“Here is the place,” said pioneer-extraordinaire Brigham Young after months of exhaustive trekking across a few of the country’s harshest terrain. Aradia Lake City
The “place” to which he was referring is currently known as Salt Lake City. At the time though, in 1847, it was no greater than a barren land in which a band of fatigued Mormon immigrants found themselves after giving up all other worldly possessions for to be able to build their lives anew. One can only speculate as to the result of his weary followers. Surrounded by crackly sagebrush and barren soil, and in the midst of an uninhabitable lake, it must took a critical mind’s eye to foresee the grand metropolis that will ultimately prove becoming a promised land for hedonists and ascetics alike.
My relationship with Salt Lake City is fairly extensive. After all, I can’t even begin to count how many times I have discovered myself in this capital city of the Beehive State. And I must admit-I haven’t yet grown weary of it. Salt Lake City has been the intended destination for a large number of family road trips. It’s served as a gathering place to meet up up with friends and relatives. And nearly all of my journeys elsewhere usually commence at Salt Lake City International Airport-the region’s predominant air hub.
Salt Lake City is a modern hodgepodge of modern and antiquated, fancy and plain, kitschy and virtuous. The city serves because the global headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and yet, just about half its residents classify themselves as such.
The city boasts wide thoroughfares stuffed with shopping outlets and fine restaurants. The city center itself is fairly small however, as a lot of the valley’s population is settled in outer suburbs. Its focal point is just a grand LDS temple that serves because the landmark of the area. The remaining city is comprised of easily navigable gridded streets to the north, south, east, and west of the temple.
While only primed members of the LDS faith can enter the temple itself, the surrounding gardens and buildings are available to visitors. Full-time volunteer missionaries from over 40 nations are eager to share Mormon Church history, beliefs, and doctrine in 30 different languages on several customized tours around Temple Square.
Although downtown Salt Lake City is charming enough to keep a unique against the likes of other major U.S. cities, it’s the easy to get at tracts of wilderness that alluringly entice visitors to Utah. The nearby mountains of the Wasatch Front behave as a glorious bastion of perennial outdoor activities. The surrounding forests cater to all types-from penny-pitching tent dwellers to lavish five-star resort frequenters. And in the midst of everything lies Park City, Salt Lake’s frivolous little brother.
Ski resorts dot the landscape. In reality, there are four within an hour’s drive from the airport. Visitors and locals alike flock to the slopes every winter to see what “Ski Utah!” claims to be “the best snow on earth.” And taking into consideration the sheer popularity of such resorts, “Ski Utah!” might just be on to something.
As the soft, powdery snow is the key enticement to Park City during winter months months, it’s not by any means the only real draw. Each January the Sundance Film Festival showcases independent films from throughout the nation and all around the globe. Throughout the festival, Park City transforms itself from a traditional winter village to a sensational Hollywood-esque bash. Glitz and glamour overtake rugged and wild.
After experiencing the countless facets of Salt Lake City, most visitors end up seconding Brigham Young’s declaration. Salt Lake truly is “the place”-the place for fine dining, shopping, skiing, hiking, biking, meandering, and contemplating. So choose it. Visit Utah-and allow it to be your place too.