If you’re not too familiar with Salt Lake, read on. If you feel like the resident expert...read on anyway. Strategically situated at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains is the fine city of Salt Lake; small enough not to be claustrophobic, but large enough to have it all. Seriously, in addition to being well-known for playing host to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, what follows are five reasons that no matter why you ended up in this place, be prepared to be shocked by the sights, sounds, sizzle, and sheer spectacular-ness of Salt Lake.
Sure, some people can really enjoy the mall experience, but Salt Lake doesn’t have just any mall. In fact, downtown Salt Lake boasts two stellar malls within half a mile of each other. Plus, if you are picturing those not too enchanting, square buildings with a bunch of lame shops lining the walls and cheap kiosk vendors trying to sell another knick knack no one has ever actually needed, you would be way off. Both City Creek and The Gateway are indoor/outdoor malls with plenty of panache. The Gateway boasts the 2002 Olympic Plaza complete with a fountain the kids can run through in the summer and a massive bonfire to warm those fingers and toes on a chilly winter evening. Also, City Creek is not just the name of a super cool mall with a retractable roof, but has an actual creek running through the middle. Which would obviously not be complete without, you guessed it, a small population of rainbow trout. However, please remind your kids they can’t actually fish in the mall. Although there are several great locations only minutes from the city where one can find plenty of places to throw in a line.
Have a keen interest in opera? How about a musical? Maybe you are more of a symphony guy? Or a ballet kind of girl? Okay, who doesn’t want to hear a couple songs from ‘America’s Choir?’ Good news. These are all just a stone’s throw away from one another. Turns out Utahns attend more performing arts events than any other state in the nation. So, it should come as no surprise that within less than half a mile from one another, you will find incredible performance destinations such as The Eccles Theater, Abravanel Hall, the home of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, and Capitol Theatre. If you’re looking for the heart and soul of Salt Lake’s arts scene, look no further!
As the most visited tourist spot in the state of Utah, Temple Square boasts a host of things to do all within a couple city blocks. The gardens and fountains create a welcoming environment for a stroll year round, but the creme de la creme comes in the winter. Every year Temple Square draws crowds from far and wide to see the dazzling array of Christmas Lights. It is unknown exactly how many lights go up each Christmas season but the estimates are approaching 1,000,000! And don’t forget the world-famous family history center. If genealogy is in your wheelhouse, this place could be considered your Mecca. Start planning the pilgrimage.
Best convention city in America? Yep! We got that! The Salt Palace Convention Center plays host to a broad range of conferences and conventions, drawing participants from around the globe. Whether you are in town for Fit Con (Hey, there Mat Fraser) or connecting with your roots during the annual RootsTech conference sponsored by FamilySearch (What, I’m related to King who?), Salt Lake will not disappoint. Whether you are in town for your first convention, or coming back year after year, Salt Lake’s incredible nightlife with a wide array of restaurants, bars, live entertainment, and museums will keep your interest piqued time and time again.
Take me out to the ballgame! Salt Lake is the hub of professional sports in Utah and you don’t have to go far to find your preferred pastime. The Utah Jazz play basketball right downtown. The Utah Utes participate in the whole gambit of collegiate sports a short train ride up in the foothills to the east. The Salt Lake Bees go to bat just a 12 minute train ride from downtown. And you can skip the traffic and parking in Sandy by taking the 35 minute light-rail ride down south to the pitch where Real Salt Lake plays during the major league soccer season.
While basking in all the fun and excitement of Salt Lake, don’t forget to take a few moments to catch some shuteye between activities. Where better to stay than Salt Lake’s Heartbeat Hotel. The Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square is literally at the center of it all. It shares an intersection corner with Temple Square, Abravanel Hall, and City Creek, and is approximately 37 steps away, give or take, from the nearest light rail station. Salt Lake Plaza is literally within walking distance of everything. If you can’t quickly get to where you want to go in Salt Lake, you're obviously not staying at the Salt Lake Plaza.