Five Reasons To Visit Park City, Utah, In Summer
View of Old Town Park City. Photograph courtesy of Visit Park City
Park City, Utah, mostly attracts visitors in winter. Every snowfall season, its abundance of world-class ski hills draws a ritzy crowd from around the globe. In January, the annual Sundance Film Festival brings in A-list celebrities as well. But while it remains a signature destination in the winter months, it’s a well-kept secret that the city comes alive in summer. Consider it the next getaway that you didn’t even know was an option – until now.
With its picturesque mountainy terrain and even-keeled temperatures (it’s a dry climate, which means it’s never sticky or humid), Park City is a prime location for outdoorsy types. Steps away from the city’s Main Street, which is filled with shops, bars and art galleries, is a number of hiking and mountain-biking trails. Visiting in summer also means it’s off-season, so everything is cheaper and less crowded, and you get all of the above practically to yourself. Here are five reasons to skip Park City in winter.
The hiking and biking are unparalleled
Hiking in the mountains in summer. Photograph courtesy of Visit Park City
Park City has prime access to loads of world-class mountain trails, which you can go hiking or mountain-biking on, depending on your preference. Many of the trails are built on or around ski runs, which means you get the same breathtaking views you would in winter, minus the frostbite. The best past is that many of them are located short distances from downtown. For an easy-medium hike, the Round Valley trails twist and turn through a protected open space. The newer Jenni’s Trail is more moderate, beginning at the Park City Mountain Resort and then ascending 1,300ft to offer panoramic views. Looking for a challenge? The Sweeney Switchbacks, which this writer attempted, is a difficult, high-elevation trail that merits a black diamond rating.
There’s more of a locals-only vibe
Montage Deer Valley. Photograph by Ms Bettie Grace Miner, courtesy of Montage Hotels
Holidaying in summer can be a nightmare because it’s high season in a lot of cities, which means you’ll have to fight tourists for the best reservations. The beauty of Park City in summer is that it’s low season and the city is yours for the taking. Hotel prices are significantly cheaper, so you could afford to stay at a luxury hotel that, in winter, would be fully booked. Most importantly, avoiding the tourist season means the crowds at the bars and restaurants are pretty much locals only, which makes for a cooler, laid-back vibe and a more relaxing and authentic stay.
The summer accommodation is slick
Washington School House Hotel. Photograph courtesy of Washington School House Hotel
In winter, there’s a number of luxury resorts to stay at in Park City, including Deer Valley Resort, the St Regis or the Sundance Mountain Resort, founded by Mr Robert Redford. In summer, however, you should embrace the city’s quaint small-town feel by forgoing those huge resorts and heading for a spot near Main Street, the Washington School House Hotel. It opened in 1889 as a school and has since been revamped as a luxury 12-room boutique retreat. Inside, the minimal all-white decor, not to mention the not-to-be-missed pool, makes for the perfect environment for resting up or catching a few rays. Executive chef Mr Ryan Frye serves a killer breakfast every morning (the pancakes are deadly) and in the evening, he’ll whip up a private dining experience with a personal menu.
The food and drinks are stellar
High West Saloon. Photograph courtesy of Visit Park City
Despite its small-town feel, Park City has a lot of options when it comes to food and drink. Many of its winter après-ski spots transition their menus for the summer and come up with more seasonal dishes. Riverhorse On Main is the city’s most notable fine-dining option and serves exceptional steak and seafood. It also launched the more casual Riverhorse Provisions down the street, where you can grab a sandwich or soup and a drink on a quaint patio. At Handle, farm-to-table dining is the focus. Don’t miss the mushroom carpaccio or General Tso cauliflower. For after-dinner drinks, head to local favourite the No Name Saloon for a fun dive-bar feel. The High West Saloon serves tempting cocktails made with whisky from a distillery just outside the city.
There are tons of summer festivals and concerts
Early morning on Main Street. Photograph courtesy of Visit Park City
Park City has a number of festivals and concerts to check out in summer. On the last Friday of every month, for instance, Main Street hosts a public art crawl. The many art galleries open their doors for visitors to enjoy refreshments and peruse their works. Park City is also a music lover’s dream. There are loads of outdoor concerts. The Canyons Village Summer Concert Series, which takes place every Thursday until the end of August, often hosts local bands or singers. There’s also the Park City farmers’ market every Wednesday, which sells local produce and goods made by local artisans – souvenirs you certainly can’t get at the airport duty-free.