Last July, on one of those achingly sunny yet temperate summer days Park City is known for, I spent a morning with a friend from out of state. The two of us hiked Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Trail, had lunch on a shady outdoor patio, shopped Main Street in the afternoon, and ended the day with a concert at Deer Valley. As we walked back to my car after the show on a typically cool and bug-free Park City evening, my friend turned to me and asked, “Why would you ever go away on vacation?”
Great point. Summer and fall in Park City mean events-packed weekends, daytime temps rarely higher than an arid 80 degrees, and hotel rates at about half of winter’s prices. And, so, this summer, I’ve resolved to spend at least one weekend playing tourist without buying a plane ticket or embarking on a lengthy road trip. Following are a few summer-to-fall staycation itineraries, local respites that I hope you’ll agree are much better ways to put those extra vacation days to use than cleaning out your garage or catching up on episodes of The Walking Dead.
Couples Concert Getaway
After attending just one show with your sweetie at Deer Valley’s Snow Park outdoor amphitheater, don’t be surprised if all other outdoor concert venues don’t quite measure up. Book a room at the luxe St. Regis Deer Valley (2300 Deer Valley Dr E, 435.940.5700), connected to this venue via the funicular. Concerts here range from free performances to the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival and the Park City Institute’s Big Stars, Bright Nights concerts series. Bring a picnic basket stocked with rare specialty items from Riverhorse Provisions (221 Main St, 435.649.0799) or arrange for a picnic basket or bag through Deer Valley (435.649.1000). But before taking the funicular down to your seats, make time for a pre-show cocktail on the J&G Grill’s firepit patio. The St. Regis is, of course, known for its 7452 Bloody Mary, but a more summery sip is the Asian-influenced St. Regis Ginger Margarita. Spend the day after the show exploring Deer Valley’s hiking-only trails, followed by a couple’s massage at the St. Regis Remède Spa, held in a private suite that opens to a patio with a cascading waterfall.
QT with the Family
News flash: Utah’s swankiest hotel resort—the Montage Deer Valley—also runs the most thoughtful and complete family and kids programs you’ll find just about anywhere (9100 Marsac Ave, 435.604.1300. A great place to start is the Montage’s Camp Compass, a multigenerational activity menu that includes croquet, archery lessons, disc golf, and outdoor movie nights. For parents looking for a little kid-free time, the Paintbox offers half and full days of supervised events and adventures for kids age 5 to 12, including arts and crafts, puppet shows, nature photography, scavenger hunts, guided hikes and mountain bike treks, and scat scouting with a naturalist. The huge Alpine Pool is an obvious hit with bigger kids, and the 1.5-foot-deep wading pool is ideal for younger ones. Guests can also enjoy daily hangout sessions with the Montage’s Bernese Mountain Dog, Parker (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.). And every day ends with stargazing, campfire stories, and s’mores on the Alpine Deck. For dinner, head to Daly’s Pub & Rec, also on-site, where brick-oven pizzas and elevated pub fare are served alongside shuffleboard, darts, vintage arcade games, and the in-house bowling alley.
Just-the-Guys Golf Sojourn
Forget Scottsdale or Carlsbad or Eugene. For some of the best off-the-beaten path golf in the Intermountain West, look no further than Park City. Book a stay for your crew at the Hotel Park City (2001 Park Ave, 435.200.2000), located within chipping distance of the Park City Golf Club’s first hole. The hotel’s in-house concierge will happily book tee times at the PCGC and other public courses in the area (like the Lake and Mountain courses at Wasatch Mountain State Park and the Gold and Silver courses at Soldier Hollow in the nearby and scenic Heber Valley) but can also hook groups up with private play at the Promontory Ranch Club and Park Meadows Country Club. End your day with beers on the hotel’s enormous pool patio and then see if you and your buddies can take down the 40 oz tomahawk rib eye at the on-site Ruth’s Chris Steak House. When your group feels like taking a break from swinging the irons, the hotel concierge will gladly arrange rentals of performance mountain bikes from Jans Mountain Outfitters for a pedal on Park City’s extensive trail system.
Ladies Art-focused Escape
While recreation gets the lion’s share of ink about Park City, its other claim to fame is as a visual arts enclave. Almost two dozen galleries line Main Street, displaying work by artists both famous and emerging. Stay in the chic and charming Washington School House Hotel (543 Park Ave, 800.824.1672) for steps-away access to the action. Every month, gallerists throw open their doors and uncork wine for the Last Friday Gallery Stroll. Be sure also to venture out of Park City’s historic commercial heart to see the Kimball Art Center’s (1401 Kearns Blvd, 435.649.8882) summertime exhibit, a collection of black-and-white prints by Richard Serra. Or book your staycation during the event that helped put Park City summers on the radar, the annual Park City Kimball Arts Fest, August 4 to 6. Reconvene for post-shopping cocktails and appetizers by the hotel’s secluded pool, or perhaps ask the concierge to arrange a poolside yoga class for your group. Plan to take breakfast in-house, a super-fresh, made-to-order affair served in your room or in the elegant dining room. And don’t be alarmed when you hear a siren late in the evening. That’s the 10 o’clock whistle, an audible homage to Park City’s mining past.