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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » What to do in Salt Lake?

   
Author Topic: What to do in Salt Lake?
DDDaysh
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Ok, so for about the past decade, lack of funds, time off, and babysitting has kept me tied down to Texas. However, in May (the 13th to the 17th) my company is having a meeting in Salt Lake City. Now, many people may not be nearly as excited about this as I am, but seeing as how I haven't had anything even resembling an adventure in quite some time - I'm bouncing on my toes.

But my question is this... what are the best things to DO there? I think we may be somewhat limited to public transportation or taxis - so if something is too far off the beaten path, it's likely impossible. Still, I'll have almost all of Saturday to explore, and I'd like to cram as much in as possible.

So, what are the must sees?

I went to SLC once with my family when I was about 12. I don't think we stayed there, I think we just drove though, but we did go see the Great Salt Lake. It was very shabby, run down, and smelled horrible! Is it still the same way, or is there anything worth seeing on the "beach"?

Are there any other "do not miss" sites?

Thanks for any advice!

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scifibum
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The Great Salt Lake and the shore themselves are not exciting. There's Antelope Island out IN the lake which has some slightly touristy stuff, but I don't remember it being very memorable. [Wink]

The Gateway is a nice place to do a little outdoor strolling and shopping. Some decent restaurants. It's on the west side of downtown SLC.

The Gilgal Gardens are rather unique.

You'll want to stroll around Temple Square (right in the center of town).

I'm sure others will have more interesting suggestions. I think Utah has some stunning scenery, but you can't get to much of it without a long car ride. You'll see some of it around the city, though. But as for things to do in the city itself, most of the things I can think of aren't particular to Utah.

[ April 03, 2009, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Epictetus
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Make your way to Hires Big H and/or the Training Table for one of your meals. And no matter how weird it looks, if you haven't tried it already, try the fry sauce. [Smile]

As far as things to do?

If you don't mind a long-ish bus ride, the alpine slide is a lot of fun.

Also, you could see if the Utah Symphony has a performance scheduled that week, and just down the road from the concert hall are several art galleries that might have something showing.

There's the Utah Museum of Fine Art, the Utah Museum of Natural History, and if it's still around, check out Sam Weller's Bookstore and get lost in the used book department downstairs. I usually leave that place with my arms full of books, but they're packing up for a move and downsizing their inventory at the moment, so I don't know how much longer the current incarnation will be around.

If architecture is your thing, check out the Downtown Library, the City and County Building (across the street) and Temple Square among many others. They are all gems in a city that seems dominated by the sort of dreary '60s architecture that makes me mourn for humanity.

ETA: I'll second Gilgal Gardens, it's very interesting.

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Darth_Mauve
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Swim!

If your stuck in the middle of any lake, salty or fresh, swim for shore!!!!!

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Tullaan
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The light rail system in SLC is great for getting north and south, around downtown and up to the University. It's 2 or 3 bucks a ride. Downtown has a free fare zone, so you could get to temple square and gateway for free.

Oh and the blocks in SLC are huge. If you want to go somewhere a few blocks away and you think you can walk it, reconsider it. Not saying you can't walk it, it will just be longer than you think.


Tull

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JennaDean
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I could've spent more than one day in and around Temple Square. We took the tour (even though I'd been there before, I still learned new stuff) and had lunch in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which was stunning. Used to be the old Hotel Utah and the building is just gorgeous. Lunch was in The Garden on the top floor, with a great view of the square.

My favorite, favorite thing we did in SLC: Thursday evenings the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has rehearsals that are free and open to the public. They're so much more amazing and full when they're live than the recordings. They sounded perfect to me, but then the conductor would make comments about how they needed to change it and they would try it again and you could hear that they changed it exactly as he'd said, and yes, it was even better. Most of the year the rehearsals are in the Tabernacle, but during the summer they move to the Conference Center because of the crowds, so check the location before you go. Either way, the Conference Center is just across the street from Temple Square.

From our hotel in downtown SLC it was easy (and free) to hop on the TRAX and get to temple square without worrying about parking. We got to Gateway that way too.

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Brinestone
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I'm not sure you can get there with public transportation, and it might be cold in May, but the spiral jetty is extremely cool.
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Artemisia Tridentata
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When we lived in the Valley, we used to have a five mile "historical hike" of the city, that My Sweetheart used to have her boy scouts pass off their five mile hike requirement. We started at Washington Square,(city hall, a beautiful, newely renovated gothic gem) went to Pioneer Square (first camp ground of the Mormon pioneers, largest Greek Orthodox Church outside of eastern europe, D&RG and UP stations) then to Temple Square (Mormon Tabernacle & Temple) and up "Brigham Street" (Cathedral of the Madaline, Silver King Mansion, Brigham Young's houses,) to the University. There were 105 historical sites included in the five miles. It was just right for 11 year old boys. If you were interested, I could look for a copy.
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Annie
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quote:
and if it's still around, check out Sam Weller's Bookstore
It's not. [Frown]

And ignore the burger joint advice - my advice is, while in SLC, eat at every single foreign restaurant you can find. [Smile] My personal favorites are the Cedars of Lebanon, on 200 South, and Tony Caputo's, a beautiful, beautiful Italian deli.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
quote:
and if it's still around, check out Sam Weller's Bookstore
It's not. [Frown]
.

[Cry] I've spent many pleasant hours lost among the shelves in Sam Weller's basement.

