Explore Another Neighborhood
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Cradled in the foothills of Wasatch Mountain, the University neighborhood sets itself apart as a cultural and educational epicenter with an abundance of museums, parks, and cultural attractions. The University of Utah, first established in 1850 as the University of Deseret, is Utah’s oldest and largest institution of higher education. It received its current name in 1892 and moved to its current location in 1900.

With a combined enrollment of more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the University of Utah is a melting pot of people. And the bustle in the name of education and research makes this neighborhood vibrant. So take a stroll or hop on TRAX to see all that this neighborhood has to offer.

EAT & DRINK

There’s no shortage of solid eats here, whether the establishment caters to the spendthrift college student or folks looking for something more refined. To get the college experience, go underground to U staple The Pie Pizzeria and grab some slices and frothy brews. If you’re up for an ultimate food challenge, head to Big Ed’s, where, among the fried foods and tap beers, you’ll find the $20 Double Fist—20 shots of espresso—which, if consumed, comes with a free meal. A delicious spot for Mediterranean fare, Aristo’s Greek Restaurant serves upscale, traditional Greek dishes.

Professors and professionals from Research Park munch on off-campus lunchtime sandwiches at Red Butte Cafe. Taqueria 27 offers an extensive tequila menu for your margarita-loving apres ski pleasure, in addition to a bevy of mouth-watering and creative tacos. And Corner Bakery is a great spot for breakfast or to grab some pastries on the run. Salt Lake City’s most iconic brunch spot is Ruth’s Diner, which offers a good excuse for a drive as it sits about a mile up scenic Emigration Canyon serves delightful biscuits with every entree and huge plates with all the fixin’s.

SHOP

Whether you’re in a pinch to get a loved one a Utah souvenir or you’re enjoying a rest day from skiing, head over to Graywhale Entertainment an eclectic, local record store with occasional free shows, or peruse the selection of new and vintage stringed instruments at Acoustic Music. If you’re a Utes fan (or forgot your Chemistry 101 textbook on the plane), swing by the University of Utah Campus Bookstore. For an assortment of shopping, the neighborhood’s biggest strip mall is Foothill Village (1400 S Foothill Dr.).

All the ski and snowboard accessories—and big items, of course—await you at Sports Den. You’ll be able to tune up your skis, buy the goggles you left at home, and layer up if a cold front blows in unexpectedly. Oh, and by the way, Sports Den offers slightly discounted lift tickets. The national chain for ski rental equipment, Breeze, is right on your way to the hill. For those who pedal when the powder goes, go chat up the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Cyclesmith.
 

PLAY

Leave it to the collegial environment to make for a brainy good time. You’ll fill up your noodle with so much knowledge, you’ll be thinking about dinosaur bones and contemporary art instead of snow when you’re skiing. Swing by the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to see its massive collection of contemporary and folk art. The newly opened Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the most gorgeous halls of knowledge you’ll ever see. Since Utah has one of the highest concentrations of dinosaur bones, you can rest assured the NHMU has plenty for you to ogle. And on a sunny day, a walk through Red Butte Garden & Arboretum, with its rows and rows of native plants and flowers, can’t be beat. 

You can also catch some culture by taking in a play at Pioneer Memorial Theatre or musical performances at Kingsbury Hall. Fun for the whole family can be found at Hogle Zoo or This is the Place Heritage Park; the latter is chock-full of Mormon and pioneer history.

On game days, Rice-Eccles Stadium becomes a sea of red as Utah Utes fans cheer on their favorite Pac-12 team. And there are more than 100 miles of maintained mountain ways to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a mixed use trail for bikers, runners, and dog walkers. In the University neighborhood, there are many access points to the BST. 

STAY

The beauty of staying in the University neighborhood is the hop, skip, and jump to the Interstate and onward to the resorts. From Foothill Drive, it’s just over a half hour 'til you’re on the slopes. The Salt Lake City Marriott University Park offers new rooms and stunning views. While it is on campus, the no-booze rules don't apply at the hotel bar; in the morning, get your fill of breakfast grub at the hotel’s Allie’s American Grille before heading out the door. Hampton Inn & Suites boasts a great stay at a great value. You'll be close to more dining options, and you can practically throw a rock at all of the family-friendly attractions in the neighborhood. If your plan is to spend your hours on the mountain by day and in the city by night and are looking for a no-fuss place to rest your weary bones, go for Skyline Inn. And to add a little charm to your stay, squirrel yourself away at the bed and breakfast Haxton Manor.

You’ll probably want to stock up on snacks and maybe some more sustaining vittles. Dan’s Market is an all-purpose, full-service grocery store with a pharmacy. For your upscale, foodie needs, Liberty Heights Fresh divies up imported and locally made artisanal culinary delights. And then, get your booze procured at the area’s State Liquor Store (1615 Foothill Dr., 801-584-8387).
 

HIDDEN GEMS

Look around, and it’s obvious Salt Lake City has peaks for days. But one of the coolest destinations for a city hike is The Living Room (trailhead at 383 Colorow Dr.). This overlook facing the University of Utah and downtown gets its name because of the many man-made rock couches and chairs for lounging and taking in a sunset. Another iconic (and shorter) hike in the area is the hilltop "U," which can be accessed off Virginia St.

Under a full moon or on Halloween, try to find the grave of Lilly E. Gray at the Salt Lake City Cemetery (200 N. St.). Little is known about Gray, but the troublesome inscription, “Victim of the Beast 666,” continues to fascinate locals. The grave is located in the X1 section and can be a little difficult to find. Find a section of tall pine trees in a row in the aforementioned section, look for the third tall pine from the east, and continue up the cemetery in a straight line north. 

Photos: See Credits
Words: Austen Diamond Photography