J and I moved to Salt Lake City about 3 years ago. I never thought in a million years that I would live here. Hahaha, I didn’t even know exactly where it was on the map. But here we are, and it is beautiful. It’s not the liveliest city (which pays off during rush hour!), but it is full of outdoor adventure, stunning views, and delicious restaurants. Living in “the bowl” and being surrounded by snowcapped mountains is something you just don’t get tired of. If you ever get a chance to travel to this beautiful city, I hope you can take advantage of all the great things it offers. I’m here to break it down for ya and tell you all the best spots to visit- including places surrounding Salt Lake City. And whatever you do…DO NOT visit the Great Salt Lake. It smells bad, there’s a lot of bugs, and it’s actually super depressing.
P.P.S. There are a lot of districts and cities in the SLC. Everything is pretty close together and the city is super easy to navigate. The most popular areas are Sugar House, 9th & 9th, the Avenues, downtown, Liberty Wells, Capitol Hill, Rio Grande, Foothills, Millcreek, Murray, Holladay, Cottonwood Heights, and Draper.
Buds: Whether you’re vegan or not, this 100% plant based menu is full of flavor. The barbacoa burrito will blow your mind! okie!
Corelife Eatery: Healthy quick option! All of the ingredients are non-gmo and there’s nothing artificial. They use lots of organic options. My go to is the mediterranean salad, kale caesar , or Bbq ranch bowl. Multiple locations around SLC.
Mollie & Ollies: Great quick option for bowls or sandwiches!
Pulp Lifestyle Kitchen: Cold-pressed juices, smoothies and flavorful food made with wholesome and organic ingredients. I love their bowls and sandwiches! They also serve a light breakfast.
Publik Kitchen: An extension of the local coffee shop, Publik. It has the same delicious toast with a more extensive menu. It’s one of my favorite brunch spots in SLC. Trust me when I say, their toast is like NO other. Best you’ll ever have.
Campos Roastery & Kitchen: Finally an Australian Cafe in Salt Lake! If you’ve heard or been to Bluestone Lane or Two Hands in NYC, this is your new spot. We LOVE it here and go at least once a week. Pro tip: Order the Australian Iced Coffee. It’s sweetened with a dollop of ice cream and basically heaven on Earth. The food is also delish!
Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeaid: A unique Southern-style biscuit joint that also has super creative organic limeades. They are always packed so prepare for a bit of a wait. It’s one of my favorites places in the city.
Eva’s Bakery: From scratch organic bread and food. They have various kinds of bread, croissants, tea, espresso, sandwiches, pies, and amazing breakfast & lunch food. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, the stuffed blueberry french toast with lemon cream cheese filling is delish!
Bambara: A classy breakfast joint in Hotel Monaco. It has simple food with quality ingredients. We love going here.
Les Madeleines Café: A cutesy French-style cafe with made-from-scratch pastries and desserts alongside a full breakfast menu.
Rye: Locally sourced new-American food with an Asian twist! They are all about sourcing locally. A few classics are the Waffle and Whisky or the Breakfast Bowl.
The Bagel Project: Really delicious bagels. Need I say more?!
Roots Cafe: Every thing here is wholesome and packed with nutrients. Farm fresh eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, organic produce, fresh blueberry muffins, and raw juice. Pro tip: order the Roots of the Day if you want to try a little of everything. They also serve lunch here!
Hub & Spoke: If you’re craving a little Southern comfort in Salt Lake City, Hub & Spoke is the place to go! It’s a diner that sources local and sustainable ingredients giving all that greasy diner food a bit of a face lift. They even offer gluten-free & veg options and have plenty of sides, which makes it easy to build your own meal.
Oasis Cafe: A hidden gem in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s a quirky, art-filled restaurant featuring a large patio. Locals love it for their vegetarian and vegan options, but they also have plenty of options for meat-eaters! They also serve lunch and dinner, but breakfast is definitely the most popular.
From Scratch: Hands down the best gourmet burger in the city. There’s nothing like it. The pizza is delicious too.
Aristos: Homestyle Greek food. We go sometimes for dinner just to get their pita sliders and Greek salad. Oh and the kafteri! Totally underrated and you must try it! By far the best Greek food in Salt Lake.
Laziz Kitchen: A hip & trendy restaurant with gorgeous greenery serving shareable plates created with local ingredients and sustainable meat. They also have coffee and wine and delicious pastries baklava. The food is soooo good.
Seasons Plant Based Bistro: Amazing vegan food! I was so surprised when we went here. Everything is gourmet and hand made. It’s delicious.
Boltcutter: A vegan taco spot. Their nachos are amazing!
