Food & Drink

Park City Staycation Affordable for Locals

For the best out-of-Utah experience without leaving home visit Park City and discover hiking & biking trails, fine dining, distilleries & breweries, and history.


Our neighbor to the east, Park City, has something of a mixed reputation — It’s an incredibly forward, progressive, Hollywood Esque, out-of-Utah experience. But it’s also an incredibly elitist, Hollywood Esque (don’t mention Jeffery Epstien) place for billionaires to bank their money in astronomically expensive mansions where now even small homes fetch millions.

My question is this: Has Park City become too elitist for the average Utahn to have an affordable fall staycation? Our conclusion is that it has not yet been completely corrupted by greed and billionaires. Yes, there are mansions built on hilltops that sell for more money than 1,000 average Utah homes, and consume more energy; but those who have elevated to the prime status achievement of purchasing power haven’t yet made Park City dull and boring. If you can appreciate the lux-life as well as the occasional mud-splattering-single-track mountain biking, this might be a good guide for your next visit.

Where to stay: There are many options for every budget. A suite at the Montage at Deer Valley will set you back around $1,170 per night (in the off-season). The Stein Erikson runs less than half of that for a deluxe room ($574). A junior suite at the Treasure Mountain Inn is just $130 per night, and it’s right on Main Street. If you want to bring kids and dogs, perhaps RV or tent camping is best. There are four campgrounds near Jordanelle State Park, offering both RV hookups and tent camping sites with views of the lake in close proximity to nice trails.

Where to go biking and hiking: The Historic Union Pacific Trail (AKA Rail Trail) is probably our favorite go-to. It’s a bike/walking trail winding around the Wasatch Back. The trail showcases the town’s periphery where traces of Summit County’s silver mining and coal mining past are still found. The Rail Trail travels through Snyderville and Coalville, all the way up to Echo Reservoir. 

Close to Park City the Park City Trail connects to the Jordanelle Reservoir, where there are several single-track downhill trails of various degrees of difficulty. If your preference is to take in broad vistas and experience the fall colors, consider the Millenium Trail. This trail travels past the historic McPolin Farm, famous for the iconic white Park City Barn. It winds through aspen groves and travels closer to the main highway in and out of Park City. 

If you seek adrenaline and down-hill action, visit Deer Valley’s extensive 70 miles of mountain biking trails, offering chairlift riding access with your bike, where it’s all downhill all the time. Whoo Hoo!

The Bramble from Alpine Distilling made with Alpine Distilling Lily Lake Gin, preserve liqueur, lemon juice, cane syrup, and blackberry jam to taste.

What to Drink: While in Park City, there are a few places you must try after a day of riding or hiking. Grab a craft beer from Wasatch at the top of Main. The Devastator Double Bock is one of my faves. For spirits and cocktails I recommend Alpine Distilling

Alpine’s highly-decorated whiskey portfolio will not disappoint any connoisseur. They offer a barrel-proof single malt whiskey, Alpine Triple-Oak Whiskey, and bourbon whiskey. The 2023 release offers four-grains, so tell your wife after you come home with a bottle that it’s a nutritious multi-grain treat! 

The distillery offers a nice variety of cocktails, and their old-fashioned is my go-to because I’m old-school. But they also offer a “Bramble” gin cocktail which features preserve liquor and blackberry jam. Moreover, they have something to spice up your evening called “Hot Fuss” — a spicy cocktail with killer hot sauce and spiced whiskey. If you want to dine upstairs, the bar called the Spur Bar and Grill offers blackened shrimp tacos. 

Across the street you will find the historic “No-Name Saloon” where the drinks and food are legendary. Try their BBQ bacon cheeseburger. After burning 2,500 calories on the rail trail, this makes a nice recovery meal.

What to Eat: As for fine dining options in Park City, the choices are numerous and extremely diverse. Some of the best chefs in Utah reside in Park City and Deer Valley. As for cuisine, the Maverick hot dogs offered near Kimball Junction are a staple — but don’t forget to add relish and mustard, which is offered complementary with the dog. 

Kidding aside, the food offerings, pairings, ingredients and options are as diverse as the movie stars and celebrities who frequent them. Some of our favorite affordable dining destinations include Banchan, Pretty Bird, Twisted Fern, El Chubasco, Stacked Sandwich Co., O’Shucks, Billy Blanco’s, Buona Vita, The Eating Establishment, Bangkok Thai on Main, and Bartolo’s, to name a few. 

If you want to peruse Park City’s Main Street like a billionaire, check out the art galleries. The galleries have plenty of works that even average-millionaire Utahns can afford. My favorite is the Mountain Trails Gallery. They feature many excellent Utah artists and sculptors that you can’t find anywhere, other than perhaps in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

We have written in the past about the late Glen Edwards, who is survived by his wife Barbara, who is also a world-class western oil painter and one of the best legends of Utah State University’s top-notch program. Mountain Trails still offers some of Edwards’ paintings. Also on display there are works by Scott Rogers, whose bronze works feature iconic imagery of cowboys on horses and wild west scenes. The Mayer Gallery also features Utah artist Douglas Aagard. If you prefer photography or art you can wear, there are many more galleries and nice places to buy clothing and fine-crafted cowboy hats.

Some of the mining equipment on display at the Park City Museum.

I mentioned that history buffs will enjoy Park City. The Park City Museum is always offering great exhibits showcasing the towns storied past. But where I get lost is in their research library. They have a treasure trove of photographs, books and newspapers all chronicling the town’s past. My research a few years back was to learn about the town’s silver mining past and the working conditions of the men who worked in the Silver King and Ontario mines in the late 1880s. These mines were among the largest and most productive mines in the United States at that time, back when Park City was still quite wild.

If you aren’t like me and would rather walk-and-see than stay cloistered in a library, the museum offers historic walking tours Monday-Friday at 2pm through the summer. Tours are just $7 per person. But if you want to experience the ghosts of Park City, then it’s $20 for adults and $10 for children. Private Main Street tours are also available.

I’ve heard good things about the Park City ghost tour, but have not yet experienced it. If you want to find Park City’s real ghosts, search up in the hills for abandoned mine shafts, where legend has it, after dark the prospectors come out and haunt their former barracks, and where you can still hear the sounds of mules braying, and creaky iron wheels from mineshaft carts being pushed by the old-timers who remain there.

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