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A few observations about Salt Lake City

Utah is beautiful. See here.

People in SLC are really nice. Strangers greet you on the street. Motorists are also more polite and patient. I had no idea how to respond. I suspect it might have something to do with there being less traffic and, in turn, less frustration. But again, even if you ignore what happens on the road, people are nice.

You will need a serious utility vehicle to navigate the topography of this region. Venturing into the surrounding canyons requires 4-wheel drive or chains during snowstorms. I was only there for a week and already I have visions of a classic Defender in my mind. Do they come in electric versions?

The streets are too wide for proper enjoyment as a pedestrian. This is a challenging problem to fix, as I have mentioned before. That said — and this is going to be an unpopular opinion — the city felt void of any sort of real traffic. The distances travelled are great, but the highways actually flow freely. You also never really need to worry about parking.

Electric scooters are popular in SLC. As is cycling — both for getting around and as a reason to wear tight-fitting bright clothes.

SLC feels as if it is both under the radar and also rapidly emerging. My new favorite restaurant in SLC is a place called Post Office Place. We walked in without a reservation on a Friday night and they gladly took us. I couldn’t understand why the place wasn’t rammed. I mean, they have Marseille-style panisse on the menu!

The Granary District is an area to watch. It is a former industrial area to the southwest of downtown. It is already home to breweries, food halls, and creative offices. But it needs some more time to properly fill in. We stayed at the Evo Hotel in Granary (highly recommend). The campus amenities include a rock climbing facility, an indoor skatepark, and plenty of places to work and Zoom.

Most of the new infill housing appears to be mid-rise in scale and most of it is wood-frame construction on top of concrete.

By my estimation (and by estimation I mean that I have a spreadsheet for this), the ski and snowboard communities surrounding SLC are some of the most accessible in North America. Land at SLC airport and you’re in the mountains in 20-30 minutes.

Park City-Canyons is the most well-known ski destination. But if you’re a more aggressive skier — the kind that keeps your gloves together with duct tape and counts the number of ski days per season — you’ll want to head over to the Cottonwood canyons and places like Snowbird and Brighton.

Snowbird remains one of my all-time favorite ski destinations for two reasons: the mountain itself and the brutalist architecture at the bottom of it. There’s none of that faux alpine crap over here — just exposed and unabashed concrete and wood. And who doesn’t love brutalism, right? (I haven’t been to Brighton yet but one of my local friends told me that it’s a great snowboarders mountain.)

The Canyons Village at Park City is developing really nicely. As I understand it, it’s only about 30-40% built out at this stage. The Pendry Hotel just recently opened (announcement here) and I can tell you that the restaurants were generally busy every night of the week (summer experience). The project team did a wonderful job creating a place and a new anchor in the village.

What did I miss in this list?


  1. Nancy

    Sundance for an authentic Utah experience, Bryce Canyon, Green River, Zion, etc for a start! Love Utah.

    You didn’t mention that Deer Valley does not welcome snowboarders, which seems outdated.


  2. doug pollard

    It was many years ago that I was there but I recall it was difficult to get an alcoholic beverage. Is that still the case? There is also the Mormon tabernacle church which is quite an experience.


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