Top 7 Mountain Town Festivals: Summer 2017
Written by Alexa Owen • May 16, 2017
The snow melts, the temps rise, but the action at ski resorts continues as summer approaches – albeit with slightly different activities.
This summer, we’re gearing up for hiking, biking, paddle boarding, yoga, concerts, wine tastings and more at our favorite North American mountain towns. Summer is prime time to celebrate sun, fun, and living the good life in the mountains – and there’s no better way to do it than heading to one of these mountain town festivals. Keep reading for all the tips on where to go, what to do, and how to have a fantastic time in the mountains this summer.
Park City Food and Wine Classic
Photo: Park City Food & Wine Classic
July 6-9, 2017; Park City, Utah
Best For: foodies and wine lovers
The 13th Annual Park City Food & Wine Classic offers foodies and winos from all walks of life an opportunity to craft their own festival experience amongst hundreds of master wine makers and chefs. Don’t be fooled by the name: this festival is truly unique when it comes to destination food and wine fests. Special events throughout the weekend include creative activities like “Hike & Hops,” “Pedal & Pour,” and “Clays & Cabernets” – a session that pairs instruction on shooting clay pigeons with tastings of world-class Cabs. Be sure to catch some of the educational opportunities with expert winemakers and celebrity Park City chefs – and pace yourself! This festival’s a marathon, not a sprint – choose a few favorite events, and let the schedule evolve from there.
When You Go:
Stay…at Main & Sky, which boasts contemporary rooms, prime location on Main Street, and spacious spa for relaxing between big events.
Dine...at the first ever Dîner en Blanc, a chic outdoor evening with master chefs and fine wine pairings that serves as the highlight of this year's Classic.
Shop…at family-owned Burns Cowboy Shop for original cowboy hats, handmade jewelry, and the best cowboy boots in Utah.
Explore…Stay an extra day or two to explore the extensive hiking trails around Park City; Round Valley is ideal for beginners and intermediates interested in seeing the sights.
Relax…after the festival with a day at Sugati Spa; therapists specialize in Ayurveda and alternative healing.
Party…late night if you wish at the No Name Saloon, an infamous Park City watering hole since 1903.
Don’t Miss…the Hikes and Flights naturalist tour and wine tasting with Dejoria ambassadors and Michael David Winery owner David Phillips.
Wanderlust Squaw Valley
Photo: Squaw Valley Resort
July 20-23, 2017; North Lake Tahoe, California
Best For: yogis and spiritual adventurers
If upbeat live music, guided adventures, and massive outdoor yoga classes with a tribe of contemporary spiritual buffs is your scene, look no further than Wanderlust in Squaw Valley. This now iconic festival returns to its roots each July and offers wellness enthusiasts from across the globe a space to unplug and recharge. If you think it’s just a yoga and music festival, don’t be fooled: Wanderlust includes outdoor adventure across North Lake Tahoe, mountaintop meditations, sustainable food vendors from across the region, a “Speakeasy” featuring talks on mindful living, beauty bar, artisan market, and hangout space to acro-jam, slack-line, or just enjoy the California sun. Tenting and lodging are both available, and families with kids are warm-heartedly welcomed.
When You Go:
Stay…at the Plumpjack Inn for a taste of Tahoe luxury; if you’re feeling adventurous, of course, bring your own tent and set up at High Camp.
Dine...at Saturday night’s Farm to Table Dinner; top chefs craft a gourmet, sustainably sourced dinner at High Camp with a sunset view of the Sierras.
Shop…the handcrafted goods, clothes, and jewelry at the Kula Market; official Wanderlust gear will be on grounds at the Adidas shop.
Explore…Opt for guided mindfulness hikes and meditations in the mountains around Squaw Valley; the morning SUP Yoga sessions on Lake Tahoe are also a favorite.
Relax…at the Beauty Bar, which offers complimentary treatments and samples of top-notch organic beauty products.
