Travel + Leisure recently named Park City the top town in America. The designation is based on survey responses from readers who rated iconic small metros ― other top finishers included Santa Fe and Asheville ― in more than 65 categories, from the quality of restaurants to the accessibility of city parks.
Clearly, Park City didn’t rise to the top on its skiing prowess alone. Hiking, mountain biking, film-watching and beer-tasting are equally worthy reasons to head here in any season. It’s fairly pricey to live in Park City full-time, but come for a visit, and you’ll soak in enough magic to last all year long. Here’s why:
1. The slopes are perfect, obviously.
It isn’t right to talk about Park City without mentioning the world-class sports scene. Park City Mountain is reportedly the biggest ski area in the U.S., and Deer Valley was recently named the second-best ski resort on the continent. And when you consider Park City’s proximity to other mountains like Snowbird ― where lift tickets come cheaper ― the region quickly rises to number one.
2. But there’s nothing like a Park City summer.
The story goes that Park City was named for its abundant plants and flowers. And there are plenty of ways to see them: Take a chair lift to access 70 miles of mountain bike trails, or go camping in nearby Rockport State Park. Hiking and hot air balloon rides are popular summer adventures, too.
3. Olympians are everywhere…
At Utah Olympic Park, you can ride a bobsled down the same track as Olympians did in 2002, when Park City hosted the games. You can also take a guided tour of the grounds or watch past and future Olympians train.
4. …and so are famous people.
Sundance Film Festival is where both well-known and upcoming actors come to show off their less mainstream projects. While there may not be room on the red carpet, you can certainly get tickets to film screenings or “see and be seen” at Park City’s ritzier restaurants and bars.
5. The best adventures here are cheap or free.
Hiking Park City’s trails can be just as exhilarating as braving the ski runs, but it doesn’t involve the cost of a lift ticket. And the town’s swanky spas seem just plain unnecessary compared to a $16 soak in Homestead Crater, a nearby geothermal spring.
6. And the small-town charm will melt your heart.
There’s a reason this place was named America’s Favorite Town this year, after all. Park City’s main drag is a quaint collection of shops, restaurants, and nightlife spots. You can also visit the Park City Museum to learn about its history as a silver mining town.
7. Oh, and did we mention the FOOD?!
In this land of mountain dining, sometimes it’s hard to tell if the scenery is better outside the window or on the plate. Whether you’re looking for a cheap meal like El Chubasco’s veggie burrito or something fancy like the world-famous steak at Riverhorse on Main, Park City will not let you leave hungry… except for another visit, that is.