit festival allows 1,500 diners to revel in great food and music together at a large table. Other momentous occasions include the Kimball Arts Festival, the Tour of Utah cycling competition and the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera Deer Valley Music Festival.
You're going to want a comfy place to relax after all that festival fun – we recommend the cosy Walnut Scones.
Be one with nature
If you're looking for outdoorsy things to do in Park City, Utah's mountainous topography is packed with nature trails. Rent a mountain bike and make your way up and down the trails, enjoying the spectacular views from the edges of the valley – just don’t fall off. Delve into the Rockport State Park and launch a boat in one of its enormous lakes. You can also rent some for of aquatic vessel (a boat or some such thing), and go wakeboarding and tubing among other water sports.
Go camping at one of the many campgrounds in the area, appreciating the chance to gaze up at the stars (not the same ones as you’ll find at the Sundance Film Festival, of course) at night. In winter, go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (you thought we were done with the skiing, but we most certainly were not) in the flat terrain of the Wasatch Mountain State Park. It also has plenty of trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. Practice your swing at one of the golf courses in the park.
You like eating, right? We all do it, and Park City is full of some of the region’s best restaurants. If you’re looking for fine dining, try Ruth’s Chris Steak House or the Edge Steakhouse. There’s even the Lespri Prime Steak Sushi Bar (what about that for a fusion). Not everything is a steak though: try the Mexican cuisine at the Chimayo restaurant and the Italian at Grappa. As for fun family establishments, go to the Billy Blanco’s, where motorcycles hang from the ceiling …for some reason. Grab a pizza at Vinto and bring the kids to the Loco Lizard Cantina.