Best of Utah 2016 | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2016

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Best Bowling Alley
Bonwood Bowl
The experience at this Main Street establishment is pure, classic, uncluttered bowling. Bonwood Bowl hasn't changed its style since it opened more than half a century ago—it hasn't needed to. The best deals are on Mondays with three games and shoe rental priced at just $6, but budget-friendly bowling can be had any day of the week. Want to add a competitive edge? Grab your gear from Bonwood's pro shop and join a league. Relaxing with friends and newfound bowling buddies over a frothy pitcher (don't forget the wristbands) is always a good time. (SA)
2500 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-487-7758, BonwoodBowl.com
2nd place: All Star Bowling and Entertainment
3rd place: Jupiter Bowl

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Best Bike Shop
Contender Bicycles
Contender's massive bicycle palace at 9th & 9th contains everything a novice or connoisseur might need to get in gear. Take advantage of the shop's tune-up packages and have your bike working like new, or consult one of their many experts to get the knowledge you need to DIY at home. Cycling should be accessible to all, and Contender is passionate about making sure everyone can hit the road safely and in style. (SA)
989 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0344, ContenderBicycles.com
2nd place: Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective
3rd place: Crank SLC

Best Advanced Hiking Trail
Mt. Olympus
One of Salt Lake's most strenuous trails is also its most rewarding, compensating hikers who make it to the top with splendorous views of the valley and surrounding ranges. The path might be steep, but it's well traveled, not too treacherous and best suited for trekkers willing to dedicate their day to spectacular scenery. Those looking for a more adventurous climb should try summiting the peak in the winter. (SA)
7.5 miles out and back, 5789 Wasatch Blvd., Holladay
2nd place: Lake Blanche
3rd place: Mt. Timpanogos

Best Beginner's Hiking Trail
Donut Falls
There's a reason this hike is popular with families escaping the valley's scorching summer heat: It's practically a rite of passage for beginning hikers living along the Wasatch Front. Three-and-a-half miles might seem like a bit of distance for the kiddos at first, but with minimal elevation gain and the namesake waterfall at the end (yes, it is shaped like a doughnut and, yes, you should pack doughnuts to snack on), this trail is a treat. (SA)
3.5 miles out and back, access the trailhead via Jordan Pines picnic area in Big Cottonwood Canyon
2nd place: Living Room
3rd place: Cecret Lake

Best swimming
I.J. and Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center
2 N. Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-581-0098, SLCJCC.org
Taking a dip at Salt Lake City’s renowned JCC is a year-round affair with the facility’s indoor and outdoor pools. Group and private swimming lessons, fitness classes and swim teams are all great options to get you and your family in the water, or take advantage of the open lap swimming times, which occur daily. (SA)
2nd place: Steiner Aquatic Center
3rd place: Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center

Best Birdwatching
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area
It's pretty difficult not to spot a bird or two at these wetlands adjacent to the Great Salt Lake. The spring nesting and fall migration seasons have the area bustling with blue heron and thousands of tundra swan that will stay until the water freezes. Don't overlook winter, where bald eagles use Farmington Bay to hunker down for the colder months. A love of nature is all you need to enjoy the area—and a good pair of binoculars. (SA)
1325 W. Glovers Lane, Farmington, 801-451-7386, Wildlife.Utah.gov
2nd place: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
3rd place: Antelope Island State Park

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Best Community Event/Festival
Utah Arts Festival
Every June, thousands of art lovers flock to Library and Washington squares to immerse themselves in Utah's artistic community. The Utah Arts Festival has become a pinnacle summer event in Salt Lake City, and its popularity is well deserved. Live music, fine art, film, performance pieces—all artistic manifestations are celebrated at Utah's largest art event of the year. And with staff working year-round to ensure each summer is perfect, 2017's event is sure to be the best yet. (SA)
UAF.org
2nd place: Salt Lake Comic Con
3rd place: Utah Pride Festival
Honorable mention: Craft Lake City

Best City Park
Liberty Park
Liberty Park has been a classic focal point of urban SLC for 135 years and continues to shade residents with its towering pines and cottonwood trees. Summer and fall have the park bustling with local events from the annual Pioneer Day fireworks show and powwow to Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt fundraiser, plus various concerts and gatherings like the traditional Sunday drum circle—not to mention the plentiful amenities for all, including Tracy Aviary, a swimming facility, jogging paths, playscapes and much more. (SA)
600 E. 600 South, Salt Lake City
2nd place: Sugar House Park
3rd place: Murray Park

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Best Fitness Classes
The Bar Method
By intentionally combining toning and aerobic exercises and structuring them in a particular order, The Bar Method's classes help students quickly reach their own personal standards for fitness. Stamina, strength and flexibility are primary targets at the Sugar House barre studio, and each method can be fine tuned to any student's body type. With routines that are easy on the joints, The Bar Method's focus on well-being sets it apart from many other programs. (SA)
1057 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-4227, SaltLakeCity.BarMethod.com
2nd place: CorePower Yoga
3rd place: Awaken Studios

