I consider Salt Lake City my home town. I was born in Texas, and after a couple of moves, settled in Utah when I was about two years old. I lived there until I moved right before I started the fifth grade, when I moved yet again to settle in southwest Washington. The time I spent in Washington was longer than the time I spent in Utah, but I consider my time in Utah an imperative part of my childhood. For years I have been talking about going back and revisiting places I have nostalgic feelings for, and last weekend I was finally able to do so! A dear friend let me stay with her and was willing and eager to be my transportation while I visited, which is the route I suggest taking if you’re planning on visiting… anywhere, if it’s possible! All I had to spend money on was an excessive amount of food.
I took a ton of pictures, and I’m not sure a lot of them will be “interesting” to anyone who isn’t a part of my family. I visited a lot of places I have fond childhood memories of, and did some very personal adventuring, so I will try to condense this post into places I recommend visiting if you make a trip there yourself!
The first restaurant I visited upon arriving was a new, plant-based Mexican joint called Boltcutter in downtown SLC for dinner. The menu was small, but I can say with honesty it was the best Mexican food I’ve had. If you’re looking for authenticity, this might not be the place for you, but the food and cocktails are delicious and even though everything is vegan, I could see the food appealing to meat-eaters as well!
The next morning, my friend had to work so I walked to Gourmandise the Bakery for breakfast. Gourmandise the Bakery is a French bakery/cafe right outside downtown. It’s a beautiful open space and I had a pleasant time hanging out here. The only drawback happened when I tried to pull out my computer to work and the advertised WiFi didn’t work. I didn’t take too much offense to this, though, because I was too busy savoring my crème brûlée oatmeal. I tried to go back a different day for pastries, but it was late and they were closed. Next time I’ll be grabbing an eclair to-go!
The last restaurant I want to recommend is in Park City – a brunch place accurately named The Eating Establishment. The Eating Establishment appeared on quite a few “Best Brunch in Park City” lists and we decided to head there based on its veg-friendly capacity. It was Sunday morning busy but we were sat immediately and all employees we interacted with were super friendly. Our breakfast food was pretty good, but what we saw on others’ tables as far as lunch went looked phenomenal. It might be a better place to go a little later, and based on the liquor shelf behind the bar, I bet the cocktails are pretty good too.
I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t drink an unreasonable amount of coffee while there. I have some quick thoughts on the shops I visited. All are located downtown!
The People’s Coffee is open late and pretty cozy. The walls are covered in eclectic art which gives the space a feel suited for creative types.
The Rose Establishment also serves breakfast so its indoor area is bigger. I don’t do dairy in my coffee so I asked for a café au lait made with their house-made cashew milk and it was SO creamy. I also got a peach-filled doughnut that was delicious. Do I think all doughnuts are delicious? Probably. But this one had a very.. fancy feel to it. I would highly recommend this place if you’re looking for a “sit down and catch up” atmosphere.
Speaking of outrageous pastries, Three Pines Coffee also blew me away with their apple & rosemary scones. Also a small and cozy space, its minimalist interior reminded me of many coffee shops in my current city of Portland. They actually brew Heart Coffee Roasters which is a PDX-based company. The space seems like a great place to settle in and read a book or do some work.
I spent most of my time in SLC, but went to Park City for a morning. Both cities are SO beautiful! My favorite thing about Utah is the presence of all four seasons, and I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t a little upset it hadn’t snowed when I was there. It was really unfortunate to have the pretty architecture take the spotlight, I know!
Temple Square is right next to downtown Salt Lake City and hosts the main LDS church as well as quite a few other religious gathering buildings. I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t remember Temple Square included buildings not related to the LDS church. I’m not religious, but some churches are incredible to look at and this area houses some of the prettiest. There were at least five wedding congregations around the LDS church and every bride looked stunning. It was an amazing sight to behold!
Farther uphill from Temple Square is the Utah State Capitol. Never in my life have I sought out a government building but this one was so impressive I had to look inside. Everything was marble and I was very glad I had decided to take a peek. I was also glad I wasn’t the only one to have thought to photograph in the area- there were three different groups of professional photographers taking pictures of clients there. If I could have taken pictures of the interior without also capturing a ton of people, I would have… But in all honesty, you should probably just go visit yourself. I took so many good pictures of the whole building, I could only narrow down what I wanted to share to three. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Main Street in Park City is a stark contrast to Salt Lake City’s older, mostly Gothic architecture. The buildings all look fairly new and are very colorful. Very good walking without a purpose other than taking in sights. If you’re a fan of window shopping, Main Street is the perfect place to do so.
A fun Easter egg: There’s an authentic Banksy on the side of one building! It’s the first one I’ve ever seen in person. It was covered by glass, presumably to keep vandals from defacing the piece, but that didn’t detract from the excitement I felt when my friend pointed it out.
Going back through all of this information, I’m surprised I have even more to share. It seems like a lot in text so I am going to quit while I’m ahead, with one final thought. Nostalgia aside, Utah is a great place to spend time if you love to be outside. All I did was wander through a couple of towns but there are a myriad natural landmarks and national parks to visit all over the state. I can’t wait to come back in the summer to camp, and in the winter to ski! And if you decide to plan a vacation here, take me with you. I’m excited to go back soon!