I am the first to admit that I don’t like the cold weather. I have only tried skiing once, when I was 16, and I hated it. I had never tried snowboarding until this past weekend and I must admit again, I really didn’t like it much. So Winter sports were never and still aren’t my thing. However, what I do like, actually what I love, is mountains and mountain towns. Park City, Utah certainly fits that bill.
Park City is located about 30 miles from Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake Airport. It is really easy to get to and is of course famous for a few reasons. The Sundance Film Festival makes Park City its home each winter when celebrities and actors from all over the world head to the ritzy, little mountain town.
While Salt Lake was the host name for the 2002 Winter Olympics, all of the alpine events took place in Park City and it’s world-class ski resorts. Park City has signs up all over town boasting of how it was a host city. I have been to every Winter Olympic host city except for Sapporo, Japan; which hosted the 1972 Games; and Park City just as good as some of its glitzy European counterparts.
Park City has a cute little downtown area and the main street is called, you guessed it, Main Street. This is the famous street that is packed with bars and restaurants and is overrun during Sundance. The rest of the season, it is still crowded but very manageable. It is a fun place to stroll around, look into some shops, and grab a beer or some food at some world-class restaurants.
The restaurants in Park City were excellent. Some of my favorites were The Farm at the base of Canyons Resort where they serve an excellent burger while you sit outside and watch the skiers and snowboards come blazing down the slopes. It was a very cool setting. I also really liked Deer Valley Fireside Dining; which was a high-end restaurant where you literally get your food at different fireplace stations. It was a really cool concept and the food was outstanding.
I also took a tour of High West Distillery and ate dinner there afterwards. Perhaps Park City’s most popular restaurant, High West was fabulous. I had the elk and even though it looked like and tasted like a TV dinner Salisbury steak, it was delicious! However, the best thing was dessert because they had fried Krispy Kreme glazed donuts with ice cream on top of them. I may get Diabetes from eating them but it was delicious!
Aside from some great restaurants, Park City is also really the only place in Utah where you can really have some fun. If you aren’t aware, Utah has really strict rules regarding alcohol and the State is also majority Mormon-they don’t drink generally.
Park City boasts a bunch of different bars that are extremely popular with tourists and locals alike. My favorite was the No Name Saloon on Main Street. It is the quintessential Park City bar and was packed the Saturday night I went. The multi-level bar with a roof deck is a pretty cool way to spend a night in Park City.
I stayed in two different places in Park City to get a feel for different types of accommodation. My first two nights, I stayed at the Black Bear Lodge in a Wyndham Vacation Rental. The lodge was nice and the apartments were even better. I was glad I got to experience that type of lodging in Park City before moving into a massive multi-million dollar house for the last two nights of my trip.
Wyndham Vacation Rentals also set up the house; which showed me how a big group of people could and should stay in Park City. Not to mention, after this experience, I have to say almost anywhere. Why stay in a small hotel room in a place like Park City when you can have a group of friends or couples stay together in a massive house? The prices aren’t that bad either and when you break it down and split the cost; it’s about equal to a high end hotel but much better and more communal!
Finally, the coolest thing to me personally about Park City was seeing all the Olympic venues and touring the Olympic Museum. As anyone who knows me or reads my site knows, I love the Olympics-practically to the point of obsession but nonetheless, Park City fits the bill as a world-class venue and host city.
My only regret about the trip is that the bobsled and luge runs were closed the day I was up there. That would be a serious trip and I definitely hope to do that at some point in Park City or some other Olympic venue. There are only 17 bobsled runs in the world and only four in North America (Park City, Lake Placid, Whistler, Calgary) in former Winter Olympic host cities.
That all said, I hope to get back to Park City again soon. The fresh mountain air, the stunning scenery and the nice people make it a great destination. Great food, resorts and private houses don’t hurt either. However, for me, I will forego the skiing and snowboarding and stick to what I really excel at…hot tubbing!
Disclaimer: I was hosted for this trip by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. This however, had no bearing on this article and in no way influenced my opinion or writing.