SALT LAKE CITY, June 29, 2013 — About the size of Providence, R.I., Little Rock Ark., and Modesto, Calif., Salt Lake has a beautiful downtown in a unique mountain setting, perfect for a family vacation.

It is a clean city, with a wide variety of activities for families. The Visitors Bureau, dubbed “Visit Salt Lake,” has created the Connect Pass, a ticket to all sorts of fun for kids and parents.

“Salt Lake’s variety of activities, accessibility and value make it ideal for families. Many of our family friendly venues are all so close and affordable it’s easy to please the family,” says Jessica Frederickson of Visit Salt Lake.

Transportation is easy, with light rail that goes from the west of downtown shopping districts up and down Main Street, and all the way up to the “East Bench.”

The “benches” are colloquial for ancient shorelines formed by Lake Bonneville. Forebear to the Great Salt Lake, Bonneville left behind striking shelves along the Wasatch mountain range, beside which Salt Lake was established in 1847.Where the lake left its high water mark millions of years ago, platforms remain. Once a sparsely populated hinterland to the small downtown, the East Bench is now some of the most expensive real estate in the valley, home to the University of Utah and Fort Douglas.

That history is ancient, but a modern visitor will be amazed at even the more recent version.

Salt Lake History

No visit to Salt Lake would be complete without a basic understanding of its unique history. That history begins at This is the Place Heritage Park, a period attraction that takes visitors back to the “Days of ’47.” The park commemorates Mormon prophet and city founder Brigham Young’s declaration that the pioneers of 1847 had arrived at their promised land. It is operated by the state of Utah. The Connect Pass includes admission. 

Just below the heritage park is a part of Salt Lake’s past and vibrant present. The University of Utah, established in 1850, has been at its present site on the East Bench since 1900. The land belonged to the U.S. Army, and many of the remnants of Fort Douglas are part of the university campus. A quick walk through the campus and old fort reveal a lot about the community and the Western United States.

Temple Square and its environs rounds out the Salt Lake History 101 course. Free tours of everything operated by the Mormon Church, including the famous Tabernacle and Conference Center, make a day downtown worthwhile.

Museums of Salt Lake


The most impressive museum building in the city is tucked into to the mountains above the University of Utah. Financed largely by Rio Tinto, the Natural History Museum of Utah building is a spectacle in itself. Admission is not cheap ($8 for kids and $11 for adults), but the Connect Pass includes one adult admission.