This is the place

I have quite a few friends and colleagues who are headed to Salt Lake City for SAGES this week, and I’ve had several ask me for tips on places to go, things to do, etc.  While I’m lots of help for grown-up things to do, I’ll confess to having crowdsourced for kid-friendly activities for anyone who is bringing their children.

Awesome things to do with your kids or if you want to play hooky and do something fun:

Natural History Museum of Utah– In truth, it’s awesome for the young-at-heart as well, and the current chocolate exhibit is fascinating.  I have a membership there because I love it so much.  Note:  This was overwhelmingly the #1 answer for a must-visit place.

Discovery Gateway– Lots of awesome interactive things going on here!

Living Planet Aquarium– Brand new, and it looks like something for me to check out on a rainy day when I don’t mind going to the South end of the SL Valley.

Clark Planetarium– Also has an IMAX theater.

Tracy Aviary– Note: If it’s a beautiful day the Aviary sits within Liberty Park, which is a great place for a walk and has nice playgrounds too.

And, if you don’t mind a bit of a drive (30-45 minutes from downtown SLC, dependent upon traffic), Thanksgiving Point has gardens, dinosaurs, and a petting zoo.

In and around Downtown SLC:

Temple Square is beautiful this time of year with tulips, daffodils, etc.

City Creek Center has some shopping (if you’re from a true shopping mecca, it’s not that impressive) but also has lots of restaurants, any of which are kid-friendly.  Same for the Gateway.  As one friend noted, most restaurants in SLC tend to be family friendly.

My personal food favorites:

Fresco Italian Cafe at 15th and 15th.  The fact that it is next door to a wonderful small independent bookstore (The Kings English) is simply a bonus.

Pago, which does lots of local sourcing and even has their own Pago Farms, and its sister restaurant Finca.

Mazza Middle Eastern Cuisine is one of my go-to places, also a bit less fancy than above recommendations.

Cucina Deli, which started dinner service about this time last year.  This is my neighborhood go-to restaurant for eat-in or takeout.  You can’t miss here, and Dean (the owner) is always a delight- please tell him I sent you if you go there.  Note:  dinner specials are posted daily on their Facebook page.

For casual Italian and some delicious pizza options, Vinto.  Also, excellent gelatos!

Eva.  Try the brussels sprouts- you won’t be sorry.

No SLC food list is complete without including the Red Iguana.  Traditional Mexican food, amazing moles, legendary Tacos Don Ramon.


From downtown, heading up Memory Grove to City Creek is a beautiful run or walk.

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail traces along the hills at the level of the historical Lake Bonneville shoreline.  Again, a beautiful place to walk or run.  I won’t rub in the fact that it is directly “out back” from University Hospital.

The Olympic Legacy Park celebrates the 2002 games- and has some cool activities as well (bobsled, anyone?!?).

If you ask people where to ski (Alpine), you’ll get at least 7 different opinions, probably from fewer than 7 people.  I personally am a fan of Snowbasin, which is a little North of SLC but is an easy drive.  Great mountain for all levels of skiers, and the chili in the lodges is to die for.  Snowbasin is also notable for having won awards for their bathrooms (which are opulent, and I feel guilty wearing ski boots in them) and for having hosted the 2002 Winter Games Downhill and SuperG. In my informal poll of friends with children, Park City got high praise because children under age 7 ski free.  Snowbasin and Park City also both have tubing hills It is also a very friendly mountain good for all levels of skiers.  If you’re a little more hard-core, Alta and Snowbird are as good as it gets- but they are NOT easy mountains.

If you find yourself needing a good yoga practice to recover, my go-to is Centered City Yoga.  They’re in the same neighborhood as both Mazza and Pago, so if you arranged your time correctly you could get in a nice practice and a great meal.

Last but not least, if you’re a live music fan and like Blitzen Trapper, they’re playing at The State Room on Thursday night.  This is a fabulous small venue where the fans tend to take their music seriously.

Enjoy my adopted hometown!

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