The capital of Utah, Salt Lake City, lies between Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch mountains. Famous for its winter sports and historic buildings, the city is blessed with natural beauty and interesting culture. It is known throughout the world as the centre of the Mormon faith, housing the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as one of its earliest temples.
The city was founded in 1847 by Mormon pioneers, who travelled across America from Illinois to establish a new colony on the West coast. One of their first acts was to build the Salt Lake Temple; this imposing neo-Gothic edifice on Temple Square is only open to church members, but the nearby Church History Museum provides an informative overview of the religion that inspired it.
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a former hotel built in the style of the Italian Renaissance, is a fine example of the architectural heritage of the past, while the ultramodern Salt Lake Public Library Main Building, opened in 2003, uses state-of-the-art techniques to interpret architect Moshe Safdie’s stunning designs.
Among the city’s many visitor attractions, the Clark Planetarium and Living Planet Aquarium are popular with families. The world-class collection at the Utah Museum of Fine Art will keep culture-vultures entertained all day, with exhibits ranging from Ancient Egyptian artefacts to contemporary paintings.
Since it hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, skiers and winter sports fans have been flocking to Salt Lake City, while in the summer the mountain trails and lakes provide opportunities for walking, fishing, sailing and camping. Nature-lovers are well catered for in this unspoilt corner of America, with the carefully landscaped plantings of Red Butte Garden and Arboretum and the untamed beauty of Utah Lake State Park offering diverse ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
Getting around the city centre is easy, with a Free Fare Zone on the UTA public transport network. During the ski season the resorts are served by shuttles.