Get Off the Slopes in Park City

1. Where to Stay

The Waldorf Astoria Park City opened in 2009 and offers some of the top accommodations in town.Photo: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Park City

Head from the bustle of historic Main Street to a homey room at Old Town Guest House (from $169), a cozy bed and breakfast where you’ll find a back deck with lounge chairs and an outdoor hot tub. Like many B&Bs, this one has a country-cabin feel, but it stands out thanks to the local innkeeper with decades of experience who can advise you on everything from the best ski classes to where to get a much-needed massage.

Opt for convenience at the Canyons Grand Summit Hotel (from $199), adjacent to the Resort Village’s impressive selection of restaurants and shops, where you’ll also have easy access to Canyons’$2 182 ski runs as well as activities like zip-lining and heli-skiing. The property makes an impressive first impression with a triple-high entry hall featuring a huge stone fireplace, but the wide availability of comfortably furnished multi-bedroom units also makes it a great choice for families.

Splurge like a Sundance celebrity at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Park City (from $600), where the sumptuously appointed lobby features Oriental rugs and lamps fashioned from Ming Dynasty vases blended with rustic touches like a metal deer sculpture. The aesthetic carries over to the sophisticated rooms, many of which have fireplaces, balconies, and full kitchens, while the amenities are all about pampering: ready-to-cook meals (part of the newly launched Be Your Own Chef program), Pilates facilities, and a private gondola to the Resort Village.

2. Where to Eat

Talisker on Main is one of the leading restaurants in Park City's rapidly growing dining scene.Photo: Courtesy of Talisker on Main

Call at least two weeks in advance to book a table at the town’s most ambitious restaurant, Talisker on Main, which was just named Salt Lake Magazine’s Best Restaurant in Park City for the third consecutive year. The creative décor (it received an award from the American Institute of Architects) matches chef Briar Handly’s inventive dishes—think quail with egg white, smoked paprika, and puffed rice—which are best enjoyed as part of the four-course tasting menu ($105), a worthy splurge.

Dig into plates of simply prepared local ingredients, served in a warm, wood-paneled space at The Farm. Chef Phil Grubisa recently spent his weekends flying to Denver for a butchery course, and it shows in the house charcuterie board ($19) and nose-to-tail mains. Even the cocktails incorporate local produce, like the Phat Beetz ($12), made with beet puree, Hendrick’s Gin, and Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur.

Stop by one of the town’s old-school establishments, the No Name Saloon, an unpretentious, 110-year-old spot where you’ll find Harleys parked outside. The menu has a typical selection of bar food, but the real reason to come here is for the famous half-pound buffalo burgers ($11.75), which you can order topped with grilled onions and habanero aioli or jalapeños and cream cheese.

3. What to Do

Dog sledding is one of Utah's many wintertime activities that don't involve skis or snowboards.Photo: Courtesy of North Forty Escapes

Spend some time on outdoor activities besides skiing or snowboarding with North Forty Escapes, which offers free shuttles between Park City and its private mountain ranch twenty minutes away. Once you’re there, embark on an hourlong dog sledding tour ($325 for two adults) through the mountains as you learn about the basics of mushing. For a different kind of thrill, book a two-hour snowmobiling tour ($135) with a guide who will lead you across the secluded terrain and point out moose, deer, and elk along the way.

Devote an afternoon to strolling Main Street’s shops, many housed in historic buildings dating to Park City’s days as a mining town. Stop into Mountain Town Olive Oil for infused oils and balsamic vinegars sourced from all over the world ($14.95–$34.95). Pony up for top-quality western wear at the 130-year-old Burns Cowboy Shop, and browse books on local history at Dolly’s Bookstore. When you’re ready for a break, grab a seat at Wasatch Brew Pub & Brewery, where you can order any of the dozen or so excellent drafts by the shot glass (75 cents each) to create your own tasting flight.

Pamper yourself at the Golden Door Spa, one of just five in the world, where treatments ranging from the signature herbal wrap ($200) to high-tech facials (from $160) are designed to calm both body and mind. Beforehand, take part in the Japanese-style onsen ritual by arriving at least 30 minutes early to drink tea and unwind in the bathing facilities and lounges. Post-treatment, a wheatgrass smoothie shot and signature potassium broth (tastes like a spicy, warm V-8) assist with the detox process. Afterward, drop by the Waldorf’s new-this-season Powder Ice Lounge to sip Champagne under fur blankets while marveling at the fourteen-foot bar carved in ice as well as the latest après-ski fashions.

4. Insider’s Tip

A selection of beers made by Shades of Pale Brewing.Photo: Courtesy of Shades of Pale Brewing

Other parts of Utah may be known for teetotalling, but Park City’s brew scene is booming. For the most interesting pours in town, look for bottles produced by two-year-old Shades of Pale Brewing, which makes beers like citrusy Jack Wagon Wheat Beer or caramel-tinged 4-Play Porter (about $3 per bottle). For now, you can find them at shops, restaurants, and bars around town, but the brewer’s popularity has to led to plans for a a new facility with tours and a tasting room.

5. Oddball Day

High West Distillery & Saloon was the state's first alcohol producer and is possibly the world's only ski-in distillery.Photo: Courtesy of High West Distillery & Saloon

Scores of Olympians call Park City home, so spend the day exerting yourself like a pro athlete, and, if you’re lucky, actually meeting one of them. Carbo-load over breakfast at Squatters, a pub offering substantial morning fuel-ups including a breakfast burrito ($8.99) or biscuits and beer gravy ($9.99). For your morning warm-up, set off on a three-hour, guided snowshoe tour ($120 including lunch; arrange at the adventure-sports desk inside the Grand Summit Hotel) up the mountain to a height of 8,300 feet, where you’ll stop at theLookout Cabin to recharge with hearty gourmet American fare while gazing over the Wasatch Mountains. Back down the mountain, if you’re staying at the Waldorf, you have a chance to brush shoulders with U.S. Speedskating team member Patrick Meek, who gives private lessons when he’s in town ($120 as an optional add-on to the hotel’s Majordomo Package). After Meek spends an hour teaching you how to squat on the straight-aways and cross over on the corners, the lesson concludes with hot drinks at a local café. Another option is to spend a whole seven-hour day (or two or three) learning slopes skills from an Olympian or pro athlete (from $1,325 per day, lift ticket not included) as part of Canyons’ Ultimate Mountain Experience. Either way, end the day with dinner at High West Distillery and Saloon, which is the state’s first distillery built since the 1870s. Revive with a whiskey flight ($13) and some western small plates like coffee-bourbon-glazed cod ($15) and bacon-jalapeño shrimp ($15). Then head over to the Egyptian Theatre for the night’s entertainment, which might be a musical, stand-up comedy, or even the local Michael Jackson tribute band.

6. Links

Keep an eye on Taste of Park City for news about area restaurants and the occasional non-food-related post.

The town’s visitors bureau keeps an up-to-date blog announcing live music, film screenings, and other arty happenings.

Toggle over to Historic Park City for information on events like walking tours, kids’ activities, and more.

Get Off the Slopes in Park City