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CityTips Guide to Salt Lake City

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This city balances small town tradition with big city sophistication. Rooted in history, rich in technology and surrounded by beauty, this is, as founder Brigham Young declared more than a century ago, The Place.

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Local Overview

Situated at the base of the magnificent Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is booming economically and evolving at a rapid rate. While most business travelers limit their activities to the city center, many tourists come for the outstanding outdoor recreation found throughout the Salt Lake Basin. In winter, skiing is the main reason for a visit to this vast area, but when the snow melts, it becomes prime mountain biking and hiking country.

The City Center

The downtown area is a mixture of contrasts with old and new buildings side by side. The stately Temple Square is flanked by high-rise office buildings. Brigham Young's Beehive House creates a 19th-century oasis across the street from office towers of the 21st century. Arranged on a logical grid pattern with Temple Square at its center, all addresses in the city can conveniently be found with little effort.

Business and tourism are the lifeblood of the city, but between the office buildings lay the cultural and entertainment centers that present numerous diversions at the end of the business or ski day. The Capitol Theatre, home of Ballet West, is both an architectural and cultural gem. One of downtown's classic older buildings, the theatre has been renovated into a modern venue for Broadway productions and intimate concerts. It is only a pleasant stroll from any of the downtown hotels and is close to some of the city's finest restaurants. Equally accessible from anywhere in downtown is Abravanel Hall (home of the Utah Opera Company) and the Energy Solutions Arena. The volunteer hosts at the Salt Lake City Convention and Visitors' Bureau in the Salt Palace Convention Center can always recommend a variety of activities, favorite restaurants or sites to visit.

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City is truly a hill! A walk from downtown up State Street to the Utah State Capitol Building offers a sampling of the grandeur of the homes of mining and financial barons. Several of these old residences, notably Wolfe Krest Bed & Breakfast and The Inn on Capitol Hill, provide a good sense of Salt Lake City as it was at the turn of the 19th century. The private homes on the hill also offer an eclectic blend of Victorian, Italianate and "wealthy pioneer" architectural styles. Just to the west of the Utah State Capitol is the Pioneer Memorial Museum, which also provides a sense of life in the "Beehive State" in its early days.

Once the home of the trolleys that were the transportation mainstay of Salt Lake City, the trolley barns of Trolley Square now enclose some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city. From the well-known Hard Rock Cafe to the local favorite Desert Edge Brewery at the Pub, the numerous dining establishments are each a pleasure. Shopping ranges from the eclectic to the stylish and from the mainstream to the uncommon. Trolley Square is an ideal setting for an afternoon of shopping or an evening of dinner, drinks and a movie.

The University of Utah

The university district and the university itself offer a number of delights. On the campus of the University of Utah are the Utah Museum of Natural History and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Kingsbury Hall is a concert and performance venue that is a special pleasure for jazz performances, dance productions and theatre. The University's Huntsman Center hosts the sporting exhibitions of the University of Utah Utes, while the nearby Red Butte Gardens is a four-season experience that, once again, integrates the city with Utah's diverse natural environment.

Outside the City Center

Like many metropolitan areas, Salt Lake City has sprawled past its designated boundaries into numerous suburbs and outlying areas. North of the city center lie Farmington, Hill Air Force Base and Ogden, home to the Hill Aerospace Museum, Eccles Dinosaur Park and Lagoon Amusement Park. West of the city center is home to Salt Lake International Airport and much of the area's rapidly expanding industry. To the east of the city lies the magnificent Wasatch Front. These craggy peaks and bucolic valleys shelter Park City and world-renowned ski resorts such as Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.

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