Jinya Ramen Bar: My favorite ramen in SLC. I prefer their spicy veggie ramen over anything else on the menu.
Wasatch: If you’re looking for a brewery with good pub food, this is your spot! I’ve never seen a brew pub care this much about the food they serve. They use organic ingredients and have organic ketchup at every table. They also do a great job catering to all lifestyles. Great spot to hang with friends and enjoy a few drinks.
Squatters: The menu is super similar to it’s partner restaurant, Wasatch, but has its own uniqueness to it. Squatter’s has everything from pizza and burgers to salads and tacos. Squatter’s is a higher quality spin on your local pub with three floors, cool downtown views, and a secluded patio area.
East Liberty Taphouse: Nestled in the vibrant 9th and 9th neighborhood of Salt Lake City. It’s a Scandinavian inspired modern tap house serving classic bar food. Fun place to grab a drink!
Taqueria 27: A fun, trendy mini taco chain local to Utah. I love their quesadillas.
Somi: A locally-owned Vietnamese restaurant serving delicious food plus wine & cocktails in a modern environment. They’ve got pho, vermicelli, veggie spring rolls, and rice dishes, plus drinks like Vietnamese iced coffee or coconut juice served straight out of an organic coconut.
Zest Kitchen & Bar: The best part about Zest is the desserts! I love the carrot cake. The baked zuc and cheese is the bomb dot com.
HSL: One of my top 3 favorite restaurants in SLC. We go here a lot for date night. The restaurant is beautiful and we love the environment. They source locally and mostly organic and accommodates all types of diners. There’s also super veggie-forward. You MUST get the general tso’s style cauliflower for an appetizer.
Copper Onion: Another restaurant in SLC that’s in my top 3! Make a reservation online or you may have to wait a while. The menu ranges from crunchy house pickles and handmade pastas to cast iron chicken and delicious desserts. The beef stroganoff is by far my favorite dish. They also serve weekend brunch. Get the cinnamon roll! It’s an off-menu item, but they should have it.
Copper Kitchen: A restaurant with beautiful Spanish-style decor and a beautiful view of the mountains. Copper Kitchen and Copper Onion are sister restaurants, so you can’t go wrong with either place. I’ve never been disappointed with anything on the menu.
Alamexo: A farm-to-table Mexican restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City. It is by far my favorite Mexican restaurant in SLC, because not only is the food delicious, but they source local, organic ingredients. The enchiladas suizas will give you life.
Pago: A chef-driven veggie forward restaurant in 9th & 9th district. It’s a great spot for date night.
Layla Mediterranean: Located on a cute little strip in downtown Holladay (about 15 minutes from downtown SLC). The food is super yummy!
Eva: Tapas, tapas, tapas! Everything on the menu is fabulous. Another great date-night spot
Provisions: Farm-to-table food! The service can be hit or miss but the food is so flavorful and their weekend brunch is incredible.
Mazza: They have incredible Middle Eastern food and an extensive Lebanese wine list. The lamb shank is a menu favorite, and the muhammara will leave your mouth begging for more. They have a great vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan selection as well!
Bambara: I had this on the breakfast list, but their dinner is even better. We went here for my birthday last year, and I still can’t stop thinking about the ravioli I ordered. Everything is from scratch, local, etc.
Cafe Niche: They put an emphasis on supporting local farms and has a menu full of organic ingredients, grass-fed beef, fair-trade coffee, free-range eggs, sustainable fish, and so much more. Located in an industrial-chic space, this restaurant has everything you need from sunrise to sundown. They are great about catering to dietary preferences & needs. Open for breakfast as well!
Dolce Sicilia: Great Italian spot in Sugar House. Love any and all of their pasta dishes. FYI: the pizza is different here because of the region of Italy it’s inspire by! It’s more like huge chunks of bread with barely any topping. If you’re wanting tradition pizza, I’d skip this dish.
Kimi’s Chop & Oyster: An eclectic oyster bar with pretty decor, a great atmosphere, and sophisticated food. It’s difficult to find good seafood in Salt Lake City, and Kimi’s is by far the best! I dream about their salmon and clam chowder.
Pallet: A cozy, romantic restaurant in downtown Salt Lake serving seasonal, farm-to-table food.
Current Fish & Oyster: Located in an industrial-chic building in downtown Salt Lake City. They offer regional, sustainable seafood plates with a signature twist. It’s the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or night out on the town.
Tradition: A beautiful restaurant with Southern-inspired comfort food. The presentation is always stunning and their cocktails are yummy! Brunch is my fave here- hello chicken & pancakes.
