Tell me about Salt Lake City

Brief business trip coming.

  1. I hear Utah’s drinking laws are a bit odd. I know their beer can only have a certain ABV. I can handle that. But I’m either a sports bar-hot wing or room service with a bottle of wine guy. Will this be a problem?

  2. Being from the East Coast will I find any habits, customs, sayings odd? What will I do that will tip off a Utah denizen Im from the East? Any major social faux-pas I should be aware of? I was there 40 years ago and all I remember was many of the women wore long skirts.

I know I know Utah isn’t North Korea but it seems to me to be a very “conservative” State just want to know what I’m in for in 2020!
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Well, you probably should wear long skirts then. :slight_smile:

I’ve read there are also some strange and unexpected rules about what can and can’t happen at the local gentlemen’s clubs. (The strangest rule being that they’re even allowed to exist.)

Y’oughta take a guided tour of the Temple grounds if you have the time. They run them pretty much all day every day, AFAIK, with a new group starting every fifteen minutes or so. You don’t get to go into the temple itself, but you tour several of the other buildings, including that famous auditorium where the Choir performs. Even their rehearsals are open to the public if you’re there at the right time. (But be ready to expect the obligatory fairly-brief proselytizing video.)

Brush up on your high school algebra, geometry, and cartesian coordinates because all the street addresses there (if you’re going to be in the downtown area) look like coordinates from your Analytic Geometry textbook.

As the name suggests, Salt Lake City is a city. It’s got all of the stuff you’d find in any other medium-large city, including lots of people who moved there from the Eastern US and other places, and most of the people there aren’t Mormon. I don’t know whether there are any weird laws forbidding hotel room service from serving wine, since I always stay with my brother when I visit, but I don’t think you will have any difficulty finding a sports bar that serves wings, and it certainly isn’t so culturally different from the rest of the US that it’s likely to affect your experience as a business traveler.

I’ve been to Utah several times as an adult and the only problem I run into with alcohol is that the wine is only sold in state stores. I didn’t have a problem ordering a bottle of wine with dinner, then again I’ve only done it once so that could have been an anomaly. And on the plus side, the selection at the state stores tends to be better than at the more numerous but smaller private liquor stores elsewhere in the mountain west.

In my limited experience, one difference I find between SLC and other places is the parks outside of the city center have a lot more unleashed dogs in them - even places in Florida that are explicitly pet-friendly don’t have as many dogs as the greater SLC region does.

I don’t know about any faux pas and would indeed be interested in hearing about them myself in case I have been committing them.

You’ll have no problems, but htelocal customs will amuse you. You’ll be buying a membership to the bar so you can drink; it’s usually just a buck or two. There are liquor stores; you can buy what you want and take it to your room just like anywhere else.

SLC denizens are, IME, generally well-behaved, pleasant and helpful. They’re gonna know you’re not from around there; don’t worry about that.

Dude, it’s Salt Lake City, not Riyahd. It’s 2020, there are craft beer bars everywhere!

Oh, if you’re into backpacking and the outdoors and such, don’t forget to visit Kirkham’s; I love that store. Bought my first Crazy Creek there mumbley-mumble years ago now.

That’s what I was going to ask – whether this is still the norm there. It’s been about 15 years since I visited, and I remember being a bit nonplussed at the weird ritual of buying a membership to a bar (and I seem to recall signing in some kind of guestbook/membership roll) in order to legally drink.

Salt Lake City is a nice place. The only thing that seems a bit unusual compared to other cities, is how empty the restaurants are on Sundays. But service is excellent.

Thanks for the feedback everybody! I’m looking more and more to my visit. I can imagine the weird “sign in rule” will keep my bar hopping to a minimum. LOL

I actually visited the Mormon Temple and Choir when I was a kid on a trip with my parents.

I remember getting a free copy of the Book of Mormon at the Temple with the old guy who gave it to me making me promise to read it. I’ve tried twice, and can’t get past the second page it’s so outlandish, IMO.

However I’m reading the book “1491” right now and am actually thinking the Mormons MIGHT be on to something!

