No matter what else you do in Park City , spend an hour or two wandering along historic Main Street. Even with the influx of galleries, gift shops, and trendy restaurants, there’s still considerable Old West charm here.
Drop in to renovated and expanded Park City Museum (528 Main St., 435/649-7457, www.parkcityhistory.org , 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. Sun., $10 adults, $5 ages 7–17) to see historic exhibits on Park City ’s colorful past. In October 1868, with winter fast approaching, three off-duty soldiers from Fort Douglas  discovered a promising outcrop of ore on a hillside two miles south of the present town site. Their sample assayed at 96 ounces of silver per ton, with lesser values of lead and gold.
Two years later, the Flagstaff Mine began operation, and development of one of the West’s richest mining districts took off. What had been a peaceful valley with grazing cattle now swarmed with hordes of fortune hunters and rang with the sound of pickaxes.
In 1898, a hotel fire nearly brought an end to the young city. The fire raced along Main Street, reduced 200 businesses and houses to ashes, and left much of the population homeless. Determined citizens immediately set to work rebuilding and constructed a new downtown within three months. Many of the businesses you see along Main Street date from that time.
The Park City Museum is in the old City Hall Building, built in 1885 and rebuilt after the 1898 fire. There are great photos of skiers from the 1930s, and a car from an old underground chairlift (remember, this was a mining town). Go downstairs to see the original jail, known as the “dungeon.”
The large Kimball Art Center (638 Park Ave., 435/649-8882, www.kimball-art.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun., donations appreciated), at the corner of Heber and Park near the bottom of Main Street, exhibits works of noted artists and sponsors classes and workshops.
Two galleries display monthly changing shows of paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and other media. The gift shop has many items for sale. Look for other art galleries along Main Street, too.