Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in Salt Lake City

by  Darren Murph | Feb 22, 2013
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah / Jason Finn/iStock

As far as "small" big cities go, Salt Lake City has a lot of appeal. A lot of common annoyances found in booming metropolises are either diminished or vanquished altogether here, making it a highly enjoyable locale to end up in on business. It's also a ridiculously great time of the year to visit, with temperatures inching milder each day and snow-capped peaks still glistening. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of Utah, we’re offering up two restaurants, three attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

Conveniently, the Arrow Press Square Shopping Center is located directly adjacent to the (awesomely named) Salt Palace Convention Center. There, you'll find quite a few local eats, but Caffe Molise is one that shouldn't be missed. Italian is the specialty, but it's a pretty broad definition that includes way more than just soups and pasta. Being as close as it is, it's an easy spot to head for a quick lunch or an early dinner.

If you're looking for more variety, The Copper Onion is also just a short jaunt away. It's on the pricier side, but it's obvious that the chef takes quality seriously. Beef, fish, pasta, cheeses, and soups are all accounted for here, and the atmosphere is more suited for a well-dressed dinner with clients than anything else. They're open for lunch, but they close from 3:00-5:00PM each day, so be cautious of showing up during off-hours. Best of all? There's a "Copper Onion Burger," making it perfectly acceptable to select a hamburger as your main course.

If you're short on time (but you remembered a heavier coat), there's a couple of places I'd recommend heading to on foot. Just northeast of the convention center sits the Salt Lake temple and reflecting pool. If it's your first time in Utah, or you have any interest whatsoever in religious studies or gorgeous architecture, the beautiful complex is worth a visit. From there, head a couple of blocks north along N State Street until you run into the Utah State Capitol Building. The facility is another looker, and sitting just east of it is Freedom Trail, which winds through Memory Grove Park and provides an excellent respite for those longing for fresh air.

If you managed to rent a car, and you end up with a half-day to explore, you're in luck. Hop on Emigration Canyon Rd. to the east of Salt Lake City, which eventually runs into Highway 65. There, you'll be escorted into mountain ranges, with views of Bald Mountain and Little Mountain. It's a twisty road, but there are plenty of opportunities to grab snapshots along the way. You'll be amazed by how fast you exit the city lights when taking this route, and it'll most certainly whet your appetite and give you reason to return to Utah's southern half when time permits. From Arches to Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon to Zion, Utah has an astonishing amount of National Parks within its borders.

Before departing, feel free to blow off a little steam at The Red Door. It's one of the smaller lounges in the city, but the upscale nature (and strict no-smoking policy) makes it a winner for those looking for a high-brow atmosphere. Plenty of martinis, whiskies, wines, and bourbons are on tap, but if you're feeling lucky, order up one of the house specialities and see what comes of it.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

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