Park City, Utah at Dusk. (Photo: Dan Leeth/Alamy)
Ah, Thursday night — the only truly social night of the week. It’s the night when babysitters are booked, friends convene, and drinks are imbibed. There are no family obligations to fulfill, no amateurish weekend crowds to elbow through —and the possibilities are endless. The night starts after work and ends whenever you want. In any city. All over the world.
Swanky little Park City was once a Wild West mining town but now mints gold in tourism dollars. In wintertime the moneyed, skiing masses arrive; and each January thousands of cinephiles, industry types, and PR flacks converge on this otherwise laid-back mountain town for the Sundance Film Festival. Festival or otherwise, most of the action takes place on historic Main Street, which means a Thursday night on the town is both easy and safe if you’re staying nearby: There’s no need to drive after that last nightcap of the evening.
Live out your “Cool Runnings” fantasies by going for a ride on a real Olympic bobsled track. (Photo: Utah Olympic Park)
Get a taste of Olympic gold on the Comet bobsled at Olympic Park just north of downtown. Park City was home to the Winter Games in 2002, and until five years ago its bobsled/luge track was called “the Fastest Ice in the World” (until the record was broken at Whistler in 2009). With a professional bobsled pilot at the controls, you’ll reach speeds of more than 50 mph on the 0.8-mile track. Visiting in warmer weather? No worries — the sleds are modified with wheels.
With such gorgeous views at Main & Sky, you’ll want to stay there all night and soak it all in, but don’t! There’s plenty more to do. (Photo: Main & Sky)
Stop at your hotel for a quick change; the Sky Lodge Residences at Main & Sky are strategically located midway on Main Street, and all of them have decks with hot tubs that look out over downtown, across to Park City Ski Resort and south to Deer Valley Ski Resort. All units have gas fireplaces in the living room and the bedroom and deep soaking tubs in the bathroom. You may be tempted to stay put and enjoy the view, but find your second wind, because you’ve got a full night ahead.
Art lovers will want to hit up all the galleries on main street, including Gallery MAR. (Photo: Gallery MAR/Facebook)
Main Street has its share of touristy T-shirt shops, but Park City draws a pretty sophisticated crowd, and there are plenty of upscale stores to browse. Cake boutique carries trendy but smart women’s clothing, including a large selection of upmarket denim; just a few blocks south, Jiberish Vault displays men’s shirts and accessories in an art-gallery-worthy space. Art lovers can head to Fatali for breathtaking landscape photography, and Gallery MAR and Trove Gallery for cool contemporary artwork. And if the sight of animal pelts doesn’t get your PETA panties in a twist, there’s the Alaska Fur Gallery (you’ll recognize it by the fur bikini in the window), with everything from lynx coats to sea-otter-and-seal (yes, really) hats.
Dive into Park City’s rich history at the Park City Museum. (Photo: Park City Museum/Facebook)
6 p.m. At its peak in the late 1800s, Park City was a rough-and-tumble mining town that boasted a couple dozen saloons and almost as many brothels. It’s worth a stop at the Park City Museum to get an idea of what life was like here when the mountains made money from silver, not snow.
Grab a whiskey drink at Utah’s oldest distillery. (Photo: High West Distillery/Facebook)
It’s time to relax with a pre-dinner drink. Eight years ago High West Distillery became the first legal distillery to open in Utah since the 1870s — and the world’s first ski-in gastropub. That’s right, you can step off the chair at the bottom of Park City Resort’s Town Lift (just a block off of Main Street) and be nibbling on an appetizer and sipping a whiskey flight in a matter of minutes. Prefer a handcrafted cocktail? Relax with an Arrastra (rye whiskey, Aperol, muscat, Angostura orange bitters, Amontillado sherry) or fortify yourself for dinner with a Miner’s Life: rye whiskey, roasted coffee syrup, oatmeal stout, and lemon juice.
Before hitting the bars, fill your belly with some good food – like this pistachio-crusted Utah red trout with pomegranate-fennel salsa at Riverhorse. (Photo: Riverhorse on Main/Facebook)
It’s dinnertime, and there are a number of exceptional restaurants downtown to choose from. Riverhorse on Main offers an award-winning menu in a beautiful high-ceilinged open space in a historic brick building; start with some hand-cut buffalo tartare followed by pistachio-crusted Utah red trout with pomegranate-fennel salsa. Across the street, Wahso serves up tasty, creative Asian, including chili-and-galangal duck breast and short-rib ramen.
You’re never too full for Rice Krispies beignets! (Photo: TripAdvisor)
Make sure to save room for desert, and head to relative newcomer Handle (a block off Main Street) for sweet treats that have been winning raves from the locals, especially the Rice Krispies beignets with chocolate crème anglaise and caramel pudding with Chex Mix cake crumb.
The old city hall and bell tower on Main Street. (Photo: Park City Museum)
Head back to Main Street in time to hear the “Ten O’Clock Whistle.” What was originally a 1,500-pound bell housed in the Bell Tower on Main Street in 1901 became a siren in 1905, when it was used nightly to signal curfew for kids. There’s no more curfew, but the siren sounds every night at 10 p.m.
No Name Saloon has been serving the locals and tourists alike for over 100 years. (Photo: Tom/Hancks/Flickr)
If you still have room for a nightcap, head to where the locals congregate — the No Name Saloon, Park City’s oldest operating watering hole. Cozy up to the fire inside or head to the rooftop, where you can hang out all year long, thanks to the heaters.