Salt Lake City

Joseph Smith prophesied in 1842 that the Saints would be driven to the Rocky Mountains and there “become a mighty people.”  Five years later, on July 24, Brigham Young and a group of 148 Saints arrived in present day Salt Lake City, and in less than a week, plans were announced for the building of a temple in the middle of the desert.

The LDS presence in Salt Lake today is considerable—well over half a million members of the Church live there—but they are just part of an ethnically and religiously diverse population.  A language other than English is now the primary language in twenty-five percent of the homes in Salt Lake City.

For those living nearby, a trip to Salt Lake City may be commonplace, but for some Saints across the globe, to visit the place where their spiritual ancestors firmly established the Church is a dream yet to be realized.  Whether your family is planning its first pilgrimage or its twenty-first, these are some places you’ll want to see, maybe even a few you’ve never seen before.

4 Places You Must Ski

Utah’s family-friendly resorts make it easy for everyone to enjoy a fun, active vacation.

1. Alta

Famous for its unspoiled terrain and breathtaking scenery, Alta is both a local favorite and a hot spot for visitors. Don’t bring your board, though; Alta prides itself on catering specifically to skiers. Perfect for families, the resort’s Alf Engen Ski School has programs for all ages and levels, and includes nationally recognized children’s programs that are sure to be a hit. Alta is also recognized for its great value, offering a beginner’s pass for just $23 and free skiing for all after 3:00 p.m.

2. The Canyons

The Canyons has quickly grown into the largest ski and snowboard resort in Utah. Just five miles from Park City’s historic main street, its location is perfect for those wanting to hit the slopes or for those preferring a stroll without skis attached. Whether your child is a “Canyon Cub” (ages 2–3), a “Canyon Cat” (ages 4–6), or a “Canyon Carver” (ages 7–12) the resort’s Perfect Kids Ski School offers great indoor and outdoor activities for all ages. The resort also provides a Little Adventures Daycare where little ones can play in the snow, sled, and meet the friendly Snowmonster mascots like Powder Pig and Snow Snake who ski throughout the resort.

3. Snowbird

Just a short distance from Salt Lake City (twenty-nine miles) is Snowbird. Even more appealing to families than its accessibility, though, is its Kids Ski Free program. With the purchase of an adult all-day lift ticket, a maximum of two kids (age 12 and under) can ski the chair runs for free. But a great deal is not all families can look forward to at Snowbird. With Family Ski Zones, a Kids’ Park Mining Town replica, Kids’ Club evening parties, a tubing hill, skating rink, snowmobiling tours and more, there’s definitely something for everyone.

4. Park City Mountain Resort

Whether you want to ski deep powder in one of eight bowls, catch some air in one of the resort’s terrain parks, or practice technique on one of the beginner runs, Park City Mountain Resort caters to every level of interest.

Along with outstanding skiing, a great Kids Mountain School, and a variety of discount packages, the resort also offers great family adventure off the mountain. Gorgoza Park, located just five miles from the Resort’s base, provides tube runs with various inclines, and (most importantly) a lift so that you don’t have to trudge back up the hill! Gorgoza also offers mini-snowmobile rides for the kids and a warm snack yurt for when it starts to get chilly.

The Great Salt Lake (itself!)

The Great Salt Lake is the largest body of water between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Lakes, but you’d be surprised at how many people living near it have seldom if ever actually been there.  It’s so big that early explorers like Jim Bridger thought it must be an arm of the Pacific Ocean.  In fact, the lake is even home to Antelope Island, which at 26,000 acres is Utah’s largest state park.

Throughout the years Utahns have learned the hard way that the water level of Great Salt Lake fluctuates quite a bit.  The original Saltair resort, complete with a dance floor and a roller coaster, was first built in 1893 on supports driven into the lakebed.  Unfortunately the water eventually receded, causing it to close in 1968.  It was rebuilt and reopened, but soon the lake rose again and flooded the new building!  The current Saltair resort was opened in 1993 near the Great Salt Lake Park, and while it still stands it hosts concerts, dances, and parties on weekends.

Historic Salt Lake

Feel like sightseeing without having to brave the weather? Just hop in your car and head east on South Temple and you’ll find yourself on a tree-lined avenue that was once known as “Brigham Street,” where you can admire several historic mansions.  Also try heading north toward the Capitol Building. Constructed in 1915, the State Capitol Building is perched on a hill with a great view of downtown Salt Lake.  Afterwards you may simply want to explore the neighborhood around the Capitol Building.  Here mature trees shade streets lined with quaint houses, some of which have been around since pioneer days. 

Those interested in pioneer history will find Old Deseret Village an enjoyable stop. This village has been largely reconstructed to give visitors a feel for life in the days of Brigham Young.  One of the buildings is the Brigham Young Forest Farm House, in which some of Brigham Young’s wives lived.  Go during the holiday season and you can even catch a Christmas candlelight tour.  The village is located at 2601 East Sunnyside Avenue, right at the mouth of Emigration Canyon and is part of This Is The Place Heritage Park.

What to Do Downtown

Winter and spring are said to be the most scenic seasons to see the downtown area thanks to the Christmas lights and the budding trees.  If you’d like to judge for yourself, do it in style by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city. You’ll pass such historic sites as Temple Square, the Salt Lake Arts Center, the Governor’s Mansion, and the Cathedral of the Madeleine. 

Another reason to tour the downtown area comes along once a month, on the third Friday.  On this evening, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., all the art galleries downtown are open to the public for a “gallery stroll.” Naturally Temple Square will be on your list of things-to-see, but before you make your stop there, be sure to check out visittemplesquare.com, where you’ll find a detailed calendar of all the events available to the public. Especially during the holidays, you’re sure to find a concert, production, exhibit, or other attraction that will leave you with a wonderful spirit.

Salt Lake’s Other “Square”

Welfare Square is essentially the faith of church members in action.  Its purpose is to help people help themselves, and to this end provides employment for the poor, disabled, and elderly. 

In addition to the employment center, Welfare Square consists of a grain elevator, storehouse, bakery, cannery, dairy farm, and thrift store. You can request a free tour of Welfare Square by calling (801) 240-7320 and during your tour you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the Bishop’s Storehouse and will even get some free samples of cheese, bread, or jam made on site. In fact a free shuttle leaves from the west gate of Temple Square at 10:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, making it a very convenient trip.

After touring the facilities earlier this year, James T. Morris, executive director for the United Nations World Food Program, said that the Church’s welfare plan was a perfect example of how the poor need to be helped.

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