For the ultimate winter experience – it’s got to be Park City, Utah. Park City is in a league of its own. It’s home to the world-famous film festival, Sundance, and was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. It’s a blend of old Western mining history and high-end shopping, with five-star accommodations and world-class restaurants.
It should be no surprise that a destination like Park City has endless options of things to do. Here are my top 10 Winter Wonderland experiences you must try in Park City.
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1. GO SKIING OR SNOWBOARDING
Park City Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in the U.S! It’s actually two ski resorts that were merged into one when Park City Mountain Resort and The Canyons Ski Resort were purchased by Vail Resorts in 2015. There is so much terrain here you can ski for days and still not cover everything!
Tips for Skiing Park City Mountain
- Park City Mountain has more options for green/blue runs. The Canyons has more blue runs which makes it a better location for more advanced skiers/riders.
- Both Park City Mountain and The Canyons are connected by a Gondola. If you want to maximize your day on the slopes, it’s best just to stick to one mountain, or allocate time to take the gondola. The gondola takes around 10 minutes.
- Try to avoid eating lunch during “prime time” from 11-1. Instead, go right when most spots open at 10 a.m., or wait later in the day around 2 p.m. On the Canyons side, the BBQ at Tombstone Grill at the base of Tombstone Express is my top choice for lunch! All their meat is smoked fresh daily. The brisket and pulled pork are just what you would crave wanted after a day in the cold mountain air snowboarding (and it was really filling).
On the Canyons side, you’ll see the most gorgeous ski homes that are on the mountain. The Canyons side also has the Orange Bubble Express, the first heated covered chair lift in the US.
2. DRINKS AT THE BEST APRÈS SKI SPOTS
The Park City après ski scene out of any other ski resort in the United States! Only in Park City can you have drinks at a dive bar one day, and then sip champagne at a five-star resort the next. Loosen up the ski boots and unwind at these must-visit spots.
St. Regis Deer Valley – Best Views
The St. Regis knows how to give their guests an entrance- on a funicular! You can have a drink inside, or outside. The bar outside has several heaters, and with the right jacket, we were perfectly comfortable.
What to Drink? Every St.Regis around the world is known for their signature bloody mary that happens to be different at every St. Regis property. The bloody mary at this St. Regis includes local oat-distilled Vodka 7000, a house-made bloody mary mix with wasabi-celery foam. If a bloody mary isn’t your style, warm up with a Bailey’s and Coffee or try one of the local beers or spiked seltzers.
What to Eat? The cheese board! If you’re a cheese lover, the cheese board is a must. All of these cheeses are from local Utah farms. The brie was our favorite!
No Name Saloon – Best for a Fun Atmosphere
Located in a historic building on Main Street that used to house the local phone company back in the day, the No Name Saloon’s motto is “Helping People Forget Their Names Since 1903”. I love the no-frills and relaxed vibe of No Name Saloon. The walls are cluttered with paraphernalia from the old local rugby team, taxidermy, and even old sleds. Try to snag a table by the wood-burning fireplace, or the heated rooftop patio.
What to Order? You’ll find a huge selection of craft beers and whiskeys!
What to Eat? They’re famous for their buffalo burger.
High West Distillery and Saloon – Best Food and Drinks
If you’ve ever wanted to visit the world’s first (and only) ski-in, ski-out distillery, now is your chance. High West is right next to the town lift, and at the end of Quittin’ Time ski run.
What to Drink? I’m not a huge whiskey fan, but the Alta Ruby cocktail is so light and refreshing!
What to Eat? The house-made pretzel with homemade beer cheese and the chicken schnitzel were delicious! You can view the full menu here.
Popover Tip: High West does not take reservations, and the waiting time around dinner is known to be around two hours! Go early, or plan ahead if you want to eat/drink here.
3. EXPLORE THE ICE CASTLES
Inspiring. Enchanting. Magical. Visiting the Ice Castles is your chance to step into your own winter wonderland fairytale where you’re the queen (or king!). With only four Ice Castles locations around the US, this exhibit is a must-do when you’re in Park City during winter.
The Ice Castles are located in Midway, Utah about 30 minutes from Park City which’s best accessed by rental car. The Ice Castles are all outdoors, and every exhibit is created from scratch starting as early as late fall using hundreds of thousands of hand-placed ice crystals. Giant icicles are imported to Midway, and a specially designed sprinkler system helps the ice grow.
Because the Ice Castles are all outdoors, the weather conditions determine when the Ice Castles can open and close for the season is weather dependent. Utah tends to have the shortest season compared to the other locations in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Colorado. In 2020/2021 the Utah Ice Castles opened the very last week of December and closed February 20.
