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Know before you go: Salt Lake City

Utah state capitol building

Thinking about a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah? Check out these five tips first-time visitors should know before visiting SLC!

1. SALT LAKE IS A TREK

So you’ve arrived in Salt Lake City, and if you’re anything like me, you might be excited to go see the Great Salt Lake. After all, it IS the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere—pretty cool, right?!

But if this body of water is in your plans, you’d better have some wheels—and some time. The lake is 18.6 miles away from SLC, and it can take up to half an hour to get there. After that, you’ll have to walk a long ways from the parking lot to reach the shore. So plan accordingly!

2. YOU CAN GET AROUND DOWNTOWN FOR FREE

On the other hand, if there’s one place you don’t need a car to get around, it’s downtown. Salt Lake City’s light rail lines, called Trax, offers a “free fare zone,” and if your ride begins and ends within this zone, you won’t have to pay!

Fountain with lights

3. THE CITY’S GOT DIVERSITY

As any Salt Lake City visitor guide will tell you, there’s lots to do in the area. And yet I’ve definitely come across people who think the city is dominated by Mormons or that all there is to see there is Temple Square. In reality, a number of different communities converge in Salt Lake City—the Mormon community, the outdoors community and the brewing community are just a few of them. 

Mormon Temple

4. IF YOUR DRINK TASTES WEAK, IT’S BECAUSE IT IS

That’s not to say you can’t feel the Mormon influence in Salt Lake City. For one, it affects Utah’s unique liquor laws, which limit the alcohol content of drinks sold in bars. The ABV of beer sold in bars and stores, for instance, can’t exceed 4.0%, which is far below the ABV of most domestic craft beers. With mixed drinks, things get even trickier: They can’t contain more than 2.5 ounces of liquor total, and the amount of the primary spirit in a cocktail can’t exceed 1.5 ounces. That doesn’t mean the city lacks cocktail culture, though. Here’s an interesting article about how the laws have forced bartenders to get creative!

5. THE BEST VIEW OF THE CAPITOL IS BEHIND IT

The Utah State Capitol is one of the country’s most beautiful statehouses, with its elegant dome and gorgeous mountain surroundings. But if you want the very BEST view of the building, drive up to Ensign Peak to view the Capitol (and the rest of the Salt Lake City Skyline) from behind. It’s a short trip of only 5 minutes, and well worth it for the photo ops! Keep in mind that if you put “Ensign Peak” into Google Maps, it’ll stop at a random point in the road near the top. I actually recommend stopping before the app says you’ve arrived—just pull over as soon as you see a view you like!

For more on the area, check out this one-day Salt Lake City visitor guide!

View of the capitol from Ensign Peak

Hope you enjoyed these Salt Lake City travel tips! What other tips do you have for Salt Lake City? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Carly

February 25, 2019
March 3, 2019

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