Placed in the void between two mammoth mountain ranges, Salt Lake City is something of a hill-lovers Mecca, having hosted the Winter Olympics back in 2002, as well as being famous as the heart of the controversial Mormon religion in America. The Church of the Latter Day Saints even lead to a brief ‘Utah War’ with the government over polygamy back in the 19th century, though these days Salt Lake City is a modern, highly-seasonal town with an impressive outdoor leaning.
Of course, exploring the religious side of things is all part of the experience, and you can do so by dropping into the Temple Square, home to the imposing LDS church as well as numerous other LDS sights. You won’t be allowed inside the Temple (unless you’re a Mormon with specially granted permission), but the media displays and other spots like the Beehive House are well worth a trip. Elsewhere, you’ll find Salt Lake has an extremely green dimension to it, including everything from paddle boats to a sculpture garden (International Garden) and meditation chapel for those who enjoy some quiet time out.
The more action packed traveler will also lap up the green side of the city, with boating on the Great Salt Lake - after which the city is named - a year round pastime. Mountains and canyons for biking and hiking are a mere stones-throw from the heart of the city (you can comfortably ride to them, though walking will add a serious kick to your hike). Skiing is practically essential (though bizarrely, many of the local resorts have banned snowboarding – check in advance), as this area receives some of the heaviest snowfall in the entire US. Another out of town draw is the Kennecott Copper Mine, a huge open pit on to the West of the city that makes for an unusual but startling tourist attraction.
Unusual, in fact, is a fair summary of Salt Lake, a city that’s anything but the American norm and a more interesting place for it. The city’s unlikely to fall at the top of your list of US tourist must-sees, but it will certainly keep you engrossed.