Salt Lake City is surrounded by the natural beauty of the Wasatch & Oquirrh Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. The city population is almost 182,000 with the Salt Lake Valley population at 1.2 million.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah's capital city, Salt Lake City, was founded by Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers upon their entry into the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847.
These days, Salt Lake is alive with farm-to-table cuisine,blossoming nightlife and beautiful accommodations, including the five diamond-rated Grand America Hotel.
Salt Lake's profile has also grown with attractions like the award-winning Salt Lake City Library, The Leonardo — a contemporary museum blending science, art and culture — and the Clark Planetarium and IMAX Theater. Shopping has proliferated with unique experiences at the Gateway Center, historic Trolley Square, and the 20-acre City Creek Center, is a must-see destination and includes shops like the Salomon store, which you can't find anywhere else in America. The open-air mixed-use mall has dramatically changed Salt Lake's downtown, and is complemented by numerous local storefronts on the Main Street and adjacent streets.
Pubs, bistros, coffee houses, restaurants, and bars offer a variety of entertainment and cuisine. Whether your tastes run to an evening of Stravinsky at Abravanel Hall, a superstar concert at the EnergySolutions Arena, or a peaceful Sunday morning at Salt Lake's Temple Square, listening to the celebrated Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or a hike in the adjacent City Creek canyon, there is always plenty to do.
The 2013 Tour of Utah took five grueling laps around Salt Lake, shining a spotlight on the diverse business, living and recreational assets of Utah's capitol city.
For those interested in shaking their family tree, there is no place on earth like the LDS Family History Library. For sports fans, well, Jazz isn't just a form of music. It's Utah's NBA team! You'll also find AAA baseball with the Salt Lake Bees, or professional hockey with the Utah Grizzlies. Also, visit the beautiful Rio Tinto Stadium, home of the 2009 Major League Soccer Champions, Real Salt Lake! The spirit of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Gameslives on at Olympic Cauldron Park, a stunning space set adjacent to Rice-Eccles Stadium, on the University of Utah campus, site of the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. The park has preserved the very best of the XIX Olympic Winter Games, including the spectacular Olympic Cauldron and the intricate Hoberman Arch, used during the Awards Ceremonies.
A pioneering spirit is still strong in Salt Lake and is found in science and technology where today's explorers target new types of uncharted territory, striving to benefit society at places such as Huntsman Cancer Institute, Evans & Sutherland or the Eccles Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Utah.
Cultural and Heritage Activities
When the Mormons first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, it was part of Mexico. A treaty signed in 1848 ceded it to the United States, and in 1850, the "State of Deseret" became the Utah Territory. Deseret means "honeybee," a symbol of industry. Utah's state symbol is the beehive.
Salt Lake began to assume its present character in the early 1900s. The State Capitol and many other historic buildings were constructed. Electric trolleys, garaged at Trolley Square (now a popular shopping mall), were installed to transport people living in the Avenues, Capitol Hill, Liberty Park, and Sugar House areas to downtown. Eagle Gate, once marked the entrance to Brigham Young's estate, but now leads to the gardens of the LDS Church headquarters.
Salt Lake area has so much to offer, but must-sees are historic Temple Square and the Beehive and Lion Houses, once home to a number of Brigham Young's wives and families. The homes along South Temple Street are examples of Salt Lake's early cultural blend of Mormons and mining magnates. One of the homes, the Kearns Mansion, currently serves as the Utah Governor's Mansion.
Museums and galleries abound. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, near the Capitol building, contains a huge number of artifacts from the early days. The University of Utah campus houses the Natural History Museum of Utah, Utah Museum of Fine Art, and the Olympic Cauldron Park, commemorating Utah's Olympic legacy. The Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts, located in Liberty Park, houses a collection honoring traditional art and artists from Utah's past and present.
The Utah Cultural Celebration Center, in West Valley City, perpetuates unique cultural traditions while providing a place for people of all ages to connect with their heritage and learn about the traditions of their neighbors.
Just north of Salt Lake, Rogers Memorial Theater and Bountiful Performing Arts offer live theater year-round. The Davis Arts Council features live theater and musical entertainment during the summer.
Discovery Gateway at the Gateway, 60,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on fun, 444 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, (801) 456-5437.
The Clark Planetarium and IMAX Theater offers a fantastic array of science exhibits, including Mars and Moon landscapes, an amazing scale model solar system, star and laser shows, and an IMAX theater. Gateway Mall, west of the Energy Solutions Arena, (801) 456-7827.
Bingham Copper Mine, the world's largest open-pit copper mine, is located 25 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The museum visitor center is open April-October. The Bingham Copper Pit Overlook gives a panoramic view of the mine. Take I-15 exit 291, head west on 12300 S. to the mine, (801) 204-2025, www.kennecott.com.
Hogle Zoo has over 1,200 exotic animals, a petting zoo, and butterfly exhibit, 2600 E. Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City, (801) 582-1631.
Seven Peaks Waterpark, has an ocean wave pool, thousands of feet of waterslides, cascading waterfalls and other fun ways to sun, soak, and dive, 1200 W. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, (801) 972-3300.
At South Towne Mall, on the elegant carousel, children and adults can ride a sea monster, a chicken, or an elaborately decorated goat, Sandy, (801) 572-1516.
Tracy Aviary is an 11-acre bird sanctuary in Liberty Park. It has more than 1,000 birds on display, 589 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, (801) 596-8500.
The Natural History Museum of Utah is located in a new copper-clad building featuring nine themed galleries and spectacular views. 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, (801) 581-6927, www.nhmu.utah.edu
Utah's Olympic Oval is your chance to skate on the 400-meter oval where Olympic and world records were set in 2002 on "The Fastest Ice on Earth," and take classes in speed skating, figure skating, hockey, and curling, 5662 S. 4800 West, Salt Lake City, (801) 968-6825.
Wheeler Historic Farm, a working historic farm where visitors can feed the farm animals and milk the cows, has performance venues, a country store, fishing pond, and more, 6351 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, (801) 264-2241.
Swim, play, or just bob up and down at the Great Salt Lake State Park in the lake's salty water, where floating is much easier than in any ocean, (801) 250-1898.
Boondocks has something fun for everyone, including Go-Karts, Arcade, Bumper Boats, Miniature Golf, and Batting Cages, I-15 and Bangerter Highway, (801) 838-9800, www.boondocksfuncenter.com/public/draper.
Escape to a mountain garden just five minutes from downtown Salt Lake City at Red Butte Garden, 300 Wakara Way, (801) 581-4747.
Recognized as one of the premier libraries in the nation, the Salt Lake City Public Library features stunning architecture and breathtaking views of the city. A distinctive array of shops and services also provide a delightful and unexpected shopping experience, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, (801) 524-8200, www.slcpl.org.
The Living Planet Aquarium brings animals to people who might not have the chance to see them or their water-based ecosystems in a natural setting, 725 E. 10600 South, Sandy, (801) 355-3474.
In the Vicinity
Tooele Area Family Fun Adventures At the Tooele County Railroad Museum, see a steam engine, dining car, simulated mine, and ride a children's train, Broadway & Vine Streets, Tooele, (435) 882-2836.
The Miller Motorsports Park, (435) 277-7223 (RACE), is the newest and most modern race complex in North America. It features a 4.5 mile full circuit raceway with a 3,500 foot-long straight away on which speeds of 200-plus mph can be expected. The track hosts a variety of IMSA (International Motor-sports Association), and SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) racing events, including a AMA (American Motorcylists Association) Superbike series, www.millermotorsportspark.com.
View the accommodations in the Salt Lake City area: