“Beneath its squeaky-clean Mormon veneer lies a high desert Eden of offbeat charm, endless slopes and surprisingly open-minded locals.” Darren Frei, The Out Traveler, September/October.

From the much-lauded “Queer Lounge” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to the city’s wildly popular Gay Pride Festival (which drew 15,000 attendees in 2005), word is out: Salt Lake City is one of the most gay-friendly communities in the U.S. 
Consider this:

•    PlanetOut, the San Francisco-based online media service for the gay and lesbian community, ranks the city as a gay-friendly travel destination and honored it with one of its 12 “Heartland Awards.” Awards are based on “on the basis of excellence, innovation and solid gay-family travel values.” 

•    Two of the country’s most respected gay activists are from Salt Lake and successfully influenced policies in the city while residents. They are Michael Mitchell, former director of Equality Utah, the state’s gay and lesbian advocacy organization and now director of the of ACLU’s Marriage Equality Program in New York and Kate Kendall, now executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

•    Attendance at the Pride parade is second only to that of the Days of 47 Parade—the city’s huge commemoration of the Mormons’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley.

•    Salt Lake’s Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton property, is widely known as gay friendly. Kimpton actively supports GLBT communities and employees. Search anywhere from www.gaymonkey.com to www.planetout.com and this premiere Salt Lake hotel shows up with rave reviews.

•    Equally gay-friendly is the Peery Hotel, a small historic hotel in the heart of downtown Salt Lake.

For more on Salt Lake’s gay vibe, inside tips and favorite clubs, check out Darren Frei’s article in The Out Traveler: http://www.outtraveler.com/features.asp?did=370.

The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown. Having recently undergone a $58 million expansion, the Salt Palace Convention Center now boasts 679,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, ideal for groups of all sizes and needs. For more information on all that Salt Lake has to offer, visit www.VisitSaltLake.com.