It’s rare that my opinion of a city changes after my first impression, but I have to say that over my two days in Salt Lake City, I’ve started to like it more. I think that part of the reason I started with a less-than-positive impression of SLC was that every time I talked to someone on the train, or even in SLC, about the fact that I was here for vacation, they asked why, or suggested I spend at least one of the days in Park City (about an hour away) instead of in SLC. And so I struggled yesterday morning to figure out what to do, considering I hadn’t gotten many recommendations and wasn’t too enthused about anything I had been able to find.
I took a tour of Temple Square, which was interesting to hear about and beautiful to see but strange from the religious point of view- not a problem with the religion itself, but from the overt missionary work at all of the sites, which I wasn’t expecting based on what I’d read about the tour I had signed up for. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss seeing Temple Square, but they really don’t cater anything towards people who aren’t religious. After the tour, I went to the Family History Center to try to do a bit of genealogy research- although, I hadn’t prepared much for this, so while I found a couple of documents, I didn’t get as much done as I’ve gotten done at other places with a little more planning in advance.
SLC is interesting from a city planning perspective- most of the downtown area is very new, and there are two giant indoor-otudoor malls that I walked around in the afternoon. The shops are ones you’d find anywhere, but the design of the space was different and very pretty! And, regarding the shops…conveniently, one was Sephora, so I took a break to get makeup and nails done, and it made all the difference in how I felt after traveling for the past 4 days and switching time zones so often and being exhausted 🙂
Later on in the evening, I went to the planetarium, because, why not?! The show was fine (and I was tired, so I fell asleep…) but the museum that the planetarium is housed in was fantastic! Small, but worth the time, and top it off, admission is free- the only cost is if you’re seeing a planetarium or and IMAX show in the theater. So I took a break from SLC and went to Mars 😉
After the show, I walked back through Temple Square, all lit up for Christmas since it was after dark by then. There was a big holiday concert going on, which I didn’t go to, but instead walked outside the square and found a bagpiper and a French food truck! 🙂
I walked back to my hotel through a different area of downtown, which is conveniently labeled with walking tour signs to help you identify historic buildings and old architecture- interesting to learn about how the city was founded and has evolved!
And the Macy’s store windows here, like at all Macy’s, are decorated for Christmas, but here the designs are done by local artists…and made entirely of candy!
For dinner, I went to a place that was recommended to me by someone I met on the train- Red Iguana, a Mexican restaurant that’s been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It was delicious! Since I didn’t want to pick just one thing to eat, I got a combo “plate” and it was served to me in an 8×10 baking dish! Soooo much food…but so good! It’s funny because the restaurant clearly fits into the “dive” category, complete with the facade of the building being covered in random stickers. But the food was top notch!
So that’s the end of my first day in SLC- though actually, I’m headed out of town tonight. I’ll write separately about SLC day 2! My next stop from here is Sacramento, CA. I’m hoping to keep these blog posts going in chronological order, so that’d mean SLC Part 2 coming tomorrow morning. Hopefully I’ll have time to write while on the train! It’s been a whirlwind two days, and very different from the past few days spent on and off the train- it’s a different state of mind to actually be somewhere, instead of to be going somewhere. And yet, as I’m writing this, in 5 hours I will be back on the train! Then doing this all over again at my next stops. It’s two totally different kinds of traveling squished into one. I like it.