Utah is booming, and it’s not just because of its sensational skiing. Yes, Utah’s snowsports industry is a $1.4 billion behemoth, but come summer, the wildflowers bloom, the mountain bike trails clear, and in Park City, festival season arrives. Regarded as “America’s Favorite Town” by Travel + Leisure, Park City hosts concert series, markets, art festivals, and other unique, community-driven parties all summer long. Town guests can take all this in amidst the stunning scenery of mountain peaks, green meadows, and gorgeous blue skies.
Downtown, even the quietest summer days are a spectacle. The old-west charm is alive and well on Park City’s main street (Labor Day is dedicated to the town’s rich mining history), and it’s the perfect place for shopping, strolling, dining, bar hopping, and brewery-touring.
Here’s a list of 9 of our favorite Park City summer events, and a few luxury rentals that would provide an ideal stay for each festival. There are far more events on the Park City Calendar, too, as well as several day trips and outdoor excursions.
1. Savor the Summit
2. Fourth of July Celebration
3. The Summer Valley Concert Series at Deer Valley
4. Park Silly Sunday Market
5. Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series
6. Tour of Utah
7. Dejoria Events Center Summer Concerts
8. The Kimball Arts Festival
9. Labor Day (Miner's Day) Celebration
It’s based on a tradition found around the world, and is possibly one of the most underrated festivals in the country: Park City’s Savor the Summit. It may not sound like much -- the town gets together with local restaurants and sets up a long table down Main Street, all dining together. However, between the community aspect, the gorgeous weather, the small-town vibe, and the brilliant food from nearby eateries, the whole truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
The event takes place over the summer solstice every year to celebrate Utah’s famous sunrises and sunsets. Here how it works. You make a reservation with a restaurant participating in the event, and with it, you’ll get a seat at the long, outdoor table that runs the length of Main Street. You’ll be treated to that restaurant’s unique menu for the evening, watch as the sun goes down, and get to know thousands of your closest neighbors. (Above photo courtesy of VisitParkCity.com)
Anytime the 4th of July is synonymous with a town-wide pancake breakfast, you know you’re in the right spot. Park City’s Fourth of July celebration kicks off with the famed pancake breakfast at 7am. From there, the town celebrates with a 5K, a parade, sports tournaments, live music, and an afternoon BBQ, and of course a firework display to close it all out. It’s utterly American, and spectacularly Utah.
Bookend the 4th with explorations around the regions, whether that’s perusing Main Street or heading into the mountains for hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, and more.
Not just one music festival, but an entire series of music festivals. And not just one band, but a national touring act paired up with the prestigious Utah Symphony Orchestra. All this in an outdoor amphitheater built directly into the side of the mountain.
Between June 30 and September 7, 2019, the beautiful amphitheater will host:
For 13 years, the Park Silly Sunday Market has delighted both guests and locals with its quirky take on the typical farmer’s market. In 2018, the event recorded nearly 200,000 visitors, averaging 13,000 people every week, who came to stroll past vendors, shop local, and check out the silliness. This may be the only farmer’s market that actively encourages both vendors and guests to dress up in silly costumes, all in the name of having a good time.
The event runs every Sunday in June and July and most Sundays in August and September from 10am to 5pm. Don’t worry about looking for it--it stretches through the heart of town on the iconic Main Street. Check out the video below for a virtual walkthrough of the market.
Once part of the Deer Valley Amphitheater’s bill of Park City summer events, the Big Stars, Bright Nights Concert Series will have its own home at Quinn’s Junction Sports Complex for the 2019 concert season. The concert series kicks off on July 3 with Los Lonely Boys (remember to set the alarm for the 7am pancake feast the next morning) and ends on September 2 with Nashville Cafe.
In between, acts will include:
Recognized as one of the top professional cycling events on the continent and a close second to the internationally-followed Tour de France, the Tour of Utah attracts some of the world’s top athletes. For seven days, top cyclists will ride through North Logan City near the border of Idaho, down through Powder Mountain, and eventually to Park City.
But this isn’t just a spectator sport. The race invites anyone to check out the same climbs and drops the racers will experience, features a kids’ bike race at the finish line, and more fan involvement. For cycling enthusiasts, it’s a must-see event.
The Dejoria Events Center is a unique hidden gem just outside of Park City. Located in High Star Ranch, it features a full amphitheater that attracts national touring talent, a restaurant where smaller, local live acts set up shop, and an outdoor events center.
You can see the full list of events here, but a few of the bigger acts are outlined below:
Leftover Salmon - June 21
The Deltaz - June 27
The Free Fourth of July Celebration
Snyderville Electric Band - July 11
The Fabulous Flynnstones - July 18
The Powell Brothers - August 1
UB40 - August 23
This beautiful spot is located right at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains and the Uinta Wilderness, making it an excellent place to get out of the city for the day.
Click here to see a full schedule of events for the Dejoria Center.
The Kimball Arts Festival is a Park City institution, and has been running strong for 50 years. It’s reached the status of one of the country’s most revered art festivals, and has become a symbol for supporting and nurturing local art centers around the country.
The festival is $12 for adults (when purchased online) or $15 at the gate, which goes toward the Kimball Art Center and all its initiatives. With your ticket, you’ll get access to all three days of the festival which includes:
The Art Starts Here Gala
The Studio on Main
The Brushes and Brunch
The Festival After Dark
A kids’ art area
And so much more. Visit the page here for a breakdown of every event and a full schedule.
In Park City, you’re just as likely to hear Labor Day referred to as Miner’s Day, considering the town’s roots are tied to the region’s rich mining. In 2019, Park City is celebrating its 123rd Miner’s Day with, of course, an early morning pancake breakfast in City Park, followed by a costume 5k.
Then things take an interesting turn. Later in the day, you’ll be treated to the famous Running of the Balls, during which thousands of golf balls are dumped onto Main Street and recollected at the bottom of the hill. If you purchased a ball and it happens to get to the finish first, congratulations, you just won anything from season passes at Park City ski resorts to free lodging.
After that, you can enjoy a parade, outdoor activities, and yet another activity you’ve likely never seen: A muckling and drilling competition. Paying homage to the hard work of the town’s original miners, this event features original machinery and techniques from the mining days of old in a heated competition. Think lumberjack competitions in the world of industrial mining, and you’ll get an idea of what this is like (or check out the video below). To close out the day, the town skatepark hosts a skating competition every year. How else would you wrap up a Labor Day celebration?
Park City is hard to pin down. In some respects, it’s the most quintessential mountain town in America, with community-sponsored events, gorgeous scenery, and unending outdoor activities. But it’s also a place that encourages adults to dress up in costumes every Sunday, indulges in pancake breakfasts whenever possible, and throws thousands of golf balls down its Main Street. And that’s exactly why it’s becoming more and more popular every year.
Head to Park City this summer to experience for yourself, and say you experienced one of America’s best -- but also quirkiest -- small towns.