A Sojourn in Singular Salt Lake City

A Sojourn in Singular Salt Lake City


Founded by Mormons in 1847 in the Salt Lake Valley amid the Wasatch Mountains, the capital and largest city of Utah (population around 200,000, metro area 1.3 million) is a singular place indeed, and visitors flock to see Salt Lake City's impressive landmarks as well as enjoy its culture and nearby nature and outdoor activities.


Top landmarks not to miss include Temple Square, the heart of the city, a walled, 35-acre district which is home to some 20 spots related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the Mormons). including the iconic, towering Salt Lake Temple (above, though only the grounds are visitable for non-Mormons, not the interior), the Mormon Tabernacle (home of course to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir); the Assembly Hall (with free concerts daily);  the 1911 Joseph Smith Memorial Building; the Deuel Pioneer Log Home (one of just two cabins remaining from the original 1847 settlers); the multimedia Museum of Church History and Art; City Creek Park; and Beehive House of towering Mormon historic figure Brigham Young;  Varioius free guided or self-guided walking tours are available, bookable by phone or e-mail.

Outside the Temple Square area, major attractions include This Is the Place Heritage Park (with more than 50 pioneer homes and other historic buildings which mark the end of the original Mormon trail which led them to Utah; in addition to these structures, there are plenty of other things to do such as train and pony rides, mining activities, traditional crafts demonstrations, a Native American village, and more) and the Utah State Capitol (built in 1916 and open to visitors for self-guided as well as docent-led tours). On the museums front, standouts include the Utah Museum of Fine Arts; the Clark Planetarium (located within the sprawling downtown mall The Gateway, including a 3D IMAX theater, and by the way free of charge), the Natural History Museum of Utah; the Utah State Historical Society Museum; the Museum of Utah; and the 42-acre Hogle Zoo.(covering a wide variety of world ecosystems).


The cultural, arts, and entertainment scene is also quite robust, including a diverse array of galleries; performing arts such as Ballet West and theaters including Alliance, Capitol (a century-old classic), massive Eccles, the Hale Centre, and Pioneer. On the nightlife front, there's an embarassment of riches, from dive bars and microbreweries to chill lounges and big box dance clubs. On the LGBT+ front, this progressive bastion in a conservative state (it even has a lesbian mayor) offers a variety of gay venues (above, and trumpeted by Visit Sall Lake yet) and was not long ago even listed by the Advocate magazine as one of the USA's ten queerest cities.

Another thing which has come a long way in recent years is the local dining scene, with numerous family-owned gourmet restaurants lining the streets of downtown and including a wide variety of kaleidoscope of cuisines from across the USA and the world, including Afghan, Ethiopian, French, German, Indian, Iranian, Lebanese, Nepalese, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Salvadoran, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese, to name just a few (especially try the reasonably priced Mexican dishes at Red Iguana, and cool Cajun at The Bayou). Of special note is Greek; w
ith a significant Greek population (there's even a Hellenic Cultural Association and Museum), SLC is a fantastic place to savor the flavors of Hellas at restaurants such as Manoli's, The Med, and Santorini's Greek Grill (plus here even Chinese restaurants serve baklava). And by the way, if you're interested in a unique local treat, try the pastrami burgers served at Crown Burgers


Beyond all this, all around SLC you'll also find some compelling day-trip and overnight opportunities, especially when it comes to the great outdoors, starting with the Great Salt Lake (above), a 45-minute drive away. Some 35 miles wide and 75 long - the Western Hemisphere's largest natural saltwater lake - it offers lots of things to do including swimming, boating, and wildlife spotting; but you may want to get here sooner rather than later, as it in recent years as a result of climate change it has shrunk in size by nearly two thirds, with no end in sight. In winter, the plentiful snow and mountains provide the best conditions for snowboarding and skiing. The Rio Tinto Kennecott Copper Mine - at 110 years old still the world's largest manmade excavation, 2½ miles across and ¾ of a mile deep, makes for a fantastic visit, including lots of displays of mining equipment and exhibits on mining operations and history. Also within quick driving distance are a number of top resort areas with excellent skiing/snowboarding in winter but also plenty of year-round activities, such as Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. In spring through fall, running, biking, and hiking trails, along with climbing at scenic Cottonwood Canyon are popular, as is Lagoon, an amusement and water park located to the south of the city.

As for the weather you can expect, SLC has a semi-arid continental climate and four distinct seasons, but with very only a little rain. The summers are hot and dry, with temperatures at their peak in July, averaging temp of 91
Fahrenheit (32.5⁰ Celsius). Winters are snowy and cold winters, with an average temperature in the range of 21⁰ F (-5.9⁰ C) in January; snowfalls can occur between November and April and typically averages more than 60 inches each year.


More info at VisitSaltLake.com; book affordable flights to Salt Lake City here.