Known for its charming ski town and exceptional snow, this old mining town offers so much more than outstanding snow sports. As a first time skier and Floridian, there was so much research to be done for my first ski vacation. I spent hours reading the Park City website, blog posts and google reviews to learn all about Park City's seasonal experiences. After my successful ski trip, I decided to compile all of my research and recommendations into one blog post to save you the effort and time. So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about your visit to Park City, Utah!
We stayed at the Marriott MountainSide hotel located in the Park City Mountain Resort. What attracted me the most to this resort was its ski-in, ski-out abilities. Staying at a ski-in, ski-out resort allowed me to eliminate all of my headaches of renting a car, parking at the mountain resort, and traveling in the snowy weather conditions, while also avoiding long distance walks in the most uncomfortable boots you will ever wear (ski boots). While this resort is definitely pricier than some other hotel options in the area, I found that the benefits are definitely worth it, especially for first timers. My family and I were able to wake up later, enjoy our homemade breakfast and still be out on the slopes when they opened. One money saving perk is that the hotel rooms all had a full kitchen and fire place, so we were able to buy groceries from the nearest grocery store, Fresh Market, and come back to the hotel room to have lunch and warm up a little before we hopped back onto the lifts for the second round of slopes. I truly loved the convenient location of this hotel and would go back in a heart beat.
Other Hotel Pros :
The hotel was clean & sanitary, had clean bed sheets and extra blankets .
Deliciously warm hot tubs, perfect for relaxing your muscles after a long day on the slopes.
Super cute fire pits to sit by and drink your hot chocolate.
Free ski valet at the entrance of the hotel to drop off your skis/snowboard whenever you need.
If you are thinking of renting a car in Park City, I would think again. The city has a great public transportation system with buses arriving every 10-15 minutes! The buses are free, convenient, clean and travel where ever you need to go. One very appealing factor of visiting Park City is the short 30 minute drive to and from the Salt Lake City airport (SLC). I priced out all the different ways to get around from renting a car to hiring a private vehicle and Uber/Lyft rates could not be beat. I would recommend getting an Uber/Lyft for the airport and then using public transport to get around in Park City, as this is the cheapest and most convenient way.
Traveler Tip: If you decide to take an excursion out of Park City, you may need to rent a car, however be cautious of the weather as snowy/icey conditions could be hazardous.
Enjoy the Greatest Snow on Earth:
Park City is home to three awesome resorts, The Canyons, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, all offering diverse terrain for all abilities. Picking where to spend your next few days on the mountains, really comes down to preference.
Park City Mountain, where we spent most of our time, offers skiing and snowboarding in a laid back environment. The resort is quaint, lined with brown, A-frame condos and coffee shops on every corner. We thoroughly enjoyed the retro and youthful vibe that this resort brought. As this was our first time on the slopes, we explored mostly green runs and a couple blue runs (we were feeling brave). I would recommend downloading the trail map app on your phone, so you can see exactly which runs you would like to do before arriving.
Traveler Tip: If you plan on arriving earlier in the season, Park City Mountain is the place to be as the resort opens more runs than Canyons and Deer Valley do. We arrived on December 6th and had a fantastic time at the resort, even though most of the snow was artificial :(
Deer Valley is a favorite among beginners due to its high percentage of beginner terrain, grooming and guest services. However, if you are traveling with a snowboarder or are considering snowboarding yourself, Deer Valley is unfortunately not for you, as there is no snowboarding allowed. Although it is considered to be the "nicest" ski resort of the three by locals, Deer Valley can also be a bit too sophisticated in my opinion. When researching which resort to visit, I noticed most sponsored blogs mentioned staying in elegant 5-star resorts with amazing 5-star dining . I think it is definitely worth checking out if you have the time, but not a MUST when visiting for the first time.
The Canyons is Utah's largest ski resort and is soon to be the largest in North America. In order to get to Canyons, you must take a series of gondolas up the mountain. This resort offers numerous snowboarding runs with lots of jumps and also has some quiet beginner slopes.
Traveler Tip: All 3 mountain resorts have more than enough beginner trails for first timers. Regardless of where you pick to go, all 3 resorts are easily accessible through public transportation.
If you choose to take a day off and visit other places in Park City, Woodward Park has some of the best snow tubing in the area (even without snow!). We booked one session for less than $50 per person (prices may vary depending on when you go) and were able to tube for a whole two hours. The tubing park consisted of 5 long lanes (the longest tubing lanes in Utah) and 2 shorter lanes for children. I would definitely recommend this activity if you have children or have not been snow tubing before. If you feel like you want to snow tube AND ski/snowboard that day, Woodward park also has many runs that looked extremely fun (the lift tickets are also significantly cheaper)!
Only running in the winter season, the Viking Yurt is a fine dining adventure unlike any other. Your evening will begin with a 23 minute sleigh ride up the mountain with beautiful views of the night sky and surrounding mountains. Once you have arrived at the Yurt, the yummy adventure begins! Allowing only 40 guests per evening, this 4 hours European dining experience will not disappoint!
