16 Reasons Not to Move to Park City, Utah (Voted by the Locals!)

Park City, Utah, USA downtown in autumn at dusk.

Park City, Utah is a beautiful historic district in the Wasatch Mountains that attracts many tourists every year. From its beautiful landscape to its historical buildings, to its outdoor adventures during both the summer and winter seasons, Park City is a wonderful place for the whole family! Although this is a fantastic place for tourism, it’s not the best place to live. The following are going to be 17 reasons you should not move to Park City, Utah.

16. Lots And Lots Of Snow

It is a well-known fact that Northern Utah gets a lot of snow every year. Where most places only get snow for a few months, Park City can have snow starting in October and the snow typically doesn’t fully melt until May or June. Take it from me, I have lived in Northern Utah for 21 years now and it’s common to still get snow in May. In fact, the ski resorts even expect to keep getting snow as they will typically stay open until the end of May.

On average Park City sees about 300 to 400 inches of snow annually. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of snow. A lot of people in Park City spend half their day shoveling their driveways, and some days, it’s even impossible to get out of their homes due to the amount of snow.

The snow also makes the roads very dangerous. If there is a lot of snow it’s almost impossible to drive in and if driven in, can become very dangerous for everyone on the roads. Blizzards make it hard to see when driving and can cause many crashes. When there is snow on the roads it can make it hard to see the lines which can then also cause crashes. Another thing to be careful with is slushy roads; although the roads don’t have fresh snow on them and you can see the lines, it makes it more dangerous because tires cannot grip the road when covered in slush.

If you are unfamiliar with driving in the snow, you probably don’t know that if you travel up and down the canyon (from Park City to Salt Lake) you must either have the proper snow tires or chains. It is also recommended that you have all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles as well. If you do not have the proper car, chains, or tires, it’s very dangerous to drive in the snow.

15. Temperatures

Temperatures in Park City have a wide range every season. Park City stays a lot cooler than Salt Lake City because it is in the mountains, but that doesn’t keep it from seeing its fair share of heat. Park City is still located in Utah, and Utah is known to be one of the second most dry states in the nation.

In the summer, on average, Park City can see temperatures as hot as 80°F and sometimes even hotter. This may not be a deal-breaker for you, but as you keep reading on, you’ll learn why summer months probably aren’t the best In Park City.

Remember how I said the snow is awful? Well, with snow comes cold… and I mean extreme cold. In the winter, on average, Park City can see temperatures as low as -20°F and as high as 43°F, give or take a few degrees. So, the moral of the story, it’s cold! I remember when I was going to school in Park City as a child, it was 7:00 am and I went to get out of my mother’s car and she told me to bundle up because her thermometer in her car was saying it was -16°F outside.

With the cold and the snow also comes ice! There are two different kinds of ice you’ll see during these frigid temperatures. The first type of ice is your basic kind of ice that is slippery, easy to see, usually white in color, and creates icicles that fall from building rooftops. The other type of ice is called black ice, and this is the scary kind of ice. Black ice can be on roads and sidewalks and can seriously injure someone. Black ice is a very common cause of car crashes on Park City roads because it’s nearly impossible to see. The reason black ice is called black ice is that you can’t see it. Black ice is clear in color, blends in, and is the most slippery kind of ice. Black ice also tends to be quite sheer because it has a very low freezing point.

Mountain Ridges Behind Snowbird and Alta

14. Cost Of Living

If you are looking for a home that is within budget and not too over the top, Park City is not where you’re going to find it. Park City is known for its extremely elaborate homes that are worth millions of dollars. In 2022 the lowest home price in Park City is $900,000 for a 1,300 sqft townhome. If you’re wanting a condo that is a 1 bed and 1 bath, those range from $400,000 to $800,000 currently. The lot and land prices are well over a million dollars, and existing homes are anywhere from $1.2M to $30M.

The thing about Park City, is many people own vacation homes there. If you are an avid skier or a celebrity that may work for you. For most, the cost of living is not worth having a home in Park City. Another thing that has to be considered is Park City has some very strict HOA areas that charge a ton. So, not only are you paying for a multimillion-dollar home or a lot, but you’re also paying high HOA fees and high taxes.

