Salt Lake City Travel Guide

Salt lake City, Utah's capital, sits snugly against the base of the soaring Wasatch Mountains. These dramatic Rocky Mountain peaks today define Salt Lake City equally as much as its founding by the Mormons in 1848. And though a lot of strange urban legends circulate, the Mormon church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) certainly exerts a much more subdued and positive influence on the city than the fearful would believe.

By any standards, Salt Lake City is a fairly young city -at just more than 160 years old. But it is one of the nation's most historically unique modern cities, having grown up in a territory peppered with sometimes bloody battles between Mormons and "gentiles". Of course this history and cultural background still effect Utah, but so too do many other factors like its magnificent outdoor opportunities and remarkably stable economy. Salt Lake's modern visitors and residents come for all sorts of reasons and enjoy an equally diverse set of opportunities. Located right at the crossroads of I-80 and I-15, and within five minutes of a major international airport, it could hardly be more accessible.

Salt Lake's downtown sits at the northern end of Salt Lake Valley. With Utah's largest conference centers and guest capacities, the downtown area also has a host of restaurants, bars, and clubs. The majority of music venues can also be found here, as well as art galleries, cafes, and shops.  Some of the highlights here include Market Street and its excellent restaurants like Takashi and Market Street Grill. Front and center are Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony, and the Energy Solutions Arena, where the Utah Jazz often play.

The University of Utah with its research facilities, galleries, and associated business occupies the city's eastern corner. The general public might head up to campus to hike the Bonneville Shoreline Trail or check out the Red Butte Gardens.

Heading southeast from downtown proper is the 9th and 9th region of town; a small collection of boutique shops, multiple restaurants, a cafe, bakery, and yoga studio. Move farther to the south and you'll run into Sugarhouse, the big brother of 9th and 9th. This dense center is home to a book shop, a Patagonia Outlet, dollar-style Cinemax movie theater, Salt Lake's latest-open liquor store, restaurants and pubs, as well as several big, national retail stores.

As you head south still, the town becomes increasingly residential, though various malls, retail districts, restaurants, and bars pop up here and there. But even as you spread to the perimeters of town, you will continue to find culinary and commercial gems in each of its various neighborhoods. Toward the far southeastern corner of the valley (and the I-215 beltway) are the mouths to Big and Little Cottonwood canyons and their ski resorts, Brighton and Solitude (in Big), Alta and Snowbird (in Little). Look sharp for restaurants, apres ski spots, and hotels in this area.

Regardless of where you're staying and recreating in Salt Lake City, you'll have easy access to all parts of town via the I-80/ I-215 beltway that encircles the majority of the urban compact, rendering almost every corner of town within 25 or 35 minutes of each other.

Where to Go in Salt Lake City


Little America Hotel

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500 S Main St

Fine lodging in the center of Salt Lake's business and cultural areas

Antelope Island State Park

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4528 West 1700 South

The Great Salt Lake's Largest Island

Pie Pizzaria (The)

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1320 East 200 South

Home of the 23-inch Pizza and the single slice lunch special

Tap Room

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2275 South Highland Drive

Neighborhood beer bar in the heart of Sugar House

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