Sam Weller's has been a champion for independent book stores and local businesses. I guess the good news is that they aren't going out of business, they are downsizing. But that's little consolation when we are loosing what was the nations largest independent bookstore.

Tony has some interesting comments on the fundamental economic problems leading to the destruction of small business in their current new letter.

Also note that while Sam Weller's has announced they are moving and downsizing, they haven't moved yet and are still in the search for a new location. They may very likely still be there in mid May when you visit and they are having a moving sale which is yet another reason to pay them a visit.

[ April 05, 2009, 08:22 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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Back to the original question, the best part of the Salt Lake City are the mountains that surround it. Forget the lake, its mostly unpleasant. The mountains are fantastic. In mid may, there will still be snow at higher elevations but the wild flowers will be blooming in the foothills to the north and east of downtown.

If you are limited to public transportation, I'd recommend a walk up City Creek canyon or along the Bonneville Shoreline trail -- both of which will be beautiful in mid may with several dozen species of wildflowers. If you are lucky you may see deer, coyotes and moose within easy walking distance of downtown. City creek canyon has a paved road that is mostly closed to cars and a favorite place for walking and biking. It starts in Memory Grove which is a short walk from Temple Square. The further you walk up the canyon, the pretty it gets. If you are interested, I can give you more exact details on how to get to City Creek or one of the entrances to the shoreline trail using public transportation.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Artemisia Tridentata:
When we lived in the Valley, we used to have a five mile "historical hike" of the city, that My Sweetheart used to have her boy scouts pass off their five mile hike requirement. We started at Washington Square,(city hall, a beautiful, newely renovated gothic gem) went to Pioneer Square (first camp ground of the Mormon pioneers, largest Greek Orthodox Church outside of eastern europe, D&RG and UP stations) then to Temple Square (Mormon Tabernacle & Temple) and up "Brigham Street" (Cathedral of the Madaline, Silver King Mansion, Brigham Young's houses,) to the University. There were 105 historical sites included in the five miles. It was just right for 11 year old boys. If you were interested, I could look for a copy.

I'd be interested. But only in a vague, "that'd be cool to do someday with my kids" way, so if it's much of a hassle, don't bother on my account.
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DDDaysh
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Wow, this is all great advice. My coworkers were all seriously disappointed that this year's meeting was in Salt Lake. Apparently, prior meetings were held in more interesting locations. Last years was at a beach resort in North Carolina. However, the law firm we're affiliated with has a huge presence in SLC, and we're doing a combined meeting with them this year - so SLC it is. I'm actually excited because I like historical places, and beaches are definitely NOT my thing.

My boss already mentioned the Choir rehearsal, so I think we all have plans to go to that. I was happy because I really did want to go, but I was afraid to bring that up. I have found that some people have very strong views on religion, and Mormons often bring out the worst in them. Living near San Antonio and being inundated with news about the "FLDS" church last year certainly didn't help.

I really like the sound of the shoreline trail, so I hope I can sell my companions on that. I'd also hope to at least get to do the formal tour of the temple - but I suppose that will depend on who all decides to stay Saturday and how open minded everyone is feeling. Of course, if they're being real humbugs I suppose nothing prevents me from just taking off on my own. Still, being a tourist all by yourself just isn't as much fun.

I think we're actually going to be going to a Minor League Baseball game on Friday. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why! San Antonio has it's own minor league team. Heck, almost every semi-decent sized city in Texas has one, and Dallas and Houston both have major league teams - but someone mentioned this baseball game thing and everyone else got really excited about it. Maybe I'll get a stomach ache....

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I'd also hope to at least get to do the formal tour of the temple - but I suppose that will depend on who all decides to stay Saturday and how open minded everyone is feeling.
You need to be warned that you will not be able to get a tour of the temple itself. The tours are of the temple grounds and visitors center which are very nice but you won't be allowed to enter the temple without a recommend. Even if you had a recommend, there would be no tour of the temple. It is exclusively a place of worship, tours are only given prior to a dedication.

Here is a map and some information of the Shoreline Trail.

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advice for robots
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You can hike up Ensign Peak. It's not a terribly hard hike, and it's got a pretty nice view.

The Gateway Mall might be worth an hour or so to walk up and down. The planetarium is pretty cool.

Other than that, what everyone else suggested.

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Cashew
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Eat at Chuckarama!

Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake I thought was cool, because I saw my first ever coyote running alonside our car, as well as some buffalo. That probably won't be as interesting to someone from Texas, but for a Kiwi visiting for the first time it was amazing. [Smile]

The lake itself was pretty much as you described it, dirty-looking and smelly, but interesting for what it is.

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DDDaysh
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Thanks to everyone with suggestions. There ended up being FAR more to do than we actually were able to. We saw the choir practice on Thursday, visited a really fun Piano Bar on Friday (did I mention that I LOVE smoking bans!), and drove out to Park City on Saturday and ended up hiking in some mountains. It was all really cool! Hopefully we'll get a chance to go back sometime.
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DDDaysh
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Oh - and I forgot to mention Sam Weller's bookstore was probably the hit of the trip! It is apparently moving, but it was still open when I was there. My coworkers teased me about wanting to go at first, so I headed down there alone on Friday afternoon. I came back with such cool finds that a group of them wanted me to show them where it was after all. My boss bought some HUGE Japanese art book (I don't even WANT to know what it cost), and everyone had fun looking around.
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