Pizza Nono: An artisanal pizzeria in the 9th & 9th neighborhood serving wood-fired pizza created with local ingredients. It’s a small indoor/outdoor venue lined with wood tables, pretty blue wallpaper, and streams of light. They have the BEST gluten-free crust I’ve ever had and also always use organic flour and tomatoes. My go to is the Beehive. By far my favorite pizza spot in the city.
Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana: Yummy spot to grab pizza, plus they have a gelato shop next door! Perfect combo. They’re gluten-free crusts are fannnntastic!
Normal Club: Super EXTRA ice cream and it is SO freaking good. They have the most unique flavors and every single one I’ve tasted has been everything I ever wanted.
Dolcetti Gelato: Another charming 9th and 9th spot serving up creative gelato using local milk and fruit. The flavors change daily and sometimes include coconut sticky rice (LOVE), PB&J, cookie butter, brown butter banana, whisky caramel, and classic vanilla bean. They also have dairy free options like chocolate or strawberry sorbetto.
Tulie Bakery: A neighborhood bakeshop with two locations in Salt Lake City. There’s so much to love about this charming French bakery. They source locally, use seasonal ingredients, and serve organic teas as well as La Barba coffee. Typically they have a few gluten-free options in addition to several vegetarian and vegan options. The cheesecake is my fave.
Chip: SLC’s version of the Levain Bakery cookie. Super soft and gooey and they always have a flavor of the month.
MonkeyWrench: Plant-based ice cream that is just really really good. Boltcutter is next door too, if you’re feeling some vegan tacos!
Passion Flour Patisserie: A lovely little vegan bakery that has gluten-free and soy-free options. They carefully source all of their ingredients to ensure that 98% are organic & non-gmo. They do an amazing job for a French bakery that is totally vegan with yummy menu items like gluten-free porridge and crêpes served with house jam. I’ve loved the food here, but their lattes are a little on the watery side.
Gourmandise Bakery: Love this little French bakery! We go here all the time for dessert- it’s Jered’s favorite! They serve food too, but the desserts are where it’s at.
Big O Doughnuts: A family run doughnut shop using only plant-based ingredients. Everything is fresh, including the fruits, nuts and flavors used. If your cruisin’ around the city, make a pit stop by this vintage doughnut shop for an orange-cardamom doughnut hole, apple fritter, or a peanut butter chocolate doughnut… Just hope they haven’t run out yet!
Banbury Cross Donuts: Homestyle donuts. Omggg they are so light and fluffy. The strawberry is where it’s at.
Campos Roastery & Kitchen: My absolute favorite coffee shop in SLC. Get breakfast and an Australian Iced Coffee! SO good.
Publik Coffee: A coffee shop that happens to make the best toast you will ever bite into. I know what you’re thinking, “Toast?… I can make this at home.” But no, no you can’t make this toast at home. They use varieties of thick homemade, local bread. They also have local organic jams. Personal favorite? The strawberry rhubarb jam & cream cheese on mocha bread or the avocado toast.
La Barba: Super chic coffee shop that now has multiple locations around the city. It doesn’t hurt that they make the best coffee around, which pairs nicely with their delicious churros and whiskey s’mores brownies! La Barba serves a mix of fair trade, direct source, and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee, so drink up!
Blue Copper Coffee: Sustainable coffee sourced from across the globe. It’s a super cool coffee shop, and they have their own roastery! Another one of my most beloved coffee shops and in such a cute area of town.
The Rose Establishment: Best tea lattes on the planet and one of my favorite coffee shops. Warning: there’s no wifi.
Crema Coffee & Soda: Near Fashion Place Mall! It’s a cute drive-through coffee shop that sells giant rice crispy treats and Banbury Cross donuts. It’s the best.
Jack Mormon Coffee: Quirky coffee shop in the Avenues. They have amazing coffee and sell their own roasts.
Three Pines Coffee: A trendy downtown coffee joint with matcha lattes and a delicious drip coffee.
The People’s Coffee: Another hipster coffee shop in the heart of downtown! Super good lattes and J loves their black coffee.
Amour Cafe: A neighborhood cafe that is famous for their unbelievably good jams. They’ve also got coffee, pastries, salads, and gelato. FYI: This is the jam Publik uses on their toast – life changing!
Sugar House Coffee: A hipster coffee shop with reallllly amazing chai lattes. They make them from scratch! I feel like we are always here!
Coffee Garden: A relaxed coffee shop in the 9th & 9th district with pastries, coffee, and a wide tea selection.
