You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy these 17 things to do in Park City, Utah. The unique identity of the old mining town of Park City is made for those on and off piste.
Park City, Utah is like an adult playground set in an old time Western film. During my time there, over the course of 3 days I counted up to 17 things to do in Park City (on and off piste), for both the ski aficionado and not. It’s main attractions can be summarized into a few categories: drink, eat, shop, see…and of course ski. I’ve rounded up a list of the best things to do from each of these categories. Each was selected for it’s remarkable approach that made Park City unique in it’s offering. Park City’s rare restoration of it’s history and mining heritage is just one of those elements that makes Park City so unique compared to other resorts. Together, these experiences are what make Park City, Utah an epic and remarkable destination for all people (skiers and not).
Quick Navigation: 17 Things to Do in Park City, Utah (On and Off Piste)
- Ski Deer Valley
- Shop in Deer Valley Resort
- Enjoy a Famous Jumbo Deer Valley Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Explore Park City’s Main Street Historic District
- Find All of Main Street’s Quirky Installations and Details
- Find a Banksy
- Egyptian Theatre
- Visit Art Galleries
- Visit Southwest Indian Traders
- Visit Park City Museum
- Grab a Drink at No Name Saloon, Home of the World Famous Buffalo Burger
- Sip Whiskey at the World’s Only Ski In and Ski Out Distillery, High West
- Enjoy a Brewski at the First-Ever Brewery in Utah, Wasatch Brewery
- Eat and Drink All the Chocolate at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- Enjoy a 14 dish fire pit tasting menu reminiscent of a French Alps Dinner at Fire Side Dining at Deer Valley Resort
- Eat Elk for the first time at Adolph’s Restaurant [Closed April 2021]
- Replenish or Recover with Breakfast at the Oldest Restaurant in Town, Eating Establishment
1. Ski Deer Valley–Of course!
Ok, I need to start with the obvious–skiing. I won’t take too much of your time here since it’s pretty straightforward. Deer Valley is a skiers only mountain, so if you’re a skier like me, I’m sorry for all the snowboarders out there (cough, cough…Ben), but it’s a paradise. It just feels a little bit safer skiing without those huge lumps of snow piled on by snowboarders stopping. Additionally, Deer Valley is an expansive mountain with plenty of terrain. It has 6 mountains, 6 bowls and 103 runs. Because of all the terrain, skiing feels pretty safe and spread out. It’s not as crowded as some of those East Coast mountains.
There’s plenty of blue runs for those just looking for some easy going slopes. This is a mountain for beginners and intermediate skiers. The intense black runs are a bit more scarce. There is a mountain or two with several single and double black runs as well as some tree runs and glades, but this isn’t what Deer Valley is all about. Deer Valley is about enjoying some leisurely skiing at an enormous resort with plenty of food options, shops, and slopes for all.
2. Shop in Deer Valley Resort
Deer Valley shopping is minimal compared to the glitz and glam of Park City’s Main Street. However, if you stroll through the tiny “villages” during your lunch break, you will find a few Deer Valley shops worth visiting. They mainly sell ski specific apparel and accessories, but they also sell a handful of Deer Valley souvenirs and apparel. Pat and I left with a Deer Valley hat and a sweater. And because the only way to reach most of the stores is on skis, Pat ended up tying our shopping bag to his back-up and skiing the goodies all the way down to the base of the mountain. I felt I was not coordinated enough to be tasked with bringing the goodies down the mountain safely..!
Most of the upscale stores are actual hidden inside the hotels like Montage, Stein Erikson and the St. Regis.
Deer Valley’s food scene has become somewhat iconic across America. But one thing you may not know is that you don’t have to dish out hundreds of dollars to experience it. In fact, one of the most iconic Deer Valley culinary experiences is their famous jumbo chocolate chip cookie. What’s so special about these cookies? There’s no unique history or story to them really…they are just that good of a recipe that you will remember the cookie. Trust me. And if you can’t get enough of it and don’t want to make it from scratch, some of the souvenir shops even sell Deer Valley Chocolate Chip Cookie mix.
