By: Nathalie Barclay
If you’re from New York or maybe just like musicals, odds are you associate Utah with two things: mormons and Book of Mormon. But obviously, as with most places, the story is much more complicated, and Utah is more than just mormon country. In 2002, Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics, bringing a lot of good press and tourism to the area. A big beneficiary of this was Park City, a city forty-five minutes away from Salt Lake City airport, and where most of the mountain events were held (bobsleigh, ski jumping, luge, etc.). Since then, Park City’s economy has boomed as a tourist hot spot, first in winter for winter sports, and more recently in summer for hiking and mountain biking. It is even the location of the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the US. With all this attention, Park City has grown and grown, and has become a veritable resort town.
Finding a place to stay in Park City is hard to do, but not because of lack of options. It’s actually quite the opposite. There are so many areas to stay, like Deer Valley or Park City Resort that it can be hard to choose. With the merging of two resort companies, the result, Resorts West, is truly one of the best places to stay for your visit to Park City. These luxury accommodations have everything you could possibly want, whether it be spacious bedrooms, a hot tub, or even a home movie theater. They also offer many ski-in, ski-out homes, making it that much easier to get on the slopes whenever the urge hits you.
If you’re there during the winter, the next question is where to ski (or whichever snow sport you like to do). Park City really has every level run you could want and you can choose between Park City Resort and Deer Valley Resort. Both have amazing lift views and access, dream-worthy runs, and wonderful restaurants and shops waiting for you at the bottom. During the summer, the hikes are beautiful and scenic, and there are over 400 miles of mountain biking trails!
If you’re not into skiing or hiking, there are other fun activities at your fingertips. Keeping on the mountain, there are rides like zip lining or rollercoasters. If you’re more into shopping, there are countless shops throughout the city, but most notably on Main Street. There is also the Park Silly Sunday Market where you can find everything from beautiful crafts and tasty food, to stands filled with silly or joke products perfect for gifts. If you’re a chocolate lover, you can’t go to Park City without dropping by Ritual Chocolate, a coffee and chocolate shop where the chocolate is made in-house, starting right from the cacao beans. The beans are from around the world and are top quality, the 1% of the 1%, making the chocolate some of the best you have ever had. But perhaps the thing that worries people from big cities is the quality of the restaurants. Food is often a big determinant in the appeal of a location, even if the town is full of fun activities and shops. A lot of the time, we expect cities like Park City to have lots of subpar restaurants, most of which boast fried food with little quality and high fat. This is once again far from the truth, so far it’s actually laughable.
If you’re visiting Park City, you’re spoiled with amazing food and restaurant choices. A good place to start is Handle. The food is local and constantly changes with the seasons. Their most popular dishes, or maybe their most mouthwatering are the Pappardelle, the Cauliflower in buffalo hot wing fashion and blue cheese, and their award winning Caramel Pudding. Another great dinner restaurant is Sushi Blue Grill & Sake House. This Japanese restaurant is truly to die for, with clever and fun names for the rolls like Salmon L. Jackson, the Krusty Krab, and the Jerry Riceless.
An interesting fact about this restaurant and multiple others in the city is that they are owned by a man named Bill White who sources much of the restaurants’ produce from his own farm, Bill White Farms. The farm also has a mission to use traditional agriculture to support the local ecosystem, and they are even working on their own self-sustainable aquaponic farm, a hybrid farming technology that combines aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing produce in nutrient-rich soil). For breakfast, the Bridge Café & Grill is located just five feet away from the lift with the best views of the mountain. For close access to Deer Valley Resort, Deer Valley Grocery Café is a wonderful place to eat right on the lake. Tupelo serves brunch to rival any New York brunch spot, with the menu constantly changing with the local produce markets and offering their own Bloody Mary bar (where you put your own toppings, spices, and decorations). For lunch, the Legends Bar and Grill is perfect for a refreshing salad, Silver Star Café for hearth-fired pizza, Windy Ridge Restaurant for a turkey sandwich, and Snack Shack for a pick-me-up.
There’s also an exciting nightlife in Park City, bars lining Main Street. For a cocktail, O.P. Rockwell is unmissable, and if you’re unsure what to get, the bartender (really a mixologist) will find just the drink for you through simple Q&A. For whiskey, the High West Distillery will offer you the best whiskies, notably their own, made right there on the premises. For more of a pub scene, the historical No Name Saloon is a must. In Winter, make sure to do their shot-ski! Aside from the beautiful views of mountains and forests, there are such great accommodations, activities, and food that it hardly seems like you should go anywhere else!