Best Outdoor Supplies Shop
REI
So, yeah, we said no chain stores would be recognized, but rare is the Utahn who hasn't set foot in an REI store. Their two Salt Lake Valley locations offer outdoor enthusiasts practically endless options for quality gear, and if you haven't taken advantage of their membership program ... why? (Seriously, their 10 percent annual dividend is freakin' sweet.) Become involved in the recreation community by participating in one of REI's in-house workshops on topics like avalanche awareness and ski/snowboard tune-ups, and remember to #OptOutside on Black Friday. (SA)
Multiple locations, REI.com
2nd place: Kirkham's Outdoor Products
3rd place: Recreation Outlet

Best PokéStop
Temple Square
Having trouble stocking up on water Pokémon? So are the rest of us. Utah's arid climate isn't exactly ideal for aquatic creatures. Head over to Temple Square, though, and you might find that Blastoise or Poliwag you need roaming around the fountains and pools. The downtown landmark has become an interesting place for Pokémon Go enthusiasts due to its tendency to house less common characters—including dragon and fairy types—and gives trainers the chance to truly be the very best. (SA)
50 North Temple, Salt Lake City
2nd place: Watchtower Café
3rd place: Brigham Young Historic Park

Best Public Golf Course
Bonneville
Tucked into the foothills above Salt Lake City, Bonneville Golf Course provides 18 holes of sensational scenery. There's a bit more terrain up here on the mountain compared to the valley's other courses, and the long fairways will give anyone's drive a workout with most of the holes sitting at Par 4 or 5. Putting can be a bit tricky (the putts break toward the valley, just FYI), but the challenge is well worth it on this pristinely manicured course. (SA)
954 S. Connor St., Salt Lake City,801-583-9513, SLC-Golf.com
2nd place: Old Mill
3rd place: Mountain Dell

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Best Skate Shop
Milosport
You can't go wrong with the help of Milosport's seasoned and enthusiastic skate staff. This passionate crew knows their gear and runs a store that is perfect for veteran skaters looking for their ideal setup. Don't know your decks from your trucks? That's fine, too—newbies are always welcome. Dating back to 1984, this skate shop was one of the first—not just in Utah, but in the entire country. Here's to another 30-plus years of shredding, guys. (SA)
3119 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-8600, Milosport.com
2nd place: BlindSide
3rd place: Half and Half

Best Recreation Destination
Moab
Moab has come a long way since the days of dusty agriculture and uranium mines. Now, it's a boomtown for tourism and the gateway to Utah's red-rock country. Mostly known for being nestled between Arches and Canyonlands national parks, Moab is also surrounded by the astounding beauty of lesser-known attractions like Dead Horse Point State Park, Castle Valley and La Sal Recreation Area, just to name a few. Hiking, biking, rafting, Jeep-ing—you name it. This town can help you find your perfect adventure. (SA)
Highway 191, 32 miles south of Interstate 70, DiscoverMoab.com
2nd place: Zion National Park
3rd place: Lake Powell

Best Ski Run
Alta's High Rustler
Skiers rejoice when the powder's deep enough to access this legendary Alta run. The expert black-diamond-level slope doesn't just look steep, it is steep, with prime terrain and great views of Little Cottonwood Canyon to boot. Though it might take a little trekking to get there, once you've jumped off the initial small cliff into the chute, you'll be in skiing paradise. (SA)
10230 E. Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Alta, 801-359-1078, Alta.com
Alf's High Rustler, Alta
2nd place: Regulator Johnson, Snowbird
3rd place: Stein's Way, Deer Valley

Best Yoga Studio
Salt Lake Power Yoga
Focusing on Power Vinyasa yoga held in rooms heated to around 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit, Salt Lake Power Yoga is determined to provide its students with holistic practice experience. Compassion and determination are essential to SLPY's mission, and staff members encourage all participants to find balance within themselves to accomplish their self-set yoga goals. With class offerings ranging over a multitude of skill levels, no matter what option you choose, at SLPY, you will sweat—and that's a good thing. (SA)
250 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City,
801-468-9642, SaltLakePowerYoga.com
2nd place: Centered City
3rd place: CorePower Yoga

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Best Snowboarding
Brighton
There's a little something for every snowboarder at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. Brighton's mix of green and blue runs are excellent for beginning and intermediate boarders, but the resort also has enough challenging terrain to keep more advanced riders busy. Freestylers won't get bored at the constantly changing terrain parks. Throw in the backcountry and night-boarding options and the fact that passes and lift tickets are some of the cheapest along the Wasatch Front, and you've practically got your winter planned. (SA)
8302 Brighton Loop Road, Brighton,801-532-4731, BrightonResort.com
2nd place: Snowbird
3rd place: Park City Mountain Resort

Best Urban Fishin' Hole
Jordan River
The murky waters of the Jordan River might not look like they contain much beneath the surface, but those who have pulled up hauls of white bass, catfish and bluegill can attest to the river's bounty. There are many access points along the waterway's winding path from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake and finding calm waters to float your boat is relatively easy. Or you can post up along the shore, bait your hook and wallow the summer afternoon away with a companion and/or cooler of beer by your side. (SA)
Parks.SLCO.org
2nd place: Willow Pond Park
3rd place: Bountiful Lake

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