A Locals Guide to Salt Lake City Utah

It’s almost impossible to write any sort of introduction to Salt Lake City without first offering a few disclaimers. The main concern of many visitors is the fact that Utah is not dry. There are liquor stores, bars, and many restaurants serve alcoholic drinks. While more than half of Utahns are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), in Salt Lake City the numbers are quite a bit lower, and even as the seat of a church that discourages the use of alcohol, tobacco, and decaffeinated beverages, all of those things are readily available in Salt Lake City.

That being said, one of Salt lake’s great draws is the headquarters of the Mormon Church. Within six blocks you can see many Church sites, including the famous Temple Square. Temple Square is the home of a large temple, and is also surrounded by two visitors centers where displays and movies are available to explain Mormon beliefs for visitors, as well as missionaries to answer any questions. Also found on Temple Square is the Tabernacle, home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Just to the west of Temple Square are the Museum of Church History and Art and the Family History Library, the world’s largest. The Family history Library contains genealogical records from all over the world and is a wonderful place to learn more about your roots. To the north of Temple Square is the Conference Center, a 21,000 seat auditorium with roof garden, covered with native wildflowers in the summer.

To the east are the Joseph Smith Memorial building. This building was the Hotel Utah until the 80s and has retained the stained glass ceiling and grand feel of a luxury hotel. There is also a cafe inside that serves soup and sandwiches. On this same block you can also find the Lion House and Beehive House. These were the homes of the second president of the Church and first Governor of Utah. The Beehive House offers tours and is a fascinating look at the lifestyle of some pioneers. The Lion House is now used for banquets, and has a charming cafeteria-style restaurant on the ground floor.

A few blocks west of Temple Square you can find the Gateway Mall. An outdoor shopping center, the Gateway has restaurants, movie theaters, shops, a planetarium, and a children’s museum.

The Clark Planetarium has both a dome theater for star shows and an Imax screen as well as exhibits on space travel and a Foucault Pendulum. There is a charge for the shows, but the exhibits are free. The Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum with exhibits that include a 30-foot beehive, a multimedia studio, and a real Life Flight helicopter.

This is just a brief sample of what downtown Salt Lake has to offer all within a mile of the center of the city. Downtown also features shopping, an art house film center, numerous antique shops, and hundreds of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.