Salt Lake City, Utah: Culture, Shopping and Entertainment
By Meimei Wu
Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, was the site of the 19th Winter Olympic Games. Along with the range of activities now available to visitors at the Olympic venues, the Salt Lake area offers so many other attractions. Plus, it’s easy to get to via Salt Lake City International Airport, which is a Western hub of the United States. Its historical sites, world-class museums, diverse shopping centers and colorful city life attract many tourists throughout the year. It is the perfect trip to add to your “must-visit” list.
Cultural Attractions in Salt Lake City
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah is Temple Square, located in the center of Salt Lake City. It is the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as Mormonism. Temple Square has two visitors’ centers, North and South. In the North Visitors’ Center, there is an 11-foot statue of Jesus Christ that looks like white jade – worth a look! In the South Center, I saw the whole Mormon temple in miniature form as a detailed model. Magnificent!
The design of the Tabernacle, also located in Temple Square, is ingenious. Its domed roof was designed to create an echo so that a speaker’s voice could be heard in any corner of the building, even without a microphone. Here, I listened to the symphony of sound from one of the world's great musical instruments, a magnificent pipe organ with 11,623 pipes. This unique structure is also home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
A few kilometers from downtown Salt Lake, nestled into the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the Natural History Museum of Utah’s exhibits present a range of interests, from astronomy and geography to geology and biology. One of my favorites was the wide variety of dinosaur specimens. The scientists’ studio with viewing windows for visitors was also amazing. It gave me an insider’s look into the real work of scientists. The museum even has a sand box designed especially for children to dig through the buried dinosaur fossils. Throughout the museum, huge glass walls offered a stunning view of the natural landscape and dramatic blue skies outside.
Shopping and Entertainment
City Creek Shopping Center is known as the nation's largest mixed-use urban renewal project and features upscale open-air shopping. Its large fountain follows the rhythm of music as it falls, like a ballerina giving a performance. City Creek Shopping Center has over 100 stores such as Nordstrom, Macy's, Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors and Coach. It is also home to several restaurants, where you can sit down to relax and try the delicious food.
After a day of culture and shopping, the colorful nights of Salt Lake City greeted me with a promise for a fun night on the town. There are a wide variety of restaurants – take your pick. Squatters is the bar I chose; they not only have a variety of delicious food, but also have a wide selection of their own locally brewed beer. One really unique touch is that they have a large brewery behind the bar with windows so you can see through to the brewery operation.
The vibrant capital city of Salt Lake City beautifully blends old and new. You can read thousands of travel books, but that doesn’t even come close to seeing and experiencing it for yourself.