“This is actually the place,” said pioneer-extraordinaire Brigham Young after months of exhaustive trekking across a few of the country’s harshest terrain. Lake City KL
The “place” to which he was referring is now referred to as Salt Lake City. At the time though, in 1847, it had been no greater than a barren land where a band of fatigued Mormon immigrants found themselves after stopping all other worldly possessions for a chance to build their lives anew. One can only speculate regarding the reaction of his weary followers. Surrounded by crackly sagebrush and barren soil, and in the midst of an uninhabitable lake, it must have got a serious mind’s eye to foresee the grand metropolis that will ultimately prove to become a promised land for hedonists and ascetics alike.
My relationship with Salt Lake City is quite extensive. All things considered, I can’t even begin to count how many times I have found 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 dozens of family road trips. It has served as a gathering place to meet up with friends and relatives. And most of my journeys elsewhere usually commence at Salt Lake City International Airport-the region’s predominant air hub.
Salt Lake City is an eclectic hodgepodge of modern and antiquated, fancy and plain, kitschy and virtuous. The city serves since the global headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and yet, only about half its residents classify themselves as such.
The city boasts wide thoroughfares crammed with shopping outlets and fine restaurants. The city center itself is quite small however, as all the valley’s population is settled in outer suburbs. Its focal point is just a grand LDS temple that serves since the landmark of the area. The remaining portion of the 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 talk about 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 its own against famous brands other major U.S. cities, it’s the easily accessible 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 any or 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 fact, you will find 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 maximum snow on earth.” And considering the sheer popularity of such resorts, “Ski Utah!” may just be to something.
As the soft, powdery snow is the key enticement to Park City during the wintertime 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 rustic winter village to a sensational Hollywood-esque bash. Glitz and glamour overtake rugged and wild.
After experiencing the many facets of Salt Lake City, most visitors end up seconding Brigham Young’s declaration. Salt Lake truly is “the place”-the area for fine dining, shopping, skiing, hiking, biking, meandering, and contemplating. So choose it. Visit Utah-and make it your place too.