Best of Utah 2010: Active Life | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best of Utah 2010: Active Life


15th Street Gallery - NIKI CHAN WYLIE
  • Niki Chan Wylie
  • 15th Street Gallery

Best Uptown Strolling
15th Street Gallery

This gallery, in one of Salt Lake City’s classic neighborhood business districts, has become a new home for local artists to display their work outside of the downtown circuit. Glenda Bradley closed her old framing business and remodeled it over the course of two years into the white, minimalist design of today. With the help of curator Rebecca Richards, the place now serves as both a gift shop up front and one of the larger galleries in town in the back, one that’s piqued the interest of local artists as a new home to showcase their works. Not a bad turnaround, at all. 1519 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1515,

Best Biking

As a haven for bikers from around the world, on some summer evenings in Moab, it’s common to hear more German spoken than English. Luckily for Salt Lakers, this biking center is only a few hours aways, giving locals ready access to the the grippable surface of red rock that helps riders defy gravity. Close to downtown Moab, the world-renowned Slickrock Bike Trail satiates every biker’s masochistic urges, with hairpin turns and roller-coaster drops. Then there’s Porcupine Rim Trail, another five-star ride. Its hair-raising cliffs keep pedlars holding on to their handlebars for dear life. Afterward, Moab Brewery helps relieve the tension from two-wheelin’.
2. Park City
3. Mill Creek Canyon

Best Indoor Racing
FastKart Speedway

You’ve got the need for speed, but Utah hasn’t been forward-thinking enough to build an Autobahn, and you’re not quite ready for the NASCAR circuit. Luckily, you can feed your inner racer on a smaller, safer scale. This Murray fun-spot isn’t just a louder version of a Disneyland ride; you can simply show up for between 18 and 35 solo laps around the track, or match yourself against others in a 35-lap race. You’ll need to sign a consent form, and then you can floor that pedal. And when you feel like you know what you’re doing, there’s always the option of joining a league. 3969 S. 500 West, Murray, 801-261-3668.

Best Market that Teaches How to Grow Your Own
People’s Market

On the west side of town is a farmers market that might not get the attention of the Downtown Farmers Market, but the People’s Market has a great, unique vibe. How could you not be attracted to a farmers market held at the International Peace Gardens? The market features not only a wide variety of produce and other foodstuffs from local farmers and producers, but also vendors who’ll teach you to grow your own, along with cooking demonstrations and workshops. Best of all, the People’s Market captures the community spirit and enthusiasm of Salt Lake City’s west-siders. The People’s Market runs from June through October. 1000 S. 900 West, Salt Lake City,

Best Year-Round Indoor Farmers Market
Rico Locals Food Co-op

During the summer and early fall, Utahns flock to farmers markets to buy fresh, local groceries. Some vendors recognized the demand for a year-round market and Rico Locals was the result, dedicated to the idea of providing year-round locally grown food for “locavores.” Vendors Morgan Valley Lamb, Drake Family Farms cheeses and Canyon Meadows Ranch Natural Beef came together at Rico’s retail site. The co-op is proving to shoppers that a full tank of gas is not always required to get food to the table. 779 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-364-9700,

Best Year-Round Indoor Farmers Market (Southern Utah Division)
Made in Good Taste

Many thing that farmers markets are a warm-weather phenomenon, but the residents of Elsinore weren’t content to limit their support of locally made and grown products to just the summer and fall months. Launched as an outdoor market in 2007, Made in Good Taste has now taken over a 3,500-square-foot retail space for its rotating selection of crafts, jams, baked goods and other Utah items. From Wednesday through Saturday, you might find fresh cookies, breads, pies and whatever else the bakers can dream up. 40 W. Main, Elsinore, 435-527-1777,

Best Hiking
Mill Creek Canyon

Being able to bring your dog on your hike—they’re even allowed off leash on trails on odd number days—is one reason to love Mill Creek. Plus, it’s not nearly as steep as Little Cottonwood nor as crowded as Big, and it’s closer to downtown Salt Lake City than both. The canyon is a pleasant destination for a quick ride, either by bike or car, or an evening cookout. Mill Creek attracts recreationists year-round. In the springtime, wildflower enthusiasts gather to see colorful blooms, while others come in the fall to for the fall foliage. Pack a lunch and walk or ride to Dog Lake, a favorite getaway. 3800 South & 3500 East, Salt Lake City
2. Big Cottonwood Canyon
3. Little Cottonwood Canyon

