Salt Lake City, UT is nestled at the base of the rugged Wasatch mountains, and in comparison to its reputable outdoor offerings, some may think the city is sparse — but as Salt Lake City native Kate Osborne warns, “don’t be fooled!” Today’s city guide writer, Kate, is a photographer, and although her work has taken her around the globe, she’s always drawn back home to Salt Lake City, where she was born and raised.
Salt Lake prides itself not just on its skiing reputation, but on its amazing food, strong community, and passion for the arts — ever heard of the Sundance Film Festival? While maintaining a laid-back lifestyle, this city brims with hardworking entrepreneurs and business owners, all of whom make the city a more enjoyable place to visit and live. “No matter what season it is,” Kate continues, “the city always gives you something to do,” and today, Kate is sharing a bunch of her absolute favorites. –Sabrina
PLACES TO EAT — Downtown
Copper Onion (111 E. 300 S.) – A true American bistro and downtown go-to. Rich dishes full of flavor. Next door is a full bar offering craft cocktails.
Current (279 E. 300 S.) – Specializing in fish and oysters, Current is housed in a gorgeous brick building modernized with some beautiful restoration work and given new life with its bustling night crowd.
Eva (317 S. Main Street) – A personal favorite for dinner. And for good reason! Eva offers a large variety of delicious, flavorful small-plate comfort foods. Hard to beat.
Ekamai Thai (336 W. 300 S.) – This small stop is a tight squeeze, but it will reward you with some very tasty Thai. Offering small daily menus with great combo deals. Or, head up to the Sugarhouse location for a more complete menu and sit-down atmosphere.
Este Pizza (156 E. 200 S.) – NYC-style pizza in SLC. Two locations, so you are never too far from the goodness.
Eva Bakery (155 S. Main Street) – Just down the street from Eva. This charming space has beautiful handmade breads and pastries. But don’t think that is all they do. They have a breakfast and lunch menu, featuring salads, sandwiches, and don’t forget the lemon cream-cheese stuffed french toast with blueberry compote.
Finca (327 W. 200S.) – The space itself is sexy with its checkered floors, moody floral wallpaper, and black molding. Then, add Spanish tapas and a lounge? Yep. Its rotating seasonal menu is always fresh. Right next door is La Barba Coffee, I hear they have some killer churros.
Forage (370 E. 900 S.) – A truly unique dining experience. Chef Bowman Brown takes presentation and pairing to a new level. The creative tasting menu rotates seasonally depending on the foraged, local ingredients. The dishes are true pieces of art.
Les Madeleines (216 E. 500 S.) – A French-inspired bakery and cafe. The star here is the Kouing Aman, truly a thing of beauty. Do yourself a favor and please try one.
Naked Fish (67 W. 100 S.) – A modern sushi house and Japanese bistro. This space is especially fun for small groups with its ground-level, Japanese-style seating.
Café Niche (779 E. 300 S.) Taking “farm to table” seriously. This local stop has a little something for everyone. With updated favorites from all regions.
Pallet (237 S. 400 W.) – A bistro featuring new, American cuisine paired with a cozy ambiance.
Publik Coffee (975 S. West Temple) – Another fabulous coffee house. A bit bigger and more industrial than others with a hip vibe. They take their coffee roasting seriously here.
The Rose Estb. (235 S. 400 W.) – A SLC favorite. This beautiful coffee shop not only offers a wide variety of drinks, but great seasonal lunch options. Not to mention they have avocado toast, so you really can’t go wrong. And I do quite love their old-school approach of not offering WIFI.
Rye (239 S. 500 E.) – Offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and drinks — Rye fuses American classics with Asian-fusion that is sure to please any appetite, at any meal.
Sawadee (754 E. South Temple) – My favorite Thai in the city. A go-to if curry is on the brain. This large brick building is often packed in the evenings.
Settebello (260 S. 200 W.) – Authentic wood-fired Italian pizza. Imported traditional ingredients making the perfect pie. Don’t miss the homemade gelato. And what is better than pizza and gelato?
Takashi (18 W. Market Street) – Salt Lake’s favorite sushi. Truly delicious and authentic options for sushi and Japanese cuisine.
Taqueria 27 (149 E. 200 S.) – Classic tacos with a twist. Featuring flavors like duck confit, grilled pear, and roasted beets.
