A First-Timer's Travel Guide to An Epic Summer in Park City: What to Do, Where to Eat, and More
Hi! Quick disclaimer: there are a few affiliate links in this post. If you use these links, and end up making a purchase or booking a trip, I could make enough money to go Paris! Just kidding, but these links do support Rachel Off Duty at no additional expense to you. Thanks for supporting the blog!
A huge thank you to the Deer Valley Resort and Visit Park City for hosting our stay. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
What do you think of when someone says Park City, Utah? Most (myself included) might think of snow-capped mountains, ski resorts, year-round Christmas lights, and chilly temperatures. The last several times I’ve been to Utah, this was definitely the case. In fact, just 3 months ago, I was in Park City, bundled up in who knows how many layers, skiing and snowmobiling in deep, deep powder! So it was a very bizarre experience for me to trade in my coats and boots for a swimsuit and shorts to visit Park City in the summer, where I was greeted by toasty 80 degree weather and long days where the sun doesn’t set till past 9 pm. If you think snow-covered mountains are gorgeous in the winter, just wait until you see how green and lush those same mountains become when the snow melts and summer rolls around. It’s shockingly beautiful and I couldn’t believe the two sights could possibly exist in the very same place.
To my surprise, summer in Park City is one filled with music, tons of outdoor activities, world-class food and drinks, and vibrant landscapes. While some ski resort towns might all but close down for the season, Park City charges forward, adapting to the polar-opposite weather with ease.
Be sure to down to the bottom of the page or click here to watch the video recap!
One of the things I love the most about northern Utah is how easy it is to get to from where I live – a flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City is a short 1 hour 20 minutes, and the ride to Park City from there rings in at just under 45 minutes. On this recent trip, I went to Park City for a long weekend (Thursday - Sunday) mini vacation in July, and I jam-packed my days to find out all of the best and most unique things there are to do when the weather warms up. Better yet? I got to take my boyfriend Jacob for his very first (and definitely not the last) trip to Utah and play tour guide for the weekend.
Here are 6 unique, fun activities I tried – and loved – in Park City this summer that will prove once and for all that this ski town isn’t just a ski town after all. Plus, keep reading for some of my favorite food recommendations, where we stayed, and other tips you need to know when visiting Park City in the summer!
A First-Timer’s Guide to Park City, Utah in the Summer
What to Do
1. Outdoor Concerts on the Slopes
I always brag about just how many concerts and picnics you can find in LA every summer, but I may have to revoke my bragging rights, because Park City knows how to do it up, too! For a relatively small mountain town, Park City hosts dozens of events every single summer. While I was in town, we checked out the Deer Valley Concert Series, which is a summer concert series that brings in well-known artists spanning all kinds of genres for an open-air concert every Thursday. For drinks, BYOB is fair game. For food, you can order ahead for the fanciest packed picnic dinners of your life, or, bring your own food, too! There are concession stands as well if you want to buy food or drinks at the venue, or if you forgot to pack a picnic blanket or a sweater. Basically, all of your bases are covered one way or another, which is a relief in case you couldn’t fit your full-blown picnic spread into your carry-on. What makes this concert series so unique is that its held at an amphitheater situated at the base of the mountains. So, you’re casually surrounded by beautiful scenery and ski lifts while you enjoy the music, making for a truly one-of-a-kind experience
Where: Deer Valley Concert Series
2250 Deer Valley Drive South #501, Park City, UT 84060
Ticket prices start at $45 per person
Tip: BYOB & pre-order a gourmet concert picnic for a totally unique experience. Alternatively, you can pack your own snacks or dinner, too. Don’t forget a picnic blanket!
2. Standup Paddle Boarding
I’m not used to paddle boarding on lakes, so it was crazy to me to see fish and dragonflies, and to be surrounded on all sides by hills and greenery when I went out on the water in Park City. You can rent paddle boards for $25 for two hours (a steal compared to what I’m used to in California!), or sign up for a lesson or standup paddle board yoga class, at Park City SUP, which is located at Pebble Beach next to the Deer Valley Grocery-Cafe. When you’re done with your workout, sit out on the deck of the Grocery-Cafe for a bite with a view of the lake you just paddled in. I recommend trying the Dutch Baby for breakfast or the BLT for lunch.
Where: Park City SUP
1375 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, UT 84060
Summer Hours: 10 am - 6 pm
Grab a Bite Next Door At: Deer Valley Grocery-Cafe
1375 Deer Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Summer Hours: 7:30 am - 7 pm
3. Scenic Chairlift Rides
In my opinion, one of the coolest things you can do in the summer in Park City is hitching a scenic chair lift ride. From Deer Valley Resort, you can take the Silver Lake Express chairlift to mid-mountain, which is a really beautiful ride in itself. The lift will drop you off right next to the Silver Lake Lodge which offers plenty of ways to spend a summer day.
