What to Do in Park City Utah if You Hate Skiing
One of the most incredible places that Utah has to offer is nestled up in the mountains, just 45 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. You may have heard of Park City before. It’s famous for the annual Sundance Film Festival, and it’s world-renowned for skiing. In fact, people say it’s one of the top 5 places to ski and snowboard, period, alongside incredible destinations like Whistler, Canada and Zermatt, Switzerland.
That’s all pretty cool, but what happens if you don’t like skiing, and have no interest in trying to learn? Is Park City still for you? Can you tag along on a ski trip with your winter sports-loving friends and still have a good time?
As someone who just got back from a 4-day ski trip with 12 other people, let me tell you: you absolutely can!
Park City is far more than just a ski destination. Drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, the little mountain town has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing things to do, eat, and see for all kinds of travelers. I spent 1 day in Park City last year and knew that I liked the atmosphere and wanted to come back, but I was honestly a little skeptical at first when I found out I’d be heading to Park City for 4 days with a bunch of people, all of whom could ski or snowboard, while I myself would probably be doing mankind a better service by keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground instead of up on the slopes.
But after 4 jam-packed days in Park City, I could NOT have had a better time. There’s no shortage of activities and experiences to try. And, when you combine that with the indescribable sensation of waking up on a brisk morning surrounded by falling snow (I couldn’t believe my eyes), and feeling like you’ve walked onto the set of a perfectly-designed Christmas movie no matter what time of year it is, it’s just pure magic. Park City truly has an ambiance unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, where you can have a low key weekend getting lost in the snowy, rolling hills, or spend your days on the higher end, eating and shopping your way through some of the finest local spots in Utah.
Things to Know Before You Go:
Getting to Park City is pretty quick and convenient. 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 (around $35-$55 depending on the time of day), or getting a private transfer from a company like Haute Cars.
If you don’t have a rental car, getting around Park City is still a breeze. Ubers, 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. If your friends are skiing, they can take the Utah Ski Bus for $4.50 each way to any of the ski resorts in the area. Last but not least, there is a trolley on Main Street that can help you navigate the long stretch of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques you’ll be dying to visit.
Best Time to Visit:
Park City is beautiful year-round, but this guide is definitely geared towards the fall - spring months when there’s snow on the ground!
Now, the fun part! Here are some of the coolest things I did in Park City that don’t involve skis or a snowboard. With this many activities to choose from, you won’t even miss your friends while they’re out on the slopes.
What to Do in Park City Utah, Even If You Hate Skiing
Try Snowmobiling or Snowshoeing
I’m starting with snowmobiling because, let me tell you, I was definitely nervous to try this. I am horrible on 2 skis, and I wasn’t raised with 4 seasons. Quite frankly, I didn’t think I was built for anything that was meant to glide quickly across the snow, this included. But, it ended up being the best morning EVER. Honestly, it was probably the highlight of my year. As a group, we took a guided, private snowmobiling tour through snow-capped hills, fir trees, and wide-open spaces in the mountains surrounding Park City. After taking a little bit of time at the beginning of the tour to get used to maneuvering, we were unstoppable. We all shifted our snowmobiles into sport (fast) mode, bombed down hills, and sped around in circles. It was wild!
If that’s not your speed, snowshoeing also seems like it would be a wonderful way to experience the beautiful scenery in the area. We used Red Pine Tours, which offers both snowmobiling and snowshoeing experiences.
Get a Facial or a Massage at one of the Top-Ranked Spas of the World
For lots of people, Park City is all about relaxation and indulgence, and while there are several places to do that, the Spa Montage at the Montage Deer Valley is undeniably unique. For skiers, the resort is a prime destination for ski-in, ski-out access (and no snowboarders). For non-skiers, the Spa Montage offers pools, jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, lounge areas, beautiful amenities, facials, and massages to get your relaxation on. I didn’t think I’d wind up at the Montage, but I had the opportunity to check this place out last-minute and was able to squeeze in a 60-minute massage and a quick sauna session. It was so nice to relax and enjoy all the luxe amenities in a gorgeous resort, which is something I don’t usually do but felt incredible for a special occasion. A must if you are able to while you are in town!
Experience the Après-Ski Scene
The apres-ski culture is so fascinating to me, but I liken it to what it’s kind of like when I go camping. You spend your whole morning getting a killer workout, either hiking or in this case skiing or snowboarding, and then once you’re done, you want nothing more than a giant meal and a drink. Except, unlike camping, apres-ski is 10 times more glamorous, and an experience that can’t be missed whether you ski or not. Join in on the action beginning in the afternoon into the evening hours by hitting up a restaurant, bar, or even a yurt (yes, yurt).
