|Salt Lake City is the capital and largest city of Utah, a state located in the United States. It is one of the largest cities in the Southwest region of the United States. It lies in a valley (sometimes called the "Wasatch Front") located between the Wasatch Range to the east, and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west, the traditional eastern edge of the Great Basin. Salt Lake City is well-known as the center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although less than half of the city's residents are members. The city proper has a population of approximately 179,000, but Salt Lake County in its entirety contains 935,000 residents. Salt Lake City is well-known for the many ski resorts located in the Wasatch Mountains. They are famous for the light, fluffy snowfalls that are enhanced by the lake effect off the Great Salt Lake. In addition, some of the heaviest snowfall in the nation occurs here. |
These conditions make it just right for skiing, and the already world-famous resorts were made more famous by Salt Lake City's hosting of the 2002 Winter Olympics. However, summer activities, such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing, fishing, etc are also popular, as the mountains around Salt Lake City are full of outdoor adventure of every kind. Salt Lake City is the jumping-off point for many outdoor activities in both winter and summer. Most people visiting the ski resorts of the Wasatch Mountains and the national parks of southern Utah fly into Salt Lake City. It is the capital of the state of Utah, as well as the spiritual center and headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon). Salt Lake City was also the host of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
The climate of Salt Lake City is widely-variable from season to season. The city receives approximately 15 inches (38 cm) of precipitation and 60 in (150 cm) of snow annually, although both totals increase the higher in elevation you go. Up to 500 in (1,250 cm) of snow and 50 inches (125 cm) of precipitation are received in the surrounding mountains. Precipitation and snow totals in the surrounding mountains and the entire valley are amplified by the lake-effect from the nearby Great Salt Lake. In the valleys snow generally falls from November through March and in the mountains from October through May. Most precipitation is received during spring (March-May) and the least in summer (June-August). Temperatures during summer exceed 100°F (38°C) on average 4 days out of the year, and temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) occur occasionally during some winters. Temperatures as high as 107°F (42°C) and as low as -30°F (-34°C) have been recorded. Compared to other areas further north, winters are fairly mild, although summers are hotter than in most of the country.
Severe weather, such as blizzards, sleet, hail, floods, tornadoes, etc are uncommon, and storms are mild compared to what is experienced in such places as the Northeast, Midwest, and South. An F2 tornado did occur in 1999. It ripped through downtown Salt Lake City, killing 1 person, and is the culprit behind the lack of trees in Memory Grove at the mouth of City Creek Canyon. During the heart of winter, a phenomenon known as temperature inversion occurs frequently and fiercely in Salt Lake City. When a large area of high pressure parks itself over the Great Basin for long periods of time, cold air and pollutants, such as ozone, become trapped in the valley. The surrounding mountains are often warmer than the valley itself during many of these cases, and smog, haze, and fog are daily occurrences. It often takes a strong storm to force out the high pressure, so periods of prolonged inversion are often followed by large storms. These extreme temperature inversions can be expected just about every winter for at least a few days at a time.
Ski or Snowboard one of the many world class ski resorts accessible within minutes of SLC. There are a few of them:
• Brighton - Located up Big Cottonwood Canyon. -- Within 20 minutes of downtown.
• Solitude - Located up Big Cottonwood Canyon -- 20 minutes from downtown.
• Snowbird - This resort is within 30 minutes of Downtown S.L.C., up the scenic Little Cottonwood Canyon.
• Alta - This resort is also within 30 minutes of Downtown, up Little Cottonwood Canyon. This resort does NOT allow snowboarding.
• Park City Resort - This resort is a short trip up Parley's Canyon to the city of Park City. -- About a 40 minute drive from Salt Lake.
• The Canyons - This resort is also located in Park City. About 40 minutes from Salt Lake.
• Deer Valley - Located in Park City. About 40 minutes from Salt Lake.
Every City has a Main Street, and Salt Lake is no exception. This revitalized district is home to many unique Utah shops and restaurants as well as two malls. The two malls are the ZCMI Center (named for the nation's oldest department store [now Meier & Frank] founded by Brigham Young in the late 1800s) and the Crossroads Mall. Notable among Main Street stores in Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, a local new and used book emporium.
Salt Lake's Gateway Mall is a new development built in anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics. It was built on the site of the old Union and Rio Grande railway stations, and incorporates the Union building in its structure. Many national (and several local) mall stores can be found here. Stores include: Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Victoria's Secret, Brookstone, PacSun, etc. Restaurants include Thaifoon, California Pizza Kitchen, The DoDo, etc. The Gateway is Utah's largest open air shopping district. The area also includes condominiums and office space. Location: 90 South 400 West. Hours: Monday -Saturday 10 AM - 9 PM, Sunday 12 PM - 6 PM.
21st South shopping district. Take a stroll down 2100 South Street heading south from the 1100 East/Highland Drive intersection. Right at the intersection there is the Sugar House Monument, a 1930's era obelisk. Shops and restaurants line this street. Also enjoyable is 1100 East heading east: more shops and restaurants.
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• Get In
• Get Around
• Hotel Monaco, 15 West 200 South, (801) 595-0000
• Holiday Inn Hotel Salt Lake City Airport, 1659 W North Temple, (801) 533-9000 - Five minutes from downtown and from Salt Lake City Airport and close to shopping and fine dining.
• Grand America Hotel, 555 South Main Street, (801) 258-6000 - A five star hotel on the south end of downtown
• Salt Lake Tribune - The Trib is the main Salt Lake daily newspaper
• Deseret Morning News - Another major newspaper in the city; more LDS-centered than the Tribune.
• Salt Lake City Weekly - Weekly paper covering music, theatre, arts, and current events.
• Salt Lake Underground - SLUG is a monthly music magazine.
Compared to other major cities in the nation, Salt Lake City has relatively low crime rates and mild weather. As in any other case, basic tips go a long way. It can become fairly hot during the summer, but humidity levels generally remain low. Overall, Salt Lake City requires no special tips for staying safe, as it is generally safer than cities of comparable size, both crime-wise and weather-wise.
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