Party…at Rue Boheme, the all-day music venue that features everything from silent discos to impromptu dance parties throughout the festival.
Don’t Miss…the Abstract Photo Hike up Shirley Canyon, which blends the art of photography and interaction with the natural environment to invite in new perspectives of the world.
Vermont Renaissance Faire
Photo: Vermont Renaissance Faire
June 24-25, 2017; Stowe, Vermont
Best For: families, New Englanders, living history fans
Started in 2015, the Vermont Renaissance Faire has been a huge success amongst families, “Rennies”, and those seeking quite the unique cultural experience in the surroundings of Stowe. Never been to a Renaissance Faire? Think “Game of Thrones” dress meets living history enthusiasts who see even the most brutal aspects of Renaissance history through rose-colored glasses. The Faire is a blast, and draws one of the most eclectic crowds of people we’ve ever seen at a mountain town festival. Events include dueling, mead-tasting, jousting, and enjoying Rennie era live music. Expect vendors selling handcrafted goods, no-nonsense hot dog and kebab stands, and a totally family-friendly environment where kids will feel the magic of history come alive.
When You Go:
Stay…at the Austrian-style Trapp Family Lodge for rustic, comfortable rooms in the heart of Stowe.
Dine...at The Roost for an up-scale pub menu and sleek, casual atmosphere after a day at the Faire.
Shop…the eclectic vendors at the Faire grounds: products include soaps, spices, handmade jewelry, wood crafts, and more.
Explore…Take an extra day in Stowe to head up to Stowe Mountain Resort for some outdoor fun on the hiking and biking trails; get a ride on the Gondola SkyRide for a jump start to panoramic views.
Relax…Even the kids can take 10 at the Stowe Mountain Lodge Spa: choose from dozens of massage and therapeutic treatments, many of which use local products – like Vermont cider!
Party…Enjoy musical entertainment at the Renn’ Faire; for a break, kick back with a local brew at The Matterhorn.
Don’t Miss…a good old fashioned jousting showdown, performed by Spur of the Moment Joust Team.
Grand Teton Music Festival
Photo: Grand Teton Music Festival
July 3-August 30, 2017; Teton Village, Wyoming
Best For: classical music and Jackson Hole enthusiasts
Musicians from across the country trek to Jackson Hole each summer to play to full audiences at the Grand Teton Music Festival, which takes place for 7 weeks each summer. Artists and guests alike tend to find a renewed inspiration for the craft in the heart of the Teton Range, which serves as the backdrop for the classical music lineup. Expect performances nearly every night during the 7 week stretch, some of which are movie screenings and free family concerts. In recent years, innovative artists pushing the boundaries of musical sound have also drawn huge crowds – so be sure to check the calendar to suit your visit to interest and tastes. And be sure to explore the Jackson Hole area during the day – it’s nothing short of majestic.
When You Go:
Stay…at the Teton Mountain Lodge for rooms decked out in rustic elegance and easy 3-minute walk to the Walk Festival Hall.
Dine...at Osteria for delectable Italian fare in a bistro-style atmosphere.
Shop…for unique gifts crafted by local and regional artists at MADE.
Explore…Take the tram to the peak of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, then hike across the ridge to the gondola summit where happy hour drinks and live music await.
Relax…with a swim and day spa services at SpaTerre inside Teton Mountain Lodge.
Party…at the Mangy Moose with casual drinks and small bites like parmesan truffle fries if you need a post-performance fix.
Don’t Miss…Celestial Sounds with violinists James Ehnes and the Festival Orchestra on August 12th.
Snowmass Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival
Photo: Snowmass Rendizvous Craft Beer Festival
June 10, 2017; Snowmass Village, Colorado
Best For: craft beer geeks and party-goers
This summer, 20 breweries hailing from across Colorado will gather in the mountains of Snowmass for the annual Snowmass Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival. Get a taste of the best of Colorado craft beer in the afternoon, then pair it with live music by Hot Buttered Rum in the evening. This outdoor event is a hit with locals and tourists alike, and although only in its second year its reputation precedes itself. Since the event is only one day, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the best of Aspen Snowmass over the course of the weekend. Enjoy good food, good booze, and the beauty of the Colorado Rockies as summer makes its way into Snowmass.
