Downtown Salt Lake City at Night — Photo courtesy of Sashikanth D
Perhaps you're driving through Utah and have the opportunity to pause for a day in Salt Lake City. Or you're here to ski for few weeks, but plan to spend the bulk of your trip in the mountains. Regardless of the reason, if you have just one day to spend in Salt Lake City, you'll want to fill your day's roster with meals from the city's best restaurants, and with sights that showcase the city's best attributes.
For the first meal of the day, head downtown (if you're not already staying there). Open since 1919, Lamb's Grill Cafe is the central Salt Lake City's most popular purveyor of full-service breakfasts. Given its longevity, Lamb's Grill is one of few retro-style diners with authentic décor. Here you can choose from classics like eggs Benedict, corned beef, french toast, and numerous omelets – or you can start the day ligth with a plate of organic fruit, granola and yogurt.
After breakfast, head to Temple Square. Though it is may seem like a cliched destination, it is one of the most visually and historically interesting man-made sites in all of Utah. Hook up with any of the numerous tour guides there for a cost-free, informative trip around the grounds. If you're there on a Monday – Saturday, try to finish your tour just before noon; at 12:00, you'll want to be seated in the Tabernacle to catch a free, 30-minute organ rehearsal on this 11,623-piped instrument.
For an affordable, delicious, artisan sandwich head just a few blocks southwest to Tony Caputo's. This Italian deli and foods importer creates made-to-order sandwiches with freshly-baked bread, choice meats, cheeses, vegetables, and sauces.
After lunch, you have numerous options. If you feel like getting some exercise, head to The Front Climbing Club. One of the best climbing gyms in the nation, this stands just a few minutes southwest of downtown. The Front is a bouldering gym only, meaning that you need no belay skills (or belayer) to use the facilities; if you don't have climbing shoes, just rent them at the front desk.
On a nice day, you can head to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for a hike. This trail system crisscrosses the foothills directly north of town and requires very little driving to access – plus affords great view of the city, below.
Dinnertime awaits you with incredible fine dining options. For a taste of ingenious, contemporary sushi, head to Takashi. Or if you're in the mood for European cuisine, head to The Paris for a French dinner or to Fresco for a romantic Italian meal.
If you'd like to save some cash, check out The Red Iguana for exceptional Mexican, Himalayan Kitchen for Indian and Nepali, Red Rock Brewing Company for a huge pub menu, or The Bayou for Cajun, live music, and a choice of 200 beers.
After dinner, you may be ready to head back to your hotel room. But just in case you have a bit of energy to check out the city's nightlife, consider hitting up any of Salt Lake City's fabulous brew pubs. You'll find yourself surprised by the quality of locally-made beers. Or head back to The Bayou for some live jazz, billiards, and finger foods.