Salt Lake’s diverse spirit and eclectic collection of hip neighborhoods has powered a cultural boom in the mountain and desert urban center. As a constellation of trendy, emerging neighborhoods, Salt Lake is cool in ways other than just snow and slopes. If you haven’t seen the new frontier of hip, these up-and-coming neighborhoods are taking it to the next level in the high-altitude haven that is the new Salt Lake.
The heart of the revitalized Salt Lake is found downtown, where a clean and bustling scene bursting with shops, restaurants and nightlife hotspots serves as the center of your Salt Lake experience. Downtown Salt Lake is full of unexpected surprises, with a steady stream of art gallery hops and festivals, a ripe and juicy Downtown Farmers Market and chic adventures awaiting on the Ski City Downtown Bar Crawl Challenge.
Getting around Salt Lake’s downtown is a breeze, with state-of-the-art public transit available or the ultramodern GREENbike SLC bike-sharing program.
Central City is where a college town vibe combines with family-friendly flair with an eclectic set of attractions for everyone—including dogs. Outdoor attractions are highlighted by the off-leash, dog-friendly Herman Franks Park, the outdoor art museum elegance of the Gilgal Sculpture Garden, and the playground, picnicking and pools of the spacious Liberty Park. Central City serves as the forefront of Salt Lake’s ethnic food renaissance with a range of international cuisine options, and a headquarters for mountain, hiking and biking enthusiasts with lots of shops to help gear you up for extreme sports.
One of Salt Lake’s oldest neighborhoods has been sweetened up with a 21st century wave of vanguard shops, restaurants and condos, but the Sugar House District still retains Salt Lake’s artisan flair.
Sugar House remains the epicenter of the “shop locally” movement, with a diverse, eclectic lineup of art galleries, bookstores and boutiques in its now-booming business district. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the breathtaking and scenic Sugar House Park, 110 acres of gorgeous rolling hills packed with bike trails, lakes and forest, all surrounded by spectacular views of the majestic Wasatch Mountains.
Few US cities are laid out as easily and intuitively as Salt Lake, but there’s nowhere easier to get around than the perfectly grid-like and inviting neighborhood called The Avenues. Perhaps the quirkiest and artsiest neighborhood of Salt Lake, The Avenues combines beautiful historic residential neighborhoods with hip contemporary features like yoga and pilates studios, spas and bed-and-breakfasts.
But there are plenty of other treats for your eyes (and camera!) from Capitol Hill, with an architecturally diverse array of gothic and victorian homes, world-class hiking and biking on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and even restaurants that let you dine on the roof while enjoying the incomparable views.
The clubs, bars and restaurants mix a college and professional vibe; vintage and indie shops preserve a counterculture beat; and art museums, arboretums and theaters make University/Foothill one of Salt Lake’s can’t-miss cultural hubs.
The buzz is growing around the emerging craft brewery district of Granary/Ballpark, with a generous lineup of gourmet gastropubs and warehouses being carefully restored into high-end microbreweries.
A magnificently walkable neighborhood, Granary/Ballpark offers quirky pop-up shops operating from shipping containers, ultramodern live-work lofts and—you guessed it—a ballpark that’s home to the AAA Salt Lake Bees.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to visit during the Utah State Fair, this neighborhood that’s home to the Utah State Fairpark is still a midway of hip attractions all year long. Hotels and first-class convention centers naturally surround the Salt Lake City Airport, as do hotspots for travelers and conventioneers to let loose and enjoy their stay.
Take note, outdoor adventure types, because Millcreek and Holladay are the gateways to skiing, hiking and mountain climbing in the mighty Wasatch Mountains that surround Salt Lake. There’s even indoor rock climbing in Millcreek, plus other rainy-day indoor activities like bowling, retro arcades and hipster and biker bars.
Hip Salt Lake is hopping to a different beat that deserves to be discovered, and each of these distinct microhoods is leading Salt Lake’s cultural transformation. With extreme outdoor sports, boutique and glamorous shopping, and a collection of cafes, restaurants and nightclubs that makes this western town the new frontier of cool, these neighborhoods show the best of the new Salt Lake, whether from the mountaintops, sea level or anywhere in between.
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