Leave the mountain a bit early to skip Park City’s post-ski traffic. Our apartment was just 8 minutes from Deer Valley Resort, but we ended up being stuck in traffic for 30 minutes on the way back because of the post-ski rush hour! The best way to avoid this is get on the road earlier than sundown.
4. Explore Park City’s Main Street Historic District
I’ll get into all the good stuff there is to do in Park City below, but this is where the post-ski fun happens. If your skiing at Deer Valley (Ikon Pass), you’re a short 5 min drive from Main Street and parking isn’t as difficult as it seems as long as you stay off the Main Street. If you’re skiing at Park City (Epic Pass) you can actually ski your way straight into town (video above). You just ski onto a bridge and straight on to a sidewalk that overlooks Main Street. Now that’s cool.
Park City’s Main Street Historic District is not only known for it’s glitzy and glammy yet down to earth restaurants and stores. It’s also known for it’s rich history preservation. Utah has lost many of it’s mining towns to neglect, but Park City managed to preserve it’s history, restore it and thrive. The unique buildings and architecture on Main Street tell the story of a $400 million silver boom, an Old West mining town and a ghost town revived by the ski industry in the 1960s. In fact, the story of Park City somewhat reminds me of Matera in Italy believe it or not! In the 70s, the first skiers to visit the area lived in outdated and neglected miners’ shacks with leaking roofs and only a wood stove for heat. The 70s were a huge construction job to restore and refurbish these buildings into more modern day establishments. Years later and today Park City is visited by world independent film enthusiasts and is home to the many Winter Olympic events among other notable and renowned happenings. Now that’s quite a turnaround for a town that was almost desolate in the middle of Utah…
5. Find All of Main Street’s Quirky Installations and Details
Details all over Main Street will speak to Park City’s unique personality. Old mining carts, structures and lanterns give it it’s Old Western feel, skis and gondolas speak to it’s economic boom in the 90s and the small details in signage, art, and architecture speak to it’s art scene.
6. Find a Banksy
Speaking of the art scene, how did an Old Western mining town become such an important art & culture hub? I’m not exactly sure. I guess it’s rebirth as a more modern day historical town drew a lot of artistic talent. It even drew the eye of the famous and anonymous graffiti street artist Banksy in 2010, who left 3 pieces to be found throughout town. This specific one pictured above can be found at 402 Main Street.
7. Egyptian Theatre
In it’s heyday, there were multiple theaters—even the Grand Opera House until it burned down soon after opening in 1898. Today, we are left with the famous Egyptian Theatre that has live shows and performances.
8. Visit Art Galleries
Main Street is lined with many, and I mean many, art galleries. You could spend a whole afternoon hopping from one to the other. The art ranges from Old West, nature, to pop culture.
9. Visit Southwest Indian Traders
Whether you’re shopping or not, a stop at Southwest Indian Traders is a must. It feels like a museum with a collection of Minnetonka and Native American tribe artifacts, accessories, jewelry and more. Pat and I spent about 40 minutes wandering the store. We left with the handmade Navajo Indian sand painting pictured above on the right made by Native American Marlene Doby. Apparently sand paintings are made into unique and symbolic images that have healing powers. Once the healing power was transferred to humans, the sand painting would be destroyed with a feather. Luckily mine is glued to a frame, so no feather is destroying it. I’m keeping it hanging in my house!
10. Visit Park City Museum
Park City Museum is housed in the old historic City Hall built in 1885. City Hall was were the fire and police department were placed and where the Territorial Jail was. All of which you can still see on exhibit today. A fire destroyed the majority of the building in 1898, so a Whistle Tower was built in 1901 to warn residents of fire to the area. In 1905, the whistle was used to at 10PM each night to warn youngsters of curfew. It’s a time honored tradition that continues today. So keep your ears perked at 10PM each night!
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