When I was putting our moving road trip together, something made me really want to include Park City. It’s famous for its skiing (and boasts one of the largest ski resorts in the country in Park City Mountain Resort), but that definitely was not the draw. We don’t ski or snowboard (seriously, at all), but I pictured sitting in a hot tub or in a beautiful mountain lodge hotel, watching the perfect white snow fall outside with a hot drink in hand. And while we didn’t quite achieve that vision on our one full day in town, we did have a good time exploring… and it just made me want to go back and try again!
Park City, Utah
We drove to Park City from Las Vegas in a bit of a frenzy. We got a late start to the drive leaving the Neon Museum, and we hit a bunch of traffic, too. Factor in losing an hour with the time zone difference—we went from Pacific Time to Mountain Time—and we ended up feeling rushed the entire way, worried that everything would close and we wouldn’t find a place to eat dinner. We also spent almost the entire 6.5-hour drive in the dark, which was not exactly ideal. If you’re planning to do this drive, I’d leave in the morning!
If you’re not driving, the easiest way to get to Park City is to fly into Salt Lake City. The drive between the two takes about 40 minutes. If you don’t need a car for the duration of your stay (you can walk, bike and bus around Park City itself), there are plenty of van, bus and limo, taxi and rideshare options for airport transfers.
We stayed at the Park City Marriott, which I want to call… standard. It wasn’t super nice, but there was nothing wrong with it. It was exactly the kind of place that comes to mind when you think about your average chain hotel. The one plus was that our room was gigantic, which certainly didn’t hurt since each night of the trip we were carting our suitcases plus all our valuables inside from the car (laptops, camera gear, my violin, etc.). And the room was perfectly comfortable, too. But the restaurant food was mediocre, and the hot tub was indoors and filled with lots of children. (Obviously, that’s not a reflection on the hotel itself, but I just mean to say that it didn’t fulfill my winter daydream… ha!)
We sadly did arrive after everything had closed as we predicted, so our only real meal out in Park City was lunch the next day. But we made it count! We ate at Harvest, an Australian-style cafe with lots of healthy options and tweaks available for those with dietary restrictions. I wholeheartedly recommend this place—but if you’re thinking about brunch on a weekend, go early if you don’t want to wait!
We popped into Atticus Coffee & Tea House, a quirky spot on the main drag that sells books, gifts and more. Their Mexican mocha was the perfect drink to take along while exploring downtown. I also had some locally made Mamachari Kombucha at Harvest, and it was great! If you see it on a menu and you’re into kombucha, grab it.
THINGS TO DO IN PARK CITY
Park City is obviously a major hub for winter sports, but that is NOT my scene. Jake and I both grew up in very flat places, and not only can we not ski or snowboard, but we are not particularly interested in learning.
Luckily, there are plenty of other things to do in Park City, and we spent much of our time just popping into cute shops around town and walking the colorful, historic Main Street. Unfortunately, the weather was horrible (cold, drab, really wet snow), so we didn’t last as long as I would have liked, but the historic district is very walkable so it’s easy to do a lot in a short amount of time.
We also drove out to McPolin Farm, which was just a few minutes’ trek from our hotel. There’s a trail on this historic property that you can do some hiking or mountain biking, along with a walking tour app that you can download (though we didn’t do either because of the weather).
Also, just because you’re not skiing doesn’t mean you can’t check out the mountain villages of Park City Mountain Village and Canyons Village. There, you’ll find plenty of places to shop, eat, get a spa treatment or even listen to live music. With all the options, it’s easy to avoid the ski area!
If you’re in Park City a couple of months later than we were, you can catch the annual Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the country. It takes places in late January each year across Park City, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Mountain Resort near Provo, lasting for 10 days and welcoming more than 124,000 attendees. A free shuttle runs between the various festival locations in Park City.
Obviously the summer brings a whole range of other activities in Park City, too, including hiking, horseback riding and fly fishing. Horseback riders can trek through wildflower-strewn meadows, catching glimpses of the mountains and of wildlife including deer and elk. For fly fishing enthusiasts, there are several tours available to take you out to the Provo River, Weber River or Ogden River.
The Kimball Arts Festival, an annual fundraiser for the Kimball Art Center, also takes place in August and features several opportunities to do art projects for adults and kids alike.
Utah Olympic Park is another great venue for summer activities. Originally built for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it focuses on developing and growing participation in winter sports. But it’s also got lots on offer during the summer months, including zip lining, bobsledding and extreme tubing. There’s a museum dedicated to the 2002 Winter Games, too.
We barely scratched the surface in Park City, so a return trip is definitely in order. I think I’ll aim for summer when I plan my next trip in order to take advantage of all the amazing hiking, since winter sports are clearly not my forte.
As far as food and drink go, Chimayo was the restaurant we would have gone to for dinner if it hadn’t closed before we got there. Twisted Fern and Five5eeds would also be on my list for next time.
There are also so many breweries in and around Park City, which would have made for a fun Saturday afternoon activity if we hadn’t had to drive out of town later that day. And the High West saloon is right downtown, offering complementary tours daily. And if you’re up for a field trip, they have a distillery, which also offers free tours, just over 20 minutes away in Wanship, Utah.
To pay for our stay at the Park City Mariott, I cashed in 35,000 Marriott points. It definitely felt like a fair deal, considering we were there right before Thanksgiving. (Granted I know nothing about skiing, but it seems like a time of year that could get busy? Other hotels and ski resorts I looked at were sold out!)
Something to note: Unlike some other hotels (including the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, where we stayed earlier on this trip), this Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees for those who redeem points for their stay. Our bill included a $20 “Destination Amenity fee” along with a tax that I wasn’t expecting. I spoke with someone at the front desk, and she was nice enough to remove it for me, but that was an exception; everyone pays the fee, whether they’re using cash or points.
For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass. And for more on my cross-country moving road trip, head to this post, which links to roundups from each stop on the journey!
Hope this post gave you some good ideas for things to do in Park City! What are your favorite things to do in Park City? Let me know in the comments! >>
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