Last updated: 01:47 PM ET, Sat April 02 2022
Downtown Salt Lake City skyline Utah in USA (photo via  f11photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Salt Lake City

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Downtown Salt Lake City skyline Utah in USA (photo via  f11photo / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Downtown Salt Lake City skyline. (Photo via f11photo/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Salt Lake City is the cultural and spiritual center of Utah. As the capital of the state, Salt Lake City is Utah’s most populous city with a metro area of about one million people. The city’s magnificent structures, such as the churches and monuments within Mormon Temple Square and the stadiums of Utah Olympic Park, are just some of the reasons why tourists and travelers come to this sky-high city.

Nestled in a valley beneath the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City has a great variety of recreational activities. In winter months, the abundant snow and mountainous terrain provide for excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions. Several top ski resorts, including Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude, are just minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, and provide a scenic getaway for travelers and residents. In the summer, hiking, biking and jogging trails, as well as rock climbing around the Cottonwood Canyons, are popular activities. Also popular in the warmer months is Lagoon Park, an amusement and water park just south of the city.

Salt Lake City and County Building on a synny day (photo via AndreyKrav / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Salt Lake City and County Building on a synny day (photo via AndreyKrav / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

The arts and culture scene within Salt Lake City is tremendously popular. With everything from the Museum of Fine Arts, to Ballet West and Hale Theatre Company, there are spectacular performances and galleries seemingly on every corner. Shopping and entertainment options are also abundant in Salt Lake City. Gateway Mall is a popular partially open air shopping center downtown that spans several blocks and offers a large variety of shops, restaurants and other various attractions. Also within Gateway is the Clark Planetarium, which includes astronomy exhibits, live events and a 3-D IMAX theater. The Tracy Aviary and Hogle Zoo are also both exciting attractions to visit with the entire family or wildlife enthusiast. Whether checking out the frog exhibit at the Utah Museum of Natural History, or dining at one of the many family-owned gourmet restaurants that line the downtown streets, Salt Lake City is a unique destination full of history and charm.

With a large Greek population that influences the cuisine (so much so that even Chinese restaurants serve baklava), Salt Lake City booms with authentic eats from the Mediterranean. Places like Aristo’s and Café Med are serving up fine Greek food with dishes like spanakopita, souvlaki and mousaka. For a uniquely local snack, try the pastrami burgers at Crown Burgers. Other top restaurants throughout the city include the moderately priced Mexican fare at Red Iguana, the Cajun pub food and 200-plus beers at The Bayou, and an up-market French dining experience at La Caille.

Salt Lake City has a semi-arid, continental climate, with four distinct seasons and little rainfall. The hot, dry summers peak in July, with an average temperature of 90.6° F (32.5° C), while the winters are cold and snowy with an average low of 21.3° F (-5.9° C) in January. Snow can fall from November through April, and usually averages over 60 inches annually. Surrounded by mountains, Salt Lake City is a year-round vacation destination that has highly ideal conditions during any season, depending on the activity.