2020 and COVID-19 changed how we were able to travel, but we also learned that the spirit of adventure and exploring never ceases. “Travel Diaries: How to Explore From a Distance” is a Darling series focused on virtual exploration and distanced travel that allows us to vacation safely.
Historically known as a picturesque mining town, Park City, Utah is the ultimate winter haven with endless ski resorts and winter recreation. Park City first attracted adventurers seeking its mountains’ silver veins in the late 1860s, but when the booming years ended in the 1930s, the town’s most coveted resource became snow.
Just a 32-mile (or about a half hour) drive from the state’s capital, Park City is home to the largest ski resort in the United States, Park City Mountain Resort with more than 7,300 scores, 348 trails, 41 lifts, 13 bowls and eight terrain parks. No wonder the mountain city was home to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games!
The great thing about mountain towns like Park City is that many activities are already perfect for social distancing—from hiking, scenic drives, biking, to arts and culture venues. For outdoor activities, you will find that trails and parks are open and available for safe, socially distanced outdoor activities.
Get ready to whisk away safely to this winter wonderland with these Park City travel suggestions:
Where to Stay
When you visit a mountain town like Park City, ideally you want to disconnect. For the ultimate getaway, book a stay at the luxurious Westgate Park City Resort & Spa. Unwind and process the year that has been in any of their luxury suites with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. You are sure to find a home away from home at Westgate. The Luxury Suites sleep up to four guests, with enhanced amenities like kitchenette, while the Four-Bedroom Loft sleeps up to 16 people. Your entire quarantine group can travel together to spread out and unwind!
Some of my favorite features are the luxe, rustic cabin design, the spacious kitchenette, the jetted tub and the cozy fireplaces. You can end the night with a good book or glass of wine in the outdoor jacuzzi on the balcony. The resort also offers a complimentary guest shuttle that can transport you around most parts of town (which takes you to the nightlight life on Main Street and the ski resorts.)
Where to Dine
I was pleased to find that highly-rated and award-winning Edge Steakhouse at the Westgate Resort lived up to the hype. Get ready for a first-class dining and an elevated American-style steakhouse experience like no other! The menu boasts an array of delicious appetizers like their scrumptious brussel sprouts or truffle aioli fries. The creative entrees and innovative side dishes are all inspired by local and organic produce, and they serve top quality top-quality USDA Certified Prime Aged Beef, Wagyu Beef, wild caught fresh fish and seafood.
If you are a wine connoisseur, it also offers one of the largest and most comprehensive wine lists in Park City. No wonder it was named as one of Forbes’ Top 12 Steakhouses in the nation and one of USA Today’s Top Restaurants in Park City!
Before you skip straight to dinner, schedule your midday ski break for lunch at Drafts Burger Bar! They offer gourmet burgers, and vegetarian and vegan friendly options as well. They have 20 beers on tap, and for the traveler with a sweet tooth, their decadent, hand spun milkshakes will leave you saying, “I scream, you scream, we scream ice cream!”
If you’re out and about in town, have dinner at Chimayo, the perfect blend of Tex Mex and Southwest flavors. Sit down in the cozy space and get ready to enjoy unique takes on traditional quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos and more. The Duck Enchiladas and the Seared Trout Fajitas will leave you satisfied, but save room for dessert! The fondue and churros are a perfect treat to end your day.
Where to Play
There are endless outdoor activities to fill your time in Park City. Whether you prefer snowshoeing, sleigh rides, snow biking, ice skating, skiing or snowboarding, there is something for you. If you have never tried tubing, I highly suggest choosing Park City as your first experience. Visit Woodward Park for miles of tubing fun as you zoom down the hill at Gorgoza Park. You can book two-hour sessions online!
After you are done hitting the slopes, explore Historic Main Street where you’ll find favorites like The Egyptian Theater and Park City Museum. Park City Museum gives you a glimpse into Park City’s early beginnings as a mining town and how it transformed into the winter and summer resort destination it is today. Even the museum itself is historic, as it was once the town’s City Hall and Utah’s Territorial Jail. Rumor has it that the jail is still intact in the building’s basement!
While you are on Main Street, you will want to check out any of the touring art galleries and shops. My favorite local gallery was the Gaia On Main that is currently featuring an exhibit by Fine Art Sculptor Dorit Schwartz. Made of crystals, reclaimed rare woods and hand-carved selenite, Dorit’s art is inspired by organic shapes and textures found in the environment.
Where to Relax
Relax and rejuvenate at Forbes Four-Star Serenity Spa by Westgate. Give yourself a day of much-deserved pampering at one of Park City’s top-rated spas. The full-service spa offers 14 treatment rooms, a tranquil spa with waterfall, and all the indulgent massage, facial and body treatments you could need for ultimate relaxation. Let your cares slip away as you sip champagne and eat chocolate covered strawberries at your mani/pedi session.
There’s also a Yoga Studio that includes year-round offerings for all levels, including hot yoga and Bikram yoga. At your leisure, be sure to take a splash in the heated Indoor/Outdoor Pools Open that are open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
To learn more about Park City and what to do on your next visit, follow @visitparkcity on Instagram.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? How does traveling to new places make you feel?
Lead Image via Two Scots Abroad Travel Guides