What to SLC and do?
March 12, 2012 9:14 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend and I have one day in Salt Lake City. What shall we do?

Specifically, we'd like suggestions for a good place to have breakfast and dinner (difficulty: veg-friendly) and a scenic, low-intensity hike (we're healthy, but don't have rugged clothes or extra water with us). Also, if there's anything else we should really check out in SLC, that'd be cool to know.
posted by Cogito to Travel & Transportation around Salt Lake City, UT (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The Temple Square in the springtime is an amazing sight. We also drove up into the mountains and walked/hiked around some beautiful streams and trails.
posted by tamitang at 9:33 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Blue Plate Diner for breakfast, and Red Iguana for dinner.
posted by sugarbomb at 9:42 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Climb the Block U.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:17 PM on March 12, 2012

Are you renting a car? If so it'll only take you about 30 minutes to get to one of the canyons. Big Cottonwood Canyon is a pretty nice drive, and if you want a nice easy hike I recommend Doughnut Falls.

If you're not renting a car it's tougher to get out to the canyons, but not impossible. If you do rent a car you should probably ask directions but here's the Google map.

The LDS Church offers free shuttle rides from the airport to Temple Square, and Temple Square really is a must see, especially in spring time. The grounds are meticulously well kept with loads of foliage. The architecture is pretty neat too. The church puts on lots of free concerts (mostly of the classical music variety) and you can see a list of events here. Actually if you let them the LDS Church can pretty much take up your whole day...they basically own the city center and there's tours for everything: The Lion House, Family History Center, Church History and Art Museum, the Conference Center. Temple Square is the cream of the crop, though.

The Cathedral of the Madeleine is a beautiful Catholic cathedral and of course is always open to the public. Also nearby is the Salt Lake Masonic Temple, and they do guided tours if you call ahead.

Red Butte Garden is really beautiful. There's also a really nice aviary at Liberty Park, which is a nice park for a stroll too.

For breakfast I'm not sure if these guys are open in the mornings but One World Cafe is veg-friendly and has an interesting business model (pay what you want).

Red Iguana is also veg-fiendly, if you like Mexican mole sauces. They have like 10 different varieties and they're all pretty tasty. If you go in the evening expect to wait as this place is a local addiction.

Also if you're downtown, check out the Gilgal Sculpture Garden for a truly unique experience.

The Salt Lake City Library (also in the downtown proper) is pretty nice. It's fairly new so the architecture is open and clean (it's always felt sort of sci-fi to me), plus it has shops and they often have free events in the auditorium.

Pro-tip: keep an eye out for the Salt Lake City Weekly, which is a free paper and usually has some interesting local event information as well as restaurant reviews.
posted by Doleful Creature at 1:01 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

For a scenic, low-intensity hike check-out Ensign Peak. You don't have to go far, it's maybe a mile north of the Capitol Building.

Second the Red Butte Gardens.

Also, the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center is brand new, and quite lovely.
posted by zinon at 4:39 AM on March 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you intend to do this relatively soon or in the future? If soon, keep in mind that you'll encounter snow at the higher elevations.
posted by mmascolino at 5:56 AM on March 13, 2012

Please go eat the Kouing Aman pastry at Les Madeleines cafe near Library Square. It is by far one of the best pastries I've ever had. Pick some up and then walk around the library grounds; it's a great way to spend some time in SLC.
posted by mrsshotglass at 6:16 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'd go see where Brigham Young said "This is the place."
posted by LonnieK at 9:44 AM on March 13, 2012

Vertical Diner is an all-vegan diner, with coffee, and beer and wine. So, great for vegetarian breakfast or brunch (with mimosas and everything). In kind of an industrial district, though, so not super convenient if you're just walking around downtown (though it is accessible via Trax).

Red Iguana is a great lunch suggestion, but often busy. If the wait is too long (it can go over an hour most days), then checking out a Tibetan restaurant is another option (there are quite a few in SLC). Cafe Shambala is usually good, though other offerings downtown are fine, as well. Also, I'd personally recommend Atlantic Cafe if the weather is nice: casual, comfortable bistro downtown, with outdoor seating on Main Street.

Ensign Peak (which offers great views of the city) and City Creek Canyon offer nice hikes and walks from right downtown. Note: cooler wind blows in through the canyon, so you may want to dress slightly warmer than for puttering around the rest of downtown. Sometimes, I swear, it's 10 degrees colder there (and in Memory Grove) than the rest of the city, especially in the evening.

Other suggestions may depend a little of when you are coming. Summers have been getting more busy, with various concerts and events at the Gallivan Center and through the Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park (which also hosts the farmers' market and other movie, yoga, and summery events at certain times of the year. These events do displace the homeless population that tends to hang around there; overall, I think that neighborhood, Pierpont, is safe and has several good restaurants and galleries, but some people don't like the park itself when there's no event there. Just FYI.)
posted by vivid postcard at 1:13 PM on March 13, 2012

Nthing Red Iguana. I visited SLC last fall and ate there three times in two days. Good stuff.
posted by soonertbone at 1:28 PM on March 14, 2012

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