Salt Lake City (January 2011) -- If you haven't been to Salt Lake in the past few years, you're in for an eye-opening ride--whether it's on the nearby ski slopes, the sleek TRAX light-rail train or the FrontRunner linking cities along the Wasatch Front. Since hosting the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, this city of more than 180,000 has gone from good to great. With over $1.5 billion in construction projects in final stages in the central business district alone, and the slated 2012 completion of "Downtown Rising," an ambitious mixed use development on two blocks in the heart of downtown, Salt Lake stands ready to join the ranks of the major metropolitan centers of the West.

Spurred on by its hosting role in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Salt Lake began reinventing itself over the past decade. It started with improved infrastructure: rebuilt freeways, airport and convention center expansions, and a major light-rail system. All of those features have made the city more accessible and desirable than ever. A new light rail TRAX line from Salt Lake City International Airport is planned for completion in 2013, making it easier than ever to whisk into Salt Lake's vibrant downtown in minutes. One of 16 Silver level bicycle friendly communities across the country, Salt Lake now sports a new Bicycle Transit Center, replete with showers and lockers, in the Intermodal Hub which ties together all train, light rail and bus systems downtown.

In addition to its easy accessibility from anywhere in the country, Salt Lake has established itself as a major outdoor destination in a cosmopolitan setting. Salt Lake's world-class ski resorts--Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude--are all within 30 minutes of such amenities as the AAA Five Diamond Grand America Hotel and its posh spa, or the Hotel Monaco. Entertainment options abound too. Salt Lake is home to professional opera and symphony companies and hosts numerous Broadway Across America musicals, not to mention NBA basketball and World Cup soccer.

The city and its nearby canyons tempt diners with an appetizing selection of restaurants, populated by world-traveled chefs cooking local and regional ingredients and serving them with award-winning wine lists. From Rocky Mountain cuisine to superb sushi, it's all here.

With an estimated population of 183,171, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, has a total estimated population of 1,130,293. Salt Lake City is further situated in a larger urban area known as the Wasatch Front, which has an estimated population of 2,298,915.

Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. VSL's mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility. 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.