Salt Lake City, Utah, and the entire country, is all a buzz about the new City Creek Center shopping mall. Because it is the only shopping center opening in the entire country for 2012, it is getting attention from as far as China, and we are lucky to be a part of the excitement! You may have seen the building sized ads strewn around downtown. Thanks to Emily with Intrepid Agency, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of the almost-finished mall to share with you. After taking the tour, I am predicting that this is going to be the new "go to" place for meeting friends, hanging out and shopping. Not only does it have two levels of retails, but also two levels of residential living. The Design: City Creek Center was designed using recycled materials whenever possible, and many of these materials were saved when the old Crossroads Mall was deconstructed. The plants you see around the Center were pulled from the real City Creek. Because such care was taken when constructing City Creek Center, they received Silver LEED Certification for being environmentally friendly, and is the first ever shopping center to receive such an honor. The court outside of Nordstrom will have a fountain that shoots over thirty feet high, and is choreographed to music. It was designed by the same people that designed the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. This is the only part of the mall that will stay open 24/7, and will serve as a through-way between South Temple and First South. Ninety percent of the time, City Creek Center will be an open air, outdoor mall. We all know how Utah weather is, so the mall was designed using operable end walls and a retractable roof. On days when it is rainy or snowy, the walls will come down and the ceiling will cover the mall, all within four and a half minutes, and at the push of a button. The entire mall will be scattered with interesting art pieces. Even the skybridge connecting the East wing and the West wing has art included on the underside. On the underside of the skybridge, you will notice little ripples that look like water. This is to represent City Creek flowing from one side to the next. The Customer Service Center The Customer Service center is designed as the go-to place for information on anything and everything. Waiting for a flight? No need to wait at the airport; there will be a Flight Board with up-to-the-minute information on flight delays, arrivals, and departures. Planning a trip to the ski resort? There will also be a Weather Board full of information on all the local ski resorts. Did you bring a friend from fifty or more miles from Salt Lake City? Stop at the Customer Service center and pick up an "It Guide" for you and your friend. The Customer Service center is surrounded by a beautiful pond full of local trout. Fun For Families and Meeting Friends: As you walk around the mall, don't forget to look down. You will find many sets of animal tracks scattered throughout the mall. Try to guess which native Utah animal made those tracks, then follow them to the end to read all about that animal and see if you were right. This will be a great family activity to learn about native Utah animals. The entire food court has been redesigned and fully refurbished to seat more people than ever before. Large outdoor dining areas are also found around the mall. The food court will attract families with the exclusively designed dinosaur theme play area. Just outside the food court you will find a large outdoor fire pit. Meeting friends at City Creek Center will be easy and convenient, and "Meet me at the fire pit" will be a phrase heard all around Salt Lake City for generations to come. This part of City Creek Center is easily accessed from South Temple just across from Temple Square. Parking: Parking downtown can sometimes be tricky, but City Creek Center has you covered. Not only is there a large underground parking area with eight different entrances, but valet parking is also available for a small fee. If you are visiting a specific store, go to the City Creek Center stores listing, and find the store you are visiting. The website will tell you which area to park in to access your favorite store. Grand Opening Events: To celebrate its grand opening, City Creek Center is holding a Charity Gala on March 21st. Tickets are only $50 a person, and all of the proceeds go to charity. When you purchase your ticket, you will also receive a $20 gift certificate to use at City Creek Center. There will only be 2,000 tickets available for this Gala, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible. They are already going fast! Tickets can be purchased directly from the following charities: Ballet West, The Road Home, Junior League of Salt Lake City, and Utah's Hogle Zoo. You can read more about this Charity Gala on the City Creek Center website. Marsha Maxwell also wrote about this Charity Gala on the Visit Salt Lake blog. The Grand opening of City Creek Center will be on Thursday, March 22, 2012. Hours will be 10am to 9pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday. The Center is closed on Sundays. These hours will run from March 22nd through April 11th. Beginning April 12th, the permanent hours will be Monday through Saturday 10am to 9pm. Memorial Day weekend the Center will stay open until 10pm. The stores that have been announced as residing at City Creek Center are on their website, and include Nordstrom, Macy's, Tiffany & Co., and Porsche Design. Stay tuned to the City Creek Center website for more announcements and special surprises. Nordstrom at City Creek Center has pre-opening events scheduled, and some are even going on right now! The complete schedule can be found on the City Creek Nordstrom website. What are you most excited for at the new City Creek Center? Leave a comment below, and let's get excited! (All photos in this post are courtesy of, and belong to, Michelle Powell and cannot be used without permission.)