A Music Lover's Guide To Park City, Utah

Photo of Courtney Capellan
28 January 2016

Home of the annual Sundance Film Festival and three world-class ski resorts, Park City, Utah has a lot to sing about. Every winter, its population triples as ski bunnies and snow junkies travel from all over the world to play in the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth.’ Despite the funky alcohol laws and notoriously conservative reputation of Utah, Park City is a gem of a destination for the fun loving. Whether it’s an après ski vibe, an off-season festival or a hip nightclub scene you’re after, there’s a beat and a buzz for every audience of music lovers year-round.

Egyptian Theatre | © Raffi Asdourian/Flickr

Music from the Mountain

Mountain Town Music is a non-profit organization and the real ring leader of community music events. These folks work very hard to bring the cultural experience of Park City to a higher harmonic. Offering over 200 community programs each year ensures there’s no bad time for a music lover to visit Park City. The best part? Most Mountain Town events are free and for all ages.

Canyons Concert Series

On Saturday evenings, don’t miss outdoor concerts above the ski beach at Canyons resort. The concert series runs when the chair lifts stop. From February through April, locals and tourists love taking off their boots after the last run and settling around the outdoor stage with a cold beer or a warm hot chocolate. The music varies widely — from reggae to underground hip hop, bluegrass to local jam band — and the weekly event has grown a huge gathering since its inception.

If you don’t come down from the slopes to catch music here, beware the winter traffic. Take the free bus to Canyons, which drops you off at the main parking lot tram for convenient access to the mountain.

Canyons Village, 4000 Canyons Resort Dr. Park City, UT, USA, +1 800 222 PARK

Deer Valley Concert Series

Many locals admit that summertime is the best season in Park City. If you ask them why, you’re almost guaranteed to get a response that includes mentioning the Deer Valley Concert Series.

Mountain bike season means music season at Deer Valley. Beginning in June, Wednesday afternoons draw Park City people in mass migration to the Snow Park Amphitheater. Bring a picnic basket, cheap wine and portable chairs and settle in along the grassy slopes that surround the outdoor stage. Expect the unexpected from this musical experience. You can consult the calendar for headliners, or you can do as the locals do and just show up because it’s Wednesday. More good news for music lovers? The shows are free.

The amphitheater is also home to the Utah Symphony and Opera Music Festival during the wintertime.

Deer Valley, 2250 Deer Valley Drive S., Park CIty UT, USA, +1 435 649 1000

Park City Live

If you’re looking for big names and high volume, don’t miss checking the schedule at Park City Live on Main Street. Centrally located in the heart of Old Town, this is the hub for live music, dancing and nightlife entertainment. Along with year-round shows, this venue is a host of history itself. It was originally a War Veterans Memorial building with over 50 rooms, a gymnasium and a basement. The space has undergone many facelifts since the early 1900s but retains impressive architecture lending to awesome audio and visual effects.

Along with highly anticipated concerts year-round, Park City Live is the epicenter of the Sundance Film Festival where you can catch independent movies, in addition to a lineup of notable musical acts, in mid-January. Beware as the prices double or triple for shows during the ski-season and then skyrocket even higher during Sundance. Make sure to arrange tickets well in advance for any event.

Park City Live, 427 Main Street Park City, UT, USA, +1 435 649 9123

The Spur

It is mining town meets modernity at The Spur Bar and Grill. If you want hot food, cold drinks, live music and late-night dancing, this is where you’ll find it — every day of the week. The crowd is middle-aged, the dress code casual luxury, but the attitude is warm. This is a great spot for music lovers on Sundays — stop in to see dueling pianos and sip cheap margaritas.

The Spur, 352 Main Street Park City, UT, USA, + 1 435 615 1618

Funkee Boss Bistro 412 Bistro 412 |© Jameson Bonsey

Funkee Boss Bistro 412 | © Jameson Bonsey

Bistro 412 Bar

This place is like a mixtape — a charming French bistro by day and the indigenous DJ music scene by night. The bartenders are solid, and the late-night menu is one of the best in town. If you want soulful high energy, check out DJ Funkee Boss on Saturday nights. Last minute guests and random performances occur all the time here; it’s just a matter of asking around. Travelers in search of music and a real local vibe love the Bistro 412 scene for meeting new people.

Bistro 412, 412 Main Street Park City, UT, USA, +1 435 649 8211

Music Education

Riffs Acoustic Music Center is much more than an instrument store. Owner Larry Hart’s vision was to create a place where locals and visitors could share their appreciation for acoustic music. He turned that vision into a reality. Riffs is one of Utah’s finest hybrids — a retail shop, learning center, performance venue, yoga studio and café all in one. The comfortable instruction rooms and intimate performance space are designed for individual and group lessons, workshops and live events.

Riffs Acoustic Music Center, 1205 Iron Horse Drive Park City, UT, USA, +1 435 647 1940

Park City isn’t cheap, but its music culture is truly rich. Among the many places mentioned, there are many more. The key for music lovers seeking an authentic Park City experience is to check calendars and schedules and ask around. For much of what you’ll want while you’re here, you’re best bet is to hear about from its people.

By Courtney Capellan

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