Salt Lake City is broad city with its sights and attractions spread widely across its massive expanses. As such, many people consider driving–or biking–the only practical means for exploration. However, if you select the right area to visit, it's completely possible and reasonable to check out Salt Lake City as a pedestrian. Downtown, with its dense cultural and culinary offerings, is an ideal place to take a day-long walking tour.
The perfect location to begin your trip is at the ultra-classic attraction, Temple Square. Whether you’re Mormon or not, you’re bound to find the religion and this sacred space interesting. Here you can experience firsthand the most classic and historically significant sights and structures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Temple Square: Festive in all Seasons — Photo courtesy of El Frito
Though you won’t be able to enter the Temple itself, you can view this impressive structure from the outside. Nearly all the other structures on the premises are open to the public. You can tour the Tabernacle–where the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearses and performs regularly. Check out the beautiful Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the Reflecting Pool, the North and South visitor centers and the Beehive House, one of Brigham Young’s official residences.
During daylight hours, the grounds are open to the public and cost nothing to enter. Missionaries give free tours of the grounds throughout the day. Don’t be afraid to join up for a tour; these informative guides explain details of the Square that you would otherwise overlook.
When you’re satisfied with your tour of Temple Square, use a southern exit to access South Temple Street. Walk east along this street until you reach State Street. Turn right and head south along the west side of the street until just before you reach 400 South Street. Locate and duck into the Himalayan Kitchen. One of the most beloved restaurants in all of Salt Lake City, the Himalayan Kitchen offers extremely tasty Indian and Nepali cuisine. During lunch hours, you can partake of their famous all-you-can-eat buffet for a mere $10.
Once you’ve sufficiently filled your belly, continue walking south on State Street. After crossing over 400 South Street, you’ll find yourself sandwiched between two of Salt Lake’s most impressive government buildings. To your left (west) is the Courthouse; to your right (east), the Salt Lake City and County Building stands in the middle of Washington Square.
Inside the Salt Lake City Public Library — Photo courtesy of Casey Serin
Walk due east through the landscaped green space that is Washington Square. Reaching 200 East Street, you’ll be faced with the Salt Lake City Public Library. Though this may not sound exciting at first, this building is actually one of the most impressive, modern works of architecture in the entire city. Incorporating function and beauty, this structure embraces Utah’s abundant natural light. A gorgeous structure in and of itself, this library also has a rooftop garden from which you can view city and surrounding mountains.
After your time at the library, walk just two blocks west and a short block north to Market Street. The city’s hottest dining zone, you’ll be able to enjoy an incredible meal of sushi at Takashi or surf ‘n’ turf at Market Street Grill. A dinner at either of these restaurants will be a five-star way to conclude your walking tour of Downtown Salt Lake City.