What should we do in and around Salt Lake City?

This seems to not have posted before, so I apologize if I accidentally doubled.

I’m getting dragged to my dad’s ship reunion in SLC sometime this fall. I’ve been tasked to find us stuff to do there besides memorialize the ole USS John W. Thomasson. I’ve only ever been through the airport there.

My dad’s back keeps him from overly strenuous touristing, but if something’s good enough my mom and I can go alone. What is there to do and see in town? Outside of town? (We’ll have a car.) National parks, that sort of thing?

All the National Parks are at least four hours away (Zions, Arches, Bryce, etc.) and so probably out of your range. However, there are tons of beautiful mountains and ski resorts nearby. How late in the fall? That will determine what you can do in the outdoors.

If it’s early fall, the ski resorts (well, Park City at least) have stuff like zip lines and slides. There’s also a tram at a closer ski resort. Are you interested in outdoors stuff or indoors stuff? There’s not a whole lot going on indoors, but you could say that about most smaller cities in the U.S.

We, er, probably won’t have the right clothes for a ski resort. We’re from South Carolina.

What do you mean, right clothes? Like a coat? It can be cool up in the mountains, but in late September/early October it’s not exactly freezing. If you mean fancy, then you’re way off. This isn’t Vail!

Timpanogos Cave National Monument isn’t too far away. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the cave entrance, though, so be aware of that.

Antelope Island is sort of cool, too.

Park City is only about 45 minutes from Salt Lake. There is the Olympic village and museum from when the winter Olymics were there in 2002.

Also, while you won’t be able to enter it, seeing the Mormon temple in Salt Lake is architectually fascinating.

Can’t agree. It looks like a church building designed by Thomas Kincaide. The library is a nice building, more interesting from the inside than the outside.

Utah is a beautiful state, but the really interesting parts are in the southern half, far away from SLC. The Great Salt Lake is a sad thing to see. There are no trees around the shore like you’d expect due to the salt. It’s basically a large desert of water.

There aren’t a lot of “must see” destinations in and around SLC. There is a nice outdoor mall a couple of blocks north of the Delta Center (called something else these days) that has some nice shops and restaurants.

You really should take a coat and go up to Park City and environs. The mountains are beautiful and there are a lot of nice shops and restaurants there.

Non-Mormons are permitted into the Tabernacle, I do believe. I would visit this - it is an interesting and historic building.

I’ve heard good things about the Utah Museum of Natural History, and also the Tracy Aviary, if you like birds. Also, Salt Lake City’s zoo has a baby elephant, so why not go to the Zoo? There’s also the This Is The Place Heritage Park, including Brigham Young’s preserved farmhouse, if you’re interested in Mormon history.

I second blondebear’s recommendation of Timpanogos Cave.
Temple Square is interesting if you are interested in the history of the region or of the LDS church. And you can get a free Book of Mormon! Prepare to be heavily witnessed to though.
Park City is pretty but a bit touristy for my tastes. But there’s a good brewerythere and that makes me happy. They make Polygamy Porter (slogans “Take some home to the wives!” and “Why have just one?”).
Sundance Resort is pretty but only really interesting if you are a rabid Redford fan or want to buy some expensive stuff at the store.
The nearby canyons are scenic, if you feel like driving.
If you like trains, check out the Heber Creeper.
And since you’ll be there in the fall, go to Orem, visit my freind Marsha, and have some of the peaches she grows in her back yard, best I’ve ever eaten. :wink:

When it’s closer to your visit, I will be happy to recommend specific places that you can get a great meal (in particular, Salt Lake had many excellent Mexican restaurants) or a good place to get a drink.

As far as other recreation choices, you will certainly want to check out the canyons around Salt Lake City; the leaves will be changing and you will be amazed how absolutely beautiful it is here in autumn.

Big Cottonwood canyon in particular is truly breathtaking, and I think it is as stunning of an alpine setting as anywhere on Earth. (seriously). I have spent a considerable amount of time in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, and I still think the scenic beauty of the canyons surrounding Salt Lake is second to none…

I agree with most of what others have said, but you should be aware if you plan to go to Timpanogos Cave that it’s only open from May thru October.

Go to Temple Square and see both Vistors Centers. If you go soon, you can see the Christmas lights in Temple Square. By all means, see these if you can.

Go to the Geneaology Library and look up some ancestors. It’s free!

Go to Trolley Square

Visit the Natural History Museum and the Art Museum at the University of Utah

Go to Sam Weller books! Browse the basement!

