What to do in Park City: A first-timer’s guide
The Perfect Itinerary – From a Local’s Perspective
The Perfect Itinerary – From a Local’s Perspective
I’ve been in Park City for over 20 years and I enthusiastically welcome visits from friends and family (most of them, anyway…) Each time someone visits, especially for the first time, I get to weigh in on the best things to do, eat and see. I am very careful to suggest itineraries that I would really enjoy, because hopefully I’ll get to go along and, once again, vacation in my hometown.
My brother-in-law, Ed, and his wife, Catherine, make a perfect example. Being a lapsed avid skier, Ed, who lives in the eastern US, comes out every few years in the winter to dust off the boards and enjoy a few reset runs with his brother. But Catherine has never been to Utah. Not even once! So, here’s an itinerary I would put together for Ed and Catherine, to make sure Ed has fun again, and Catherine has a blast (and so do I!):
Since they’re flying in from the east they’ll catch an early morning flight and they’ll get here in time to ski in the afternoon. Ed appreciates and likes to ski on top-of-the-line equipment, and since he skis infrequently he demos every time he comes out. We take him straight away to Park City Sport, either at Town Lift on Main Street or the base of Park City Mountain; either location will have him on Park City Mountain’s slopes in minutes. Catherine doesn’t ski much, like, at all, so she and I will get them checked into their Park City Lodging condo (they’d stay with us at our house, but dog hair). Because she’s fit and health conscious (and because I want to impress her right out of the chutes) I’d take her to Park City Provisions for lunch. I know she’d love their selection of bowls and salads, and I may just twist her arm to share some of my Provisions fries. From there we’d walk around Main Street and I’d show her the Banksy and tell her amusing stories about celebrity sightings and craziness during Sundance and help her shop for cute boots. When the guys are done skiing we’ll meet up with them at Old Town Cellars for a few glasses of wine and some fancy and delicious charcuterie and chocolate. As usual Ed will claim he didn’t have too much trouble keeping up with his brother on the slopes, even after so much time off; my husband will just shake his head and sip his wine.
Since yesterday was a travel day, and they’ll be dealing with the time change and Ed’s sore muscles, they’ll be moving kind of slow. We’ll meet up at Deer Valley Grocery Café for a hearty breakfast – having guests in town in a great excuse to indulge in a Dutch Baby, am I right? The guys are going to ski Deer Valley today, and while Catherine will be thinking about it, she still won’t be quite ready to give it a shot. No problem, lots of other fun stuff to check out. I bet she’ll be ready for a work out and I’m pretty sure she’ll be game for trying out Fat Biking. No, it’s not biking while fat (although after that Dutch Baby…) it’s bikes with big fat tires on which you can ride miles of snow covered trails. I’ve never done it before and it looks like fun, so off we’ll go to White Pine Touring. Local guides are included in Fat Bike rentals there, so I won’t even have to pretend I know what I’m doing. After the ride, we’ll grab a quick healthy lunch at Fairweather Natural Foods, then over to Align Spa for some pampering, maybe a soothing massage for her and hydrating facial for me – the air is really dry here! Meanwhile, the guys will have been cruising the award-winning groomers at Deer Valley, with a break for Turkey Chili and beer. For dinner we’ll treat them (and ourselves) to some local flavor, at the quintessential locals hang out, the No Name Saloon. Catherine might be a little reluctant, it’s pretty casual for her taste, but we’ve taken Ed there before and he loves the buffalo burgers and vibe as much as we do. I’m certain Catherine will come around. After dinner, we’ll go to Paint Mixer. Ed and Catherine aren’t particularly artistic, but they don’t have to be to have a blast with us, having a few bevs and creating a unique souvenir. My husband and I have done it a few times and we want to add to our collection of, ahem, fine art.
Catherine will be ready to ski. After breakfast at Bridge Café & Grill we’ll take her back to Park City Sport and get her geared up. While Catherine brushes up with a lesson, Ed, my husband and I will ski a few runs and we’ll meet up for lunch at one of Park City Mountain’s on-mountain restaurants, probably the renovated Mid-Mountain Lodge – tuna poke and crispy brussels sprouts? Yes please. In the afternoon we’ll make our way over to the Canyons side of the mountain. When we’re done skiing we’ll apres on the deck at the Umbrella Bar which usually has live music and always a fun scene. For dinner, I really want to have them over to the house, but I really don’t want to cook-to-impress. So, since I’m on vacation too here, I’m going to ring up my friends at Epicurean Chefs and let them do the cooking for me. They do these terrific sous-vide entrees that will amaze Ed and Catherine, AND we’ll have a clean kitchen and leftovers.
Ed and Catherine’s last full day, and a lot to pack in. We’ll get up pretty early, grab coffee from Atticus Coffee & Teahouse and head over to Daniels Summit for snowmobiling. My husband and I don’t do a lot of snowmobiling, but we have so much fun every time we do we wonder why we don’t do it more. We’ll have a great morning careening around the trails and then by golly, for more adrenaline rush we’ll head to the Utah Olympic Park and do Comet bobsled rides. We feel so justifiably proud of our town’s – our – Olympic legacy, and we love sharing it. You can still feel the excitement of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at the UOP, and now, the electric anticipation of possibly hosting another Games here in 2030 – fingers crossed! Ed typically hosts us for his last night in town, so they’ll ask us about doing something special that we usually don’t get to do – score! Sleigh ride, here we come. Rocky Mountain Outfitters over in Midway has romantic, horse-y, sleigh-bells-jingling sleigh rides that are just plain great fun. After that we’ll go to one of our favorites for dinner – Sammy’s Bistro. Sammy’s was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, even though it is neither a diner, nor a drive-in, and certainly not a dive. Normally I’d share my mahi mahi tacos, but after the day we’ve had, hey, get your own.
Ed and Catherine’s flight isn’t until later in the day, so there will be time for a few final runs. We’ll get them out on the mountain again, or maybe Ed will want to go fly fishing – Ed really, really likes to fish. My husband likes to fish with him, especially when he catches bigger fish. My husband doesn’t have gear so we’d grab a guide with gear from All Seasons Adventures to take them out to some blue ribbon waters. Catherine and I can get ready to cook the fish they catch for lunch. Kidding. We’ll go out for sushi lunch at Flying Sumo. We’ll all be sad when they have to leave later on in the afternoon. But Ed will have had another great experience, Catherine will have been impressed to the point that she’ll come back again, and again. And my husband and I will be happily exhausted. Thanks Ed and Catherine, come back soon!
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