Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the vibrant, urban heart of Utah. Nestled within a valley, known as the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake City can be described as comfortably urban.
It provides all the landmark establishments, high-rated dining and nightlife, mass transit, creative culture, urban edginess and local events you expect to find in a thriving metro area, with the convenience and affordability of a place that hasn’t been discovered by the masses. As one of the earliest settlements in the western United States — which was then, still very much the Wild West seen in the movies — it has a uniquely historic feel compared to other western capital cities.
Salt Lake's official elevation is 4,330 feet (1,320 meters) above sea level, giving it a mountain town quality without the overload of quietude. Looking to the east, the foothills surrounding the locally-championed University of Utah immediately give way to the airy 11,000+ feet peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, home to the world-renowned ski areas of Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude, just 30 minutes from downtown.
The close proximity to spectacular outdoor recreation is a key appeal to any Salt Lake vacation, and was also highlighted during the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is difficult to find any place on earth that marries the comforts, culture and attractions of a metropolitan city with the trails, tranquility and recreation of mountain living.
Salt Lake City makes a great gateway for travelers making a trip to Utah's ski resorts or southward to Utah’s renowned red rock country. Frequently referred to as the "Crossroads of the West," its location is also ideal for longer roadtrips northward to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Though as those who attempt to pass through often find, you'll frequently talk yourself into staying longer than you expected.
Travel and Transit
This is the beating heart of SLC, where historic architecture and historic sites frame a bustling shopping, restaurant and nightlife scene. Downtown is the place for art gallery hops and festivals, live music, chocolate tasting, Jazz games, and the downtown Farmers Market. See it all on TRAX or the GREENbike SLC bike-sharing program. Learn more at visitsaltlake.com
9th and 9th district
Just off downtown, tree-lined streets on SLC's famous grid system lead to hip neighborhoods like the 9th and 9th district, home to bustling espresso bars and bakeries like Coffee Garden and Tulie as well as a burgeoning food scene exemplified by Pago, famous for artfully crafted American cuisine showcasing locally-sourced ingredients.
A quick trip on TRAX, SLC’s light rail system, takes you from city center past The Leonardo science museum to the University of Utah campus district, home to Red Butte Garden and Arboretum and the Natural History Museum of Utah. The campus area is also adjacent to multiple access points to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a sprawling network of trails lacing the foothills behind the city with nearly 100 miles of hiking, running and biking trails, an after-work favorite for locals. Explore Salt Lake's backyard adventure hikes and Learn more at visitsaltlake.com
The Avenues and Capitol Hill
If you're in for an uphill drive through some of Salt Lake's oldest and most unique neighborhoods, drive through The Avenues and Capitol Hill, perhaps the quirkiest and artsiest neighborhoods in SLC. Capitol Hill offers an unforgettable high-elevation view of the entire Salt Lake metropolitan area from Ensign Peak. Learn more at visitsaltlake.com
Sugar House is the place for local shops with an electric fair. One of Salt Lake's oldest neighborhoods, the area features a diverse lineup of art galleries, bookstores and boutiques in its now-booming business district, which surrounds the beautiful Sugar House park. Learn more at visitsaltlake.com
In 1847, Brigham Young famously led Mormon pioneers into the valley declaring "This is the right place." Later, the joining of the transcontinental railroad in nearby Ogden and the Pony Express route in Salt Lake City cemented the area’s importance as a transit hub and economic center in the development of the American West. The area’s ideal geography led to the nickname “Crossroads of the West.” Learn more about Salt Lake History sites and its Mormon heritage.
Things to Do in Salt Lake City
The spiritual center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Temple Square offers free walking tours of the Temple grounds available in forty languages. The area also provides access to one of the most extensive collections of genealogical records in the world and frequent performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Utah State Capitol
The 40-acre Utah State Capitol complex is a delightful place to stretch your legs and savor the views southward across the city to the rugged spine of the Wasatch Mountains. The Capitol is free and open to the public, with regular tours of the building’s striking interior.
City Creek Center
Satisfy your shopping fix with a stroll through City Creek Center and browse Apple, Anthropologie, Coach, Nordstrom and more. This is a one-of-a-kind mall with a retractable roof and a running creek stocked with local brown trout.
Natural History Museum of Utah
Dubbed the “Trailhead to Utah,” the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) features an expansive collection of dinosaur skeletons, interactive biology, geology and Native American cultural exhibits housed in one of the most architecturally distinctive buildings in the state.
Little Cottonwood Canyon and Big Cottonwood Canyon
Around 20 miles from Salt Lake City, Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood are home to four incredible Utah ski resorts. The Cottonwoods in summer are safe havens for incredible climbing, bouldering, hiking, trail running, cycling and mountain biking, both on and off the resorts. Both canyons are designated scenic byways.
You may know Park City is know for its winter attractions: premier downhill skiing at three world-class resorts and cutting-edge independent films at the Sundance Film Festival. Park City is also a summer mountain sanctuary combining luxurious hotels and lodges for a relaxing escape or extensive adventure on more than 400 miles of trails. Ogden is an outdoor recreation mecca, 45 minutes north along the I-15 corridor. It is home to a thriving outdoor industry while nearby trails and mountain resorts are the foundation for endless adventure. Spectacular birding, free-range bison and convenient wildlife viewing on craggy Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake are accessible via a scenic causeway from Syracuse, north of Salt Lake. On the drive through Davis County, north of Salt Lake, look west and you can't miss the Great Salt Lake. It’s also visible from the Natural History Museum of Utah and the hike up Ensign Peak north of the Capitol. Explore more:
Salt Lake City
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