Surrounded by towering mountain peaks, endless skies, and amazing city life, Salt Lake, Utah, is where you can go to have it all. The experiences that await you during your next vacation, convention, family gathering, or backpacking journey are innumerable. Locals and visitors alike love Salt Lake City for the vibrant lifestyle that goes on anytime of day, the friendliness, and the diversity.
Laying in a valley between the Wasatch Mountains to the east and north, and the Oquirrh - pronounced “oaker”- Mountains to the west, Salt Lake City sits on land once covered by Lake Bonneville. This prehistoric body of water left remarkable landmarks throughout the area.
Salt Lake City experiences all the seasons in the same way as Japan does, despite being 1,320 meters (4,330 feet) above sea level. The highest temperature months are in July and August, with the average being 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit). In winter, temperatures drop to an average of -3 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit).
Most people are going to enter Salt Lake City via the international airport (SLC). From SLC, you are going to find many rental services (Alamo, Enterprise, Hertz, and more) and shuttle buses for hotels and off-airport agencies. The airport is only 10 minutes from downtown!
Make use of the fantastic busing and train systems! The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) operates these public services and have created a “fare free zone” surrounding a huge part of the city with the Capitol at the center. Outside of that zone, one way rides cost around $2.50. A day pass is $6.25. Services for trains and buses start around 5 AM and end around midnight.
There’s also the new GREENbike bike-share service with hubs throughout the city. Memberships are one-day ($5), week-long ($15) or year-long ($75). 30 minutes are free.
Some areas around Salt Lake City, like Temple Square, are very pedestrian friendly. The grid-like layout of the streets are also highly navigable. However, you might feel like you are walking forever - and that’s because the length of one block is longer in Salt Lake City than average.
Throughout Salt Lake City, entertainments, historical sites, recreational activities, and amazing food is abound. Here are the best places to have it all:
1. Temple Square - This 3-block plaza has over 20 attractions revolving around the famous Church of Latter-day Saints. Even if you aren’t religious, the sights around the Mormon Temple including the largest genealogy library in the world make it a must-go destination.
2. Utah Museum of Fine Arts - People are spellbound by this fine arts museum and give it spectacular reviews. There’s over 17,000 artifacts throughout various art periods. Permanent collections include Egyptian, Greek, and Renaissance art, as well as 20th century early photography.
3. Library Park & Tracy Aviary - Over 80 acres make this park the largest in Salt Lake City. The green space is dappled with recreational sport zones, picnicking, and the Tracy Aviary, one of the world’s oldest aviaries. You can see more than just native North American birds here.
4. Hogle Zoo - There’s over 800 animals at the zoo, and many allow you to get up close to make friends. Rhinos and birds can be fed (at an additional cost) too. There’s also daily programs to attend, like seal training. During winter, there’s over 250 animated light displays.
5. Great Salt Lake - A true natural wonder! Spend hours here hiking, boating, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and wildlife watching. Be sure to climb to the top of Ensign Peak for phenomenal views. Also, don’t forget to check out Antelope Island, a state park located northwest of Salt Lake City.
6. Red Butte Garden of The University of Utah - Not only is there plenty of horticulture to see, there’s activities for kids, concerts, picnic spots, workshops, and more to do at this botanical garden. The best part? Most events are free!
7. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort - One of the best reasons to visit Utah is skiing and snowboarding; and Snowbird Resort is an all-time favorite. Over 2,500 acres, a 3,240 foot (987 meter) vertical drop, and 169 runs for all experience levels to enjoy. In the summer, enjoy trail hiking and biking, zip lining, and fishing.
Salt Lake City has something for everyone, whether it is exploring the city by Green Bike and discovering amazing shopping, visiting the headquarters of Mormon religion, or hitting the slopes in the winter. No matter the time of the year, Salt Lake City welcomes you. So get packing and get ready for your move or trip!