Important Tips for Visiting the Ice Castles
- Book your tickets EARLY! Tickets are known to sell out weeks in advance with the weekends being the most popular. You can subscribe to the Ice Castle email list to be notified when ticket sales open.
- Try to book your time slot an hour before sunset. That way you can get enough daylight for photos, but you can still enjoy the Ice Castles at night when all the lights turn on. Plan to spend around 1-2 hours.
- Think about what you’re going to wear in advance. All the bathrooms are located outside, and if you want to change clothes it’s going to be difficult. The best colors that pop for photos are bright red, or light pink, or blue that looks beautiful as well.
Purchase tickets and see opening dates on their website here.
4. GO SNOWTUBING
Snow tubing is a must-do if you’re visiting Park City with kids or if you’re just a kid at heart. Woodward Park City is a short 15-minute drive from Park City mountain, and it’s actually the longest snow tubing hill in Utah! A magic carpet lift brings you up to the top of the hill so you can just enjoy the fun part of sliding down!
Woodward is open both during the day and at night. It’s a fun way to end your day after skiing once the ski resorts close. Reservations are recommended to guarantee your spot. Plan on wearing ski gear to stay warm and shoes made for snow!
5. HAVE A NORWEGIAN INSPIRED DINNER IN A YURT
If you’re looking for a memorable dinner that’s a little adventurous with some Norwegian flair, you need to make a reservation at the Viking Yurt.
You begin your adventure with a sleigh ride up Park City mountain where your yurt is warm and waiting for you! After the chair lifts have closed for the day, it’s a unique opportunity to have fantastic views of Park City all to yourself.
Dinner is a communal dining experience with six-courses that includes lobster and salmon bisque, braised ribs, and of course hot gløgg (mulled wine). The whole dining experience is around 4 hours with only one seating. Believe it or not, they even have a baby grand piano with a pianist who plays live music as you eat. This is a truly a one-of-a-kind experience!
For more information, and to make your reservation you can book on the Viking Yurt’s website here. It’s open December – March for dinner.
6. ICE SKATING AND COCKTAILS AT VERSANTE HEARTH AND BAR
Cocktails and ice skating? Too risky or just the perfect amount for a really fun night? A local secret the guide books won’t tell you is the great food and ambiance at Versante Hearth and Bar located in the Park City Peaks Hotel. This winter they added an outdoor ice skating rink complete with a cozy fire pit and heated tent for the full winter wonderland experience.
Skate rentals are available for $5 through Ski n See, located in the hotel lobby, but guests who have their own skates are welcome to bring them to skate for free.
7. STROLL ALONG MAIN STREET
Part of Park City’s charm is the historic main street lined with the city’s best shops and restaurants. Way back in the 1800’s Main Street was where you would find the gold miners gambling or having drinks at a saloon. These days, you’ll find high-end shops, art galleries, and restaurants intermixed with a few saloons paying tribute to the history of this area.
Don’t miss seeing the iconic Egyptian Theatre on Main Street! Park City is famous for hosting the Sundance Film Festival at the end of January. The Egyptian Theatre is a landmark for the Sundance Film Festival, and also runs the Park City Film Series.
8. GO SNOWMOBILING
Northern Utah has gorgeous landscapes and you can experience it in a whole new way on a snowmobile. It’s a great activity for non-skiers, or if you just want to give your legs a break from the slopes for a day.
Stop looking at other snowmobile companies and book with Backcountry Snowmobiling. Backcountry has the nicest guides who are so dedicated to ensuring we had a great time. I somehow managed to get my snowmobile stuck in the snow twice, and they were so kind and always ready to help me dig my snowmobile out of the snow!
Backcountry Snowmobiling’s base camp is at 7,500 feet in elevation. It’s higher than any other snowmobile company’s base camp, and its location in a private hidden canyon means you won’t run into any other large snowmobile tours. They make sure your time on the snowmobile includes a nice balance of trail riding and free time to play around. The two-hour tour was just enough time, but they also have a three-hour tour option.
If you don’t have any ski gear or aren’t as prepared for the cold, Backcountry has snowsuits, gloves, boots, and helmets for all sizes and ages to borrow.
Book online through their website here. You can share a snowmobile with one other passenger, but if you really want the full experience consider having everyone rent their own snowmobile – it’s way more fun!
9. POP THE BUBBLY AT THE VEUVE YURT
You can’t miss the signature orange-colored Veuve Clicquot yurt at the Montage Hotel. Appropriately named “The Après Lounge”, this is the ultimate après ski spot that sits at the base of Deer Valley Resort.
