By Esther Merono, The Guardian -- Sightseeing in Salt Lake City can mean contemporary art shows, record shops in thrall to vinyl, cinemas approved by Sundance – or a sculpture garden created by a Mormon bishop
Brewvies Cinema Pub
For over a decade, Brewvies Cinema Pub has managed to loophole through Salt Lake's peculiar liquor laws and provide quality pub fare, adult beverages and cult classics to locals as well as visitors. Order a Director's Cut pizza and a pint of Brewvies Irish Red before heading into the movie theatre for one of the current rotating Hollywood blockbusters, or better yet, join young locals on a Monday for Film Buff Night and catch a free showing of something nostalgic. Brewvies also hosts a variety of special events, including the Salt Lake Film Festival, The Geek Show Podcast and Salty Horror Night, many of them free.
• 677 South 200 West, +1 801 355 5500, brewvies.com. Open daily 11am-2am, 21+ ID required
The Pioneer Memorial Museum
Skip the sales pitch at the crowded Temple Square and head up the street to the Pioneer Memorial Museum for a real history lesson and a close look at the odds and ends of Salt Lake's pioneer ancestors – and some are very "odd". Curated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, this museum houses six floors of Victorian artefacts, from pioneer hair art, photographs and handmade chairs to a room full of carriages. The tour guides embrace the "creepy" side of Mormon history without pushing conversion pamphlets.
• 300 North Main Street, +1 801 532 6479, dupinternational.org. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Wed 9am-8pm. Admission free
Red Butte Gardens
Salt Lake is known for its mountainous landscape and outdoor activities, but to see the flora and some of the fauna without breaking sweat, Red Butte Gardens is perfect. On a hillside overlooking the University of Utah campus and next door to the impressive Natural History Museum, Red Butte Gardens boasts one of the best views of the Salt Lake valley and has an array of themed gardens and picnic areas, floral exhibits and garden workshops. Summer nights are best though, as the gardens host to Sundance Institute films and an outdoor concert series that has featured the likes of Neko Case, Steely Dan and Kenny Loggins.
• 300 Wakara Way, +1 801 585 0556, redbuttegarden.org. Open daily, seasonal hours. Adults $10, 3-17s $6
Ken Sanders Rare Books
This place is a literal mess of books – from floor to ceiling – you will need help from one of its friendly staff if you're looking for something in particular. Browsing usually yields the best rewards though (and is encouraged). In addition to antique and rare books, one of Ken Sanders' specialties is "Utah and the Mormons", with a collection of newspapers, handbills and pamphlets from the early Mormon church. Every bookstore is an adventure, but particularly one whose motto is "creating chaos out of anarchy for a better tomorrow".
• 268 South 200 East, +1 801 521 3819, kensandersbooks.com. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm