Eat, Drink & Explore the Outdoors in Salt Lake City, Utah
Arts & Culture
Salt Lake City, Utah is quickly emerging as a hidden gem in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. After graduating college in 2012, I was relocated to SLC for work and lived here for 5 years. The city has changed a lot since I left but I love coming back each year to revisit the eclectic restaurant and bar scene and spend some much needed time in the natural landscape.
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Where to stay in Salt Lake City, Utah
The Grand America Hotel
Voted as the #1 Salt Lake City hotel, Grand America offers traditionally outstanding hospitality in a storied, elegant building.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City
Dynamic and stylishly designed hotel with spirited guest rooms, delicious flavors in the restaurant and bar and communal spaces that are emphatically eccentric and welcoming to all.
$50 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Salt Lake City Marriott City Center
Contemporary hotel in downtown Salt Lake City with access to an indoor heated pool, whirlpool and 24/7 fitness center.
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Things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah
Ensign Peak: Just north of the Utah State Capitol, this moderate hiking trail rewards you with sweeping views of the entire city. If you want to avoid the crowds (and the heat), start early in the day or pack your headlamp and opt for a night hike.
Liberty Park: There are many beautiful parks to visit in Salt Lake (shoutout to Memory Grove), but Liberty Park stands out as the oldest and second-largest in the city. Originally a grist mill and farm, the land has been repurposed to feature lakes, playgrounds, tennis courts and even a free-standing aviary.
The Leonardo Museum: Inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s curiosity, this unique museum combines science, technology and art. Be sure to check out their rotating exhibits and installations, with past exhibits including the famed Body Worlds.
Red Butte Garden: This botanical garden and arboretum offers 5 miles of hiking trails in addition to year-round events and activities. If you’re visiting in the summer, check out their outdoor concert series held in the Amphitheater.
Temple Square: Situated in the heart of downtown, this 10-acre complex is a center of history and worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Regardless of your religious affiliation, Temple Square is a huge part of Salt Lake’s history and offers various exhibits, beautiful gardens and unique architecture to enjoy.
City Creek Center: Located right next to Temple Square, this indoor/outdoor mall offers a tranquil shopping experience differentiated by a fully tractable glass roof and a pedestrian sky bridge over Main Street. There are also several water features including a creek that runs through the center, a fish pond with local trout and waterfalls. With over 100 shops and restaurants, you can also spectate its hourly fountain shows (with fire elements added after dusk).
Brewery or Distillery Tour: Although Utah is famously Mormon, Salt Lake City is very progressive and is home to a number of local breweries and distilleries, including Epic Brewing, Proper Brewing and High West Distillery in nearby Park City. Most places offer group tours and tastings throughout the week alongside menu offerings to help soak up the booze.
Redwood Drive-In Movie Theater: Be transported back in time when you pull up to this cash-only venue that screens double features during the summer season. The theater has been operating since 1948 and has gone through many changes in its 70 year tenure, including a state-of-the-art digital projection system. Pack your car with pillows, blankets and snacks and an evening of cinema!
Real Salt Lake game: Formed in 2004, this professional soccer franchise is beloved by local fans and visitors alike. They play at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, just 15 minutes south of Utah, which is also serviceable by the TRAX public transport system. If you want to fully immerse yourself, buy tickets in the south end of the stadium where you will be met with rowdy fans, a smoke machine and the drum section.
Live Music: Take in a show at any number of Salt Lake’s amazing local venues, including Urban Lounge, The Depot, The State Room and more. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, the Twilight Concert series features an eclectic mix of artists and is held outdoors at Pioneer Park with tickets starting at just $10.
Day Trips From Salt Lake City
If you have an extra day or two while in Salt Lake City, check out one of these nearby towns: Park City, Antelope Island/Great Salt Lake, Spiral Jetty, Crystal Hot Springs, Salt Flats and Snowbird.
Places to eat & drink in Salt Lake City, Utah
Breakfast & Brunch in Salt Lake City
The Park Cafe: Local breakfast next to Liberty Park spot serving homemade diner classics.
Penny Ann’s: No frills cafe famous for their buttery “hot cakes” (aka pancakes).
Banbury Cross Donuts: Amazing cake donuts and other baked goods.
Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade: Trendy brunch spot that started at the downtown farmer’s market.
Hub & Spoke Diner: Modern diner in Sugarhouse famous for their boozy milkshakes.
The Dodo: Neighborhood bistro situated right next to Sugarhouse park.
Avenues Proper: Craft brewery serving elevated pub fare & Sunday brunch in an industrial-chic space.
Vertical Diner: Vegetarian comfort food featuring an all-day breakfast menu.
Casual Lunch Spots in Salt Lake City
Feldman’s Deli: Jewish deli serving NY-style sandwiches.
Caputo’s Market & Deli: Italian market and deli.
Slackwater: Elevated pub food including a wide array of pizzas and large selection of craft beer.
Saffron Valley: Incredible Indian buffet lunch special.
Freshie’s Lobster: Voted best lobster roll in the country in 2017.
Laziz Kitchen: LGBTQ+ friendly restaurant serving casual Lebanese fare.
Siegfried’s Delicatessen: German market and deli serving classics such as wiener schnitzel with spaetzle and gravy.
Chunga’s: No frills Mexican spot famous for their tacos al pastor.
Pretty Bird: Fast-casual fried chicken joint by Iron Chef America winner Viet Pham.
Dinner in Salt Lake City
Red Iguana: Famed Mexican restaurant with three locations throughout the city.
The Copper Onion: New American restaurant focused on locally sourced ingredients.
Table X: Tasting menu featuring New American fare, cocktails & wine served in a rustic converted factory.
Current Fish & Oyster: Industrial-chic bar & eatery offering regional, sustainable seafood plates.
Valter’s Osteria: Upscale, Italian restaurant with table side service and guaranteed visits from the chef.
Finca: Spanish restaurant offers tapas and platos with a wine list featuring unique Spanish and Portuguese options.
Mazza: Middle Eastern restaurant serving traditional Lebanese cuisine in the quaint 15th & 15th neighborhood; boasts one of the largest selections of Mediterranean beer and wine in the United States.
HSL: A sister restaurant to Park City’s Handle, HSL focuses on American cuisine, interesting wines and thoughtful cocktails.
Drinks in Salt Lake City
Beer Bar/Bar X: Co-owned by Ty Burrell of Modern Family fame, Beer Bar and Bar X are a joint business connected by a narrow hallway in the back.
Purgatory Bar: Craft cocktails and bar snacks with a twist.
White Horse Tavern: Utah's largest Aperitif and Digestif selection with 30 Ciders from all over the world
Handle Bar: Bicycle, dog and mustache-friendly bar with both omni and vegan menus.
Jackalope Lounge: True dive bar slinging whiskey shots and cheap beer; stop by Pie Hole right next door for a late-night slice before heading home.
Under Current: Multi-level, upscale bar serving craft cocktails.
Beerhive Pub: A play on the state’s motto (beehive), this cozy pub offers a wide range of craft beers and elevated grub.
Bodega and The Rest: Basement speakeasy with atmospheric digs and a hunting lodge vibe.
Westerner Club: Buzzy country dance hall with a mechanical bull, pool and karaoke.
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