My father worked in Park City for 13 years as a building inspector and deputy fire marshal. My father helped inspect homes that were well over his own price range that he’d like to buy into. Park City is a very “showy” and elaborate kind of place, and my dad always told me it showed in their homes. The homes were always beautiful, but they came with a hefty price tag. In the 13 years my dad spent in Park City he inspected hundreds, possibly thousands, of homes and commercial buildings, and without a doubt, almost all of them were multimillion-dollar homes and buildings.

13. Overdeveloped

If you thought Park City was a small town in the Wasatch Mountains, think again. Park City is actually quite big and has beautiful multimillion-dollar homes that inhabit the area. If I haven’t mentioned before, these homes are huge! With the high demand for homes comes a high demand for commercial development.

Park City over the last 10 years has seen a 12.82% population growth rate. Park City’s population grows 0.31% annually making it in very high demand for both home and commercial buildings every year. This causes a lot of growth and very little land to handle the growth.

Park City is in the mountains, so developing land can be very hard and very expensive. When looking at Park City over the years the growth has been almost too much for the city to handle. With every building that is built, there are hundreds more that follow. So far there is no word on whether the development will stop any time soon. I think as long as homes and commercial buildings are in high demand, the more they’ll keep building more.

Colorful mountain homes in Park City Utah with cloudy sky background in winter. Leafless trees and conifers grows on the snow covered neighborhood.

12. Tourism

Park City is known to be an extreme tourist attraction in Northern Utah, and honestly, how could it not be? Park City is so cute and such a well-preserved mining town. When going to downtown Park City all the buildings are kept historic and very clean. One of my favorite things when traveling up and down the mountains and through Park City is spotting all the old mining shafts, but remember, if you spot one of these, do NOT go in them as they are not preserved inside and are unsafe for the public to enter.

Park City caters itself to tourism, especially during high seasons such as winter and summer. During the winter they have activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, and so much more. During the summer they have silly markets, alpine slides, hiking trails, and so much more. Tourists love that seasonal diversity and will often come both during the summer and the winter.

Another thing that attracts a lot of tourists is the Sundance Film Festival which was founded by Robert Redford who happens to have a home in Park City himself. This film festival happens annually and attracts many young aspiring filmmakers and very well-known Hollywood celebrities. For at least a week every year Main Street Park City is blocked off to the public and can only be walked by those who have paid insane amounts to attend the Sundance Film Festival.

On average Park City sees about 600,000 tourists annually, which is crazy to think considering their population is only about 8,000 people. So, there are a lot of people who think Park City is the perfect place to travel. If you’d rather have a city that is a little quieter and not so touristy, Park City probably isn’t the place for you.

11. Traffic

There are only two main roads in and out of Park City, and with its developments increasing but no improvement in the highway system, it makes it so it’s very congested. Not to mention all the tourists that visit typically come in their own cars or rent cars which adds a lot of cars to the roads.

Park City is in a perfect location because it’s only about 30 minutes from Salt Lake Valley and 50 minutes from Provo. This causes Park City to be a fantastic spot for families to get away for the day. This also causes a lot of traffic coming in and out of Park City. If you have 600,000 tourists annually, around 8,000 residents, then you have cars passing through from nearby towns, semis passing through to get to their destinations, and you get people from the valley coming up for a fun day, that can add up to be so much traffic!

I have quite a few friends in Park City and I love visiting just to go into the mountains, but traffic is always what makes me never want to move there. Traffic is getting worse everywhere nowadays, but Park City traffic is a bit much for how small the area is.

Park City, Utah, USA town skyline over Main Street at twilight.

10. Wildfires

This may come as no surprise, but wildfires are common in or near Park City. Wildfires don’t happen every year, but when they do it’s usually because Utah has a dry year and didn’t receive enough runoff from the snow to keep the ground moist. Park City is in the mountains and those mountains during the summer are so dry.

Utah in general is a very dry state and is considered a desert; Park City is no exception to that. In the spring you will see beautiful vibrant green colors on the mountains, but as soon as summer comes those colors quickly fade to brown and become very dry. These conditions are very prone to starting wildfires.

Luckily Utah in general regulates wildfires pretty well. They do have fire warnings everywhere and will let you know when wildfire conditions are high, moderate, or low. Nonetheless, even this does not prevent wildfires from happening, so be cautious when understanding how wildfires start and how to prevent one yourself.

9. Tapwater

I like to Park City’s water “mountain water” because it has a very specific taste to it that you can only get in the mountains. Park City is known to have one of the lowest quality water systems. A few years ago Park City took multiple measurements of their water and tested it… come to find out all measurements of their water came back slightly below safe drinking standards. Although it has been stated that Park City plans to get a new water system by 2023 to make their water meet the safe drinking standards.

