When you want to embrace the wonderland side of winter, there’s not a much better spot to find that magic than in Salt Lake City. The nickname Ski City, USA is well deserved, and even for the less snow sport-inclined, there’s no lack of options to stay enjoyably occupied.
I’ve divided my tips between snow and city so you can mix and match to suit your interests.
Skiing and snowboarding
Within Ski City, you’ll find four world-class resorts all reachable within a single weekend: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. Solitude is a highlight for a singularly serene experience to savor a solo run before warming up in a cozy lodge. Take advantage of the proximity of each of these four resorts and enjoy the scenic drives between to test them all and find your own favorite. (Snag the Ski City Super Pass if you want access to all at one price.)
Venturing a little farther afield in the Wasatch Front, you’ll find five more resorts within an hour’s drive. A testament to their renown, some of these names will ring familiar even for less habitual skiers — Deer Valley, Sundance, or Park City, anyone?
Each of these resorts comes with its own particular appeal, but I’m partial to Park City’s touch of small-town charm amidst a luxurious accommodation and dining scene. Plus, you can check out the Olympic Park for a touch of nostalgia for the 2002 Winter Olympics — and even take a run on the Comet Bobsled for another kind of thrill.
With snow that’s frequently called the “greatest on earth”, you can’t go wrong with any of these resorts. Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, rounding out the nine total resorts within driving distance of Salt Lake City, are no exception.
When you’re ready to check out the city itself, you’ll find it’s evolved into a pleasantly sophisticated place with an energetic vibe and strong sense of history. From an emerging farm-to-table restaurant industry (Pago and Sage’s Café are good bets) to the Utah Symphony, there’s a little something for everyone.
Start by paying homage to the historical and architectural marvels of the city. The famous Temple Square includes the soaring Salt Lake Temple, Gothic-style Assembly Hall, and sprawling Tabernacle. Stroll or drive through Marmalade Historic District to check out the variety of architectural styles in the preserved vintage residential buildings. Finally, the Salt Lake Public Library is an imposing, curved glass building with fireplaces on every floor and a rooftop garden affording views of the Wasatch Mountains.
Fuel up after with any of the notable local restaurants catering to the steadily growing foodie scene. Copper Onion is a perennial favorite, offering an innovative take on American classics, and Forage is another home run for a classy dinner out with a seasonal, inventive menu. Top it off with drinks at Finca, a tapas bar with the reported best mixologist in Salt Lake, or keep it simple with a cold brew at the local favorite Beer Bar, conveniently attached to its sister Bar X, a prohibition-era bar known for cocktails both classic and new.