Each passing year brings new residents to Park City, whether for a few weeks, months or as permanent residents. In the wake of COVID-19, the influx of visitors and new residents seems to be greater than normal, so I’ve decided to put together the following tips for those new to town from residents who’ve been here awhile …
Be a Good Neighbor
Overwhelmingly, locals pride themselves on being neighborly, though the form that takes varies from one Parkite to another. The following list of ways to be neighborly is a great start in helping to keep Park City as friendly as the way it was when each of us happened upon this gem of a town:
- Drive kindly – is it necessary to honk if it’s not an emergency?
- Bike responsibly – learn the official ways bikers and motorists share the road
- Keep dogs leashed in on-leash areas, and pick up after your furry friend! (There are plentiful off-leash areas and that info can be found here)
- Wave, or say “hi” back, when someone does it towards you
- Be patient, especially with visitors who don’t know their way around yet (we were all there once)
- Don’t idle your car – Park City is an “idle free” city, and the actual ordinance can be found here for clarification on the dos and donts
Being a good neighbor also extends to the local wildlife. We know a moose sighting can be unsettling the first time, but it’s typically not a reason to call local law enforcement, and you’ll get used to (and come to anticipate) seeing these majestic creatures mercilessly munching on your delicious landscaping.
Learn the Local History
One of the best ways to discover the roots of our mining town is to visit the Park City Museum, located at 528 Main Street, and featuring three floors of historical exhibits providing a glimpse into the life of a Parkite, beginning with the town’s founding in 1868. Follow their Facebook page for fascinating tidbits about Park City’s at-times scintillating history. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, and is following COVID-19 protocols, so be sure to call 435-649-7457, ext. 136, in advance of visiting to make a reservation.
One of the best ways to get to know what’s happening locally is to follow local news sources, KPCW (91.9 FM on your radio or online) and The Park Record, which are both helpful in learning about local issues and events. Area law enforcement agencies also help keep residents up-to-speed on things like road closures and traffic situations, so consider following the Facebook pages of Summit County Sheriff, Park City Police, Wasatch County Sheriff or Heber City Police.
Facebook communities provide firsthand insight into everything from parenting to finding someone to blow out your sprinklers (something you DON’T want to forget to do each fall), so check out Future Park City, Moms of Park City, Ask Park City, or sign up for your community’s Nextdoor feed.
The pandemic has been particularly hard on locally-owned businesses without the backing of a national or international corporation to help keep them afloat, so there’s been a movement since COVID hit in March to do all we can to assist area small businesses in keeping their doors open. Many are participating in the Shop in Utah campaign, funded by the CARES Act and providing incentives for patrons, such as half-off and Buy-One/Get-One offers. The Park City Chamber of Commerce | Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has also put together a list of items made locally, such as Red Bicycle Breadworks (their addictive stick bread with olive oil and sea salt is available freshly baked at 10:30 a.m. each morning in The Market, and sells out daily) and Old Town Cellars (which has a bar & lounge located at 408 Main Street where you can purchase their wines to-go, even on Sundays!).
A great way to meet new friends and support the 100+ nonprofits throughout the Summit and Wasatch counties is to volunteer. A list of nonprofits is available at Utah Nonprofits Association’s Member Directory, which offers the option to sort by city. Once the pandemic is over, offer to volunteer at your child’s school, as most schools are not permitting parent volunteers to help adhere to COVID mitigation efforts. In the meantime, you can provide support to each school’s parent organization.
Lean How to Handle Roundabouts
Few traffic developments have caused more local conversation than roundabouts, though their existence in other countries is common, and for those of us who’ve sat for what seems like days, waiting to make a left turn onto a busy street, they’re a godsend. As our roundabouts are multilane, it important to remember to yield to both lanes of traffic before merging into the roundabout and proceeding to your exit. Be sure to keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists, and be sure to use your turn signal before you exit.
Know Your Local and State Government Representatives
In Wasatch and Summit counties, the cities have city councils (and a mayor), counties have county councils (and usually a County Manager), which means residents within a municipal (city) boundary are represented by both city and county officials, but those in unincorporated areas (outside of municipal boundaries) are only represented by their county elected officials. For example, folks in the Park City zip code of 84098 are not within city limits (84060 zip codes are), and cannot vote for the Park City mayor or City Council members. Utah’s Legislature is made up of Representatives and Senators, the state has just four U.S. Representatives to Congress, and – of course – just two U.S. Senators. You can learn more about the elected officials who represent you based on where you live by plugging your address into this handy online tool.
Understand the Liquor Laws
Once you’ve learned how to navigate Utah’s liquor laws, you’ll likely see they’re not so crazy and other parts of the country want to make them out to be. Yes, wine and liquor cannot be purchased in grocery or convenience stores, and the three Utah Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (UDABC) stores in Park City (one in Wasatch County) are closed on Sundays and holidays, but you can also purchase alcohol in “package stores,” including High West Distillery, Alpine Distillery, Wasatch Brew Pub, Old Town Cellars, in the Westgate Hotel at Park City Mountain’s Canyons Village and the Food Town grocery store in Kamas. Some restaurants have certain liquor licenses that only allow guests 21 and older to enter, so call ahead before bringing your brood. And a new law passed by the legislature this past session will allow you to have wine subscriptions delivered directly to the UDABC store for you to pick up (but they still cannot be shipped directly to your residence).
Take Care of Yourself
Even though we boast 300+ days a year of sunshine, the cold weather and shortened days can still have an adverse effect for some people, so consider investing in a light therapy box, or planning a trip to Southern Utah (or other warmer locale) at least once during the winter.
It’s also important to hydrate throughout the day, since our high-desert climate is exceptionally arid in the wintertime. Keeping yourself active in the winter can also improve your mood while helping to keep you conditioned for skiing, snowshoeing, or even shoveling the driveway – check out the list of places to workout indoors here.
Utilize Public Transit
Few things are more frustrating than sitting in traffic, so become familiar with Park City Transit’s free bus system, serviced by conveniently-located park-and-rides.
Get Ready for Winter
As evidenced by our mid-October snowfall, it’s never too early to invest in a good set of snow tires, and having a vehicle available with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive is a plus! Contract with a snow removal company, or invest in a snowblower, and review a few YouTube videos on how to drive in the snow to get ready for the season.
If there’s something you’d like to know about, but it didn’t make it on my list, feel free to reach out to me at 435-640-4238, and I’ll do what I can to help you feel more at home in your NEW home. You can also learn more about available properties and the Park City lifestyle by visiting my website here, where you’ll soon learn why so many people Choose Park City to spend their time and make new memories.