Where: Deer Valley – Silver Lake Express (takes you to mid-mountain)
Summer Hours: 10 am - 5 pm (last round-trip ride leaves at 4:30 pm)
Full day adult passes start at $22
4. Trail Hiking
Once you’re at the Silver Lake Lodge, you can either grab a bite to eat or carry on towards the hiking and biking. If you want to hike, you have a couple of options:
Hiking up the mountain and taking a chairlift back down
Taking a chairlift up the mountain and hiking back down
Hiking both up and down
Riding more chairlifts for fun (because why not?)
I’m normally always up for a physical challenge, but Jacob was carrying a lot of camera gear with him so we opted to take the Sterling Express chairlift up and do a leisurely 1.5-hour hike back down to mid-mountain. If you’ve bought a lift day pass, you can go up and down as many times as you like.
Once we were done hiking, we grabbed lunch at Royal Street Cafe, which has a beautiful view of the mountains, the lifts, and the base of the trails.
Where: Mid-Mountain - Bald Mountain Area
From mid-mountain, we took the Silver Lake Express up to the top of Bald Mountain and hiked the Silver Lake Trail back down!
Grab a Bite While You’re Here at: Royal Street Cafe
7600 Royal Street, Park City, UT 84060
Summer Hours: 11:30 am - 3 pm
5. Bike Rentals & Mountain Biking
Full disclaimer that I am not a biking expert, nor did I try mountain biking while I was in Park City. But, what I do know is that Park City has world-class mountain biking in the summer and while we were there for the weekend we saw countless bikers traversing the slopes and exploring the nearly 500 miles of easy-access trails that Park City has to offer. From Deer Valley, you can either bike to the trails or take one of the many bike rack-equipped chairlifts up to the mid-mountain access areas near Silver Lake Lodge.
Where to Bike: Various locations – check out a couple interactive trail maps here!
Where to Rent:
Deer Valley Snow Park Lodge or Silver Lake Village
Both locations open 10 am - 5 pm daily
Rentals start at $67 for the afternoon or $88 for the day
Advanced reservations are recommended
White Pine Touring Retail Location or Nordic Center
Open 9 am - 6 pm daily
Rentals start at $48 hours for the afternoon, $65 for the day, or $300 for the week
6. Fly Fishing
Just 20 minutes outside of downtown Park City, you’re bound to hit, or at least drive parallel to, the Provo River. In the summer, the snowmelt from the mountains feeds into the freshwater here, and the river comes alive with activity. The Provo River is a blue ribbon fishery (which, as I had to Google after getting home from my trip, basically means you’ll get high quality recreational fishing) and because of this, fly fishing is a well-loved pastime for Park City locals and visitors alike. I was skeptical at first because I didn’t see myself as someone who’d enjoy any kind of fishing, but after talking to several people about it and seeing their eyes literally light up about the experience, I was definitely curious. We took a private afternoon tour with Park City Fly Fishing Guides and our awesome guide Jeremy showed us the ropes. Within 45 minutes we were fly fishing! With Jeremy’s help, I ended up catching not one, but THREE whole brown trout!! We released the fish shortly after snapping a photo with each, A. because we wanted to, and B. because the fishing licenses we had were catch & release only*.
One thing that I heard from several people leading up to our fly fishing trip is that the experience of fly fishing is truly meditative, which is why people love it so much. People spoke less about the actual act of catching fish than they did about the way the activity made them feel while they were doing it. Picture yourself listening to the sounds of rushing water, surrounded by nature, with no other responsibility than to keep your eye on the fly (and, if you’re like us, to have a beer or two while you’re at it). Pure bliss, especially on a warm summer day. It was honestly such a fun and different experience and I’m so glad we tried something new!
Where: Park City Fly Fishing Guides
Half-Day Wade Trips are $275 for 1 person, $350 for 2 people
*Tip: Prior to the tour, you will need to obtain a ‘Fishing Any Age 3-Day Permit’ online. You can purchase them here
6. Park Silly Market
A trip to Park City, no matter what season, isn’t complete without exploring Main Street. If you’re visiting Park City over a weekend like we did, the best day to hit up Main Street is on Sunday, when Park Silly Market closes down most of the block so artisans can set up shop and people can walk around and explore. Park Silly Market is an open-air market and street festival that brings everyone in the area together on a weekly basis during the summer months for food, music, art, and community. If you’re into souvenirs or trying locally grown eats, this is the place to do it – I bought a beautiful sterling silver ring and some lavender essential oil to take home with me, and we also sampled salsa, honey, and coffee along the way.