Tony Caputo’s (314 W. 300 S.) – A family-owned Italian market and deli with great sandwiches. Featuring imported foods, chocolate, cheese, oils, etc.
Café Trio (680 S. 900 E.) – Italian cuisine with a refreshing update. Trio offers a great variety from flatbreads to pasta to salads and small plates.
Tulie Bakery (863 E 700 S.) – Classic and perfect. A beautiful space with a fresh lunch and breakfast menu. Their baked goods are amazing, including tarts, cookies, and seriously delectable cake.
PLACES TO SHOP — Downtown
Bohem (623 S. State Street) – Originally an online shop only, the brick-and-mortar store hit the scene a little while back and everyone is so happy it did. Owners Adam and Chelsea James design most of the textiles and products themselves and are truly talented at what they do. Full of unique, artisan wares from around the world, paired with local artists alike. The space is a go-to for unique gift-giving and house essentials. Almost every wall is covered in their beautiful rugs, and their jewelry collection is some of the very best. You won’t go home empty handed.
Decades Vintage (627 S. State Street) – A huge vintage and consignment store offering everything from vintage classics to over-the-top costume finds. An overwhelmingly large jewelry case will keep you captivated for a while as well.
Green Ant (179 E. 300 S.) – This is the place for quality mid-century modern furniture. There is always a beautiful collection of top-notch pieces and the owner is as knowledgeable as they get.
Ken Sanders (268 S. 200 E.) – A specialty bookstore stacked to the ceiling with rare, antique, and used books.
Magpie & Rye (337 W. Pierpont Ave.) – Owner and jewelry designer Annabelle Rey has a captivating style. Her small shop and studio offers handmade artisan goods (including her stunning jewelry collection). Everything is a perfect selection of handmade pieces in beautiful, natural materials.
THINGS TO DO — Downtown
Broadway Theater – Featuring independent films right next to some of the very best restaurants downtown.
Big & Little Cottonwood Canyons – Many people that live in SLC are here for one thing: The amazing outdoors. Proud to claim “greatest snow on earth” in the winter and lush aspen and pine forests in the summer, SLC is at the base of several breathtaking canyons. Within a half hour of the city, they are a must to see. Little and Big Cottonwood are home to famous resorts like Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude, and there are dozens of hikes to choose from for all skill levels.
SLC Famers’ Market – Every Saturday in the summer months, this thriving farmers’ market is a hot spot for produce, food, and other vendors.
Sugarhouse Park / Liberty Park – Located not too far from downtown, these two great parks are perfect to enjoy a picnic or stretch your legs.
NHMU – Seriously my favorite building in SLC. The NHM is worth checking out even if you don’t have time to walk through the rotating and permanent exhibits. It strikes a perfect balance of modern architecture that blends beautifully with its natural surroundings. The attention to detail in the space is genius.
Red Butte Gardens – Beautiful, outdoor gardens on the foothills near the university. RBG also offers an outdoor summer-concert series with amazing new lineups each year.
SLC Library – In the heart of SLC, the library features an exposed glass elevator that can drop you off to the floor of your choosing. A small rotating gallery and a few small shops are in the light-filled space.
Temple Square – Salt Lake was settled by Mormon pioneers and is the head of the LDS (Mormon) church. One of first things the pioneers did was begin construction of the Salt Lake Temple. The white granite was brought all the way from Little Cottonwood Canyon. An impressive feat, especially for the time. All the stone was cut and worked by hand and construction took over 40 years. The temple and the grounds are worth a look.
Twilight Concert series Throughout the summer, the Twilight Concert Series brings out an impressive amount of shows. A fun, outdoor music experience. Be prepared for large crowds.
PLACES TO STAY – 9th & 9th
The intersection of 9th East and 9th South isn’t large, but it packs in plenty to do. A small, quaint intersection — surrounded by neighborhoods — that is a little more low-key than downtown SLC. Spend an afternoon shopping, an evening for dinner and drinks, and then a night watching an independent film at the Tower Theater
PLACES TO SHOP – 9th & 9th
Hip and Humble (1043 E. 900 S.) – A cheery gift boutique filled to the brim with accessories, décor, gifts, and the like.
Hobnob (937 E. 900 S.) – Vintage and consignment store with housewares, furniture and knick-knacks.
Katie Waltman (962 E. 900 S.) – The tiniest of stores featuring handmade feminine jewelry and clothing.
Koo de Ker (1037 E. 900 S.) – Woman’s clothing boutique at reasonable prices. Located in a cute, little-house-turned-shop.
Orchid Dynasty (959 E. 900 S.) – A beautiful, modern, full-service floral and plant shop.
The Children’s Hour (898 S. 900 E.) – High-end children and woman’s boutique, featuring clothing, shoes, accessories, books, gifts and toys.
The Stockist (875 E. 900 S.) – This shop is sure to make any hip-outdoorsman happy. Great selections for both men and women. No-frills, quality pieces that make a statement.
Zuriick (865 E. 900S.) – Men’s fashion boutique featuring work boots and classic canvas slip-ons.
Apt. 202 (955 E. 900 S.) – Women’s clothing boutique featuring sophisticated and casual styles.
PLACES TO EAT – 9th & 9th
Coffee Garden (878 E. 900 S.) – A busy coffee shop in the heart of 9th and 9th .
East Liberty Tap House (850 E. 900 S.) – Bar food reinvented. Featuring local meats like lamb and elk to pair with a large variety of craft beers.
Mazza (912 E. 900 S.) – Authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. Favorites like falafel and kebabs with many other traditional dishes to choose from.
Pago (878 S. 900 E.) – Featuring a rotating, seasonal, local menu that is farm fresh and award-winning. Pago is the sister restaurant to Finca, Hub and Spoke Diner, and East Liberty Tap House.
PLACES TO EAT – Sugarhouse and Surrounding Areas
Blue Plate Diner (2041 S 2100 E.) – Classic breakfast diner that does not disappoint.
Cubby & Chicago Beef (2130 S. 1100 E.) – Cubby’s is a new addition to Sugarhouse, and it has been received with open arms. Sandwiches, salads, burgers and sides. This busy space has a great vibe.
Eggs in the city (1675 E. 1300 S.) – A bustling breakfast stop, especially on the weekends. Open morning and early afternoon only.
Finn’s (1624 S. 1100 E.) – A Scandinavian breakfast cafe with a retro vibe.
Hub and Spoke (1291 S. 1100 E.) – A trendy diner and member of the Pago family. A great space offering diner classics with a modern approach.
Liberty Heights Fresh (1290 S. 1100 E.) – Featuring local and imported specialty foods. Their knowledgeable staff will help you find whatever you may be searching for.
Porcupine Pub & Grille (258 S. 1300 E.) – Originally at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the new addition to the university area is a perfect spot. Porcupine offers tasty bar/grill food. Located in a renovated firehouse right off of campus.
Sea Salt (1709 E. 1300 S.)– A fresh Italian restaurant, worth a meal if only for a peek at the beautiful space itself. Luckily, the food is just as good. Some amazing pizzas, pasta, and salads await.
The Pie (1320 E. 200 S.) – Truly an underground pizza joint. Sure to be full of students, this dark dive is a fun spot to stop by. Also open late, in case you need a midnight pizza.
Vive Juicery (1597 S. 1100 E.) – Cold-pressed juice with way too many creative flavor combos to choose just one.
PLACES TO SHOP – Sugarhouse and Surrounding Area
Arte Hause (352 E. 900S.) – Everything in this renovated house-turned-art-gallery is drool-worthy. Beautiful local and international art and hand selected gifts.
Cactus and Tropical (2735 S. 2000 E.) – A full greenhouse stocked with a huge variety of indoor and outdoor plants. Great selection of pots and vessels. And the staff is oh-so knowledgeable.
Emilie Jayne (801 S. 800 E.) – A favorite consignment shop. Packed with dishes, décor and vintage finds. Always something new in store.
Maison (1291 S. 1100 E.) – A beautiful, French-inspired candy shop and gift boutique. A nice stop for gifts and treats. The owner, Becky, is a delight and often available to help you find what you are looking for, sweet or otherwise.
The Kings English (1511 S. 1500 E.) – A charming little bookstore that seems to be perfectly stuck in the past.
The Write Image – Stationery store selling all things paper. A variety of seasonal and specialty greeting cards. Be sure to stop by if you are in need of custom invites, they have a beautiful collection.