So, if you do plan to move to Park City, make sure you have a good water filtration system so you can guarantee the water that is going into your body is healthy. Although, even with a filtration system, I have discovered that Park City water still has that special “mountain water” taste to it that I personally am not willing to get used to.

Scenic ski resort with ski lifts in Park City Utah. A scenic ski resort with ski lifts over the snow covered mountain in Park City. Skiers can be seen on the piste and chair lifts beneath the cloudy sky.

8. Ski Season

If it wasn’t obvious before, Park City thrives during its winter season, mainly due to skiers. Shaun White is one of the many famous Olympic skiers who both train in Park City and call Park City home. In 2002 Utah hosted the Winter Olympics and Park City made sure it landed its name on the map for skiers.

Park City built multiple ski jumps that were specially made for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Today, they can be used as training slopes for feature Olympic athletes and are open to the public for use as well. This makes Park City one of the largest skiing areas in the nation. There are thousands of avid skiers that use the Park City slopes to get their training in or just to have a good time.

With this being said, ski traffic is a real thing! Ski traffic is when all the skiers get up right before the sun so they can get up the canyons before the day begins. Around 3 pm or 4 pm, the skiers leave the canyons so they can get home to their families and eat dinner. If there is ever avalanche blasting, which is done to prevent avalanches, that can delay traffic for upwards of 4 hours.

7. Wildlife

Just like any mountainous region, there is a lot of wildlife that inhabits the area. Some of my favorite wildlife that I often see are moose and deer, but there are many more where that came from. You will mainly see deer in Park City, but every once in a while there will be sitings of other animals.

Here is some common wildlife you can find in Park City:

  • Deer
  • Moose
  • Elk
  • Coyotes
  • Cougars
  • Foxes
  • Birds
  • Bears
  • Bats
  • Bobcats
  • Porcupines
  • Skunks
  • Raccoons
  • Rabbits
  • Snakes
  • Insects
  • Fish

As you can see, there’s quite a lot and I’m sure that’s not even all of them. Although wildlife can be beautiful, it can be dangerous especially if you have pets or children. Wildlife tends to carry a lot of diseases and can be very aggressive. A good portion of the wildlife on this list are big animals and when provoked, can cause a lot of harm.

Another thing you have to be careful of with wildlife is how often they are on the roads. It is not uncommon for wildlife to be roaming the streets trying to find food, but this also causes them to get hit very often. Deer are probably the animals that get hit the most often, but occasionally you will see a moose that gets hit. Be very cautious when on the roads in Park City, especially at night, because a deer may only damage your car, but a moose, elk, or bear can cost you your life.

As for insects there pretty basic and mild in Park City compared to many other places. The one insect you may not be familiar with if you don’t live in a mountainous region is ticking. Ticks burrow into human and animal skin and they can release bacteria into the bloodstream and even lay eggs. So, after being outside make sure you thoroughly check yourself for ticks.

Going back to when I said there will be more reasons as to why you won’t want to live in Park City during the summer, snakes are the reason. Park City is home to many species of snakes, most of the snakes being harmless, but one that is often seen, and quite dangerous, is the rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes are one of the four most venomous snakes in the United States. Rattlesnakes typically aren’t aggressive unless they are provoked or feel threatened. Nonetheless, I personally wouldn’t want to run into one.

A moose in snow in Jasper National Park Canada

6. Gaining Popularity

Park City over the years has gained a lot of popularity both in tourism and in living. Sundance Film Festival was the first major event in 1978 to put Park City on the map as a well-desired city. Then in 2002 the Winter Olympics came to Utah and made Park City a desirable ski destination as well.

With the recent growth and booming economy, Park City is definitely not lacking in the popularity category. Something that I always love about Park City is how it has remained historical while also bringing in a bunch of modern buildings as well. There is certainly a place for everyone in Park City, there is no doubt about that.

5. High Elevation

Naturally, Utah is considered to be at a higher elevation than most states due to its mountains, but Park City, being directly in the mountains, is much higher in elevation than you think it is. Park City sits 7,000 feet above sea level, so if you aren’t used to thinning mountain air, it’s probably not the best place to consider living. Park City is a direct uphill climb as you explore the beauty of it, so you could find yourself anywhere from 6,500 feet to 10,000 feet above sea level. Although this is not as high in elevation as the Rocky Mountains, for someone who isn’t used to this kind of elevation, it can feel like a big deal.

