Last month, I made the journey to Ski City – i.e. Salt Lake City, Utah.
In my first 24 hours there, I drank at a hip bar, ate at an elegant restaurant, screamed my lungs out at a professional basketball game (the Jazz), saw a marching band rage in 10º weather, skied bottomless powder in the sunshine, apres skied at grungy bar with a mounted moose head and a live band, ate killer mole enchiladas, rode in a lite up bike taxi, and recovered from the big day in a luxurious hotel.
The day shocked me. Salt Lake City delivered a plethora of funky flavors I did not anticipate. Mountain life and city life have always been two extremely separate genres to me. In Ski City, they casually meld into one. The options seemed limitless.
“The Greatest Snow on Earth” lives in Utah. We all know this.
What isn’t well known is that you can stay in downtown Salt Lake while enjoying all the comforts, thrills, and amenities of a metropolis while being located only 35-minutes from some of the best skiing and riding anywhere (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude).
Salt Lake City currently harbors a fascinating social dynamic and it’s changing fast. There are over a hundred bars in town, a pumping music scene, a major who is openly gay, the majority of public school students are minorities, it was ranked the “Gayest City in the USA”, they eat more JELL-O than anyone else on Earth, and Salt Lake City has not elected a Republican mayor since 1972.
Salt Lake City Facts:
- 118 bars and 18 breweries live in Salt Lake
- Salt Lake City has not elected a Republican mayor since 1972
- One of the largest LGBT communities in the USA (Advocate‘s #1 “Gayest City in the USA” in 2012)
- A powerful music scene with The Black Keys, MGMT, Bon Iver, Sonic Youth, and the Empire of the Sun playing recently (Neon Trees, The Used, and Imagine Dragons are all from Utah)
- The University of Utah spins off more businesses than any university in the nation – including MIT, Harvard and Stanford
- The majority of public school students are minorities
- Year round farmers markets (even in winter)
- Public transportation rocks with over 150-miles of light rail transit
- Possibly the coolest city library anywhere
- Salt Lake City is super bike friendly with over 150 bike lanes, bike turn boxes, and bicycle-specific traffic signals
- Home of the very first Kentucky Fried Chicken (weird, right?)
- The airport is only 10 minutes from downtown and only 40 minutes from skiing and riding
- According to Kraft Foods, Salt Lake City is responsible for the world’s highest JELL-O consumption per capita
Salt Lake’s cityscape is changing rapidly as well.
It’s true, there used to not be much going on downtown, but the paradigm has shifted. Downtown Salt Lake City is now littered with hip bars, swank restaurants, well thought out museums, novelty shops, an impressively cool library, quality theaters/shows, a planetarium/lazerium, killer shopping at City Creek mall, and more.
If anyone on your team isn’t into skiing or riding, that’s never an issue in Salt Lake City.
So, why is Salt Lake City really great?
It’s simple. Salt Lake holds the entertainment, food, live music, bars, museums, libraries, site seeing, and shopping to satisfy the city dweller in all of us while at the same time delivering world class skiing and riding at resorts that horde up to 563″ per year of the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”
What’s not to love?
I certainly haven’t seen all that Ski City has to offer, but here are some places that I hit this December that I give the thumbs up to:
- Red Iguana II Mexican Restaurant (enchiladas suizas)
- Utah Jazz games (crazy fun crowd and insane mascot)
- Little America hotel (luxury)
- City Creek Mall (excellent people watching)
- Bar-X/Beer Bar (more beers than you can shake a stick at)
- Jazz game (raucous, energized crowd, and an insane mascot…)
- Clark Planetarium/Lazerium (Pink Floyd & Led Zeppelin shows)
- Current Restaurant (killer seafood)