24 hours in Salt Lake City

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Salt Lake City is a really underrated travel destination.  I mean, a lot of people go there, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s first thought.  Maybe it should be.

First of all, it is probably one of the safest cities around.  Secondly, it’s a great jumping point to get to so many state and national parks (SO MANY).  Zion, Bryce Canyon, Moab/Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Utah has a ton of natural wonders throughout including the Great Salt Lake which gives the capital city its moniker.

As if that weren’t enough, in the winter, there’s world class skiing in Sundance/Park City and Snowbird, making it a great vacation spot.  Delta Airlines has a hub here making it super easy to get to as well.  So if you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?

don’t get too salty now…

The first thing you note about this city is that it is incredibly tidy.  There’s like no trash on the streets at all.  Everything is well kept and neat.

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The capitol building is neoclassical, similar to the one in DC but apparently modeled after the one in Frankfort, KY.  The skyline of SLC is on the smaller side, but right in the middle is a gigantic white structure that can’t be missed, the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) also known as the Mormon Temple.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that 60% of Utah residents are of the Mormon faith.  Although I cannot claim to know much about Mormonism, this area represents an interesting sect of US History.  While I’m not going to go into how Brigham Young (great grandfather of Steve) led his followers across the plains to the Beehive State, which was under Mexican rule at the time, it’s actually worth a gander if you’re into American history.

Temple Square is a large area owned by the LDS Church in the middle of town.  In this plaza, there is the Temple, Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, and visitor centers.  Tours are given of the square, and the very enthusiastic guides will go through history and information about their faith.

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The Mormon Tabernacle is world famous acoustic hall that houses one of the largest pipe organs in the world and is one venue where the LDS choir performs.  It was designed in such a way that anyone could hear the sermon at the pulpit and usually the guides will demonstrate this by ripping a piece of paper for the audience members in the way, way back.

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The Salt Lake Assembly building is another place to congregate, but one of the main features is the Seagull memorial.  The patron bird of Mormons is the seagull.  They apparently helped early LDS pioneers fight off crickets that were destroying necessary crops and this kept them alive.  So, the bird is sacred in these parts.

One of the more popular hotels in the city is the Great America (and its sister Little America).  I feel like anyone I’ve known who goes to SLC stays here.  It’s really close to a TRAX stop which is the above ground transit system that will take you around downtown.

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If I had to complain about one thing, it would be that there isn’t much to do at night in SLC.  It’s pretty sleepy.  But, the trendy Sugar House district is where you want to go if you want to find shops, restaurants and a more vibrant local scene.  Just hop on the TRAX, it’s a ways but worth it.  Hit up SOMI for some excellent Vietnamese food.

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If you’ve made it all this way, you’ve got to see the Great Salt Lake, right?  It really is massive, and it is quite pungent.  It is indeed very great in size.  There’s a lot of bugs around, but you can take a swim and since the salt content is so high, you’re more buoyant.

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And of course, no trip to SLC is complete without going up a mountain.  Last time I was there it was the fall, so no snow yet, but the gondola to Snowbird was open and is still very pretty.

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The valley is beautiful and vast, and you can imagine what the back bowls are like when they’re all covered in fresh powder.  A peaceful end to a peaceful trip.

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