Welcome back city-lovers to another Wednesday edition of I Heart My City. We return stateside this week with an insider’s guide to Salt Lake City, Utah, sent to us by Intelligent Travel reader Kelli N. Read Kelli’s tips on where to eat, drink, shop, and play in Utah’s capital, then share your own favorite things about Salt Lake City in the comments section below.
Salt Lake City is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Temple Square.
When I crave a good beer I always go to the Beerhive. They have over 200 beers served in a comfortable setting. Plus there is a strip of ice on the bar to keep your beer nice and cold all night.
To escape busy city life (and the wintertime smog), I head to Park City for serenity, nature and to feel like I’m on vacation.
If I want a relaxing meal paired with a great glass of wine, I go to Pago, a farm-to-table restaurant.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at the main library downtown. An architectural feat in itself, it has a peaceful, calming aura to it. It’s a great place to read, have coffee, people-watch, or sit outside by the fountains.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken with the Olympic torches from the 2002 Winter Games.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Red Iguana it has to be one of their famous moles. They are known for their delicious, home-made moles with the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.
Caputo’s Market is my one-stop shop for great artisan foods, especially cheese. The little market has an impressive selection of goods like imported olive oil and chocolates, as well as an in-house salami maker and one of the country’s few cheese caves housing over 200 cheeses. Caputo is staffed with incredibly knowledgeable foodies that love to share their passion for all things delicious. And if you just want a great sandwich or bowl of pasta, there is a deli inside too.
Locals know to skip the film screenings at the Sundance Film Festival and check out the films showing in the downtown venues instead. Same great indie films without the celebrity-hungry tourists.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Lucky 13. This dive bar has the best burgers in town. Order them with a side of rosemary garlic fries for an $8 meal you won’t soon forget.
For a huge splurge I go to Forage for their 14-course tasting menu. The chefs of this molecular gastronomy restaurant were recently nominated for Best New Chef of the Southwest by Food & Wine magazine.
Photo ops in my city include the gorgeous mountains and the LDS Temple, and the best vantage points are from the temple grounds.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be Jennifer Aniston–beautiful, conservative and unpretentious but still fun.
The most random thing about my city is the number of breweries. For a state known for its non-drinkers, we have several breweries (Epic, Red Rock, and Wasatch to name a few), an urban winery (Kiler Grove) and even a whiskey distillery (High West) right in our backyard.
My city has the most eclectic men.
My city has the most beautiful women.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves anything and everything you want! Skiing or snowboarding, snow-shoeing, hiking, water-skiing, fishing, rock-climbing, golfing… you name it, you can do it here. And if you time it right in the spring or fall, you can even golf and ski in the same day!
My city’s best museum is Utah Natural History museum. Dinosaurs, Native American artifacts, and animals, oh my!
My favorite jogging/walking route is Memory Grove Park. This downtown park sits at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, with paths into the wilderness right from the city!
For a night of dancing, go to the Hotel, where each of its four floors has a different type of music. Or, for live music, check out the Tavernacle, the dueling piano bar whose name is a play on the LDS Tabernacle Choir.
The Bayleaf Bar & Grub is the spot for late-night eats. Located downtown near many of the bars, it’s open 24 hours on the weekend and serves an assortment of American, Cajun, and Asian food, along with late-night staples like chicken and waffles, omelets, and burgers.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read City Weekly.
You can tell a lot about my city from how much construction is going on. It’s definitely getting bigger and better!
You can tell if someone is from my city if they say, “oh my heck!” or, “honest to goodness!”
In the winter you should spend the day skiing at any of the area ski resorts, then stroll through the LDS Temple grounds to see the Christmas light display, and finish the night with one of the costume-themed pub crawls (like the Lumberjack Pub Crawl, the Santa Pub Crawl or the Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl).
In the spring you should enjoy a day of spring skiing, then watch the AAA baseball team, the Bees, play at Spring Mobile Ball Park.
In the summer you should take advantage of all there is to do outside. Attend a free concert outside at Pioneer Park (called the Twilight Concert Series) or the open-air symphony concerts at Deer Valley ski resort. Listen to blues under the stars at the International Jazz Festival or check out the art and music at the Utah Arts Festival.
In the fall you should start the day at the Downtown Farmer’s Market then take a drive up the canyon through the changing leaves to the Oktoberfest beer festival at Snowbird ski resort.
A hidden gem in my city is Frida Bistro, a colorful restaurant with incredibly creative Mexican food.
For a great breakfast joint try Les Madeleines Patisserie and Cafe. Try the kouing aman pastries–they are so addicting that rumor has it, tourists plan lay-overs in Salt Lake City just to make a quick stop at the patisserie.
Don’t miss the city’s architecture. There are some really beautiful buildings if you know where to look. Some of my favorites are, the OC Tanner Building, the court houses, City & County Building, the LDS Temple, the downtown library and the outdoor mall with the retractable roof (called the City Creek Center, opening in March 2012).
Just outside my city, you can visit the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The best way to see my city is by bike (weather permitting!)
If my city were a pet it would be a lab–loves the outdoors and knows how to relax and have fun.
If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live (where?) somewhere quiet and peaceful in the mountains.
The Spring Gruv Pond Skimming Contest could only happen in my city (skiers and snowboarders dressed in costume compete to make it across a 100-foot pond.)
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it is not just a destination for outdoorsy types or families; the nightlife, shopping, and food scenes are really exciting.
What you love about Salt Lake City? Leave the details in the comments section below.
Want to see your city on Intelligent Travel? Copy and paste our list of fill-in-the-blank questions into an e-mail, fill in your answers, and send your responses (with any photos, videos or links) to IntelligentTravel@ngs.org.
Photo: David Moore/My Shot