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THE CITY BETWEEN THE CANYONS 

The gateway city to the outdoors, Cottonwood Heights sits proudly sandwiched between Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Midvale's "Ski Corridor" continues through the Heights, offering a quick, direct route to the resorts. At only 10 years old, this is still one of Utah’s youngest cities, but that’s not to say it hasn’t grown quickly.

In 2007, Money placed Cottonwood Heights in its list of “Top 100 Cities to Live.” That’s because the Heights has, among other things, fantastic food, an abundance of hotels, and plenty of shopping options to keep you busy when you aren’t playing in the canyons. Stop by, and you’ll probably stick around for awhile. 

EAT & DRINK

From the fancy to the funky, you’ll find the eats you’re craving in Cottonwood Heights. Cafe Trio serves up contemporary Italian cuisine; the wood-fired pizza, with a unique wine pairing, is a must-try. Market Street Grill is Utah’s place for fish; the specials vary seasonally to keep the dishes as fresh as possible. But make absolutely sure you head to Lonestar Taqueria, a funky little Fort Union joint that’s famous for its fresh fish tacos with cilantro cream sauce and its off-the-wall decor. 

At the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon, folks flock to the Porcupine Pub & Grille for apres ski drinks and appetizers. The nachos can feed a family, and the big steins of beer are refreshing. Stick around and watch the sun set over the valley from the upstairs patio. For late-night extra-curriculars, the Canyon Inn is your place. With entertainment ranging from live rock bands to celebrity pro-athlete DJs, Canyon Inn gets packed in all the right ways come wintertime. The Hog Wallow is another favorite watering hole, with quality drinks, quirky decor, and local musicians performing several nights a week.

Try the hip and modern Blue Lemon for coffee, pastries, sandwiches, and the beloved sweet potato fries. Two sushi restaurants, Sushi Yah and Nagoya Sushi Restaurant, guarantee enjoyable dining experiences. And It’s Tofu is not only your spot for all things tofu, but also delicious Korean dishes such as bibimbap and hot stone bowl soups.

SHOP

There are a number of shops located around the Fort Union and 1300 East junction. They range from big box retailers to grocery stores to just about anything else you might need.

Cottonwood Heights, because of its proximity to the canyons, is dense with purveyors of outdoor and ski equipment. Ski N See is a Utah institution. Here you can reserve ski equipment online in advance and even purchase discount lift tickets. Another Utah staple is Utah Ski & Golf; they're known for having excellent service and top-notch gear. Chat with the knowledgeable staff at The Wasatch Ski Connection to get just the right stuff for your ski-day needs. Or head to Powder House Ski Shop to get a custom boot fitting, score some sweet gear, and say hi to the friendly shop dog. If you’re feeling lucky, try mining for a gem in the pre-owned-equipment store Play it Again Sports. 

Surface Skis calls Cottonwood Heights home, and the backyard mountain terrain makes for the perfect test environment for the planks they build. Surface can hook you up with a pair that’ll suit your needs, be it park, backcountry, or freeride, and you can demo some sticks before you purchase.
 

PLAY

The access to the mountains is unparalleled from this city, so locals and visitors spend much of their time in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, home to four ski resorts. Beyond the skiing, these canyons and their respective resorts offer mountain biking, climbing, fishing, disc golf, hiking, and other activities all year round. Another notable canyon, which is great for hiking, is Deaf Smith Canyon.

If you stick around Cottonwood Heights for a while, spend some time golfing with mountain views at the Old Mills Golf Course or enjoying family fun in the sunshine at one of the many parks—Crestwood Park is especially nice. Cottonwood Heights Community Recreation Center is the place where locals pump some iron, play ball, swim laps, or watch the kids play intramural sports. 
 

STAY

Indulge yourself in a royal experience by booking a room at Castle Creek Inn. The bed & breakfast has 10 guest rooms, each outfitted with a beautiful fireplace and jacuzzi tub. But it’s all about the food here. Upon your arrival, you will be treated to freshly baked pastries, snacks, and a variety of beverages, and in the morning, you'll be served a gourmet breakfast in the Grand Dining Hall.

Other wonderful hotel options include Residence Inn Salt Lake City Cottonwood or Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Cottonwood, both of which are right off of I-215 and give you a customer-centric, high-end hotel experience. For a budget-minded night, Extended Stay America - Salt Lake City - Union Park is a fine choice. And for middle-of-the-road, go with Hawthorne Suites by Wyndham Salt Lake City - Fort Union.


HIDDEN GEM

In 2011, the owner of the Canyon Inn commissioned a mural for one of the building's exterior walls. The finished piece featured a scantily clad woman, a cop car with the license plate reading "CRPT 1S," and some not-so-subtle commentary on religion and politics. The mural sparked some controversy, but, hey, it's freedom of speech in action. It's still there, so check it out if you're not afraid of a little scandalousness.

Photos: See Credits
Words: Austen Diamond