- Jerre Wroble
- Steenblik Park's "Dairy Cats"
Welcome to beautiful northwest Salt Lake City, one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse stretches of Utah. A true walkable neighborhood, many of the streets in this little burg were designed in the shape of roses. Once a Superfund site, Rose Park is now known for its many green spaces: four parks, a community garden, a golf course and the Jordan River Parkway. Not all of the picks below are within Rose Park’s strict boundaries between 600 North and Davis County and between Interstate 15 and Redwood Road, but collectively, they make up the community’s west-side pride.
Best Cool Cats
Steenblik Park’s “Dairy Cats”
Artist Day Christensen’s four bronze cats sit attentively in small Steenblik Park, as if awaiting a bowl of warm milk. The felines are a nod to the historic Steenblik’s Dairy, a one-time venerable Rose Park family-operated institution. The pocket park pays tribute to Joseph Steenblik, who moved to Rose Park in 1908. Steenblik remains a common Rose Park surname: Today, Scott and Ralph Steenblik help oversee the Rose Park Community Garden at 877 N. Cornell Street (1525 West). 1100 W. 800 North, Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Day-Riverside Library
Most locals tout the downtown Main Library for its jaw-dropping modern design. But neighborhood branches each have their charm, the Day-Riverside in particular. Like a long wooden ship on a grassy stretch by the river, it’s the opposite of downtown’s glass and concrete edifice. With shady trees, an “eco-garden” and outdoor picnic pavilion, it brings readers and nature together. Inside, thanks to XMission’s free wireless network, patrons flock to computer terminals to connect to the Web while others make connections in the large meeting room via book clubs, classes and workshops. People of diverse ethnic backgrounds find a melting pot here; it’s really the heartbeat of Rose Park. 1575 W. 1000 North, Salt Lake City, 801-594-8632, SLCPL.org
Best New Lease on Life
Utah State Fairpark
As far back as 1856, Utah pioneers loved nothing better than trying to one-up their neighbors’ cheese, butter, fruits and veggies, all while cheering on a horse race or two. In 1902, that gathering moved to a “way off” location by the river: the Utah Fairpark. With more than a century of harvest hoopla under its belt, the fairpark still fights to justify its existence. In 2009, the fair drew 314,000 attendees in its 11 days, its historic barns teeming with live chickens, goats, pigs and cows as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. The 2010 Legislature, knowing better than to euthanize the fair, voted to extend its lease for 50 years. Now everyone awaits North Temple’s “Grand Boulevard” TRAX line to see if the fairpark will harvest dollar bills. Let’s all sing: “Our state fair is a great state fair! … It’s the best state fair in the state!” 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City, 801-538-8400, Utah-State-Fair.com
Best Unchained Neighborhood
There’s no Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Home Depot, Target, Shopco, Macy’s, Dillard’s, JC Penney, Sears, T.J. Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Costco or Sam’s Club. There’s not even a Starbucks. And many residents are rightfully pissed about the effort and distance it takes to go shopping. But, visitors might find relief in exploring the tree-lined streets of Rose Park and its one-off eateries, tiendas and mom & pop businesses. And if you really love chains, there’s always North Temple’s low-end shoe chains, dollar stores and payday lenders.
Chubby’s Home-Made Mexican Food
People who eat at Chubby’s are after one thing: Mexican-style comfort food. It comes in many forms, from cheese enchiladas to the Chubbychanga to a sizable burrito stuffed with chicken or beef and onions, swimming in a sea of Mexican chile verde gravy, and covered in cheese. The service is prompt and the chips and salsa while you wait are scrumptious. Also, try Chubby’s hangover-curing huevos rancheros. You won’t hurt anymore. 955 N. 1400 West, 801-596-2070
Best Place to Huddle
Front End Grille
West-side denizens enjoy a cherry ride in the Front End Grille. With breakfast offerings named after classic cars (the ’28 Hudson and the ’57 Chevy omelets) and car parts (the “spark plug” crepe and “hub caps” pancakes), the fun auto theme does not backfire. Lunch items like the Half-Ton Burger and Dashboard Sandwich will rev up anyone’s engine. Live music on Thursday nights and an outdoor patio add to the sleek stylings of this ’50s diner. 510 W. 200 North, Salt Lake City, 801-326-1080, FrontEndGrille.com
Best Antidote for Dehumanizing Airport Security
Diamond Airport Parking, Lot B, North Temple
If you’ve a flight to catch, you know what lies ahead: the humiliation of being virtually strip searched, de-shoed and scanned with radiation. To combat that ego-busting feeling, start the trip out right: Park your car at the Diamond Airport Parking on North Temple, located just four minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport. Their shuttle meets you at your car within minutes. A friendly driver treats you like royalty, loading your bags, giving you a card so you can find your way back. On your short trip to the terminal, enjoy a newspaper and free bottled water. You can even schedule a car wash while you’re gone. These folks are a class act. 1925 W. North Temple, Lot B, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7275, DiamondParking.com/Airport/Salt-Lake-Temple.aspx
The Rail Event Center
Whatever the ins and outs of The Rail’s complex evolution, the west side’s newest venue is, at least from the inside, something to behold. Whether it’s the 87 stalls in the glitzy marble decked-out bathroom, the hi-tech kitchen or the sprawling hall and upstairs bars, the Rail has certainly played its cards right when it comes to getting local big names, such as The Leonardo or Real Salt Lake, to host events there. While nearby residents are locked in a bitter legal struggle to resolve noise issues, The Rail, for better or worse, is determined to continue to leave a sizable impression on the Guadalupe neighborhood it calls home. 235 N. 500 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-0266, TheRailEventCenter.com
Utah Animal Adoption Center
Since 1983, as one of Utah’s oldest no-kill animal-rescue groups, Utah Animal Adoption Center (formerly Wasatch Humane) has annually helped more than 1,500 dogs, cats and horses take their next breath. The adoption center operates a 3 1/2-acre sanctuary next to the Jordan River Parkway Trail. Each adoption comes with a lifetime guarantee that if things don’t work out, the center takes the pet back and tries to find a new family. And keep in mind, volunteering or adopting a pet here are both ways the center might save your life. 1955 N. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7387 UtahAnimalAdoptionCenter.org
Best West-Side Obsessions
Mestizo coffee, Red Iguana mole & Diamond Lil’s pie
There are certain North Temple “must haves.” Savoring a cup of organic, free-traded Mestizo coffee allows you to experience a cultural arts center operated by local artists/activists. Eating the moles at Red Iguana introduces you to the legendary culinary expertise of the Cardenas family. Finally, Diamond Lil’s famous pies are still “HOME MAID” by Doni Ball. Be careful ingesting these substances—you may get permanently hooked on the west side. Mestizo Coffeehouse: 631 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-596-0500, MestizoCoffeeHouse.com; Red Iguana: 736 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-322-1489, RedIguana.com; Diamond Lil’s: 1528 W. North Temple, 801-533-0547, DiamondLils-TheOriginal.com.
Best City Views
Pony Express RV Resort
It’s a little slice of RV paradise not all that well known. But what might have been called a “campground” or, God forbid, a “trailer park” back in the day, is actually a modern, well-maintained, 175-site RV park just a short jaunt from Salt Lake City and the Rose Park Golf Course. It features showers, restrooms, a pool, laundry, free Wi-Fi, a game room, cable TV, groceries and supplies, a playground, walking trails, tent sites and cabins. Oh, did we mention a killer view of downtown and the Wasatch range? 1012 W. Recreation Way, North Salt Lake, 801-355-1550, PonyExpressRVResort.com