What is Salt Lake City, Utah Known For? (18 Things It’s Famous For)

Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah. It is a vibrant metropolis with various cultural, historical, and religious landmarks. The city is also popular as the religious capital of the Mormons, where they established monuments and other edifices. Holding the Olympic Winter Games brought a new dimension and placed the city on the map for foreign tourism. It is now dubbed “the fastest ice on earth” and “the greatest snow on Earth.” The area has evolved with excellent dining options, many retail outlets, and various seasonal activities. Many visitors also utilize the city for day trips to the region’s ski resorts, especially at the Utah Olympic Oval. 

Salt Lake City is known for its landscapes, stunning parks, religious monuments, the Great Salt Lake, and distinct snow. Also, tourists flood the city during Sundance Film Festival and winter or fall to ski and snowboard. The city prides itself in winning eight world records during the 2002 Olympics.

The Great Salt Lake

Salt Lake City is right next to the Great Salt Lake, where the city derived its name. The lake is large enough to affect the local climate. Also, the ecosystem around the Great Salt Lake is diverse and fascinating. It is a place where migratory birds may rest safely on their journey. Migrating birds rely heavily on this area for food and development before continuing their journey. Due to the high salt concentration, it is easy to float. The lake’s extreme salinity is because it has no outlet to expel the salt and other minerals that flow into it.

State Capitol is a Must Visit

You can find Utah’s statehouse atop Capitol Hill, 300 feet above the city at the northern end of State Street. The Utah state legislature, senate, and supreme court are all located beneath this neoclassical dome. The inside has a marble dome, a reception room for the Governor called the Golden Room and a small gallery that hosts rotating exhibitions. Panels depict Utah’s historical growth and evolution along the major corridors. You can view the whole city and the snow-capped mountains in the State Capitol. It is also nearby other popular destinations, such as Temple Square and the historic Marmalade District.

Liberty Park on a Sunday

You can find Liberty Park in the heart of Salt Lake City. It is the city’s biggest public park, covering over 80 acres and hosting a range of recreational opportunities. The park’s tennis courts, basketball courts, and public swimming pool make it ideal for a day trip. Many tourists and locals visit this park during the warmer months. You can enjoy a picnic or escape the sun by hiding in the shade of the many trees. Two jogging pathways are available for fitness enthusiasts. Also, it is best to see it on a Sunday, when there are enormous drum circles.

The Mormon Faith in Salt Lake City

The Mormon church has its headquarters in Salt Lake City. You can find different Mormon establishments in the city, including the massive Mormon Temple, Mormon Tabernacle, and the Beehive House. Brigham Young, the second church leader, and his family lived in the Beehive House. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building, or the former Hotel Utah, is a prominent structure in the heart of Temple Square. It was renamed after the Mormon Church’s first president. The Mormon tabernacle is a vast, dome-topped, oval structure supported by 44 sandstone columns. You may visit the tabernacle on free tours and hear its fascinating acoustics.

The Greatest Snow on Earth

 The mountains in Salt Lake City are called the “The Greatest Snow on Earth” for a reason. First, the quality of the snowfall attracts skiers and snowboarders there. Each of the 15 ski resorts here produces 500 inches of snow yearly. However, it has particularly distinctive snow due to its low moisture content. Salt Lake snow is distinctive due to its crystal structure, made possible by the state’s low humidity and high altitude. The snowflakes are often large and symmetrical; they drift gently to the ground, gradually accumulating as a fluffy powder.

Salt Lake City is Known for its Museums

The Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City is a good idea for a family day. You can find collections that include zoology, botany, anthropology, and paleontology items. Highlights include a computerized globe, dinosaur fossils, and a three-story indoor canyon. There are 5,000 artifacts on show at a time. The museum includes more than 1.6 million pieces in its collection, over 40,000 square feet of exhibit space, and educational facilities. It is housed in a copper-clad concrete structure with towering ceilings. The vistas of the city and valley below are breathtaking from the observation deck.

The Sundance Film Festival

The city annually hosts the most prominent independent film festival in the United States. Every year in January, the Sundance Film Festival draws in filmmakers from around the globe. Since 1985, hundreds of films that premiered at the Festival have won awards and gained international audiences. Whether you are a film director or a casual viewer, you are welcome to attend. Filmmakers, distributors, and critics may profit from the festival by watching new releases. If a film does well at a festival, it may be picked up by a distributor who hopes to sell it in their own country.

