Park City, Utah, best things to do

There’s nothing worse than being on a ski vacation and having
absolutely no interest in skiing. Ok, maybe not nothing worse,
especially if you enjoy spending entire days inside a snowy condo
with a good book. But should you want to get outside and explore,
sometimes it seems ski towns really don’t offer much outside of
eating, drinking, and… skiing.

This is not the case, however, in Park City,
Utah
. The home of the famous Sundance Film Festival is also
home to some fascinating history, unique dining experiences, craft
distilleries, and live music. It might just be the best place to go
on a ski vacation and never see the slopes. Though the powder in
Utah is among the best in the world, sometimes you might not feel
like shredding it. Here’s the best stuff to do in Park City in
winter that won’t involve wearing snow pants.

Stroll through the historic Main Street.

Photo: Park City Chamber/Bureau

Long before it was a worldwide ski destination, Park City was a
gritty little mining town deep in the Wasatch Mountains. Unlike
many ski towns, which were effectively built for the sport, Park
City has a history dating back over 150 years. And you’ll find
over 400 historically protected buildings in the city, each with a
novel story to tell.

The best way to appreciate it is by taking a stroll from the
bottom to the top of Main Street. Here you’ll find colorfully
painted buildings that once housed saloons, brothels, and trading
posts. Today they’re filled with upscale boutiques and gourmet
ice cream shops, as well as chic restaurants and a brewery taproom.
Feel free to roam on your own, but if you want some direction, the
Park
City Museum
offers walking tours as well.

To maintain its historical integrity, Park City has a highly
strict policy of allowing no chain stores in its downtown. Which
means the boutiques, restaurants, bars, and outfitters you’ll
find there are exclusive to Park City. The exception to this rule
are outdoor equipment and apparel stores — think Patagonia or
Athleta — that must operate as flagship stores, selling items
that can only be found in Park City. So if you were planning on
picking up a souvenir $60 Park City workout shirt on your trip, you
won’t have to look far.

Be a kid again in a massive indoor recreation center.

Photo:
Woodward Park City
/Facebook

About 10 minutes from downtown you’ll find a massive complex
of black warehouses set against a series of soft slopes, where
screaming families in tubes race down the mountain. It’s Woodward Park City, a
60-acre adventure complex, where in addition to tubing it offers an
indoor skate park, parkour courses, gymnastics facilities with
spring floors, and a massive trampoline center. There’s even a
digital media school where you can play with GoPros and drones to
learn the tricks of capturing adventure sports.

You don’t need to be a kid to use anything at Woodward, though
the crowd definitely skews young. That said, it’s an excellent
way to spend a family day off the slopes, and if you go during
summer you can also explore the mountain biking trails and BMX
courses.

Sample craft spirits and beers.

Photo: Park City Chamber/Bureau

Alcohol laws in Utah aren’t quite as archaic as they were even
a couple of years ago, and in downtown Park City, you’ll find two
particularly cool places to drink. The first is the High West Saloon
on Park Avenue near Main Street. It’s an outpost for the
distillery of the same name, set inside a turn-of-the-century horse
livery that was later a garage and a car dealership. The old wood
sign for the National Garage still stands out front, and you can
enjoy craft cocktails and a full menu under pitched ceilings that
have stood for over a century. Venture out of town about 15 minutes
to Wanship and you can visit the actual distillery, take a tour,
and enjoy lunch at Yuta at the Lodge at Blue
Sky
next door.

Photo:
Wasatch Brewery
/Facebook

You can also find a couple of solid craft breweries in and
around Park City. The
Wasatch Brewery
has a massive taproom and restaurant, which is
as much a place for family meals as it is a place to knock back a
pint of Polygamist Porter. But it also offers a rotating selection
of stuff you can only get there, so maybe try branching out. About
15 minutes north of town, Salt Lake City’s Red Rock Brewing has a taproom
near Kimball Junction that also offers a full bar and wine
selections.