Best Neighborhood to Live In
Sugar House

Sugar House has got it all: a big park with lots of family-friendly picnic areas; great restaurants like Omar’s Rawtopia, Fiddler’s Elbow and Blue Plate Diner; friendly hole-in-the-wall dives like The Tap Room; and arts in Sugar Space Studio. Even with the grubby fingers of developers leaving a “Sugarhole” in the area, it has retained its charm. This is the neighborhood where college students, working professionals, ski bums and Salt Lake City’s best-looking ladies converge. Not to mention, if you need a scenery change, there’s easy access to Park City, downtown and many canyons. But, really, why would you leave?
2. The Avenues
3. 9th & 9th

Best Racetrack
Miller Motorsports Park

If you have the need for speed, Miller Motorsports Park has the right stuff, from karts geared toward kids of any age to World Superbike and NASCAR events. Miller Motorsports Park is a world-class racing facility that hosts some of the world’s most prestigious racing series, including the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series—all a mere 35 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City. And, if you’d rather drive than watch, MMSP also offers learn-to-race courses for the wannabe hot rodder. 2901 N. Sheep Lane, Tooele, 435-277-7223,

Best Skiing

Three factors bring skiers coming back year after year: the pillowy mounds of snow for softly and smoothly putting turns together down chutes (or padding a missed landing off a cliff); the absence of snowboarders who scrape said snow off of said chutes; and the “ski free after 3” program, for novice skiers or those new to telemark. OK, there are many more factors, and that’s the lure of this classic mountain, even when it’s a subpar season (like this year was). And, the closing-day party isn’t to be missed. Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta, 801-359-1078,
2. Snowbird
3. Solitude

Best Advanced Hike
Deseret Peak

Deseret Peak Wilderness Area features beautiful flowers, a wide mix of trees, strenuous switchbacks, snow mounds that stay frozen almost year-round and a picturesque mountain lake. Nestled in the Stanley Mountains, Deseret Peak’s summit is over 11,000 feet in elevation and Utah’s fourth most prominent peak. Getting to the top is a moderately difficult task, but the fit and adventurous may want to do the entire 8-mile loop with a whopping 3,600 feet of elevation gain, then take a detour up to South Willow Lake, before returning to the trailhead. The usually lush plant life changes considerably along the way. South Willow Canyon Road, Grantsville, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 801-236-3400

Best Swimming
Steiner Aquatic Center

Whether sporting a mankini, one-piece, orange floaties—no matter the swimmer’s fashion choice, Steiner Aquatic Center near the University of Utah offers an opportunity to drop your robes, dip your toes and get wet. It caters to a diverse crowd, from toddlers to seniors to even those who don’t yet know how to swim. If cheap day passes don’t excite you, maybe the two lovely pools will. The 25-yard indoor pool is open year-round for lap swimming or dropping can-openers off the short diving board. Finally, come May, the 50-yard outdoor pool beckons sun worshippers. Then, after you’re limbered up or worn out, stay wet with a soak in the hot tub. 645 S. Guardsman Way (1580 East), Salt Lake City, 801-583-9713,
2. Fairmont Aquatic Center
3. Cottonwood Heights Aquatic Center

Best Beginner Hike
Adams Canyon

Adams Canyon features a giant waterfall and a lovely primitive picnic area—perfect for blanket relaxation. Hot days are best because the waterfall functions like a 45-foot swamp cooler. The rocky tidal pool where the mist is super-chilled is a blast for the senses and a rare romantic interface with wilderness. The hike is rigorous for beginners, but the payoff at the end convinces novices and reluctant hikers that the great outdoors is as great as everyone says it is. It’s just east of Layton, conveniently located for most of the Wasatch Front. About 400 N. Eastside Drive, Layton, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, 801-236-3400

Best Family Photo-op
Salt Lake City Main Library Roof Patio

Salt Lake City Main Library makes brilliant use of it curved structure by winding a walking path along the roof line. At the top are flowers, tables and a grand view of downtown Salt Lake City that’s so close and dramatic you’ll feel like you’re in any other big, modern city. Pose the family in any nook and cranny and capture the organic coolness of spring flowers in contrast to the steely chilliness of modern city skyline. Turn around, and the family will have the Salt Lake Valley and the majestic Wasatch Mountains framing their posed domestic bliss. 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-524-8200,


Best Hidden Jewel
Jordan River Parkway Trail

Disecting the Salt Lake Valley is the unappreciated marvel that is the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Much like the river itself, the trail for bikes and pedestrians has to accommodate the encroachment of housing developments. While stretches have been all but squeezed out of existence by indifferent developers, there are still parts of the walkway that are flush with birdlife, offering places to sit with a picnic and watch this lifeline to the natural world lazily drift by. Great Salt Lake to Utah Lake,