No skiing for you! :(
March 1, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are headed to Salt Lake City next week for a ski vacation—except that he just tore his Achilles tendon. Needless to say, him skiing is now out of the question. Please help cheer him up with recommendations for interesting drives, day trips from SLC, anywhere cool that he can sit and read or people-watch, and awesome places to eat.

He could not be more disappointed about this turn of events, but we both want him to still have a great vacation even if he can't ski.

The things he likes best are mentioned above the fold, but he's open to any other ideas people have, as long as they are amenable to a man with a knee-to-toe boot and crutches. He IS cleared to drive and we have a rental car. For example, he's really looking forward to seeing the Great Salt Lake Desert while the rest of us are off skiing.

Our trip dates are March 10 - 15. Looking forward to reading your suggestions!
posted by anderjen to Travel & Transportation around Salt Lake City, UT (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Squatters not only has great beer, but great food and great people watching.
posted by notsnot at 11:59 AM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Utah Olympic Park has an interesting museum and a cheap tour that takes you to the top of the bobsled and ski jump venues.

In Park City, High West offers tours of their distillery.

I've never been but the Red Iguana gets rave reviews for its Mexican. There is a Blue Iguana in Park City but I don't think they are related.
posted by mmascolino at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2012

Is he cleared to swim yet? Because if your hotel has a pool, swimming is great for maintaining mobility (and is fun!) and for keeping off the eating weight, which makes both recovery and coping with crutches so very very much easier.

He needs to be incredibly careful with crutches on snow and ice, and for sure get ice prong extensions!
posted by DarlingBri at 12:08 PM on March 1, 2012

The Salt Lake City Public Library has interesting architecture and lots of nice places to sit and read.
posted by brackish.line at 12:13 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely go and see Temple Square- even if you aren't really into the idea at first. It's totally fascinating.

Also, I entertained myself trying to hit Guy Fieri's triple D recommendations. Red Iguana is one of them.

The salt plains look very cool. My friend actually injured his ankle there over xmas but really enjoyed driving around and photgraphing v arious wildlife and UT scenescapes.
posted by bquarters at 12:59 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

How old is your husband? Some things that come to mind. Just free associating, and I've asterisked the stuff that seems extra great.

Gilgal Gardens Weird, awesome historical sculpture garden complete with Joseph Smith sphinx.

Kilby Court. Indy musician's indy music venue.

Sam Weller's bookstore is right on the train line.

My brother is a total vegan thai snob and swears by Thai Lotus.

The King's English--another great bookstore.

Comics. Note that Night Flight is basically inside the library.

** The canyons with ski resorts are all interesting, but check the requirements for chains or snow tires first. Park City is close and worth driving to, and the historic downtown has galleries, etc. and great scenery.

I've been on about half of these drives.

** Oh wait-- Antelope Island is seriously pretty, has great views of the lake, and there are bison! Also a cafe with buffalo burgers. No insects in the winter either. More info.

It might be a bit too industrial for your tastes, but could he go on a snowmobile tour?

There are gliders that fly out of the Heber Valley airport. A very different, quiet look at the mountains and valley. more info.

** Capitol Reef park is kind of like a smaller, less crowded version of Moab. It's four hours away. The really pretty (running out of adjectives) stuff that doesn't require hiking, at the end of the park may be snowed in right now. weather. There's an affordable (especially now) hotel right outside the park. If he left early, he could be back by midnight.

If you drive south on I-15, then head west on SR-73, you can either drive around Utah lake and hit some old mining towns like Tintic, or just continue west towards Tooele. Occasionally you'll see herds of elk out that way, and it loops around to the Great Salt Lake. There are also some small mining towns nearby.

Even though it is a long drive, there is a lot to be seen even from the roadside in Moab.

Long shot: adaptive skiing equipment.

You just missed a photowalk.

For what it's worth, it has been a lame winter down in the valley, but the upside for the hobbled is that there is little if any ice or snow on the main sidewalks. Also, would one of those kneeling, wheeled thingies work better than crutches for extended city meandering?
posted by mecran01 at 1:14 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

drive out to Redford's Sundance Resort for meal
posted by mrmarley at 1:22 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

If he wants to come up here to Ogden (45 minutes North on the I-15) then I can give you great recommendations for my town. I'd even be willing to meet him for lunch!

There's a place in SLC called Brewvies where he can catch a movie and have a beer at the same time, he might like that.

