Park City: So Much More Than a Ski Town

When you think of Park City, Utah, you may only think of perfect powder-soft snow or the world renowned Sundance Film Festival. However, the city’s profound cultural and gastronomy scene deserves a nod, as well. From Park City’s gourmand indulgences, unique music offerings, hip hotels, and art festivals —  this western mecca is so much more than just a ski destination. 

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Of course, classic, beautiful luxurious properties such as the world famous Stein Eriksen and Deer Valley resort top lists worldwide for skiing, but we recommend trying the newer, cooler boutique hotels along Main Street. Our personal favorite is Sky and Main, which provides a unique experience for mind, body, and soul, offering customized juice cleanses upon order and health plans designed by the concierge staff. Located at the epicenter of Park City, dining, shopping and entertainment lie just a ski boot shuffle away, while a simple walk across the street takes you to the Town Lift for skiing.

If you have a hankering for out-of-this-world cuisine or are a self-defined epicure, head over to Handle. Creative dishes are so incredibly fresh and inventive, it’s impossible to choose a favorite (though ours was a toss-up between the salt-and-vinegar tater tots and the buffalo, hot wing-style cauliflower –do yourself a favor and order both!). Before you brave the chill, warm up with a calorie splurge-worthy Caramel Pudding (we hear even The New York Times can’t stop raving about it).

Another not-to-be-missed culinary delight to add to your agenda is Riverhorse on Main, which boasts a bountiful brunch. If you’re dressed for the weather and it’s a sunny day, grab an outside table to overlook Main Street to people-watch while you eat to your heart’s content! Indulge in the warm homemade biscuits, but don’t plan for strenuous activity after that meal. Make sure to make a reservation: a table here is a hot ticket (especially during Sundance Film Festival).

Although one may not immediately think of sushi when thinking of Park City, rest assured that Shabu on Main Street is sure to please even the most discerning of sushi lovers (like myself!). Choose from delicious and imaginative rolls, perfectly cooked noodle dishes, even a delicious cooked miso cod, sure to enchant the whole family. Another winning dish is the firecracker shrimp, a rock shrimp tempura in a creamy spicy sauce.

Relax after dinner with a visit to the St. Regis Deer Valley to ride up the funicular for a cocktail during sunset overlooking the mountain vistas. If you’re lucky, you can catch the sabering of champagne bottles, unquestionably a show to remember. 

When it comes to working off all those fabulous foodie finds, Park City has more than enough action to satisfy. For the adventurer, there’s skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and snowshoeing — an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing as the critters stand out against the pale banks of snow. Daredevils looking for an adrenaline rush can zipline high above the snowy valleys!

Once tired of the ski trails, wander the boutiques or take a walk down to the Kimball Arts Center (known for their popular summer festival) to get your dose of culture from the various exhibitions, art classes, and seminars.

Stargazing — of the celeb or celestial variety — is always a welcome diversion from swooshing down the mountains this time of year. Sundance Film Festival (January 22 — February 1) is the largest independent cinema festival in the US, attracting more than 50,000 visitors. Big-name stars flock to the area to celebrate pet projects and support the art of filmmaking. Each year about 12,000 films are submitted, with only 200 selected to show during the festival.

Happily, a trip to Park City for Sundance or to hit the slopes is only enhanced by everything the beautiful region offers a savvy traveler. Enjoy!