Also my parents signed up there to have missionaries visit them. 1979-1980 these two nice well dressed young guys actually visited our house a couple times. Around then the Mormon Church excommunicated a woman’s rights activist, and the next time they stopped by my father said no thank you.

Considering he was a dyed in the wool Reagan Conservative (and even hung a George Wallace banner at his office) I was quite impressed (though I think not being allowed to drink coffee was what really sealed the deal!)
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There’s a thriving LGBT community there.

Since I didn’t have a rental car the many times I was there to see eye specialists, I didn’t get out that much. I brought my own wine with me and felt illicit, but really, it’s easy to find hooch. My many LDS friends told me Salt Lake City is considered sinfully corrupt now. Only about 50% of the population is LDS. It’s a lot more diverse these days, too, and has a booming Hispanic community comprising about 20-25% of the population.

If you don’t mind the wait, The Red Iguana is fun and the food , beer, and cocktails are good. I’m told it was on that Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. I don’t know if it has wings. It’s mostly Mexican food.

It’s a beautiful city, and the light rail system is excellent (and free on some routes).

Have fun!

I lived there for four years, but that was ages ago. Things have changed – they’ve got light rail now, and they’ve eased up on their liquor laws, so you apparently don’t have to belong to a Private Club to imbibe. And most of the bookstores have closed, like everywhere else, except for Sam Weller’s (yay!). And the Blue Mouse (art movie theater) is gone

It’s very clean, with exceptionally wide streets (which let them put in that light rail with minimal disruption). Lots of restaurants. Even though the two indoor downtown malls are gone, they still have a “lifestyle center” shopping area, and the Planetarium is still there. You still have the LDS Visitor’s Center(s). The wonderfully weird Gilgal sculpture garden is not only still there, it’s more accessible now. You’re amazingly close to lots of hiking and only an hour or so from half a dozen world-class ski areas. The University has small but excellent science and art museums.

I get to SLC every couple of years; I think this is a bygone relic - may still exist somewhere, but I haven’t encountered it in quite a while.

One thing that always strikes me is the quality of help in stores: The teenage girl in the auto parts store is entirely savvy about the difference between Torx and a spline tool.

Ah, SLC. The Mrs. and I wandered around the central city when we had a 6 hour layover at the airport. A nice pair of LDS folks shuttled us down there. We dodged the group tour they’d set us up with and explored on our own.

Our opinions? Heart of whiteness on earth! Everyone was polite and neatly dressed. The panhandlers were well groomed, with nicely lettered signs. Schoolchildren dressed in their best clothes touring the downtown buildings, listening to lectures about early saints and governors. Everything clean and tidy.

It was tough finding a cup of coffee downtown, though. And in some ways it seemed like an alternate universe. The bookstore we found had all sorts of tomes for sale that I’d never seen before; some sort of Harry Potter knock-off that featured Mormonism prominently on the covers; adventure/spy novel series involving agent/missionaries breaking up evil cabals and converting folks, etc.

A memorable experience, though I’m sure not truly representative of SLC.

The Natural History Museum of Utah is wonderful. We were even more impressed by the Museum of Ancient Life. Buttermilk pie is excellent. Bruges Waffles and Frites has excellent waffles.

Please note that it’s illegal to bring alcohol into the state of Utah, even if you’re traveling by automobile:

Obviously, enforcement probably only occurs in the event of accidents or traffic stops for other causes. But when I visit the Beehive State, I will follow the above suggestion and rely on the local liquor stores.

Yup. And I never had to execute any membership agreement or pay an extra fee.

Updates so far: no memberships at bars. You can even buy beer at the gas station. I’m at a sports bar that has one draft at 9% ABV so there goes that myth.

Scenery is gorgeous. Some women still wear the long skirts.

There is a weird deal at the hotel it has two bars and your aren’t allowed to walk into either with booze. One of them is a “restaurant” so by law if you order alkie you have to buy food.

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SLC will never be mistaken for Las Vegas, but considering its origins it struck me as remarkably cosmopolitan when I was there a few years ago (and has almost certainly become more so).

Provo, on the other hand, gave me the distinct impression that I’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in Pleasantville. Or perhaps Stepford.