The Hogle Zoo is Home to 800 Animals

The fantastic Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City is a dream come true for kids. It is located on the city’s outskirts to the east. More than 800 species of animals from all over the globe are housed on the zoo’s 42 acres. There are seven main exhibits, some of which are the Elephant Encounter and the African Savanna. You can take your children on a miniature train ride that passes directly by the lion exhibits or on a historically realistic carousel.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiers and snowboarders on a budget will love Salt Lake City’s affordable hotels and diverse eateries. You can visit many resorts, including Powder Mountain, Brighton, and Sundance. You may also drive to Alta and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Valley. Both meandering routes take you into the rocky Wasatch Mountains. Sundance, founded in 1969 and popularized by Robert Redford, is a modest, historic ski resort one hour south of Salt Lake City. If you want to go skiing but detest crowds, Snowbasin is the place to go. It seldom gets crowded and has great views despite hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

A Monster in the Lake

The North Shore Monster is a legendary creature said to dwell in the depths of the Great Salt Lake. The stories of three guys working on the lake in 1877 started the North Shore Monster legend. They said they saw a monster in the water that looked like an alligator with the head of a horse. When it saw them, the beast roared and lunged at them. They managed to escape and live to tell the story. You will most likely see the North Shore Monster at night when the surroundings are cold and dim.

The Jell-O Belt

People from Salt Lake City are very fond of Jell-O. They eat more Jell-O than any other state in the US. Because Mormons consume so much Jell-O, this region is known as the Jell-O Belt. You might observe this if you’re invited to a religious celebration or a home-based event. Manufacturers claim that every man, woman, and kid in Salt Lake City buys two boxes of Jell-O per year, double the national average. Salt Lake City’s high Jell-O consumption is attributed to Mormons abstaining from sweets. They also consume a lot of ice cream, candy bars, and marshmallows.

A Seagull Monument at Temple Square

Mormons first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847. They eagerly anticipated a bountiful harvest because of their diligent crop planting. The problem was that millions of giant black crickets pester the 900 acres of wheat. The infestation could not be eradicated despite the use of water, fire, soil, and even clubs. When the pioneers prayed in desperation, flocks of seagulls destroyed the crickets and saved their crops. For the Mormons, this was such a remarkable occurrence that they built a monument to commemorate this. The Seagull Monument celebrates the heritage of Utah’s official state bird. 

The Fastest Ice

Not only does the snow make Salt Lake City renowned, but the city also boasts the world’s fastest ice. The Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and earned an astonishing 10 Olympic and 8 world records. A stunning panorama of the Wasatch Mountains welcomes guests and visitors to this exciting event. As altitude increases, the air’s resistance decreases, making it easier to ski. The Utah Olympic Oval is a fantastic venue for any event, summer or winter. Their skating activities is a fun way to stay active throughout the warmer spring and fall months.

Cosmetic Surgeons in Salt Lake City

Given Utah’s reputation for conservatism, you may be surprised to see billboards advertising plastic surgery on the freeway. Salt Lake City has the second-highest concentration of plastic surgeons in the country. Cosmetic surgery is so common in the city that many call it the “Utah look”. Approximately 66% of Utah Mormon women have a friend or relative who has had plastic surgery. Most Mormon women in the city prioritize marriage and motherhood. A common belief is that physical beauty was vital in securing status as a Mormon woman. This made cosmetic surgery a viable choice for achieving and maintaining attractiveness.

The Temple Square

Salt Lake City’s Temple Square is one of the city’s most popular attractions. For Mormons, Temple Square is their spiritual epicenter. Bright flowerbeds, beautiful blossoming trees, fountains, and four crucial Mormon buildings – the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and the Assembly Hall, spread across 35 acres. In addition to these impressive structures, you can visit various memorials honoring religious leaders and landmark events. A trip through this park is especially pleasant in the spring and summer when the trees and flowers are in full bloom. Several high-quality eateries in the neighborhood are perfect for a midday break.

Fry Sauce is the Best Condiment

Fry sauce, Utah’s favorite condiment, originates in Salt Lake City. Legend has it that Don Carlos Edwards, the man behind the Arctic Circle fast food restaurant in Utah, invented fry sauce in the late 1940s. He combined ketchup, mayonnaise, garlic, and other spices in the original “pink sauce” recipe. It quickly became famous as French fries’ ideal dipping sauce. The sauce became an instant cultural staple and continues to this day as Salt Lake City’s pride. Some regions and restaurants have their own version of fry sauce, but it is definitely a top Western American dipping sauce.

The Largest Family Library 

The Family History Library is the world’s biggest research library devoted to family history. It is located in the center of Salt Lake City. It has more than 4,000 Family History Centers in 88 countries. The FHL is operated by a Mormon organization, although anybody is welcome to use it. You may find your family history, translate essential documents, and take courses to learn about genealogy. It has many primary sources, such as foreign civil registration records, federal and state census records and indexes, county records, and naturalization records. You can find 87,000 family histories in this library.

The Transcontinental Railroad

After the first Transcontinental Railroad was finished passing through the area, Salt Lake City became known as “The Crossroads of the West.” The Transcontinental Railroad sped up development in the West and reduced the time it took to travel between the coasts from months to days or even hours. Because of this, Salt Lake grew rapidly, eventually becoming a major transportation hub for the whole Western United States. The railroad’s construction facilitated the spread of communities westward. The railroad’s arrival greatly aided the expansion and profitability of industries like agriculture and mining.