Exciting Times in SLC
October 26, 2013 7:17 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions for adventure and outdoorsy fun- on a tight budget, and without a car- in Salt Lake City this weekend?

I'm going to be traveling to Salt Lake City for a job interview and I've decided to make a weekend of it. Unfortunately, I'm on a really tight budget, so I've decided against renting a car (even though I know you can get pretty cheap car rentals, the downtown hotel I scored on Priceline for a steal charges a lot for parking so I've decided I can't do it.) Instead I'm planning to buy day passes for the transit system, which will keep my total travel expenses to like $15.

My original plan had been to make a day trip of trying to visit national parks but now without a car (and uncertainty as to whether they will actually even be open) I've scrapped that. Still, my interest in working in Utah is based on the fact that there's natural beauty everywhere. I want to see as much as I can while I'm there for the interview.

So, I know that the scenery is gorgeous just being in SLC. But if there are any places where I can hike or generally walk around outside as close to mountains/ trees as possible, that are accessible by the transit system, that would be great. I'm also open to establishments with great views where I can lounge around drinking a coffee or a (weak) beer, reading and taking in the scenery from windows or patios.

My food budget is also small, so I'd love cheap delicious food suggestions. I'm looking for the SLC equivalent of Chicago's $5 giant slice of pizza and free pop deal.

Anything else of interest that's cheap or free for nighttime? Other tidbits about SLC I should know before I go?

(Note: I've read previous threads about living in SLC/ Utah. This job would only be for one year, though, otherwise I wouldn't be considering it. So no need to warn me about permanently relocating there. I figure a year is a perfect amount of time to hike, ski, camp, etc. then leave.)
posted by GastrocNemesis to Travel & Transportation around Salt Lake City, UT (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can take a bus up either Big Cottonwood Canyon (ends at Brighton) or Little Cottonwood Canyon (ends at Alta); the latter is better for lounging while looking at mountains, IMHO. Go to the Albion lodge (highest and the last stop) and sit on the chairs by Alta Java. You can also hike up towards the Supreme lift (snow willing) but I don't know the specifics. Call Alta.
posted by carmicha at 8:33 AM on October 26, 2013

If you're looking for outdoorsy stuff, there is a great Garden After Dark event going on til Halloween at the Red Butte Garden & Arboretum. You can take our lightrail (TRAX) up there... in the University direction and get off at the Fort Douglas stop and walk from there. It is wonderful... really beautiful vistas. Get there before it gets dark to make sure that you see the city and mountainscapes. It's tucked into the foothills and right in the heart of the University of Utah so you'll get to see that too.

As far as night life you have a few options. We have delicious food downtown. Eva's springs to mind... tapas and yummy cocktails. We have a fun new bar called the Bodega that also doubles as a speakeasy once you get inside.

If you like sushi, head up Main Street (there is Trax for all of this depending on where you're staying) to 100 South and Main to Ahh Sushi. They have a happy hour special (not sure when it is on Saturday/Sunday but I know they have it) where all of their rolls are 1/2 price. This is a huge favorite for locals and it's often packed. It has a bar attached to it and you'll really like it.

If you want shopping or just to poke around, head to the Mormon built mega mall City Creek! It's a behometh... but located right across the street from Temple Square it is worth checking out. It has all of the latest stores, etc, and the Mormons dumped 2 billion into it (check out the retractable ceilings!)

Take TRAX down to our City Library. It is beautiful and built by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie. You can climb to the roof via exterior stairs and look at our city beehive!

Go across the street to Stoneground or the Green Pig (outdoor rooftop patio) for a nice brew after.

My other favorite brewpubs in SLC are Desert Edge (at Trolley Square) or Squatters. All within transit/walking distance of TRAX. We make some delicious beer here.

If you have time and want to check out something really hilarious, take TRAX to Gilgal Gardens. Really interesting sculptures by an eccentric Utahn who has since passed, a city treasure.

I'm passionate about SLC and love living here, Mefi mail me for any more specifics!
posted by rabu at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

If the places you want to go are not accessible via public transit, do the math to see if it makes sense to rent a car just for Saturday and return it without parking it at your hotel.
posted by CathyG at 8:38 AM on October 27, 2013

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