Traveler Tip: if you do not want to pay for this pricey dining experience, the Viking Yurt is also open for lunch. Head up the mountain on the chair lifts for some hearty, homemade sandwiches & soups and delicious cookies.
Get into the Christmas spirit by ice skating among Christmas trees and twinkling lights, while spectators sip hot chocolate around surrounding warm fires. If you have the time, the ice skating rink is the perfect activity to spend some extra time with your loved ones and enjoy all the season has to offer. It is open daily and Park City Mountain Resort provides cheap skate rentals for people of all ages.
Explore Main Street:
Main Street is Park City's vibrant downtown area filled with restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and many more. I would recommend exploring Main Street, on the day you choose not to ski/snowboard, as you could truly spend a whole day there. If you are looking for souvenirs to take back home, this is definitely the place, I really liked Dugins West, a t-shirt store carrying an extensive line of trendy Park City logo wear. If you don't have time to stop by during the day, you MUST check out some of the delicious restaurants and cozy bars. In my opinion, Park City should be known for more than its fantastic snow, because the food that I had on this trip was extraordinary! After a long day of skiing on the mountain, a delicious meal was the perfect way to end the evening. Scroll down for all the highly recommended restaurants and bars on Main Street.
As you explore the old mining town, be sure to check out The Egyptian Theater, where the annual Sundance Film Festival takes place. During season (January), this festival brings many tourists and celebrities to Park City and is known as the largest independent film festival in the US.
Traveler Tip: One very cool thing about Park City is that you can actually ski/snowboard right to Main Street.
Visit the Olympic Park:
Whether you are visiting Park City in the winter or the summer, the Olympic Park is definitely a must- see. Offering winter activities like tubing, zip-lining, ropes courses and the exhilarating, olympic Bobsled ride. If you have the time, I would recommend you visiting as it was the home of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and is now focused on engaging the public.
Traveler Tip: During the summer, you can watch skiers jump into large swimming pools as they train for the Olympic ski jump. It is unlike anything you have seen!
If you plan on taking a day trip out of Park City, I would fully recommend the one-of-a-kind geothermal spring called The Crater. Located in the Homestead Resort near Midway, The Crater, is hidden within a 55-ftt tall beehive-shaped crater with waters over 65-ft deep. A tunnel was created at ground level to allow visitors access to the crystal-clear, blue mineral water that ranges from 90-96 degrees Fahrenheit. Soak, snorkel or scuba dive in this delightful water after a couple days of skiing, to really relax those muscles.
Traveler Tip: The Crater is the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S.
If you do not have a budget for dinner or need a restaurant for a special occasion, Riverhorse is probably one of the best restaurants in Park City.
350 Main- $$$
Delicious American cuisine that will not disappoint!
*A Bill White restaurant serving delicious Asian Fusion cuisine.
*A Bill White restaurant serving the most delicious Italian cuisine located in an old brothel. I recommend trying the lobster ravioli (will not disappoint)!!
Yuki Yama Sushi - $$$
A family style Asian restaurant serving some of the most delicious sushi I have ever had (really...every piece was delicious) . I recommend trying the Pork Ramen and Lamb Lollipops if you prefer hot plates.
Bangkok Thai On Main - $$$
One of my favorite Thai places on Main Street. I would recommend the classic Pad Thai with Chicken!
Located: In Marriott's Summit Watch hotel on Main Street
Flying Sumo Sushi - $$
Another sushi favorite!
If you are looking for a quick, informal but decent meal, Pizza & Noodle is the place for you!
Located: Newpark Town Center
Alberto's - $
Cheap Mexican Restaurant that serves delicious burritos.
Locatd: Prospector Square
*Before I arrived in Park City, I had no idea who Bill White was. After much research, I discovered that he owns a restaurant group in Park City, known for its ethically grown, community focused food. After trying out his restaurants, I can honestly say all the ingredients are as fresh and delicious as they say! Heres more information on Bill White Restaurant Group
No Name Saloon- $$
This bar is filled to the brim with Christmas lights and has a rooftop bar overlooking Main Street. If you are feeling peckish try their famous Bison burger!
The Cabin- $$
A local favorite and one of my favorite places.
The Spur Bar & Grill - $$
Same owners as 350 Main, and is definitely a nicer bar than the others mentioned. Live music every night.
O'Shucks Bar & Grill- $
This bar is a super ski bum favorite with lots of cheap beer!
Java Cow- $$
If you are in the mood for something cold, Java Cow has some of the best ice cream and milkshakes. A definite MUST-VISIT.
Located on Main Street and on Park City Mountain Resort, this is some of the best hot chocolate I have had.
Traveler Tip: Be sure to make reservations in advance as restaurants tend to fill up in the evenings, even during off season.
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