Magazine article Sunset

Winter Surprise

Magazine article Sunset

Winter Surprise

Article excerpt

THREE-DAY WEEKEND

Salt Lake City has a lot more to offer than just great skiing

Justifiably famous for its nearby ski and snowboard enticements, Salt Lake City is coming into its own as a destination for shopping, dining, and culture. While the downtown area is still a work in progress, you'll find a vibrant mix of old and new shops and restaurants, and during the holidays Utah's festive capital is infectiously appealing.

On crisp winter evenings, strollers and carolers gather in Temple Square-the heart of the city-where paths through the gardens sparkle with millions of colorful lights. The clip-clop of horses' hooves echoes as open carriages pass through downtown, while over at the Gallivan Center, skaters twirl under the stars in an icy oasis rimmed by high-rise office buildings.

Escaping the cold is as easy as stepping into one of Salt Lake's theaters, concert halls, or museums. But if you enjoy the snow, the ski resorts of the Wasatch Range are barely 30 minutes from Temple Square.

DAY 1 Friday

Start the morning at Cup of Joe (353 West 200 South; 801/363-8322) with a latte and an almond-poppy seed muffin. The industrial-chic cyber cafe is on the west side of downtown, within walking distance of several good stops.

Holiday shopping. Two blocks east, you'll find two floors of 19th-and early-20th-century antiques at Hills' House (closed Sun; 126 South 200 West; 801/359-4852), which has everything from rare Davenport sinks to bed warmers, copper pitchers, and furniture. A five-minute walk east leads to Utah Artist Hands (closed Sun; 61 West 100 South; 801/355-0206), with works by some of Utah's premier painters, potters, woodworkers, and photographers. Three blocks west lies Hijinks (closed Sun-Man; 362 W. Pwrpont Ave.; 801/531-7434), loved by kids for the brain-teasing puzzles and juggling tools-and the display of 700 yo-yos.

Seafood, anyone? Back in your car, a 10-minute drive proves that while Utah may be landlocked, the Market Street Broiler ($$; lunch Mon-Sat, dinner daily; 260 South 1300 East; 801/583-8808) knows its seafood, including wild Alaskan salmon, crab, and oysters.

Strap on the blades. After lunch, head to the ice rink at the Gallivan Center (Nov 19-Feb 27; $8, $7 ages 11 and under, including skate rental; 239 S. Main St.; www.thegallivan center.com. or 801/535-6117). Skaters glide against a backdrop of twinkling lights. After, relax at the Beehive Tea Room (12 West 300 South; 801/328-4700) a block west of the ice rink with a hot chocolate and a game of chess.

A good read. Just around the corner is one of the West's oldest independent bookstores. Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore (closed Sun; 254 S. Mam; 801/328-2586) has collections of Carl Sandburg and Zane Grey as well as more contemporary works.

Taste of Tuscany. Tucked into a retreaded Firestone tire warehouse three blocks west, Cucina Toscana ($$; closed Sun; 307 W. Pierpont; 801/328-3463) gets innovative with dishes like pork tenderloin medallions dressed with a green pepper sauce.

Temple lights. Work off dinner with a stroll through Temple Square (50 W. North Temple St.; 801/240-2534), which shines with colored lights. Prefer not to walk? Then summon Carriage for Hire ($40 for ½ hour; 801/363-8687) for a romantic ride downtown.

DAY 2 Saturday

A day in the snow requires a good start. For eight decades, the grill has been hot at Lamb's Grill Cafe ($; dosed Sun; 169 S. Main; 801/364-7166). Breakfast is steak and eggs or hearty omelets.

Hit the slopes or snowshoe. Eleven resorts-three of them former Olympic venues-offer 18,150 acres of skiing and snowboarding within an hour of downtown; check your options with Ski Utah (www. …

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