Provo contains a thriving academic scene, bustling religious headquarters and a whole lot of history. As such, the attractions around Provo are largely linked to these community staples; BYU and Utah State University both hold a vast student body and appropriately generous selection of venues and galleries. Mormons (and non-Mormons, too) will appreciate the city’s well-preserved religious history, concentrated around the LDS Temple, BYU and the Missionary Training Center. History buffs can explore the area’s many museums and historic sites.
Take It or Leave It:
Provo stands just east of Utah Lake, and immediately beneath the towering peaks of the Southern Wasatch; if you have the means, be sure to explore these gorgeous natural wonders.
Provo—which, in reality, is an amalgamation of Provo and Orem—could be likened to Salt Lake City 40 or 50 years ago; it’s quaint, low-key and devoutly Mormon. In keeping with the city’s casual vibe, the overwhelming majority of Provo’s best hotels are of the national chain variety; if visiting Provo, be prepared to catch your zzz’s in a mid-level or budget hotel. If you have the time to commute about 15 scenic miles, consider booking a room at the gorgeous Sundance Resort at any time of the year.
Most lodging establishments stand clustered near Brigham Young University (on the northern end of University Avenue), around the intersection of University Avenue and Center Street, or near I-15.
Though you wouldn’t guess it on first glance, Provo is actually home to an impressively diverse selection of cultures and cuisines. Owing to the presence of BYU, the Missionary Training Center, and the city’s integral role in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ global operations, Provo has quite an impressive immigrant population—and luckily for Provo’s residents and visitors, many of these folks have established fantastic restaurants in the tradition of their home countries. The best part is most of these restaurants are extremely affordable and casual.
You might get funny looks if you order alcohol in some of Provo's restaurants. If you'd like an adult beverage with your meal, you'd best call ahead to make sure your restaurant of choice serves alcohol.
Be Sure to Sample:
Provo's residents can't get enough of the ice cream at BYU Creamery.
Nightlife in Provo—now that’s a tough one! In the entire history of mankind, there has probably never been a person who has traveled to Provo for its nightlife. Still, the city doesn’t entirely shut down after dark. Provo has a few alternative (i.e. “dry”) night clubs and comedy venues. Indeed, it even has a few lonely, alcohol-brandishing outposts: check out A. Beuford Gifford’s Libation Emporium for a cold one at the end of a long day.
Though the serving of alcohol in Provo is not prohibited by law, it certainly is forbidden in the eyes of the Mormon Church.
For mall and box store shoppers, Provo is tops. The Provo Towne Centre, located very near I-15 and University Avenue, holds the area’s largest collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment options. Farther north is the University Mall with yet more stores, eateries and movie theaters. If you’re looking for locally-owned shops, take a stroll down the length of University Avenue and Center Street.
The overwhelming majority of Provo's stores close on Sunday. Plan ahead!
Best Local Souvenir:
Get your own BYU memorabilia at the Wilkinson Student Center, located in the heart of campus.