Tips for Visiting The Après Lounge
- You don’t need to ski or be a guest of the Montage Hotel to visit The Après Lounge. It’s directly behind the Montage Hotel between the Express and Ruby lifts at Deer Valley.
- They do not take reservations, and they’re only open from noon to 4 p.m. The earlier you can go before the lifts close the better.
- The yurt is heated, but I recommend you dress warm in case you end up having a drink outside.
At $42 for a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, it’s not exactly budget-friendly, but the chic and cozy atmosphere is a memorable experience. You can view the full menu here.
10. DINNER INSIDE AN ALPENGLOBE
Alpenglobes have popped up at all the Park City hotspots – and for good reason! They’re the perfect private secluded experience inside a heated globe with a great sound system (where you’re the DJ) as the cherry on top.
Alpenglobes are available at restaurants on Main Street, but nothing compares to the ambiance of booking an Alpenglobe at the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley. The Stein Eriksen Lodge is Utah’s only Forbes Five-Star hotel and spa. This authentic European lodge is inspired by the Olympic legend, Stein Eriksen, and you’ll see references to his Norwegian heritage all around the lodge.
The Alpenglobes at the Stein Eriksen give their guests beautiful panoramic views of Deer Valley Resort. If you go during dinner it’s fun to watch the runs be groomed at night!
Alpenglobe Reservation Tips
- Book early! We booked our reservation two months in advance in order to have our preferred day and time. For non-lodging guests, you can call the number on their website here for your reservation.
- The globes can be reserved for breakfast, lunch, apres-ski, and dinner.
- It’s a $200 reservation fee to reserve. Their website says you have your globe reserved for 90 minutes, but because we didn’t have a reservation following us after dinner we stayed in it for three hours.
You can order from the same menus at the Troll Hallen Lounge.I recommend ordering their French Onion Soup, Swedish Meatballs, and Oatmeal Cookie Sundae. The Swedish Meatballs would be my top choice! If you have more room for dessert, they have chocolate fondue to tempt you!
For more information and to make reservations visit their website here.
11. TAKE A HORSE-DRAWN SLEIGH RIDE TO DINNER
Enjoy a dinner where the experience of getting there is just half the fun! At the Snowed Inn Sleigh Company, you can hop on a cowboy driven horse-drawn sleigh to a cozy cabin for a western style dinner.
You’ll meet your horse-drawn sleigh and cowboy at the base of Park City Mountain in front of the Payday Lift. Each sleigh holds around 10–12 passengers, and it takes around 20-minutes to reach the cabin. This is the perfect activity for families, or a group of friends! The experience of seeing the twinkling lights of Park City from your sleigh snuggled under a blanket is a magical moment!
A warm fireplace and hot cider is waiting for you when you arrive at Snowed Inn. Your dinner includes a soup, main entree, and a dessert – you won’t leave hungry!
Reservations are at 5:30, 6:30, or 7:30. I recommend the 5:30 reservation if you want pictures with your horses during any remaining daylight. Dinner + sleigh ride prices are as follows and include both the dinner and the sleigh ride – Adults (Ages 13+) – $100 Children (Ages 3-12) – $65 Infants (Ages 2 and under) – Free.
12. HOP ABOARD A DOG SLED
Experience a dog sledding adventure surrounded by mountain-top scenic views. Rancho Luna Lobos is Utah’s only true family-owned and operated kennel run by husband and wife dynamic duo Fernando and Dana Ramirez.
You won’t find a better dog sled experience in all of Park City! At Rancho Luna Lobos your visit includes a history of dog sledding, a kennel tour, play time with the dogs, and a thrilling ride where you even help drive the sled! Fernando and Dana are committed to treating their guests like family. They live onsite at the ranch and truly know each and every one of their over 70 dogs!
13. HAVE A ONE-OF-A-KIND DINNER FIRESIDE
Feel as if you are transported to the European Alps with my favorite dining experience in all of Park City. Fireside Dining at the Montage Hotel in Deer Valley offers guests a European Alps- inspired four course dinner served from four different stone fireplaces.
Each course has a designated fireplace! Enjoy warm Swiss raclette cheese, cured meats, salads, stews, fire-roasted leg of lamb, and dessert fondues. If you’re a cheese and chocolate lover, your taste buds are going to be blown away! Just promise me you’ll come hungry!
Fireside Dining is open throughout the winter season. Reservations are required. The restaurant is open from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Free parking is available to guests.
