Ogden's "mountain to metro" personality is a balance of backyard access to year-round outdoor recreation and eclectic downtown shopping, dining, and nightlife.
Many people think Salt Lake City was the area's first settlement, but in fact, Ogden was the first Anglo settlement in the Great Basin, predating the Mormon pioneers by some 22 years. You can still visit Fort Buenaventura Park and see what life was like back then. Ever since the driving of the Golden Spike in 1869 at nearby Promontory, Ogden has been both noted and notorious as a railroad town with its own Historic Union Station. Ogden's famous Historic 25th Street once housed speakeasies and juke joints. These days, it is a thriving art and dining district. It hosts a summer Farmer's Market and has been revitalized with a new Amphitheater and Arts Center.
Ogden has garnered attention for its emergence as a national high adventure capitol. With premier hiking, water skiing, kayaking, and biking, all available in the town's surroundings, several top outdoor products businesses have taken notice, and moved their operations to Ogden. In less than 30 minutes from downtown Ogden, you can either be fishing in one of two trout-filled rivers, the Ogden and the Weber, hit the slopes at one of three great winter resorts, including Snowbasin, home to the Downhill and Super G races during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, frolic on a sandy beach at the Great Salt Lake, hike on 210 miles of trails, or climb and boulder the cliffs just east of the city. In Ogden proper, you can shoot the rapids at the Kayak Park, or huck the largest indoor climbing wall in Utah, ice climb, skydive, or surf indoors at the Salomon Center.
You'll also find great events in Ogden: concerts at Weber State University's Events Center and the Ogden Amphitheater, ski races at Wolf Mountain, Snowbasin, and Powder Mountain resorts, rodeos and auto rallies at the Golden Spike Event Center, art exhibits at the Weber State's Shaw Gallery and Eccles Community Arts Center, indoor skydiving, wave riding and bumper cars are among the many things to do at the Salomon Center, as well as curling lessons and competitions at the Ice Sheet. Airplane buffs will love the Hill Aerospace Museum near Hill Air Force Base. Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park boasts over 100 life-size replicas of dinosaurs and an interactive museum.
Culture and Heritage Attractions
Ogden and Vicinity In comparison with many Utah cities, Ogden has a distinct origin. In 1844, a fur trapper named Miles Goodyear established Fort Buenaventura along the banks of the Weber River as the first permanent Anglo settlement in this region of Utah. In the early twentieth century, 25th Street was the center of activity in Ogden and a roaring stretch of pavement in its own right. It's said, crime boss Al Capone commented in the 1920s that Ogden was a town too wild for him. Today, the dance halls and speakeasies have been replaced by restaurants and bistros. Union Station Depot, at the foot of "Two-Bit Street," houses a number of museums and displays that whisper of a bygone era. You'll find fascinating collections, such as the Browning Firearms Museum, Wattis-Dumke Model Railroad Museum, Union Station Natural History Museum, Utah State Railroad Museum, Eccles Rail Center, Browning-Kimball Antique Car Museum, and the Gallery at the Station. Peery's Egyptian Theater was built in the 1920s and has become an excellent venue for theater lovers.
To the north, Willard boasts the largest collection of pioneer stone homes in the state, and Brigham City has a Mormon Tabernacle and "co-op buildings" from the era when Brigham Young was directing the Mormon settlement of the State.
Family Fun Adventure The Treehouse Children's Museum features award-winning exhibits and programs where children can step into a story. The Junction, downtown Ogden, (801) 394-9663, www.treehousemuseum.org.
George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park includes replicas of prehistoric creatures and museum, 1544 E. Park Blvd, (801) 393-DINO, www.dinosaurpark.org.
The Ogden Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary with indoor and outdoor interpretive activities, 966 W. 12th Street, (801) 621-7595, www.ogdennaturecenter.org.
The Salomon Center is where adventure meets fun with indoor skydiving, wave riding, rock climbing, bowling, miniature golf, arcades, bumper cars, and much more! The Junction, downtown Ogden, 2261 Kiesel (801) 528-5348, www.salomoncenter.com.
Eccles Community Art Center is on the National, State, and City Registers of Historic Places, 2580 Jefferson Ave, (801) 392-6935, www.ogden4arts.org.
Visit five family friendly museums at Ogden Union Station: Utah State Railroad Museum and Model Railroad, Eccles Rail Center, Browning-Kimball Car Museum, Browning Gun Museum, and the Natural History Museum, 25th Street & Wall Avenue, (801) 393-9886.
In the Vicinity
Family Fun Adventure Hill Aerospace Museum has one of the largest collections of vintage aircraft in the United States, guided tours include stories of planes and the pilots who flew them, off I-15, south of Ogden, (801) 777-6868, www.hill.af.mil/library/museum/.