Tuesday, 25 July 2017

It's true, Park City is a playground for elite athletes and independent filmmakers, but it can also be fun for the rest of us.

Nestled beneath the Wasatch Mountain range about 40 minutes from Salt Lake City, this tiny town stays true to its Old West silver-mining and Native American roots with its cultural offerings and architectural sensibilities. 

It's also home to Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, two world-class ski resorts. There's lots of snow-related fun in the winter, but there's also lots to do the rest of the year. Also, you won't leave hungry:  Park City has more than 100 restaurants and is said to have more chefs per capita than Paris. 

1. Walking tour of historic Main Street

On this 75-minute walk starting at the Park City Museum, you'll learn how this tiny silver-mining city was reincarnated as a high-end ski resort town but still has at least 60 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Recommended for ages 13 and older. Walks are held Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday through Friday, at 2 p.m. Cost is $5 per person or $12 for a walking tour/museum admission combo ticket. 


2. Utah Olympic Park

The home of the 2002 Winter Olympics has been repurposed as year-round fun zone. Zip lines and adventure courses are offered in winter and spring, while extreme tubing and the Alpine Slide are available in summer. Cost is less than $25. You can also visit skiing and Olympic museums on site free of charge. 

3. Park City Mountain 

Find affordable adventures for every season and every personality. Wintertime options include the Flying Eagle Zip Line for fearless flyers ($7-$9) and a sleigh ride for those preferring to stay closer to terra firma ($25 per person). The toboggan-style Alpine Coaster travels a 4,000-foot course, hits speeds up to 30 mph, and runs all year. In the summer, the 3,000-foot Alpine Slide ($16-$17) is one of the longest in the world.

4. Park City Museum 

Ever hear of the great 1898 fire? Probably not. But you can learn all about it, sit in a “skier subway" car, and visit the original town jail at this sweet little history hub. Admission is $8-$10 for adults and $5 for children 7-17.

5. Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter

Get your nature on (wearing snowshoes or while geocaching, if you want) at this 1,200-acre wildlife refuge with 10 miles of trails, a 100-acre farm, and the state-of-the-art environmental education EcoCenter. Admission is free but the center appreciates a $5 donation. 

6. Park Silly Sunday Market

Park City's Main Street becomes an open-air market and street festival each Sunday from early June through mid-September. Meet farmers, chefs, and artisans, and learn about local nonprofits. So your eyes were bigger than your stomach? No worries. There's a “recycling" program for passing your leftovers on to some very lucky pigs. 

7. Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway

It's off the beaten path for a reason: This drive connects Park City to the Salt Lake Valley and the Heber Valley and rises 9,700 feet above sea level. Stunning vistas are available year-round, but in the fall when the leaves do their best color-change theater, it's simply breathtaking. 

8. Sundance Film Festival

This winter film festival, founded in Salt Lake City in 1978, moved  here in 1981, and it's been the star attraction ever since. Screening tickets run from $20-$25, but reserve early as they sell out quickly.

9. Autumn Aloft

The glorious hot-air balloon spectacle in mid-September is free of charge, and if you're lucky someone will be offering tethered rides to the public. 

10. Try a Jaffle

Treat yourself to savory or sweet South African and Australian toaster sandwiches. Try a classic egg, bacon, and cheese, or the Hanoi Jaffle with banh mi pulled pork, Asian slaw, cilantro, and cucumber. For dessert, try a Nutella and banana, apple pie, or s'mores Jaffle. Each Jaffle is $5 or less. 

11. Kimball Art Center 

The hub of Park City's art scene is a must-visit for art lovers. Enjoy exhibits, classes, community events, and the Park City Kimball Arts festival in August. Admission to the art center is free, while admission to the festival is $12 for adults and $6 for children 6- 17. 

12. High West Distillery & Saloon 

Ski right in to this gastro-distillery in a 1914 Victorian house at the bottom of Quittin' Time ski run. (Or walk in, if you want to be pedestrian about it.) Cocktails with fun Old West names like Dead Man's Boots run around $13. 

13. Union Pacific Rail Trail 

The trains are long gone from this 28-mile trail, which follows old, abandoned tracks around Park City. But now you can use them for biking, hiking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing. 

14. Artworks Gallery Park City

Learn more about Utah's first artist-owned fine craft gallery. It was previously honored as a Top 100 craft gallery from its meek beginning as a co-operative gallery more than 35 years ago.

15. Finding Banksy In Park City

At the same time enigmatic street artist Banksy's documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop," screened at Sundance in 2010, some of his work appeared around Park City. Today you can see the “Camera Man and Flower" on Java Cow wall at 402 Main Street, and “Praying Boy" on a parking garage at 537 Main Street. 

16. Park City Ghost Tours

Guides dressed in old-timey costumes thrill and chill you with spooky tales from the town's long, haunted history. Reservations are requested at least 24 hours in advance. The tour, which starts at 7 p.m., costs $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and younger. 

17. Midway Ice Arena

 A quick 20-minute trip from Park City will take you to Midway, where you'll find an outdoor skating rink with stunning mountain views. Prices include rentals and run around $10 for adults and $8 for children. 

18. Heber Valley Railroad

Ride in a historic locomotive for scenic or themed rides such as the Harry Potter-themed "Wizard Train." Most rides are in the $15-$25 range, per person. 

19. Atticus Coffee, Books & Teahouse

There are many reasons to love this used bookstore and coffee-tea house, but two specific ones include the fact that a portion of book sales go to fund nonprofits, and that it is named in honor Atticus Finch, the beloved father in To Kill a Mockingbird

20. Southwest Indian Traders 

Give yourself plenty of time to sort through Native American and Southwestern treasures and souvenirs at this shop, which feels almost like a museum. 

21. Adolph's Restaurant

Duck in for an authentic Swiss appetizer. House favorites include Raclette Swiss Style, a specially imported Swiss cheese, melted and served with potatoes, pickles, and pearl onions; Bündnerfleisch, dried beef, sliced paper thin, and served with tomatoes, pickles, prosciutto ham, bread and butter; and Swiss Onion Soup. Most appetizers are less than $15. 

22. No Name Saloon & Grill 

One of Park City's most famous watering holes boasts a wild west-theme, buffalo burgers, as well as “hoofless burgers," i.e. turkey, chicken and veggie, and a rooftop bar. 

23. Soldier Hollow

Soldier Hollow in Midway, another legacy of the 2002 Olympics, offers several trails for cross-country skiing, plus 1,200-foot sliding lanes for tubing, the longest in the state. Cross-country skiing day passes range from $5-$10, while it costs $12-$24 for two hours of tubing. 

24. Spring Grüv

This two-week springtime party offers free concerts and a pond skimming contest with folks dressed up in costumes trying to ski or snowboard across a 100-ft. pond. 

25. Mountain biking

When the snow gives way to warmer ground, its time to bring out the mountain bikes. Park City and surrounding areas offer more than 400 miles of trails to explore.

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