WHERE TO EAT IN PARK CITY
Whether you’re in the mood for après ski classics like fondue, or you’re fueling up with a hearty brunch before hitting the slopes – click here for my guide to the best restaurants in Park City! This Park City restaurant guide has you covered with where to eat on your ski trip to Park City, Utah!
WHERE TO STAY IN PARK CITY
Moderate Hotels in Park City
Find out why everyone is raving about Park City’s newest hotel just steps away from Park City Mountain! At YotelPAD Park City you’ll find your home away from home in your innovative space, called a PAD, that includes a kitchen space, murphy bed, and a set of bunk beds. The YotelPAD is the perfect place to stay in Park City for friends or families.
Guests love the highly efficient design of the YotelPAD. The full refrigerator/ freezer, microwave, toaster, and stove are perfect for making a quick meal. I recommend booking a room with a balcony to enjoy the gorgeous views of the mountains in the morning.
My favorite part of the YotelPAD is the Ski valet with a Boot Valet that dries and warms your boosts overnight! The Ski valet was so easy and convenient! I loved not having to carry my equipment back and forth to my PAD
At the YotelPAD you’ll wake up to the mountains and unwind at night at their gorgeous outdoor heated pool and hot tub. Skiers (or those learning to ski) will love the convenient access to Park City Mountain. At the YotelPAD you are just steps away from the Canyons Village that’s filled with incredible restaurants, bars, and shopping.
Experience the best of Park City at the YotelPAD! You can view the current offerings and seasonal rates they have on their website here.
The Sheraton Park City has everything you need for a ski weekend! They have a shuttle to the mountain, underground parking, as well as a heated pool and hot tub. The location is just minutes away from Main Street and Park City Mountain.
One of the few boutique hotels in Park City with a commitment to making sure the guest experience is nothing but the best. Park City Peaks has on-site ski/snowboard rentals, an indoor-outdoor heated pool, sauna, and hot tubs – not to mention a complimentary breakfast to help fuel you up before a day on the slopes.
Luxury Hotels in Park City
It’s no surprise Park City’s only five-star luxury hotel and spa offers an incredible guest experience. The Stein Eriksen has the best ski-in/ski-out access for Deer Valley Resort with the irresistible ambiance of a European lodge.
If you’re looking to splurge on a luxury Marriot Bonvoy property, this is the place to do it! With ski-in/ski-out access to Deer Valley, the St.Regis Deer Valley offers some of the best views complete with a funicular ride up to the resort.
PARK CITY TRAVEL TIPS
CLOSEST AIRPORT TO PARK CITY
Park City is one of the most accessible ski destinations in the world, thanks to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which is just 35 minutes away. The airport just received a $4 billion dollar renovation, and it’s gorgeous!
TRANSPORTATION TO/FROM PARK CITY
If you’re flying into Salt Lake City, you have the option of renting a car from one of the many rental car companies, or you can pre-arrange for a shuttle. Once you’re in Park City, you can use the free bus system, or Uber to get around. Many hotels in Park City also offer complimentary ski shuttles to Park City Mountain Resort or Deer Valley.
If you’re looking to cover any of the additional activities on this list (snowmobiling, Ice Castles, etc.), you need to rent a car. If you rent a car, try to select a hotel with complimentary parking. Parking is complimentary at Park City Mountain Resort.
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD I SPEND IN PARK CITY
At a minimum, I would recommend three days in Park City. Ideally, you should allocate 3-5 days. If you’re skiing, try to fit in two full days on the mountain in case the weather takes a turn for the worst one of the days, and to allow yourself some extra time to really enjoy skiing!
It’s nice to take a day or two off from skiing to enjoy the surrounding area by snowmobiling, visiting the Ice Castles, ice skating, or just strolling through Main Street!
WHERE TO RENT SKI/SNOWBOARD EQUIPMENT IN PARK CITY
Obviously, the easiest choice on where to rent gear would be the Park City Mountain Resort. If you’re looking for high-quality gear that’s catered to you without any hassle, Ski Butlers is for you. Ski Butlers will deliver and pick up your gear from your location, and provide you with quality gear that’s above and beyond what you find at the resort rental shop. Visit their website here for pricing and more details.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PARK CITY IN WINTER
Whatever winter activity your heart desires, you can find it in Park City. Its reputation for the best skiing in the United States couldn’t be more true. When you’re off the slopes, spoil yourself to après-ski in a champagne yurt or dine in an Alpenglobe for dinner. You’ll leave Park City impressed and eager to plan your next trip back.
Have you been to Park City? What are some of your favorite winter destinations? Would love to hear in the comments below!
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