When You Go:
Stay…at the Wildwood Hotel for a peek into retro Snowmass; prices start at under $80 per night when booking with your Beer Festival ticket.
Dine...at Little Mammoth for prime steaks and seafood in the heart of Snowmass Village.
Shop…works by local artists at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center; they also hold workshops and auctions.
Explore…Hike or bike the trails on and around Snowmass – some of which are paved for easy cruising with kids.
Relax…at the Viceroy Snowmass Spa, which crafts specialized treatments tailored to recovering from outdoor pursuits and wear and tear from getting wild in the mountains.
Party…with more craft beers and hip atmosphere at the always-packed Bar at Wildwood.
Don’t Miss…Hot Buttered Rum lighting up the stage in the closing hours of the Festival – seriously though: pace yourself!
The RIDE Festival
Photo: RIDE Festival
July 8-9, 2017; Telluride, Colorado
Best For: live concerts and lounging
For the classic mountain town festival with big name headlining bands, fun-loving partyers, camping and even some kid-friendly fun, look no further than The RIDE Festival in early July. This year, big names like Beck, John Butler Trio, and Jackie Greene join a number of other musicians for the three-day festival. Visitors have the option of staying in the grounds the entire time (there’s plenty of food and drink to be had, and even a campground next to the venue), or venturing out to favorite Telluride hot spots like the New Sheridan Opera House for off-site performances included in the festival ticket. This is a festival for all ages: kids under 12 get in free, and there’s even a kids’ activity tent run by volunteers with crafts and games.
When You Go:
Stay…at Telluride Town Park Campground for the full festival experience, or the New Sheridan Hotel for something a bit more upscale.
Dine...at the local food vendors featured on the grounds; for a fine dining night out after the festival, book a table at 221 South Oak.
Shop…for Stetson hats and cowboy boots at Black Bear Trading Company.
Explore…Take a half day before or after the festival to hike the Blue Lake Trail for stunning views and a dip in the high alpine lake.
Relax…after the weekend with body treatments or energy work at Atmosphere Day Spa; an oxygen bar is also available if you’re suffering from altitude.
Party…at the historic New Sheridan Bar, a Telluride mainstay and local hotspot.
Don’t Miss…Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Saturday night.
Whistler Children’s Festival
Photo: Arts Whistler
July 7 –9, 2017; Snowmass Village, Colorado
Best For: family fun with younger kids
Now in its 34th year, the Whistler Children’s Festival continues to thrive as the go-to mountain town festival for kids in North America. Produced by Arts Whistler as a way to continue integrating arts into the Whistler community, the festival features two full days of live music, activities, performances and workshops to inspire creativity in children of all ages. Workshop examples include crafting dreamcatchers, building birdhouses, learning magic, and much more. It was just recently that the festival was moved to the Olympic Plaza and, as a result, doubled in size – so expect the space to be fully charged with big groups of little tykes. And the best part? The entire festival will cost $15 per kid – and those under age 2 and over age 15 get in free.
When You Go:
Stay…at the Aava Whistler Hotel for value prices and 5-minute walk to the festival.
Dine...at Mongolie Grill: kids love watching chefs cook the make-your-own stir fry bowls on the open grill.
Shop…at Fun For Kids if your little ones are in need of quality outdoor clothes or funky accessories.
Explore…Take a ride on the Guinness World Record breaking Peak-2-Peak gondola, then explore the hiking trails around Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Relax…If you get some time away from the kids, sneak away to the Whistler Day Spa for a rejuvenating massage.
Party…Friday night at the festival’s Pyjama Party – a dance party with interactive performances and kid tunes to keep you moving.
Don’t Miss…the Shao Lin Hung Gar Lion Dance Team performance on Sunday.