You would never know Park City had such a non-glamorous past from the looks of it now.
Multi-million dollar mansions line the mountainside, restaurants serve dinners at $40 a plate, and ski passes have outpriced locals at $629 for the season.
Yes, Park City has really turned itself around from its days as a grungy mining town.
Today, it is home to one of the best ski resorts in the country (Deer Valley). And every winter, celebrities and independent filmmakers descend on the town, turning the quant Main Street into a center for workshops, film premieres, and after parties at the Sundance Film Festival.
For the rest of us, Park City still offers a bit of charm and peaceful scenery that can be enjoyed even better when it’s not cold and snowy. If skiing is not high on your list of things to do, I think you’ll enjoy a visit to Park City in the fall best.
We arrived into town late at night when it was cold and pouring rain. Unfortunately for us, things didn’t improve by morning. While the rain had subsided (slightly), it was still pretty chilly, so I was glad I’d bought Evelyn a winter coat before we left California.
Here’s how this non-skiier family spent a long, relaxing fall weekend in Park City:
Shopping on Main Street
We strolled along Main Street popping in and out of shops. Park City is a fabulous place to do some shopping, and I have to say, with so many independent stores from clothing boutiques to home decor, there sure is a ton of unique stuff to spend your cash on. Some of our favorites: Root’d, Southwest Indian Traders, Gorsuch, Prospect & Park City Mercantile.
Lunch at High West Distillery
We stopped into High West Distillery for lunch. With Matt’s love of whiskey, I figured it’d be a slam dunk with him, and it was, right down to the whiskey cocktail. It ended up being one of my favorite meals too (the chicken schnitzel is pretty fantastic), and Matt took a small bottle of whiskey to go.
After lunch we did a little more shopping. I’m telling you, you could easily dedicate a whole day to all these magnificent shops.
Relaxing in the Mountains
After spending hours lusting after too many beautiful things I could never afford, we headed back to our mountain condo to rest. We were lucky to be able to borrow the place from Matt’s boss for the weekend, so we didn’t have to pay for a hotel.
The condo is situated on the other side of Deer Valley near the Jordanelle Resevoir, so we’d get to take that lovely drive around the mountain every time we went back to rest.
Dinner at Grappa
By the time we came back into town that evening for dinner the rain had started up again, so we made a mad dash from the parking garage to Grappa, a favorite Italian restaurant at the end of Main Street.
Inside, it was warm and cozy as they started up the fireplace behind us. Evelyn was the best she’d ever been in restaurants the whole weekend. Is she finally turning the corner and learning to sit still for more than 45 minutes? I’ll largely attribute this to us following our rules for eating out with a kid, which includes making dinner reservations for somewhere between 5 and 5:30. Sure, it’s kind of lame, but hey, it works!
Park City Museum
On our second day in Utah, we made a road trip over to Salt Lake City to explore there. It’s really only a 30 minute drive, so it’s easy to pop back and forth between the two. We covered quite a bit of ground before returning to Park City by the the late afternoon. Since we had some time to kill before dinner, we made a stop into the Park City Museum on Main Street.
Inside they had a pretty interesting display about the town’s mining history, influence of Sundance, and how the ski resorts came about. It really only took about 45 minutes to cover the entire museum, so at $10 per adult, the value there is questionable. But, we did learn a lot and if anything I’ll consider it a nice donation to the Park City Historical Society. 😉
After the museum, we ventured out along some side streets and found more quirky and unique spots. Like this fence above made entirely out of old skis, or this super cute old schoolhouse turned luxury bed & breakfast.
Dinner at Wahso
We ended our second night with dinner at Wahso, an Asian grill. Evelyn absolutely loved the curry mustard dipping sauce, and was sticking her whole hand in the bowl once she figured out how to dip her wonton chips. This kid has such weird taste?!
By our final day in Park City we were all feeling pretty run down from being sick and wanted to relax a bit, so we slept in and cuddled around the fireplace in the condo for the morning. I’m so used to planning vacations where we just “go go go”, that it was nice to stop and do nothing for awhile.
Walking the Trails
But we couldn’t lounge around all day, and when we finally did get moving, we headed out to find a local walking trail. We made our way towards the McLeod Creek Trail, a beautiful and easy walk or bike ride in the middle of town. The trail starts at Willow Creek Park and follows along the McLeod Creek until you eventually reach the highway. (I never would have found it without the help of this blog – just one more reason Pinterest is awesome for planning trips).
From there you could take another trail all the way into downtown Park City, but we weren’t feeling that ambitious. Plus, I’d not really thought ahead too much about our stroller situation…this trail is definitely better suited for the ErgoBaby or a nice heavy-duty jogging stroller. So we bounced Evelyn along for about a half mile before we reached the creek and decided to turn back.
This girl just loves her dada. She’d choose him over me any day, and I’m pretty ok with it. 🙂
Willow Creek Park
Of course we had to make a stop at the park afterwards, since Evelyn is finally getting brave enough to play on the slides and swings. Maybe a little too brave at times!
Dinner at Chimayo
We ended our trip with one final meal at Chimayo, a southwestern grill. Matt ordered the chicken “nacho-style” (basically a chicken breast stuffed with nachos – the fanciest nachos I’ve ever seen in my life!). I went with the duck enchiladas (I can’t resist anything with duck on the menu), and we were both loving our entrees.
That $7 quesadilla we bought for Evelyn? She was quick to say “nope”. I quickly remembered why we don’t even bother buying her food at restaurants…she’d rather just pick at ours!
Park City was a great getaway for us, and unless you’re really into skiing, I’d say a long 3 day weekend is the perfect amount of time to take it all in. With it only being 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport, and pretty much zero traffic at any time of day, Park City is an easy trip from just about anywhere if you want to escape it all for just a bit.
Are you a skiing family? What are your favorite ski destinations?