Salt Lake City is the furthest west I have traveled in the United States so far. I was totally stoked about going to my first blogging event, The Foodie Bootcamp. With only three full days in this awesome city, and full “work days” at the Foodie Bootcamp, I had to choose my activities wisely. I scoured all over Pinterest to find the best sight seeing areas to gain some ideas. I asked my long time friend and Utah native, Meredith, and her mom, for some tidbits only locals are privy to. I made a hasty list of ideas and places to visit once I touched down, but once I got there, I let Salt Lake City lead the way. This city was so clean, friendly, and down right beautiful. I have a tendency to fall in love with just about every where I go, and this place was no exception. Three days was certainly not enough, but it gave me insight for my next trip to SLC. Utah was raw, the air was clean, and the mountains were huge. This was such a nice break from the Florida heat, and I enjoyed wearing a hoodie. All the leaves were changing, and the smell of Fall was absolutely enchanting. I will try my best to capture the beauty of SLC in words, but truly, you will have to see for yourself.
What to do in Salt Lake City
Right off the plane, I was standing in line for my car rental when a lady started chatting me up. I told her all the places I intended on seeing and enjoying. The man in front of me instructed me to head to Wasatch Mountains for a scenic drive I would not soon forget. I hopped in my car, punched it into my GPS and took the short 30 minute drive from the airport to the mountain range. Upon entering the state park, I took a drive around the neighborhood at the base of the mountains, which was absolutely adorable. As i headed deeper into the mountain range, I let out an audible gasp (yes I talk to myself), HOLY $*#@! We’re not in Kansas, anymore, Toto! I rolled down my windows to allow the Fall air run through my hair, as I paced myself through the winding roads. I was basically like a kid on Christmas morning, every small waterfall I had to stop at. Every turn provided a different angle of the range, each more beautiful than the last. Just when I was about to head back to the city to get settled into my hotel, I found a walking trail that was tucked away. I parked my car and took a quiet stroll, breathing the freshest Autumn air, enjoying all the Fall colors of the trees, and listening to the soothing roar of the waterfalls. I smiled like a Cheshire cat, knowing damn well this short visit was going to absolutely rock.
My hotel was perfectly positioned a few blocks outside of the main downtown area. I loved how accessible the city truly was. Temple Square is tucked into the downtown area, next to the City Creek Center, an outdoor mall. Temple Square’s architecture was purely amazing. I was in Salt Lake City during the semi annual General Conference. The General Conference is created for the church’s 15 million members, who come in from all over the world to attempt to attend. The conference is broadcasted through all kinds of media to spread their word and discuss topics varying from government, to the word of the gospel. The streets were crowded with Mormons holding their hands in the air to signify they were looking for a spot in the conference. Walking around Temple Square, there were so many people. The landscape and buildings were immaculate and well tended to. The area is open to anyone who would like to respectfully walk around and enjoy the scenes.
Fifth Water Hot Springs
This location was at the top of my list for places to visit in my three day vacation. I woke up before the sun rose, threw on a comfortable hoodie, and headed out for the hour drive to Spanish Fort. Once I hit the mountain, I lost cellular signal. I followed my GPS to the destination, but once I arrived, I realized the hiking trail was closed off. A fire had ran across the mountain range, making the trail inaccessible. Another hiker pulled his car off to the side of the road to read the “No Trespassing” notice. The hiker told me to follow him to the back end of the trail, about ten miles up the road. The drive to the other end of the hiking trail was absolutely gorgeous, boasting incredible views of the mountain range. All the colors of Fall were present, the air was crisp, and the smell of brush sage filled my lungs. The hike to the springs is about 2.5 miles one way, and the trail carries up and down the mountains. I, as usual, fly by the seat of my pants. Do you really think I came prepared with a backpack and some water? Nope. So here I am in a pair of old Nike shoes, a hoodie, and some cheap leggings, hiking alone, with zero cell phone signal. It was so liberating. The trail was muddy and my shoes slung mud onto my back with every step. I followed the trail that was already marked by a cute set of paw prints and the owner’s shoe print. About half way up the hike, I caught up with the dog and his owner and gave a friendly wave hello. About a half mile out from the springs, there were random breathes of sulfur air. It was a perfect indicator I was close to my target! All the sudden, the stream I had followed for a majority of the hike, ran from a deep brown to a slight green, and then….. the most amazing sight I had seen yet. The hike cleared out, exposing the incredible view of the springs, in all it’s turquoise beauty. There was only one other couple there, so I basically had first pick on which hot spring I wanted to dive in to. I took a small walk around to see all the views, and settled into a hot spring that was tucked away from the main view of the hiking trail. Even though the temperature was about 40 degrees on that crisp Fall morning, the hot springs were incredibly warming. I laid back on a rock, submerged in the water, in this incredible hot spring that lay perfectly in between two mountains. The steam rose into the air, dispersing amungst all the Fall colors. I really am having a hard time putting the scenery into words. It’s just that beautiful! I was on a strict time limit, since I had a plane to catch that afternoon, so I slipped my Sublime shirt over my wet body, and hit the muddy hiking trail to head back. Note to self: next time, bring a backpack with extra clothes, water, and a towel.
Of course I am ultra food driven, so the famed restaurant Red Iguana was an absolute must. Out of all the amazing places to eat at in the city, Red Iguana kept coming up. This joint is well known for their authentic Mexican cuisine and a fun atmosphere. For someone who hates the cold, this Florida gal sat in the cold for a straight hour to wait for a spot in this joint…and it was worth every minute. The hostess is located outside, and people line the walkway, waiting tot get in. There is warmed apple cider offered to the waiting guests, which is a nice touch since it was very cold. The restaurant was small and crowded, but the food was absolutely delicious. I am very serious about flautas, which are flour tortillas stuffed with meat, cheese, then rolled and deep fried. They sound easy to make, but they are not. Red Iguana’s flautas were on point, and their meal size was so large I had leftovers. Over all, a fun atmosphere, great service, and amazing Mexican food.
After a very short three day visit to Utah, I was enamored by the views and the over all vibe of Salt Lake City. I did so much more than these few things, like drive up to the University of Utah and overlook the entire city. I walked around the farmer’s market in the downtown area and mingled with everyone. I spoke with Mormons who were attempting to attend the General Conference. I spoke with the protesters outside of Temple Square. I enjoyed a coffee and walked the downtown strip. This city really did have plenty to see and experience, but some things are best to experience without a phone or camera in hand.
Are you planning a trip to Salt Lake City? What is on your hit list? I’d love to hear your feedback or travel plans! Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts.