Revealing Salt Lake City: History, Culture, Music, and Adventure Await in the Heart of Utah

Revealing Salt Lake City: History, Culture, Music, and Adventure Await in the Heart of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah is an interesting metropolis, huddled up next to the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, SLC has an interesting (to say the least) history, and a unique and diverse culture that, in many ways, is waiting to be explored. A popular city, in the sense that I don’t think I’ve met anyone unfamiliar with the fact that the city at least exists—I never imagined I would stumble upon it and then to have stuck around for a couple of years.

            Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and his Mormon followers, when Utah was still a territory of Mexico, the city of the great Salt Lake defends a fascinating history, much of which is obscured and tranquilized by time and crossed-fingers. Although Salt Lake City remains the seat of the Latter-Day Saints, the city’s location is a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts year-round that has paved the way for a counterculture of music, bohemia, and art.

From intimate music venues to grand concert halls, the city resonates with the melodies of local bands, emerging artists, and world-renowned performers. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, electronica, or spoken-word, Salt Lake City’s music scene has something for every music aficionado. Every summer in downtown Salt Lake City the city hosts the Twilight Concert Series, this year marks the 37th year, and although there are ticket sales now, in the music series’ infancy the concerts were free—regardless, the shows are generally worth the ticket prices. I saw Andrew BirdThe RootsJosh RitterClap Your Hands and Say “Yeah,” Broken Social SceneNeko CaseThe Fiery Furnaces, and Calexico throughout my SLC experience.

The city is a gateway to a playground of natural wonders. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and shimmering lakes, Salt lake City offers a myriad of outdoors activities, from hiking and skiing to rock climbing and mountain biking. Embrace the spirit of adventure as you explore the breathtaking landscapes that define the outdoor scene of Salt Lake City. Be wary, the timeless feud between skiers and snowboarders is alive and well in the peaks above the city. Alta, the known skier’s refuge, and their skiers continue to thrash their snowboarding foes, suggesting that board-ers “just go to Snowbird (the snowboarder's haven),” and that “snowboarders can use Alta all they want. They just have to use it while skiing.” The feud can get pretty nasty, but history shows us that the skirmishes between Mormons haven’t always ended well. Beyond spending the day at the beautiful Great Salt Lake, the hiking, mountain biking, and climbing around the city can be unbelievable. The Waterfall Trail nearer Ogden, Utah (just north of SLC), the Ensign Peak Trail, Bell’s Canyon, the Living Room Hike, Neff’s Canyon, and Grandeur Peak to name a few.

Beneath its serene surfaces is a vibrant counterculture that defies stereotypes and embraces diversity, as many places with strict aesthetic and moral expectations have. Salt Lake City’s alternative scene is a melting pot of artists, activists, and bohemians who challenge conventions and celebrate individuality. From quirky art galleries to eclectic cafes—one of which remains one of my favorite coffeehouses anywhere in the United States, Sunset Coffee in Sandy. The counterculture of Salt Lake City invites you to embrace the unconventional and explore the city’s rebellious spirit.

          The appeal of Salt Lake City may not be unmistakable; I can’t stay in the city for more than a few hours before an intense excess of pressure and low frequency humming make it nearly impossible for me to function. A strange phenomenon that began to affect me one afternoon flying in the skies above the city that now reemerge with every visit, however, there is a semblance of intrigue in this ambiguous metro where a unique history, music, outdoor adventures, and countercultural vibrancy converge to create the possibility of an unforgettable experience, and the only way to experience it, of course, is to go ahead and give it a whirl.

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