Summer Hours: Sundays 10 am - 5 pm
Where to Eat and Drink
2250 Deer Valley Drive South #501, Park City, UT 84060
This part-grocery store, part-eatery has one of the prettiest views in town. Walk out to the back terrace for an epic front-row seat to Deer Valley’s lakes and mountains. It’s pure magic! And, so are their BLT sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies. For a souvenir to bring home to friends, you can pick up Ritual Chocolate bars (a Park City institution) here which I am obsessed with.
221 Main Street, Park City, UT 84060
Another grocery-eatery hybrid, Park City Provisions is a ridiculously good breakfast spot to hit up before setting off on your adventures. You can get extremely healthy (green juices and acai bowls) and extremely not-so-healthy (breakfast poutine and strawberry fritters, anyone?) food and drinks here. But don’t choose between them – get a little of both, like I did. The strawberry fritters were such an indulgent early-morning bite, but I am not ashamed.
7700 Stein Way, Park City, UT 84060
While the 4-star restaurant at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, Glitretind, serves world class dining morning, noon, and night, it’s the Sunday Jazz Brunch that gets people talking. In a word, this buffet-style brunch is extravagant: we’re talking crab claws, watermelon gazpacho, the biggest spread of charcuterie my heart could handle, made-to-order omelets, Belgian waffles – the works. Oh, and you can also order a Manhattan here before 12 pm. Not saying we did… also not saying we didn’t.
7600 Royal St Suite 304, Park City, UT 84060
How could you not enjoy trying elk chili, a craft cocktail, or the most elegantly plated hot dog of your life while perched up on a mountain and watching the bikers, hikers, and horseback riders pass you by? Sitting al fresco at the Royal Street Cafe is a treat in itself, and what’s more? You get to take a chairlift to get here if you’re coming from Deer Valley!
2900 Deer Valley Drive East, Park City, UT 84060
Tucked away on the second floor of The Lodges at Deer Valley, this cozy little restaurant will forever be the place I got so full that I practically needed to be carried home. The chimichurri chips and bison meatloaf here are so decadent but so worth it. In fact, our meal choices were so attractive that they became talking points – by the end of the night we made friends with all 3 tables sitting next to us!
508 Main Street, Park City, UT 84060
The head chef of Tupelo is originally from Atlanta, and there’s a nuanced, modern take on Southern cuisine that makes this restaurant one of my absolute favorites. While the concepts are influenced by the South, the ingredients are sourced locally from sustainable farms both in the state and beyond. If there’s anything I can implore you to do, it’s to order the cheese fritters and the ‘beef and barley.’ I’m still dreaming about those dang fritters to this day. In addition to being a restaurant, Tupelo actually occupies 3 floors – with an upper floor bar/lounge, an atrium dining room, and tons of space for private events.
For more restaurant recommendations, check out my Winter Guide to Park City!
Where to Stay
There’s a really wide variety of accommodations in Park City, from cheap Airbnbs to five-star luxury resorts. On this particular trip, we stayed at The Lodges at Deer Valley, which was walking distance to lots of the activities mentioned above and featured an idyllic view of the valley. The hotel has a sort of elevated rustic charm to it, with a grand lobby entrance, exposed wood beams, and outdoor-inspired decor. Also, the jetted tub in the bathroom made my heart melt with happiness after a long day of traveling.
For guests looking to go into Main Street (a 2-minute drive) or beyond, The Lodges offer complimentary in-town transportation through their partner, Cadillac, which was so convenient.
Hotel rooms start at ~$170/night in the summer months
Getting to Park City actually pretty quick and easy. If you’re flying, the Salt Lake International Airport will be your hub. From there, it’s a 35-45 minute drive to Park City. You can rent a car from the airport, hop in an Uber or Lyft (around $35-$55 depending on the time of day), or get a private transfer.
If you don’t have a rental car, getting around Park City is still a breeze. Ubers and Lyfts, while not as abundant as they are in Salt Lake City, can still be found within a 5 to 15 minute wait. In addition, there are free (or very cheap) busses and shuttles that most hotels and lodges offer to help get you around. On Main Street, there is a trolley that can help you navigate the long stretch of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques you’ll be dying to visit.
Last but not least, depending on where you’re staying, your hotel may even have its own complimentary shuttle service around Park City. I know for a fact that The Lodges at Deer Valley and the Stein Eriksen Lodge both offer this!
Watch: Summer in Park City Long Weekend Recap!
While I can’t deny that Park City in the winter has a charm unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, I think it’s safe to say that the summer months are equally incredible. This Utah mountain town has so much going on and so much to do, you can bet that I’m already plotting my next summer in Park City.
Planning a trip to Park City in the near future? Let me know your itinerary below!