Completely second Squatters and Red Iguana. Red Iguana is a personal favorite. I also second the library. That place has really great architecture.

If your husband likes flora or photography he might like a trip to Red Butte Gardens. March is a little early for the full effect, but it's pretty year round. While he's near the U (University of Utah) he could also check out Ft. Douglas if he's at all interested in military history. The U also has a Museum of Fine Arts if that's more his style.

In the same area is This is the Place State Park. It won't be fully running in March, your guy could still see the old houses but it might be difficult for him to walk around since it's mostly uphill.

If he likes animals he can visit Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, or Living Planet Aquarium. (The aquarium just got otters!!)

If he's into genealogy at all he could easily kill time at the LDS Family History Library downtown. Don't worry, nobody will try to baptize him. Right across from the Family History Library is the LDS Church Museum which could be interesting for him too. It has Joseph Smith's death mask which I find oddly fascinating.


A lot of the ski resorts have tubing hills. You might want to take an afternoon and do some tubing with him. You'll have to see what the set up is, but if he can sit down then he can ride a tube. You might want to call ahead and see if they have special Handicapped amenities. Maybe somebody could tow him up the hill in a sled?
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:26 PM on March 1, 2012

Blue Iguana in Park City is not Red Iguana. Blue Iguana is disgusting and should be avoided at all costs.
posted by BlooPen at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely do some of the drives in and around SLC, though how much your husband can get to depends on his definition of "day trip," and on what kind of vehicle v. what kind of snow pack.

As for eating, sight-seeing, and people-watching: you can get excellent barbeque at Sugarhouse Barbeque, not-quite-as-good-barbeque with awesome people-watching at Pat's Barbeque, especially if you go when they have live music (lunch on Thursday-Friday or dinner on Friday-Saturday). The Mexican food at the Red Iguana is the best Mexican food I've ever had in a state that doesn't border Mexico. The microbrews at Squatters are excellent (and you can sample them with less guilt since they're low-alcohol). The downtown public library is beautiful, and has great views of the Wasatches from the top floor or roof. A lot of people also enjoy the Tavernacle Social Club, which is a dueling piano bar, though it's not my scene.
posted by willbaude at 1:39 PM on March 1, 2012

I've been to Red Iguana, and let me tell you, it's the best Mexican food I've ever had. Try the mole (the sauce, not the blind animal). If you're not sure you're a mole fan, ask for some samples. They are amazing.

The public library is really great too. It's definitely an hour or so of looking around. Plus, they have neat little shops there.

Temple Square is interesting. I found it a bit creepy, to be honest with you (everyone is SO NICE) but Mormonism is such a huge part of SLC that it seems right somehow to check it out.

Have a good trip!
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:16 PM on March 1, 2012

RED IGUANA! I would drive the 9 hours to SLC just to eat there. If you're not familiar with mole, you can ask to sample theirs and they'll bring out a little taste of each kind for free.

I really liked the Blue Plate Diner, too.

And, yep, the main branch of the public library is really nice, too. There was a Frida Kahlo exhibit when I was there, as well.
posted by sugarbomb at 3:47 PM on March 1, 2012

The Homestead Crater is super weird and fun to soak in!
posted by np312 at 4:09 PM on March 1, 2012

Yes, Red Iguana!
posted by dawkins_7 at 4:48 PM on March 1, 2012

Has really no one yet said Spiral Jetty? Hmm that's probably cuz it's kinda boring. But the driving directions are 3/4s of the fun. Although looks like the water level right now means the jetty itself is barely visible. I'd probably go anyway, and go around the long way on the way back, which puts you into the top of the Salt Flats, which, OMG, so amazing. Talk about the end of the earth! Love it.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:57 PM on March 1, 2012

I was just in SLC for a ski trip and went to The Copper Onion for dinner and goddamn was it delicious. Go there, seriously.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:59 AM on March 2, 2012

Response by poster: I just wanted to come back and update this. On his solo days, my husband went to see the Salt Flats and Antelope Island and enjoyed walking around and taking tons of pictures. I played hooky from skiing one day and accompanied him to on a long drive through Provo Canyon to Sundance Resort and Park City, then back to Salt Lake City, where we hit up Temple Square, the public library, and Red Iguana.

Thank you so much for your help, everyone. We both had a fantastic time and can't wait to go back and explore more.
posted by anderjen at 10:06 AM on April 12, 2012

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