Utah after dark
October 31, 2008 11:30 PM   Subscribe

My husband is going to be staying in Provo, Utah, next week for work (visiting from New Zealand). He's busy during the day. What are the highlights for dinner food and things-to-see-at-night? He has a rental car.

He probably won't want to drive more than an hour from the hotel in Provo. But he doesn't want to spend his evenings channel surfing either.
posted by slightlybewildered to Travel & Transportation around Provo, UT (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't think of too many cities in the USA with less "night life" than Provo, Utah. However, here's a few resources:

Things To Do In Provo

Frommer's: Provo Nightlife

1K To Do In Provo
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:01 AM on November 1, 2008

Downtown SLC is within an hour. MUCH more do to and see. Provo is not a particularly exciting place, especially if you like to relax with a drink.
posted by Crotalus at 12:12 AM on November 1, 2008

I was on a business trip to Provo a few years ago and I couldn't find anything to do at night besides a short visit to a park in the dwindling twilight. SLC seems like a good idea.
posted by XMLicious at 12:53 AM on November 1, 2008

here's a not-so-small secret:
the biggest town to Redford's Sundance resort is Provo/Orem. Go for a drive up the canyon R189 (prob a half hour) and have dinner at the resort. (make reservations)
posted by mrmarley at 5:17 AM on November 1, 2008

I'll second the recommendation for Sundance. I had dinner at the Tree Room there when I was in Salt Lake City a few years ago and the food and setting are fantastic.
posted by driveler at 8:51 AM on November 1, 2008

There is an excellent Indian restaurant called Bombay House. I love that place. Try the peshawari naan. It's awesome.

AND, there's an inexplicably good gelato place on Center St. Seriously. It's the best I've had... in Provo, Utah. Weird. Bonus, it's open till midnight.

If you're still there on Friday, the BYU Men's Chorus & Women's Chorus are never less than amazing. Tickets are $11.

I'll try and think of more suggestions, but those are my top 3 right now.
posted by eleyna at 1:04 PM on November 1, 2008

I second eleyna's suggestions, and not just because I've been with her to most of them :) -- they're at the top of my list of things to do whenever I go back to Utah to visit. Maestro's Gelato is great, the BYU choirs are first rate if you like choral music (and the folk and jazz ensemble shows on the calendar will probably be fun as well). And the more Indian food places I'm exposed to, the more I'm surprised that the Bombay House in Provo is one of the better ones I've been to.

Other food suggestions:
* Thai Chili Garden (about 400 West on 800 North in Orem) - my second favorite Thai place ever.
* La Dolce Vita (about 100 North on 100 East in Provo) - Small and not flashy, but probably the best Italian in Utah Valley.
* Brick Oven (about 100 East on 800 North in Provo) - Pizza/Pasta place. It waxes and wanes in quality, but I put it on the list because it's something of an institution in Provo (it's been there for like 50 years), and I have had some really great pizza there.
* Pizzeria 712 (320 South State in Orem) - I haven't been, but there's a lot of buzz about it being fantastic.
* Gandolfo's Deli (Northeast corner of University and Center in Provo) - longtime classic deli.
* Zupa's (408 West 2230 North in Provo) - really tasty soup/salad/sandwich place.
* Pudding on the Rice (2293 North University Parkway in Provo) - OK, I don't know how to explain this, but it's like a frozen yogurt place, except instead of frozen yogurt, it's flavored rice pudding and toppings. I think most of the attraction is sheer novelty, but a novelty it is.
* Chef's Table (2005 South State Street in Orem) - probably the premier fine dining restaurant of Utah Valley.
* Kneader's Bakery ( 295 West 1230 North) - go there for breakfast if there's time in the morning. I really like the french toast.
* Porter's Place (24 West Main Street in Lehi) and Family Tree Restaurant (77 West Main in Santaquin) are both Utah provincial slice-of-life kind of places. The food isn't spectacular, but some of it's decent, and the ambiance might be interesting. They're both a bit of a drive, tho', Santaquin in particular is at least a half hour, and if you're going to put in that time, Sundance or SLC might be a better choice.

Bars in Provo... ABGs and Atchafalaya. I'm not a drinker but I've been to both to see shows and hang out in my 20s, and they're OK I guess. I do like the Owl Bar up at Sundance, and definitely second the suggestion of visiting the Sundance Resort in general. If it's snowing or icy, though, be really careful driving up to and down from the resort, though).

The Squaw Peak Overlook is a high foothill vista overlooking most of Utah Valley. I personally prefer the daylight view, but the lights at night are nice too. It does have a bit of a rep for being the local makeout parking spot, but I think that's somewhat exaggerated. The same caveats I mentioned earlier about icy/snowy roads apply, except more so -- on the way to Sundance, you can get dumped in a creek if you slide off the road, but the Squaw Peak overlook road has some pretty exposed heights. Drive careful. :)

Bookish things to do: The Springville Art Museum and BYU Art Museum sometimes have interesting exhibits. There are a couple of dusty old used/collectors bookshops on Center Street in Provo... at least two, maybe three. The Provo Library is in an interesting renovated old building and has half-decent collection and some community events. The local Borders Books isn't a half-bad place to hang out either.

There are two comedy clubs in the valley: Wise Guys and Comedy Sportz. I haven't been to Wise Guys, Comedy Sportz can be somewhat student-focused, but I've always enjoyed it (and hey, it's right next to Maestro's Gelato).

This train ride/theater/murder mystery looks novel, but I haven't been and can't tell much about the quality of the event. I find community theater in Utah really hit and miss, but I'm not a theater geek. Those who do like that stuff, you might want to check out the Hale Theater too.

Downtown SLC is within an hour. MUCH more do to and see. Provo is not a particularly exciting place, especially if you like to relax with a drink.

In spite of everything I've listed above, this is true. For the visitor just looking for food and to get outside of the hotel in the evening, what I've given might cover it, but there's just more in SLC. There are some previous threads on it here, here, and here. In particular if you're looking to relax with a drink... Squatters and Red Rock are two of the popular microbreweries, and some of my acquaintances have thought Brewvies was fun. I'd also highlight Gourmandie's Bakery for great pastries and café fare, and maybe The Roof or The Garden for downtown dining with downtown views. Mazza for Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food (also next to a great little bookstore called the King's English), and Red Iguana as the standard Mexican recommendation. And while I haven't been there yet, I keep meaning to visit the One World Kitchen, a no set menu, pay-what-you-want restaurant experiment that I've heard great things about, both in terms of the food quality and the concept.

That's probably enough to keep anybody occupied for a week of evenings. :) Feel free to drop me a line via MeFi Mail with any questions.
posted by weston at 2:17 PM on November 2, 2008

I'm seconding the Bakery. It is SO good. Weston is understating its goodness. Think: An entire display case of wonderful, flaky, chocolatey, fruity pastry goodness. And fantastic sandwiches. (Avoid the salads.)
posted by eleyna at 9:45 PM on November 3, 2008

Sundance as already mentioned is a great place to eat and enjoy the mountain air.

Taking a stab in the dark, I have no idea what your husband likes, but you can also visit Cabellas, the big outdoor store, and Thanksgiving Point, which has a dinosaur museum that is one of the best in the world.
posted by metaflame at 12:18 PM on February 3, 2009

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