Find Gilgal – http://www.gilgalgarden.org/

Go to Liberty Park and see the Tracy Aviary. Only a few blocks away is the Monument to a Tree Stump – it was the only tree between Emigration Canyon and downtown Salt Lake, and everyone used to stop there in the 1800s.

Tour the Lion House!(Brigham Young’s house near Temple Square)

Go to Hogle Zoo!

Drive to Park City. Besides the Olympic stuff, see the old Jail, Dolly’s Books, and look in all the Art Galleries.

Go to the renovated and relocated Planetarium

Take in the LDS History Museum

Go to King’s English bookstore and get a mystery

We did the tour of the Mormon Conference Center - I would definitely recommend that, including the green roof.

We went to the Geneology Library and neither of us could find any ancestors there. I don’t know if maybe they only have records of US Americans there.

Go taste the Great Salt Lake - it really is salty. :slight_smile:

Fall is my favorite time of year here. It’s absolutely perfect. The mountains are gorgeous, especially in Park City, and the air is crisp but not really cold. You should definitely go up to the ski resorts and check out Old Town Park City. I grew up there, and used to work on Main Street, it’s always a great place to spend an afternoon. Temple Square is fairly interesting, just try to avoid the missionaries. They’re usually sweet young things with nametags. The Gateway Mall near the Energy Solutions Arena (former Delta Center) is a nice place to spend an afternoon, too. There are plenty of shops, plus a planetarium and a movie theater.

I love the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. It’s at the University of Utah, which is just a lovely campus anyway and has a pretty spectacular view of the valley. Definitely check out the Salt Lake City Library. It’s brand new and it’s gorgeous on the inside and the out. It’s worth a look. It’s pretty easy to get around Salt Lake between the TRAX train and the buses. Fare is free in the downtown area. And it’ll take you right up to the Fine Arts Museum at the U.

The Zoo is fun. They have a great little pavilion set up to view the elephants, and they’re new cat habitat is really cool. They also had the cutest little baby orangutan the last time I was there (I guess it’s been about a year and a half now).

The weather is pretty mild in the fall. If you’re here in Sept or early Oct it’ll probably even be hot. If you want to venture further into the mountains, you could take a drive up into the Uintah Mountains, which are just east of Park City.

Salt Lake is a good film town. The Broadway Theater and the Tower Theater are both excellent little art-house type places and they show the indie flicks and documentaries that don’t get wide release. There’s also a place called Brewvies, which is, as you might guess, a bar and a theater. They have pretty decent food and tables for your beer in the theater itself.

As for food, I would suggest Piper Down on State Street. It’s an “Irish” pub, and it’s just a great place to get a beer and some decent food. If you like clubs and live music, there are plenty around the city and there are usually shows every weekend.

If you’re going to be here in September, you might be in time to catch the Utah State Fair. Which isn’t the greatest fair ever, but hey, it’s not far from downtown and it’s usually got a few interesting things.

Salt Lake also has a fairly good arts scene. I would also recommend Ballet West or one of the numerous theatre companies. You can also get tickets to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra At Temple Square rehearsing or filming their weekly television show. (Rehearsals are most Thursdays from 8:30 - 9:00 PM, and you can come and go as you please. Broadcasts are Sunday Mornings, you have to be seated by 9:15, and you can’t leave). Of everything at Temple Square, though, the conference center is the most interesting to me. A huge building that seats 21,000 and has, as mentioned before, a wonderful green roof and water feature. The rehearsals, broadcasts and tours of the Conference Center are free.

I can also recommend some good food when it gets closer. (My personal favorite is the Hapa Grill in Park City). If you have more time, you can come and say hi to me. Maybe we need a SLCdope.

There are some beautiful drives around SLC. I blundered into one, I think it was Big Cottonwood Canyon. Just lovely, and there are others.

The lake and the salt flats suck; miserable place, hell on earth. If you’re curious, drive out, take a look, drive back. Doesn’t take long.

How many Dopers are here in the SLC area?

A group meet up would be fun, even if it was just 5 or 6 of us…

I was there many years ago…and I had to walk out to it. Do people actually swim there?
It seems impossibly shallow-I walked out about a mile, and it was only waist-high. I also noticed the swarms of brine flys-there seemed to be jillions of them.
Does anybody waterski in the lake?

You don’t swim so much as float, because of the salt content.

Thanksgiving Point http://www.thanksgivingpoint.com/visit.html is a nice place to visit.