For Utahns, like myself, who have lived here for their entire lives, there is truly no difference in the elevation except maybe when traveling up the canyon and your ears begin to pop. There is nothing better than that fresh mountain air to a local Utahn. For someone that is not a local Utahn, that air can feel very thin and cause some lightheadedness if you are not careful.

With this being said, your body is meant to acclimate over time. So, you can start out with being light-headed and feeling like you are breathing in thin amounts of oxygen for the first few months, to after a year, being a pro at the Park City mountain life you have built for yourself.

Close up shot of group of people clinking glasses with wine or champagne in front of bokeh background. older people hands

4. Liquor Laws

Liquor laws in Utah are unfortunately pretty strict and Park City is no exception to these laws. Utah state law has the lowest BAC limit for driving in the nation coming in at 0.05 BAC. This is quite low… meaning that one beer is one beer too many if you plan to get behind the wheel in the state of Utah.

There are many other whacky things about Utah liquor laws that you should also understand. If you are looking to buy hard alcohol you must go to the liquor store to do so as normal grocery stores do not sell anything more than beer. Anything with 5% alcohol or less is permitted to be sold in a grocery store, otherwise, you’ll find it at a state liquor store.

Unlike some other states, bars are treated similarly to restaurants where they can only be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 am, so if you had any plans to have late nights out with some friends, those late nights will come to an end shortly after midnight. The 1:00 am rule is actually standard in Utah for all alcohol purchases. Alcohol cannot be purchased or served after 1:00 am no matter where you are trying to buy it from.

Speaking of restaurants, although no longer a Utah law, you may see some walls between the bar and regular seating areas called “the Zion curtain” this was simply meant to prevent underaged children from seeing drinks being mixed.

Another thing you might want to consider when buying liquor in Utah is how heavily taxed it is. Tax on liquor in Utah ranges from 66% to 88% markup from wholesale price. Although the tax for alcohol is high in Utah, the money does go to the legislature and they typically use it to implement programs in schools to teach children about the dangers of drinking.

The last thing is the Sunday rule. If you are looking to buy alcohol on Sundays, especially on those Super Bowl Sundays, you cannot buy any liquor from the liquor stores on Sundays as they are closed for the day. Most things are actually closed on Sundays in Utah.

3. K-12 Schools

Utah in general is known to not have the best public schools, but if you’re looking for good private or charter schools, Utah excels at those. Park City School District is actually one of the better ones, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own faults.

According to Niche, Park City School District lists itself as the #3 out of 46 best public school districts in the state of Utah. Although, when looking at their proficiency levels in reading and math, they’re not reaching very high numbers. Proficiency in reading is listed at 55% and proficiency in math is listed at 51%, both below what a pass percentage should be.

Overall, Park City School District for K-12 is getting an above-average rating, but they’re not receiving excellent ratings. So, if you choose to move to Park City, I would consider looking into a private or charter school for your child.

Park City in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah

2. Crime Rates

Crime rates overall are not as big of a deal as downtown Salt Lake City, but they do still happen and in larger amounts than what should be comfortable for the population size. What you’ll also want to consider with crime rates is that a lot of people come in from out of town, so there is not always a way to know that a crime was committed by a local or someone who was passing through.

Annually there are 26 violent crimes that happen in Park City and 272 crimes in total. This has been on a steady climb for the past several years due to the popularity and high demand for living in Park City. This puts the crime rate at 32.40 per 1,000 residents.

Park City is safer than 12% of most US cities, so crime is not quite as abundant there as elsewhere. Crime does happen everywhere and anywhere though, so just be cautious if you do plan to visit or move to Park City.

Park City, Utah, USA farm and landscape.

1. Politics

While Utah is a Republican State, Park City leans Democrat. A lot of Californians and other blue state people move to Park City because of its great city atmosphere and big events. This makes Park City a democrat city by a long shot. In the last presidential election, Summit County remained strongly democrat.

In Park City, according to the 2020 election results, 58% of its residents voted democrat, 39% voted republican, and 3% voted independent. The majority of the previous year’s Park City has remained democrat with a few years swaying republican. Overall, in all elections, you can almost guarantee Park City will vote democrat.

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