There aren’t a lot of people who can rightfully claim that they are locals to Park City, and truthfully, I’m not one of them either. So, how long do you have to live in a town (year-round) to claim the title? Do you have to work in Park City? Go to school there? Is there a magic number of years after which you can start to tell people you’re from there? 

After 16 years of living here, I consider myself a local even though I was not born in Park City. I did go to middle school and high school in Park City, but I only moved to the town when I was 11. Not a true local (and people will be quick to point that out to you) but close enough. 

Having worked on Main Street for many years, tourists always want to know if I’m a ‘real’ local and what it was like to grow up in a small, touristy ski town. 

So, here’s what it’s really like to be a local in Park City:

1. Yes, we really do ski all the time. No, not everyone, but the fact is most people moved to Park City to ski and when a powder day happens to fall on a Tuesday, well, we’re going to take advantage of it (see above image courtesy of Atticus). As a student at Park City High School, I used to get out of school at lunch every other day to spend the afternoon riding at Park City Mountain Resort for ‘Adventure P.E.’ It really was the dream. 

2. Every event, parade and arts festival will get us up to Main Street. Events in Park City are flooded with tourists from the Salt Lake Valley and across the country and world, but also locals will be riding bikes and buses into town by the thousands. And our dogs will be joining us. In fact, that deserves a number of its own…

3. We bring our dogs everywhere. It can be easy to think you are in a really high-class, fancy town if you never leave the base of Deer Valley, but venture down the hill and you will see a dog ‘parked’ outside of the post office and every bar on Main Street. They will also be accompanying locals to the grocery stores and weddings (©Tiffany Anderson Photography) alike. 

4. Locals eat and drink on Main Street. Just not every day. The truth is we’re not on vacation and we don’t eat out all the time, but we do actually eat and drink on Main. Some of us may be more likely to share our favorites and some of us want to hold our ‘locals’ secrets’ a little tighter to the chest, but we’ll be there. 

5. Sometimes, we even shop on Main Street. I wish more locals would do this one more often because the small, local businesses are what really make Park City unique and we need to support them. But even though we could do a better job of getting uptown to do our shopping, we do still support these businesses when we need to buy gifts, furniture, clothing and jewelry. 

Essentially, we do the same things that the tourists do, we just have to spread them out throughout the year...and we bring our furry friends along for the adventure.

Sure, sometimes it can be weird to grow up in a tourist town full of second homes, hotels and California license plates, but to me, it’s still just a small town where I will run into my former teachers, classmates and coworkers at the grocery store and in the lift line. Personally, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.


Sarah Flinn

Sarah is a Park City local, the food blogger behind and a social media content specialist for USANA Health Sciences in Salt Lake City. She spends most of her free time outside enjoying all that the Utah landscape has to offer. Sarah hopes to someday live much like the Grinch: high on a mountain top overlooking the villages. She’ll keep her heart of gold, though.