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Destination Guide

 
 
In 1847, Brigham Young led a group of pioneers across the rugged plains of the Midwest seeking a new home. Upon arriving at the mouth of the Salt Lake valley, he stopped and proclaimed, 'This is the place.' After spending the days irrigating, building, and farming, the pioneers would gather together, play music, and dance. Thus, the Salt Lake entertainment scene was born. Over the past 150 years, the various forms of entertainment have multiplied as fast as the inhabitants of the valley. Today Salt Lake City boasts numerous avenues of entertainment for your amusement, recreation and edification. So whether you are in Salt Lake City for a day, a week, a month, or the rest of your life, rest assured there is entertainment around every corner.

The Greatest Snow On Earth!

If there is one thing Salt Lake City has built a reputation for, it is having 'the greatest snow on Earth.' It is that same snow that will turn the eyes of the world on Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. With nearly a dozen ski resorts within an hour from downtown, you are never far from the swish. If you wish to either stay near the city, try Alta Ski Area, Brighton, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, or Solitude. If a smaller town setting is what you desire, Park City lies minutes east of Salt Lake, nestled in a gorgeous mountain valley. Park City is home to world-class resorts such as the The Canyons, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort and Sundance Ski Resort. Whether your interest lies in downhill, cross-country, or night skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow-shoeing, or any other snow related activity, you will agree it is 'the greatest snow on Earth.'

Outdoor recreation

Even 'the greatest snow on Earth,? is only here for six months a year. So when you put the skis and sleds away, break out the hiking boots, picnic baskets and rock climbing gear. The numerous canyons that surround the Salt Lake valley are filled with hiking trails without number. If trailblazing is your game, pick a canyon, pull over anywhere, and enjoy. For those who prefer the beaten path, no need to fear, every canyon also has marked trails for your enjoyment. And if you choose to hit the road out of town, there are five National Parks just a few hours south of Salt Lake. If you enjoy red rock vistas, enormous canyons, rock arches, bluffs, petrified sand dunes, towering plateaus, or just plain breath taking scenery, do not miss Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, or Zion National Parks.

Stage and the Screen

Looking for live entertainment? Consider the Capitol Theater, home to the Utah Opera Company and Ballet West. The Capitol Theatre also hosts traveling Broadway shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Sunset Blvd. Kingsbury Hall, on the campus of the University of Utah, is also a good bet for live entertainment, hosting concerts, traveling plays and student productions. If you subscribe to the adage laughter is the best medicine, you will enjoy a night at the Desert Star Playhouse, presenting spoofs of popular plays and movies such as Ghostbusters in Black and Joseph and the Amazing Forever Plaid Dreamcoat.

If you prefer the two-dimensional screen to the live stage, stadium seating, wall-to-wall screens, Digital surround sound, plush seating, hot popcorn and all the extras, then you are in luck. With theaters like Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons, The Century 16, The Hollywood Connection, Tinsletown, Loews Cinaplex, and Cinemark at Jordon Landing, to name just a few, there is always a theater nearby. The independent film fan should plan on visiting Salt Lake in late January and early February for the world famous Sundance Film Festival, offering a chance to rub elbows with the Hollywood set.

For those who wish to be educated as well as entertained, the Hansen Planetarium offers star shows shown in a dome shaped theater. At night the same theater entertains with a vengeance as it lights up with a 3D-laser light show synchronized to popular music.

Sports

The biggest ticket in town is basketball, and for those who love the game Salt Lake City has a double bonus. The Delta Center in downtown Salt Lake City is home to one of the NBAs top teams, the Utah Jazz. Less than three miles east, the Huntsman Center is home to one of the top programs in college basketball and perennial sweet sixteen power, the University of Utah Utes. Franklin Covey Field, home of Triple-A Baseball powerhouse Salt Lake Buzz, is one of the most inviting baseball parks in the country on any level. Spend a relaxing evening at the ballpark, enjoying competitive baseball played in front of towering mountain vistas. Hockey fans will enjoy a trip to the E-Center to watch the Utah Grizzlies of the IHL. College sports also play a large role in the community with two big time college sports programs in the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

Don't forget to bring your golf clubs! Salt Lake City is lined from top to bottom with golf courses that are competitive and diverse. The natural beauty by which they are surrounded makes them works of art in their own right.

Water and Amusement Parks

Don't let the fact that Salt Lake City is land locked fool you. There are still a few places to enjoy the water. You will, however, have to trade in your surfboard for a floating tube, the sand for mats, and the beach for a water park. Raging Waters has much to offer including a wave pool and the worlds only H2O roller coaster.

Fifteen minutes north of downtown Salt Lake, perched on the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, you will find Lagoon, Utahs only amusement park, and a thrill seekers delight. Lagoon closely resembles Six Flags, and is far superior to the town fair, boasting several roller coasters including an old wooden roller screamer and Colossus, a high-speed roller coaster with a double loop. Lagoon also has other intense rides including 'The Rocket? a 217-foot tower that pushes you to the top and then lets you free fall back to the ground. In addition to the roller coasters Lagoon has all the traditional attractions, including the Merry-Go-Round, the Tilt-A-Whirl, two haunted houses, and a 15-story tall Ferris Wheel.

Live Music

Salt Lakes club scene has much to offer--from the intimate confines of the Zephyr Club, to the pumped-up sounds of DV8, to the industrial surrounds at Bricks. Most local clubs are 'Private Clubs? for members. But don't be intimated: 'private club? is how we say 'bar? in Utah in order to comply with the states somewhat arcane liquor laws. You must be 21 or older to purchase a club membership, which are generally pretty cheap. Most clubs offer a two-week membership if you're in town for more than a night or two.

Pioneer Day

Last of all, here is an invitation and a warning all in one. July 24th is a state holiday in Utah--Pioneer Day, the day set aside to remember the first colony that set their sights on the west; the day we remember the overwhelming feat of wrestling a desert valley atop the mountains into a prosperous city and state. The festivities officially begin in the morning with one of the largest parades in the country, easily enlisting over 100 floats, and continue until night where several locations offer Independence Day style firework displays. Travelers to the state are welcome to join the celebration; however, you should make plans and reservations early as hotels fill up fast. Outer- and inner-city travel is a mess the morning of the parade.

Jonathan Kendrick