Local Highlights

What is Salt Lake City Known For?


Despite being surrounded by mountains, Salt Lake City, UT, is not an easy city to box in. 

The great Salt Lake City was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s rooted in a rich Mormon history. It has backyard access to the most iconic Wasatch mountain range in the country (the Rockies). And as “The Crossroads of the West,” the city’s identity is as varied and paradoxical as the medley of reputations it’s established over the years.

So what exactly has been drawing so many new residents to the area? Below, we’ll touch on five of the most distinctive features of Salt Lake City waiting to be uncovered by anyone who ventures here.

#1 Mormon History and Culture

The history of Salt Lake City is inextricably bound to the Mormon faith. Salt Lake City was founded by a group of Mormon pioneers who arrived there in 1847, and today the city remains the nation’s epicenter of Mormon church culture.<1 

But whether you’re a person of faith or not, the city’s Mormon heritage rewarded Salt Lake with some of its most beautiful and historic buildings. If you’re new to the area, you can admire the architecture and brush up on your history by visiting the following attractions:2 

  • Temple Square – This 10-acre complex in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City features five city blocks of stunning architecture, lavish gardens, informative exhibits, and fun social activities. 
  • Mormon Tabernacle – The home of the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Mormon Tabernacle is a wonder of acoustic design. Tours and acoustic demonstrations are given daily.   
  • Mormon Temple – Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enter this historic Salt Lake temple unless you’re a member of the Mormon faith—but if you’re in Salt Lake City, it’s worth a trip. The exteriors alone are deserving of a pit stop to glimpse the rare, gorgeous beauty of authentic Mormon architecture. For a closer look, tour the replicas in the visitor’s center.

#2 World-Class Cultural Offerings

If you’ve never been to Salt Lake City, you might not know that it’s home to quite a few nationally renowned cultural centers that entertain and educate residents and visitors alike.

These institutions are at the top of the list:2

  • Natural History Museum of Utah
  • Tracy Bird Aviary
  • Hogle Zoo
  • Beehive House 
  • Park City Historic District

#3 Incredible Skiing

The great Salt Lake City is nestled between two mountain ranges—excellent news for any ski bunnies who come to town. Less than an hour’s drive from the central city are several of the world’s best slopes and ski resorts.2 

Your options include places like:

  • Alta
  • Brighton
  • Deer Valley
  • Park City
  • Powder Mountain
  • Snowbird
  • Solitude
  • Sundance 

And if you time it right, you can synchronize your visit to Park City to overlap with the Sundance Film Festival. This weeks-long cinema celebration features films regarded as the best in the industry, from the biggest stars in movies to the newest talents just starting to break through.

#4 Liberty Park

Salt Lake county is known for being cradled by mountains, but you don’t even have to leave the commercial center to enjoy the great outdoors. Chief among the city’s green spaces is Liberty Park, located just shy of downtown Salt Lake City.

Liberty Park is an expansive public commons that covers nearly 80 acres, offering an array of outdoor activities to enjoy.3 From family outings to romantic picnics for two, this is the go-to destination for communing with nature (without venturing too far from your apartment).

Among the many amenities offered by Liberty Park are:

  • Walking and running paths
  • A public swimming pool
  • Tennis courts
  • Paddle boats
  • An amusement park for children

#5 Burgeoning Food Scene

Salt Lake City hasn’t always been known for its culinary contributions, but in recent years it’s transformed from a flatland of fast-food chains into an up-and-coming foodie’s paradise and a hub for Salt Lake City nightlife.

Which begs the question: what food is Salt Lake City known for?

SLC’s burgeoning gastronomic scene features a diverse array of options, from farm-to-table eateries with locally-sourced ingredients to bistros specializing in a range of international cuisines. While you’re in the area, these hotspots are must-sees (and eats and drinks):

  • Valter’s Osteria, for delicious, authentic Italian cuisine
  • Current Fish & Oyster, for lovers of fine seafood
  • Red Iguana, for award-winning, family-owned Mexican food
  • Takashi, for the best sushi in Salt Lake



  1. Utah.com. Salt Lake City History. https://www.utah.com/destinations/cities-towns/salt-lake-city/things-to-do/history/ 
  2. Planetware. 13 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Salt Lake City, UT. https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/salt-lake-city-us-ut-sl.htm#
  3. Visit Salt Lake. Liberty Park. https://www.visitsaltlake.com/listing/liberty-park/55159/ 

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