I’ve listed out some can’t-miss bars and restaurants below if you keep scrolling! But first, back to the yurts. Here are some worth putting on your radar (note, yurt season is ski season, so I am pretty sure none of these are open during the summer):
A super luxe yurt located at the Montage that serves up Veuve Clicquot fireside. It’s only open daily from 12 - 4 pm during ski season.
A yurt serving Nordic winter fine dining for dinner at 8,700 feet elevation. This experience begins with an actual sleigh ride and ends with drinks served in goblets. This yurt only serves dinner each evening to 40 guests, so make your reservations well in advance.
The Yurt at Solitude
A Mongolian-style yurt experience that begins with a guided snowshoe trek through the forest. Guests are treated to a 4-course dinner that’s prepared in front of you.
Take a Dip in a Jacuzzi
I probably squawked like a little kid when I discovered that our AirBnb in Park City had an outdoor jacuzzi. I loved relaxing in the warm water surrounded by falling snow, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before! Definitely try to book a hotel room or an AirBnb with an outdoor jacuzzi if you can, and you won’t be sorry that you did.
Some accommodations with outdoor jacuzzis:
Explore all Park City accommodations here.
Or Try a Geothermal Pool Instead
The Homestead Crater is a gigantic limestone rock formation that houses a warm, toasty geothermal pool that you can actually swim in. It’s about 30 minutes outside of Park City, located at the Homestead Resort, and a really cool experience if you have the time to go. Reservations to access the crater are required. I actually got to experience it by taking a stand-up paddleboard class in the crater, which I highly recommend!
Explore Main Street
Park City’s Main Street is so dreamy, especially when there’s snow. Spend some time walking up and down the area (or take the free trolly), exploring the various coffee shops, bookstores, boutiques, galleries, and more. Some incredible restaurants can be found here, too.
At night, Main Street transforms into a giant bar crawl, with fine diners and drink seekers intermingling on the sidewalks and hopping from spot to spot throughout the evening. It’s a fun experience no matter what time of day it is. At night, wear sturdy footwear that won’t slip easily - walking up and down the incline of Main Street can be tricky when the sidewalks are icy or covered in snow!
Make S’Mores Around a Fireplace
Back at the Montage (sorry I can’t stop talking about this place, clearly), you can get your sweet tooth fix with the fanciest s’mores you’ve ever had, next to a warm, toasty fire pit outside on the patio. Every day in the winter season between 4 - 5 PM (8 - 9 PM in the summer), the Montage lays out gourmet marshmallows in several different flavors, graham crackers, chocolate, and hot cocoa for hotel guests and non-hotel guests alike. I highly recommend the cinnamon marshmallows. I would know, because I must’ve eaten at least 10.
Where to Eat and Drink
The food scene in Park City is a trip in itself. Because of the type of crowd Park City attracts, you are bound to find exquisite meals, experiences, and drinks everywhere you look. Here are some of the places I’ve tried that I can recommend:
Butcher’s Chop House and Bar: High-end steakhouse with filling appetizers and entrees. But, definitely don’t leave without ordering the cinnamon chimichanga. Out of this world!
Fireside Dining: A fixed-price dinner spot serving up 4-course meals lit (and heated) by various fireplaces throughout the dining area. A really cool experience and tasty food. If you like Swiss fare and would die over perfectly melty raclette cheese, this spot is for you.
High West Distillery: This place is known for its whiskey, but High West has to have been the best meal I’ve had in Park City. Do not make the mistake of going straight for the entrees without first ordering their wings, shishito peppers, and cheese fondue. I don’t even like shishito peppers OR wings on the bone normally, which should give you an idea of how good these appetizers were! Oh, and of course, their whiskey flights and craft cocktails are also phenomenal.
No Name Saloon: Extremely lively dive bar that’s open until 2 am every night.
Wasatch Brewery: The very first brewery in Utah, and a pretty good one at that!
With so much to do, your time in Park City will definitely be an unforgettable one. I fell in love with this Utah ski town, and I didn’t even have to fall in love with skiing in order to do so. Fingers crossed that I get to come back again soon!
Have you ever been to Park City? Are you a skier or do you prefer your feet firmly planted on the ground (like me)?