If Salt Lake City isn’t in your to visit list stop reading and go add it. Jay and I fell completely in love with the desert heat, friendly people, clean streets and crisp architecture that SLC had to offer.
We cruised into the city with country music blaring (because when in the southwest do as southerns do) on a Sunday afternoon and stayed in the Temple Square area. With the high Mormon population in SLC we arrived to find the entire city was more or less closed. I am talking even H&M and Macy’s close their doors on Sundays and if a store goes against the grain like Starbucks it’s closed by 7pm. We have no complaints though. The streets were vacant and the downtown core was quiet which left a lovely, peaceful feel to the city and we can’t help but be in total awe of a city that is so ardently committed to their beliefs that even mega stores that move into the area have to abide by the status quo. Even with very little open we managed to have a whole lot of fun. So here are our top highlights for Salt Lake…
1. Stay at the Peery Hotel
A few blocks south of Temple Square and in the heart of downtown SLC this heritage hotel is a great value and earns extra points for cuteness. The staff at The Perry were so helpful, and the period decor gave the hotel a quaintness and authentic Utah feel that would be lost in a big chain hotel. Not to mention the beds were memory foam and so wonderful it took all our will power to peel ourselves out of it in the morning. Heavenly, purely heavenly.
2. Temple Square
Now I have had my fair share of heated debates with my dad about Mormonism after he read an interesting book on extremists in the religion. I whole heartily believe in religious freedom, and being a Christian I know deeply that I would never want to be defined by extremists in my religion. So in order to educate ourselves more on the virtues of the Mormon religion we headed to Temple Square to talk to the guides and explore their interpretative center. It was a wonderful experience and we left with a better understanding of the backbone of what Mormons believe and the ideals they strive to uphold such as, family, modesty, ministry and charity.
3. The Tabernacle
This breathtaking venue is also in Temple Square but so amazing it deserves its own spiel. This is where the Mormon Choir performs and the recordings they play for visitors will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. The building was constructed to ensure flawless acoustics, and when a guide stands at the front podium and drops a pin we could crisply and clearly hear it hit the floor from where we sat in the back pew 200 ft away. This is done every 15 minutes and whether you are a audiophile or not you are sure to be amazed.
Okay so I can’t say for all certainty that this place is a must visit simply because with it being Sunday it closed at 5 and we missed savoring their deli style sandwiches and soups by 15 minutes. Lesson learned. However the menu and reviews online prompted me to add it to our itinerary even before arriving in Salt Lake. Its massive University of Utah insignia on the window makes my heart warm a little more because there is nothing more quintessentially American than utter collegiate pride.
5. A Salt Lake
On your way in from Idaho you pass the Great Salt Lake or you can head south toward Wyoming and catch this beautiful lake. The salt lakes have an even greater concentration of salt than any world ocean to the point that nearly anyone would float on the surface regardless of their body density. Now maybe it is just the teacher in me but I think that is pretty cool science in action.
6. Eva’s Bakery
This sophisticated little bakery looks as if it was plucked from the streets of Paris and transported to Salt Lake City. Every pastry and delicacy looked not only tasty but aesthetically perfect. Their coffee is delicious, and sipping it down amongst the ornante and classical parisian pastel colored decor really is a great, inspiring way to start the day. Helpful tip, like most everything in SLC they are closed on Sundays.