Salt Lake City, Utah Travel Guide and Things to Do: Nine Highlights



Utah’s number one tourist attraction is Temple Square, the epicenter of the Mormon religion. On a grand scale, the most illuminating way to explore the complex and learn about the fascinating faith is to join a free tour, led by young sister missionaries on an 18-month mission. While the awe-inspiring temple is inaccessible to non-Mormons, tours include a tour of the Assembly Hall, the North Visitor Center with its oversized statue of Christ, and the famous Tabernacle, its near-perfect acoustics demonstrated by the waterfall a pin .


Leading a new wave of Modern American restaurants elevating Salt Lake City’s dining scene to big-city heights, Eva’s focus is on communal dining, quality ingredients, and a nourishing approach to comfort food. The tapas-style sharing plates are heavily veggie, including sautéed Brussels sprouts, charred beets served with goat cheese, and grilled asparagus topped with a poached egg; while not-so-small menu items include sublime pizzas and baked Greek mac and cheese.


For a city where alcohol is heavily regulated and was once served behind a “Zion Curtain” (a frosted glass partition separating a bar from a restaurant from patrons), Salt Lake City has warmly embraced the craft beer scene. , with around 30 micro-breweries and breweries popping up over the past 30 years. Leading that charge in the heart of downtown, the popular Squatters – whose motto is “Good for What Ales You” – serves up its award-winning beers alongside hearty pizzas, burgers and jalapeno peppers.


A sandwich at Caputo’s Market & Deli – an SLC institution for more than two decades – is more than a bite worth queuing for, with classic Italian-style fillings served in hearty American-sized portions . Half a sandwich (about US$7) should suffice for mere mortals, along with vegetarians as well as meat lovers. Save room for artisanal chocolate, with the family-run store offering an extensive collection from around the world; or do a cheese tasting in the deliciously stinky “cheese cellar”.


If you can’t beat them, join them – and if you’re visiting Salt Lake City between October and April, that means catching an NBA basketball game. As one of four SLC-based professional sports teams, Utah Jazz pockets most of the local sports obsession; and a home game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena is a joyful carnival not to be missed. With All Star players Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert leading the pack, Utah Jazz is always a force to be reckoned with.


xxSLC One&Only Salt Lake City;  text by Julie Miller;  SUPPLIED via Reporter - Visit Utah; Ski_Alta_LeeCohen-TylerP_2011.jpg

Photo: Visit Utah

With 11 ski resorts located within an hour’s drive of Salt Lake City International Airport, choosing a run to hit the trademark “World’s Biggest Snow” is a matter of whim and mood. Locals tend to be loyal to the resort, however – some hardcore skiers prefer Alta and Deer Valley as they are ski-only resorts, while snowboarders tend to gravitate to the terrain parks of Brighton or Park City. For perfect powder, minimal crowds and the largest ski area in the United States, head to Powder Mountain, a relatively unknown gem that caps its numbers at 1,500 per day and 3,000 season passes per year.


As surreal as it is, the Gilgan Sculpture Garden is tucked away behind downtown office buildings, invisible unless you know where to find it. A collection of bizarre sculptures and stones engraved with Bible verses, the garden was created in the mid-20th century by Thomas Battersby Child Jr, with the aim of inspiring viewers to ponder the “unsolved mysteries of life”. It is identified as Utah’s only “visionary arts environment”.


The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi; and although it may appear to be an arid, salty desert from the air, it is actually a haven for wildlife as well as a cool place to take a mineral-rich and vibrant dip. The best access to the lake is Antelope Island, a 9,000-acre state park 100 miles north of SLC that’s home to amazing free-roaming wildlife, including a herd of about 700 bison. Take a bike or a horse to explore the backcountry trails or stroll along the white sand beaches.


xxSLC One&Only Salt Lake City;  text by Julie Miller;  SUPPLIED via reporter - Visit Utah; SundanceFilmFestival_VisitUtah_MattMorgan.jpg

Photo: Visit Utah

The Sundance Film Festival is arguably the most influential independent film festival in the world, drawing celebrities and up-and-coming filmmakers to the ski resorts of Park City and Sundance each January. What few people realize, however, is that a significant number of events also take place in Salt Lake City, which tend to be easier to access for the general public. In addition to screenings, the city also hosts film workshops, panels, parties, live performances and pop-up bars.


Despite its conservative reputation, Mormons make up less than 50% of Salt Lake City’s population, with growing diversity and growing tolerance for minorities. In fact, a 2017 Gallup poll ranked SLC as the seventh most gay city in the United States, with 4.7% of its population identifying as LGBTQ. So yes, you will have a drink if you visit, and you will have a great time.

Julie Miller traveled as a guest of Visit Utah.

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