Also worth visiting on Main Street is the No Name Saloon, a narrow
drinking den with animal heads on the wall and buffalo burgers on
the menu. The Alamo-shaped brick building dates back to 1901 and
was a mercantile and phone company before it opened as No Name in
1999. It’s the odd Main Street spot where you’ll find locals
bellied up to the bar talking to tourists from all over the world,
a laid-back oasis in the middle of upscale downtown. Just be
prepared during high season, as you’ll likely have to stand up or
wait for a table.

Learn about the city’s Wild West past.

Photo:
Park City Museum
/Facebook

Park City is the most historic ski town in America, and you’d
be remiss to leave here without understanding its role in the Wild
West. The
Park City Museum
tells the story beautifully; here, you can
jump in an old stagecoach and learn about how early settlers
arrived. Or step inside a re-created 19th-century mine and
understand exactly how brutal that work really was.

You can also get into the old “skier subway” — old mining
cars used to take skiers to the top of the mountain before the
advent of ski lifts.

But hands-down the coolest thing in the museum are the old Utah
Territorial Jail Cells. These were effectively holding cells under
City Hall that held some of the most notorious criminals in state
history. It’s a haunting look at criminal justice 150 years ago
and a fascinating look into Utah’s crime-filled past.

Après ski!

Photo: Park City Chamber/Bureau

Probably the best thing about après skis is that you don’t
have to do any actual skiing to enjoy one. And Park City does it
better than almost anywhere in the world. The city’s
quintessential après can be found at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, where a jazz
combo plays quietly and Champagne flows by the fire. It’s a
see-and-be-seen kinda place, where business deals are done by the
big, wooden bar. And celebrities can hide in a corner without
anyone giving them hassle.

Park City Mountain has the
Mid-Mountain Lodge
, a slightly less high-end affair than Stein
Eriksen but still equally entertaining. You can also head to the
Montage Deer Valley and check out the
Veuve Clicquot Apres ski yurt
, predictably painted bright
yellow and adorned with snowshoes and sleds. It feels a little like
a remote trapper’s cabin — if said trapper hired a very
expensive interior decorator.

Eat food cooked in a fire, by the fire, or in an igloo.

Photo:
Deer Valley Resort
/Facebook

While Park City has no shortage of fantastic restaurants, far
and away the most unique dining experience you’ll have is

Deer Valley’s Fireside Dining
. In what feels a bit like
eating dinner in an episode of Game of Thrones, you’ll step into
Deer Valley’s massive dining room, filled with fireplaces cooking
all varieties of meats and cheeses. Begin with a big plate of Swiss
raclette cheese, melted fireside and topped with all sorts of
chutneys and spices.

Around the room you’ll find a leg of lamb roasting by a
fireplace, which you can take part in from the adjacent carving
station alongside top sirloin and other meats. Stews also bubble
atop the fire, which pair nicely with fresh baked breads and
flavorful salads. It’s an all-you-can-eat experience, but make
sure to save room for the chocolate fondue dessert room. At $90 it
isn’t cheap, but it’s the rare dinner where you truly are
paying for the experience.

Fire too hot for you? No problem, you can also opt to eat in a
private igloo next to the pool at the Waldorf Astoria. Dubbed the
Waldorf
Frostoria
, these plastic igloos will have you cozily ensconced
in big leather chairs, enjoying a three-course, prix fixe menu with
stuff like squash-carrot-ginger soup, Viennese goulash, and braised
short ribs. All while sipping cocktails or Champagne as snow softly
falls around you.

Catch a live show.

Photo: Park City Chamber/Bureau

Downtown’s Egyptian
Theatre
has sort of become the icon for the Sundance Film
Festival, but most of the year it’s used for live music and
regional theatre performances. It’s effectively the cultural arts
center for Park City, a grand 1920s-era theater where you can find
blues one night, acoustic guitar the next, and a local performance
of Newsies the following weekend.

Also downtown you’ll find O.P. Rockwell, a cocktail lounge
with a stage that hosts solo acts and small bands. It’s an
intimate setting where much of the crowd will be people the
performer knows, and you can get a feel for the local music scene
while sipping Old Fashioneds and Dirty Martinis.

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City, Utah, is the best ski vacation for non-skiers
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Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Park City, Utah, best things to do