Though this glorious Park City summer is coming to a close and the area’s main claim to fame—snow—is still on its brief hiatus, calling fall the “off-season” is simply a misnomer. You could spend a week up here in September and October and still not make a dent in all the things to do, eat, and see. But since weeklong vacations are a rarity for most of us, following is an itinerary for an idyllic 48 hours in Utah’s most famous mountain town; one that, while nowhere near comprehensive, hits many of the highlights, both well-known and more obscure.
5 p.m. Check in to the Washington School House Hotel
Built in 1889 as working school to service families flocking to Park City during the 19th century’s silver mining boom, this historic building has been meticulously restored and luxuriously appointed in a way that’s anything but old fashioned. (Rates start at $350 per night in the summer.) The hotel’s elegant main dining/gathering space—replete with original art, antiques, and a signature white-lacquered antler chandelier—host’s daily afternoon snack time (running from 5 to about 6:30 p.m.), which always includes something savory and sweet (the choices were an ample charcuterie board and chocolate Rice Crispie treats on a recent visit).
7 p.m. Take in a live show
This fall’s scheduled musical performances offerings range from the more niche artists playing intimate venues—The Spazmatics play O.P. Rockwell on September 9—to more mainstream artists at one of our town’s largest performance locales—Josh Turner wraps up the Big Stars, Bright Night Concert Series at Deer Valley Resort's Outdoor Amphitheater on September 3. Or for a taste of something a little more off-beat, check out Next to Normal, A Rock Musical, coming to the Egyptian Theatre on September 8–17.
9 p.m. Late supper at Shabu
More than 200 eateries dot the Park City landscape but few offer the attention to detail, knowledgeable staff, consistently fantastic fare, and funky vibe found at the Asian-fusion Shabu, owned and operated by brothers and long-time locals Bob and Kevin Valaika. Menu standouts include the blistered green beans, the poke salad, the citrus plum scallops, the ramen soup, and anything off the sushi menu. Shabu’s wine and saketini list reflects and enhances the creative menu.
11 p.m. Sip a nightcap at Butcher’s Chop House & Bar
If the night is brisk (as they often deliciously are in the mountains), sip a craft cocktail or glass of red wine inside Butcher’s cozy and very adult lounge. And if the weather’s balmy, relax under the stars outside on the back patio before heading back to the Washington School House Hotel to slip between the Pratesi linens and drift off to sleep.
8 a.m. Break your fast in-house
A fresh, full, made-to-order breakfast is included with every stay at the Washington School House Hotel. Choose from house-made granola, omelettes, eggs any style, fresh juices and fruit, and French press coffee.
9 a.m. Hit the trail
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Park City, riddled with more than 400 miles of trails, has emerged as a nationally recognized mountain biking mecca. For an epic, 26-mile singletrack tour through Deer Valley and the sprawling Park City Mountain, start pedaling north on the Mid Mountain Trail at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Village. Ride the mostly rolling miles to your final descent along the Holly’s or Ambush trails into Canyons Village.
1 p.m. Refuel at the Red Tail Grill
The Red Tail Grill offers more simply satisfying pub-style fare. Take a seat on the wide patio and order an overflowing platter of ale-battered onion rings or the smoked Utah trout crostini with a frosty locally brewed beer—you’ve earned it.
3 p.m. Poolside chill time
Head back to the Washington School House Hotel, slip on your swim suit and retire to the upper-level pool and hot tub where the friendly and attentive staff will deliver wine, cocktails, and beer at your request.
5:30 p.m. Cocktails and dinner at The Nelson Cottage
The lovingly restored Nelson Cottage by High West Distillery offers a prix-fixe dinner with a menu of the chef’s choosing in a communal dining setting on Saturday evening.
An optional whiskey pairing (which is a MUST do) is offered to complement each course. (An ever-changing list of wines available by the bottle or glass or a small selection of international beers is also available.)
9 a.m. Play nine holes at Park City’s newest course, Canyons Golf
Though most of the holes here are par 3s, don’t underestimate the lack of yardage for less-than-challenging play. Winding fairways and angled greens provide plenty of difficulty on Park City’s newest track. And don’t worry about being too tired after your ride to walk this mountainous course—carts are required with all rounds of play.
Noon Brunch at Tupelo Park City
For a twist on the traditional Sunday mainstay, make reservations for brunch at one of Park City's newest--and best--restaurants, Tupelo. The Sunday daytime menu here spans familiar favorites like Eggs Benedict and omelettes but all are presented with Chef Matt Harris' signature southern flair. For our money, the best dish on the menu is chicken and biscuits: a perfectly crispy fried chicken breast served on the best biscuit we've ever had the pleasure of chewing, a sunnyside egg, and velvety gravy.
2 p.m. Gallery hop on Historic Main Street
A stroll through Park City’s historic Main Street is just what the doctor ordered after an action packed fall weekend in the mountains. More than 200 shops, galleries, and restaurants pack this quaint and appealing thoroughfare. Just try to resist taking a little piece of Park City home with you. Maybe a ski jacket? Appropriate when you visit Park City again in a couple of months after the snow flies.