Vive: Cold-pressed juices using environmentally friendly practices while also giving back to the community. Vive is “fueled by love & local farms” and one of the best juice spots in the city!
Just Organic Juice: I loveeee the acai bowls here! The juice is good too, but the acai is next level.
Brass Smoothies: A vibrant shop located in the 9th & 9th district. They use fresh, natural, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. Every flavor I’ve tried has been delicious. Love the Brass Monkey!
The RUIN: A dimly lit bar with tables and big comfy couches in the heart of Sugar House. This is our favorite place to go for a drink.
Purgatory Bar: An industrial-chic bar with unique bites like curry donuts and fried chicken toast. They also have several veg options and a great weekend brunch menu.
Water Witch: An eccentric bar with customizable cocktails. By the bar, there’s a huge mural of the lake in homage to the 1860s yacht that the bar is named after. They are also all about farm-to-glass.
Under Current: If you’re looking for before or after dinner drinks, this is a lovely spot! It has an extensive bar menu and small plates! Located right next to Current Fish & Oyster.
Prohibition: A trendy bar located near Fashion Place mall! The atmosphere is a lot of fun and they have a wide variety of food on the menu.
Copper Common: Right next to their sister-restaurant Copper Onion. They have several overlapping menu items, but this is more of a drink/hang out place with craft cocktails and small bites.
Whisky Street Cocktails & Dining: It gets fiercely crowded here at night! It’s a vintage-style lounge with a ton of beer and whisky to choose from. They have pretty decent food too!
Beer Bar: One of the most popular bars downtown, because it’s owned by Ty Burrell of Modern Family. People love it, but it’s a little too crowded for me (lol old soul).
Bar-X: Right next door to Beer Bar. It’s more low key with a sophisticated cocktail menu. Also, way less crowded.
The Red Door: I always forget about this place, and have no idea why! It’s so good. I’ll take a Key Lime Pie martini, please.
Beer Hive Pub: A gastro pub downtown with over 200 beers from around the world.
Things to Do:
Shopping: City Creek Center, Fashion Place Mall, The Stockist, Hip & Humble, Zurrick, Patagonia Outlet, Love Street Apparel, The Arthouse Collective, Katie Waltman Boutique, Fice Shoes, Nest Boutique, Roolee Boutique, Flight.
Hikes: Mill Creek Canyon Pipeline Trail (take Pipeline trail near Rattlesnake gulch and go left for a view of SLC), Bell Canyon, Broads Fork Trail, Lake Blanche Trail Head (Challenging, but it’s our favorite! Gorgeous drive and even prettier view once you get to the top), White Pine Lake, The ‘Living Room’ Trailhead, Mount Olympus (very challenging!), Silver Lake Trail, Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Bridal Veil Falls, and Bloods Lake (easier trail, gorgeous lake dogs can swim in, bring bug spray!).
Park City: We adore Park City! Click the link and it’ll take you to my full city guide.
Parks: Tanner Park, Sugar House Park, and Memory Grove Park. These are our favorites because they are very dog-friendly. Both Tanner and Memory Grove are off-leash and Sugar House has a big area in the center of the park where we occasionally take the pups off leash.
Red Butte Garden: A lively place to be, especially during the summer! There’s always something going on like a concert or movie night, plus the gardens are stunning.
Tibble Fork Reservoir: A great place near American Fork (about 45 minutes – 1 hr South of SLC) to paddle board or kayak. We’ve been a few times and typically rent our kayak from REI.
Antelope Island: Stinky, but super pretty! Be prepared to see more bison than antelope.
Fifth Water Hot Spring: One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had since coming to Utah. Snow or shine, dark or light, this place is beautiful. Caution: You may or may not see a naked person or two bathing in the hot tubs. But they are usually in the secluded areas not out where all the people are.
Temple Square: Mormon or not, this place is gorgeous any time of the year! My favorite time to stroll through here is during Christmas to look at the lights.
Rideologie: A milder version of Soul Cycle. Lots of fun!
Orange Theory Fitness: You guys know my love for OTF! I’ve been going here for months.
Burn: Pilates, circuit training, and TRX. You’re gonna be way sore the next day.
Rebel House: A cycling and boxing studio with music that makes exercising fun.
The Grand America: Our favorite hotel in the city. It’s absolutely stunning and we love going to dinner or events around the holidays here.
Little America: Another gorgeous hotel and it’s right next to Grand America. Lovely spot!
Hotel Monaco: We always love staying at any Kimpton Hotel Monaco hotel. They are always super unique and have their own quirky vibe. This is generally the hotel famous people opt to stay when they visit SLC. J & I eat at their restaurant, Bambara a lot!