Salt Lake City Utah State Capitol
Inside the Utah State Capitol (Photo credit: Reginaldo Martins)

Salt Lake City Travel Guide

QUICK FACTS

  • Utah’s capital and its largest city, with almost 200,000 inhabitants.
  • Named after the Great Salt Lake, which stretches out 17 miles west of the city.
  • Founded by mormon followers (including Brigham Young and Isaac Morley) in 1847.
  • Nicknames: SLC, Crossroads of The West, City of the Saints

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Currency: U.S. Dollar (USD)
  • Spoken languages: English.
  • Best time to visit: from September to November for the best weather. Summers are too hot, spring sees a lot of rain.
  • Arriving via airport: the Salt Lake City International Airport is just 20 minutes west of the city center by bus, taxi or light rail. The bus ($2.50) ends early evenings, while light rail service ($2.50) ends around 11:30pm. Taxis going downtown start at $15.

WHERE TO STAY

Five-star hotels and bed and breakfasts can be found along Main Street and Temple Street, while a handful of hostels dot Central City.

GETTING AROUND

  • Buses are free in the downtown free fare zone, while rides out to the suburbs or ski resorts in Cottonwood Canyons will cost you $2.25.
  • The light rail TRAX system has four lines that weave in and out of the suburbs for $2.25, but is free in the downtown area.
  • Salt Lake City is an easy city to drive in, as the grid system is small, spacious and efficient. You may want to rent a car to get the best out of the city.

SALT LAKE CITY NIGHTLIFE

  • Drinking age is 21, and last call is at 2 AM.
  • As the home of the Mormon Church’s headquarters, Utah’s drinking laws are famously restrictive, but loosened up after 2009. As a result, there are lots of new bars and restaurants opening in the city.
  • Liquor licenses are difficult to obtain so there aren’t too many bars in town; many have to operate as restaurants that serve drinks too, however, the bars and bartenders must remain hidden; you must order food, show ID and order one drink at a time.
  • Note: all liquor stores are state-run and close on Sundays.
  • The bars in nearby Park City are a lot more relaxed, perhaps thanks to the Sundance Film Festival that takes place there annually.

UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT

  • Temple Square is a 10-acre complex of religious buildings, forming the symbolic heart of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
  • Salt Lake City Public Library is one of the most architecturally-interesting libraries in the world, made up of five stories of curved glass facing a concrete wall.

INTERESTING WALKS

  • Gallivan Center is a public plaza in the heart of downtown SLC that’s been landscaped to perfection, signifying the progressive trend in design in the city. Music festivals are plentiful in the summer, while an ice rink is constructed for winter.
  • Liberty Park is a scenic 80-acre urban park with a few trails and a little lake to traverse. Vegetation in this part of Utah tends to stay green all year, lending the park a fairy tale-like feeling.

LOCAL WISDOM

  • The East side of Salt Lake City is more conservative, affluent and Mormon than the west, where there’s more ethnic diversity and a thriving arts scene.
  • Where to find good cheap eats: Cheap international restaurants can be found all over but the trucks at the Farmer’s Market in Pioneer Park (Saturdays) are the best.
  • Dangerous areas: Salt Lake City has relatively low violent crime rates, but robberies do occur. The Central and North West areas of the valley should be avoided, as well as some high-crime neighborhoods in South Salt Lake. Exercise caution when walking alone at night.

RECOMMENDED SLC GUIDE BOOKS

Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days


SEE ALSO:
Salt Lake City Travel Guide was last modified: September 23rd, 2016 by Nick
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