By David Aldridge, From Ballparks to BBQ -- I had the opportunity to visit Salt Lake City a couple weeks ago for the first time and I’ve been raving about it ever since.

Though my wife and I were only able to visit for a day, we both came away extremely impressed with everything about our experience.

The beauty of the snow-capped mountains that surround the city, the cleanliness of the city, the hospitality and friendliness of the people (as seen by the BYU acapella group that was singing in the airport terminal as we arrived), the fantastic public transportation from the airport to downtown, and the walkability of the downtown area made it a place where I’d love to spend more time.

The weather couldn’t have been better when we visited. It was a sunny, 70-degree today and only become a little cool once the sun went down, but we could still see the snow atop the nearby mountains.

We hopped aboard the TRAX (Salt Lake City’s light rail service), which is conveniently connected to the airport terminal and it took us right into downtown. Out of all the public transportation I’ve used over the past five years of traveling, this was the nicest I’ve seen, and that includes any European light rail. The cars were remarkably clean and well-maintained and you could even understand the person making announcements about the upcoming stops.

Once we reached the city, which was about a 15 minute ride, we walked over to Temple Square. Temple Square is where the Mormon Temple of Salt Lake City is located, and it’s turned into a historical site, wedding venue and tourist attraction as much as anything else. Though I have no interest in the Mormon faith, it was a beautiful space with impressive gardens and gorgeous sanctuaries. If nothing else, it was a unique look at the history of the beliefs of a particular group of people and I enjoyed being able to walk through it.
After Temple Square, we spent the rest of the afternoon meandering through the heart of downtown. And everywhere we went, I continued to be impressed with the cleanliness of the city, the ease of walking along sidewalks and finding crosswalks and the amount of space that seemed to be available. For people who spend as much time walking and exploring random streets as Nicole and I do, this is a huge plus for any place we visit.

We spent the afternoon walking around and doing some shopping at Trolley Square. We feasted on pastrami-topped burgers at Crown Burger. We admired the unique designs of City Hall and the public library and chatted with welcoming locals. We sat on the sidewalk and enjoyed a chocolate croissant from Eva’s Bakery. We browsed the shops at the City Creek Center, a fantastic downtown indoor-outdoor mall. And we chowed down on Cafe Rio at the airport before taking our red-eye flight back to the east coast.

It was a full day of food, fun and adventure in one of America’s most beautiful cities.

And I look forward to being able to return again for more than just a day.