By Sandra MacGregor for Marriott Traveler — There is no better way to really get to know a city than by exploring its off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, and Salt Lake City is no exception. For the traveler looking to venture beyond the well-trodden sites of downtown, Salt Lake City offers a treasure trove of unique and charming neighborhoods where the authentic spirit of the city lives.
Here are three of its must-visit neighborhoods.
Named for a 19th-century sugar beet factory that operated in the area, Sugar House is that rarest of locales: a district where old residential homes, lush parks, popular stores and modern, yet homey restaurants all meld seamlessly.
Similarly, its residents are an interesting melange of college students, young professionals and new families looking to take advantage of the area’s great shopping and outdoor amenities.
Don’t be intimidated by the spot’s so-hip-it-hurts reputation. Sure, Sugar House offers galleries, fashion-forward boutiques, old-school book stores and vinyl shops, like Raunch Records. But it also boasts some stunning—and very family-friendly—green space. Head to Sugar House Park and join locals making the most of its generous array of biking, running and hiking trails.
Home to Utah’s hilltop capitol building, this aptly named neighborhood features plenty of views along its serpentine streets that are making you dizzy. You won’t begrudge the elevation gain once you’ve caught a glimpse of downtown lit up at night.
As one of the oldest areas of the city, Capitol Hill features some of its most interesting architecture, including Victorian, Gothic and Modern styles, arranged side-by-side. The Capitol itself has undergone of the largest restoration projects in the country, and is definitely worth a visit.
Sitting on the western slope of Capitol Hill, Marmalade is named after the fruit farms that once peppered the area; street names like Quince and Apricot are nods to its sweet past. Once a run-down neighborhood, it’s now experiencing a renaissance and can claims some of the hottest shops and restaurants in the city, such as farm-to-table favorite Em’s Restaurant.
Check out the neighborhood’s historic Gothic and Victorian homes and lovely blossoming fruit trees, and don’t forget to stroll through Ensign Park Nature Park. End your exploration with some stellar views at Ensign Peak.
While Capitol Hill is undergoing gentrification, The Avenues (or The Aves to those in the know) has always been a popular spot. Salt Lake City’s first official neighborhood, it ranges from densely populated apartment buildings popular with students, to sweeping, historic mansions beyond.
The area’s moniker is an homage to its carefully laid out, grid-like design. Each block reveals peels back another layer of history and personality, and thanks to the easy-to-follow layout, you’ll never get lost. You might, however, be tempted to spend a few extra hours wandering among its diverse offerings of homes, restaurants and shops.
Speaking of, make sure to visit the resplendent Cathedral of the Madeleine while you’re in the area. Awash in vivid frescoes of biblical images and stained glass, the cathedral is a remarkable combination of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque design. If you have some extra time, stay for one of a powerful and dynamic organ performance (check website for times).
Hungry after all that exploring? Pop into Avenues Proper, a popular local pub. Chat with locals, sample a regional brew, or, better yet, try one of their own brews like Hopspital IPA, SLC’s favorite cure for whatever ails you.