Salt Lake City surrounded by mountains
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Salt Lake City surrounded by mountains

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Salt Lake City travel guide

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, boasts a spectacular setting. Cradled in a natural basin below the Wasatch Mountains and extending to the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake, its natural allure is evident.

This must certainly have been true in 1847 when Mormon Pioneer Brigham Young arrived here and established the famous home of The Church Of The Latter Day Saints. While Salt Lake City is intrinsically linked to the temple erected at the heart of Temple Square, the city still follows its own trajectory.

Today, less than half the population is Mormon and it’s the student and immigrant communities that thrive. Add a flourishing dining scene, eye-catching museums and astonishing number of bars, and Salt Lake City really starts to surprise you.

In their struggle against discrimination, the Mormons have gained an unlikely ally in the LGBT community, and the three-day Pride Festival has become one of Salt Lake’s biggest celebrations.

You can bag your share of culture at the excellent Utah Museum of Contemporary Art or at the Natural History Museum of Utah, based in a sleek 21st-century home conceived to be an extension of the local landscape.

The lure of the mountains is what brings many visitors to Salt Lake. Catch sight of a licence plate and you might spy Utah’s claim to have the ‘greatest snow on earth’. Over 12m (500-plus inches) of super-fluffy white stuff blankets the region annually, and you can ski a different mountain every day of the week. Four major resorts are so close you can take a local bus and be back in town for après at the opera or the symphony. In summer, hiking and camping takes over, along with road trips to Utah’s iconic national parks.

And you can forget all you’ve heard about Utah being a dry state. For years, smart brewpubs and innovative microbreweries have succeeded in watering the thirsty with local ales in the face of restrictive Utah booze laws – let’s drink to that.

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