Questioning Salt Lake City as the site of NRPA's 2009 Congress & Exposition? You need only know one thing: the Jordan River Parkway Trail.
Why do I bring this up? Because eventually, when finished, this trail will roll 50 miles between Utah Lake in Provo to the Great Salt Lake just outside downtown Salt Lake.
In case you missed that, this trail will connect two cities, not just ramble through a residential subdivision on the fringe of town. That's a serious commitment to recreation and alternative transportation.
But that's no secret to Salt Lake City, which has for years enjoyed its position atop magazines' top-10 lists of most active towns and places for great outdoor recreation.
Salt Lake--and all of Utah, for that matter--is a playground for active pursuits. Consider the fact that Salt Lake City is the gateway to five popular National Parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reel, and Bryce Canyon.
Flying into Salt Lake City, what do you see? Mountains--and lots of them. The city is ringed by the Wasatch Range, which towers over downtown, virtually daring visitors to resist taking up bikes, backpacks, or skis and heading out of town to play.
And leaving Salt Lake City without enjoying at least some of what it has to offer would be a great mistake. Because from shopping to dining to arts and entertainment, this is one cosmopolitan town.
Where to Eat
From the ultra-hip Bambara, featuring Salt Lake City's "Best New American" cuisine, to the colorful Acme Burger Company's ostrich burgers and elk bratwurst, it's a safe bet that you're going to find some tasty noshes in Salt Lake City.
In fact, Salt Lake's lively restaurant scene has an offering to accommodate just about any palette. From Afghan to Italian, vegetarian to steak house, this city puts forth a delectable selection of places to nibble.
Looking for a little late-night libation? Fortunately for you, the Bayou has a beer list that features nearly 300 brews--plus, live music most nights of the week. Open till one o'clock in the morning, the Bayou is a favorite gathering place for Salt Lake's local night owls.
And if you need a little jolt the next morning, you won't want to miss the fairly traded coffees and fresh baked goods at downtowns Bevalo. This independent cafe is a terrific place to grab a cuppa and relax with the Sunday paper--while celebrating the city's love of local community and expression.
202 S. Main St.
Acme Burger Company
275 S. 200 West
645 S. State St.
123 E. 200 South
What to See
Hands down, the best way to take in Salt Lake City's rich history is the Downtown Salt Lake City Walking Tour. On it, you'll enjoy nearly 60 historic buildings and sites reaching across a century's worth of history and architecture. Each building or site is identified with a numbered sign explaining its significance.
And while a map is provided highlighting a recommended route for seeing everything, walkers can start at any point and view the buildings and sites in any order you like.
Too much walking dragging you down? Jump on one of the city's free downtown busses, or take the TRAX light-rail on Main Street to get back to your starting point.
(Visitor Information Center, 90 S. West Temple, 800.541.4955)
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