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Stops on the Way

Tradition and Energy Collide in Salt Lake

Find juxtaposition in Utah’s capital where tradition meets a progressive and energetic cultural scene.

Less than a mile from Temple Square, a reminder of the city’s traditional roots, is Caffe d’Bolla While going to a coffee shop should be an experience, at Caffe d’Bolla, the coffee itself is experiential. With special batch, single origin coffees and unique brew methods, you’ll want to allot plenty of time to enjoy your morning cup. This is the juxtaposition that is Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City skyline with the Wasatch Mountains behind
Salt Lake City skyline with the Wasatch Mountains behind (Photo: Visit Salt Lake)

A vibrant and welcoming metropolis, you’ll find innovative restaurants against the backdrop of the Wasatch mountains, home to world-class outdoor recreation, and pioneer history tucked next to a spot on the list of America’s 10 Queerest Cities (The Advocate).

“Things you wouldn’t think go together just do here,” says Visit Salt Lake director of content, Sean Buckley.

For another caffeine fix to kick off your day, head to Sugar House Coffee. You can get breakfast, lunch or dinner here – think breakfast bagels or chia pudding in the morning and avocado, bacon and egg toast for dinner.

Pronghorn at Antelope Island
Pronghorn at Antelope Island (Photo: Depositphotos)

Experience the great outdoors at Antelope Island State Park, an hour’s drive from the city. The island is in the middle of the Great Salt Lake, where the water has such a high salinity content, it actually feels different to the touch. Fifty miles of trails and wildlife like bison, birds, pronghorn and bighorn sheep await. In town there’s Memory Grove Park, which is in the city but feels worlds away with its creek that flows into Harbor of Beauty, a small pond built in memory of fallen U.S. sailors. Dogs are welcome here, and there’s enough green grass and ADA-compliant paths to unwind and listen to the birds. For great views of the city, hike the easy, 1-mile roundtrip trail to Ensign Peak. It’s here Brigham Young and others looked out over the valley and plotted out what would become Salt Lake City.

Watch the blacksmith at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City
Watch the blacksmith at This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City (Photo: by Austen Diamond Photography courtesy Visit Salt Lake)

At This is the Place Heritage Park, which was the end of the 1,300-mile Mormon Trail, you can dig for gems, pan for gold, go on pony and train rides and explore Navajo hogans, see a medicine wheel and learn more about the five main tribes that live in Utah. The air-conditioned and heated teepee seats 110 guests.

Don’t miss the four nearby ski areas that offer summer and winter activities. Take the new Snowbird Tram up nearly 3,000 feet to Hidden Peak. At Alta, you can sample that light powder Utah is known for and base out of the Snowpine Lodge, a new hot spot that’s home to The Nest, Alta’s first fully stocked game room. In case you’re wondering, that means you’ll find Pac-Man, foosball, pool tables, ping-pong and even karaoke. Choose between standard rooms, luxury suites and even dorm rooms with fancy bunk beds that sleep 2-4.

The Snowbird Tram in summer.
The Snowbird Tram in summer. (Photo: Courtesy Snowbird and Visit Salt Lake)

Even though there’s incredible outdoor experiences minutes away, Salt Lake’s cultural scene rivals its scenery. See Broadway hits like Newsies at the Hale Centre Theatre, a theater-in-the-round with a rotating stage, or find live improv and political satire at Off Broadway Theatre.

And then there’s the foodie scene with innovative chefs. Chef Tyson Petersen serves Northern Spanish cuisine on the sixth floor of the Hyatt Regency downtown at Mar | Muntanya including grilled octopus and cinnamon churros. Chef Marc Marrone serves modern Italian cuisine in a gorgeous setting in the Gateway, an outdoor mall, complete with indoor trees and a living, plant wall.

The new Hyatt Regency Salt Lake
The new Hyatt Regency Salt Lake (Photo: Visit Salt Lake)

Former New York City chef Ryan Lowder owns Copper Common, which offers gourmet farm-to-table food in a completely renovated setting. Head to Pago on Main for a modern bistro experience with vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options. For a light lunch on the go, head to Central 9th Market, which offers sandwiches and pizza, along with grocery items. In the same neighborhood, dine at Nohm for beautifully prepared Japanese food. It’s right next door to Water Witch, which has a great neighborhood feel and serves craft cocktails but is not above having Miller Lite on tap.

Copper Common in Salt Lake City
Copper Common (Photo: by Austen Diamond courtesy Visit Salt Lake)

Laurel Brasserie & Bar in the Grand America Hotel offers a gorgeous setting and affordable prices for great food. Don’t miss the lively scene at Beehive Distilling, which is known for its gin but offers creatively crafted cocktails of all spirits and serves locally crafted beers. Actor Ty Burrell, who played the awkward father on ABC’s Modern Family, owns Bar-X, along with Beer Bar next door where chef Viet Pham cooks up house-made bratwursts and Belgian-style fries. Don’t miss Woodbine, Salt Lake City’s second food hall which has a cocktail bar, and explore the city’s lively brewery scene by downloading the Salt Lake Brewery Pass at

Bar-X in Salt Lake City
Bar-X in Salt Lake City (Photo: by Austen Diamond Photography courtesy Visit Salt Lake)

Despite all the innovation, you can still experience the city’s traditional religious roots — the state was founded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Utah is number one in the nation for volunteering, a core value of the church, and The FamilySearch Center at Temple Square is still the best place in the world to find out more about your family tree, regardless of your religion.

To make the most out of your trip, purchase the Salt Lake Connect Pass to get access to 18 of the city’s attractions including the immersive Natural History Museum of Utah, the Snowbird Tram, This is the Place Heritage Park and the Utah Olympic Park. Get it at

Learn more at