Salt Lake City, Utah Travel Guide
Salt Lake City Summary
- Beautiful views of the rugged, snow-capped Wasatch Mountains
- Large amounts of snowfall in the mountains during the wintertime make Salt Lake City a skier/snowboarder’s paradise
- International airport located on the western edge of the city makes traveling in and out of the city convenient
- Easy to get around, with wide streets and decent mass transit system
- Cheap to tour the city -- many cultural attractions, such as the planetarium and various museums, are publically funded
- Excellent outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, and boating
- Various restaurant options, including American, Chinese, Indian, and seafood
- Low crime rate compared to ther major cities in the nation
- Restrictive liquor laws due to extreme religious affiliations
- Occasional “temperature inversions” in the winter can be an issue for those that struggle with asthma or respiratory problems
- Hot, long dry summers and cold, snowy winters
What It's Like
Salt Lake City is well-known as being the the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church), so it’s obvious why is nightlife scene is a bit less vibrant than those of other western cities such as Denver and Phoenix. (Though considering the restrictive liquor laws, the nightlife scene is more impressive than some might guess.) Instead, outdoor activities have became the major draw for tourists here. Salt Lake boasts beautiful biking and hiking trails and great rock climbing spots. Fishing and boating are popular in the summer, and, of course, skiing and snowboarding dominate in the winter.
Downtown Salt Lake City houses multiple art galleries and antique shops, especially around Historic Temple Square. Other cultural activities can be found in this active area of the city as well, such as the Ballet West Ballet Company performances at Capitol Theater, and Pioneer Theatre Company, which performs on the University of Utah’s campus. Some sites and facilities from the 2002 Winter Olympics can be found throughout the city as well, including Utah Olympic Park and Utah Olympic Oval.
As strange as the liquor laws are in Salt Lake City, it isn’t impossible to enjoy some adult beverages. Many restaurants serve beer and even hard liquor, but most customers have to order food, and can only order one drink per person at a time.
Where To Stay
Downtown Salt Lake City is the epicenter of the city’s culture, history, and entertainment. For foodies, a decent number of restaurants can be found around Broadway Street (also known as the “300” street). Business travelers will probably want to be near Downtown Salt Lake as well, which is the financial core of the city -- home to Temple Square (the main temple of the Mormon Church). Meanwhile, the neighborhood “University” is where visitors can find -- you guessed it -- the sprawling campus of the University of Utah. This area is also home to VA Medical Center and a few city parks. Visitors that are hoping to get a taste of the funkier side of Utah may want to check out Sugar House, a neighborhood that’s mainly commercial/residential and has eclectic shops. Sugar House lies a good five miles southeast of Downtown Salt Lake City, and may be a decent option for winter sports enthusiasts, as it’s one of areas of the city that’s closest to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.