The overall “vibe” of Park City and the Wasatch Back really depends on who you ask. It’s a latticework of contradictions—frequented by both ski bums living that #vanlife and the owners of million-dollar homes and condos. Outside of Park City, the greater Wasatch Back is likewise home to massive ranch estates and main street shop artisans whose families have been practicing the same humble crafts for generations. There’s an undoubted focus on a distinctive culture and lifestyle, highlighted by the popularity of a great number of art, music and heritage festivals where residents laud the virtues and wares of the dedicated craftsman, artist or artisan while simultaneously pricing most of them out. Welcome to Park City and the Wasatch Back.
Who Lives There?
Median household income: $114,798
Median age: 42.4
Black/African American: 0.8%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1.2%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Some other race: 3.0%
2+ Races: 3.4%
What’s the Rent?
Median home price: $1,445,000
Median rent for one bedroom: $2,500
Where Do You Eat?
Heber Valley Artisan Cheese. This Midway dairy farm and store sells award-winning aged cheddar (did you know there’s such a thing as the Utah Cheese Awards?), which you can either take home by the block or eat right away melted in an artisan grilled cheese. Cheeses range from traditional flavors to off-the-beaten-path varieties like lemon lavender. Plus, you can perfect your own mozzarella-making techniques with monthly cheesemaking classes or tour the farm and see exactly where your cheese comes from.
Where Do You Drink?
The by-locals-for-local ethos of Offset Bier is reflected in almost every aspect of the brewery, from the brews to the location. The founders wanted to provide a space in Park City where people could enjoy the product of their community right in the heart of their community. The brewery’s rotating beers range from modern experimental hop-focused brews to traditional European-style lagers. Offset’s beers aren’t widely available, so you’ll have to go to the brewery itself to buy beers to take home.
Where Do You Play?
The Park City Song Summit is no ordinary music festival. It’s kind of like South By Southwest meets a TED Talk. Dozens of artists are invited to be in artist-in-residence from Sept. 7–10 and participate in a variety of events, ranging from concerts at venues like Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater and the Eccles Center to intimate Labs held in small venues on Main Street. The summit was canceled for 2021 but is slated to return in 2022 with the likes of Fred Armisen, Jason Isbell and Andrew Bird in the lineup.
Where Do You Shop?
Casey Crawford opened Prospect—one of Main Street’s longest continually operating businesses—in 2009. Prospect sells an eclectic mixture of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and footwear that wouldn’t seem out of place in the trendier parts of New York or LA. It shares space with a traditional barber shop in the back, Billy’s Barber Shop, and an outstanding coffee shop up top, Pink Elephant.
Best Place to Scuba Dive While Landlocked
A 10,000-year-old geothermal spring pooled at the bottom of a 55-foot domed rock formation, the Homestead Crater is a small piece of 90-degree, crystal blue underwater paradise in the middle of the Wasatch Mountains. Go here to swim, soak, scuba and align your chakras in a paddleboard yoga class.
Best Above-And-Beyond Butcher Shop
Owner John Courtney goes to great lengths sourcing everything at Chop Shop Park City. Many of the products lining the shelves are made by local artisans, the lamb in the shop always comes from Utah-based suppliers and the beef comes from Creekstone Farms in Kansas, where the animals are well cared for, and that comes through in the end product. Chop Shop is more than a butcher shop, with dine-in and carry-out options like craft sandwiches and a Detroit-style, wood-fired pizza.
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