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Culture » Summer Guide

Cheap Thrills

You don't have to burn through your savings to have fun in and out of the sun



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Redwood Drive-In Theatre: $7
Nothing says summer like sitting in the back of a pickup truck taking in a drive-in movie, with a loved one close by and cooler full of your preferred libations on hand. The Redwood Drive-In brings all the summer blockbusters as well as all the nostalgia and charm of the classic American outdoor-movie experience right to the comfort of your vehicle. Besides all the movie magic at night, the drive-in also offers bargain hunters a good excuse to visit during the day, when the massive community swap meet brings out locals on the hunt for secondhand treasures. 3688 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-973-7088,

Cultural Celebration Center: Free
Anyone who feels that the tapestry of Utah is woven with a little too much white Mormon thread obviously hasn’t spent enough time in West Valley City, which many diverse communities call home. And no place is this diversity celebrated more than at the West Valley Cultural Celebration Center. Patrons can check out an amazing summer concert series featuring the Latin jazz sizzle of Rumba Libre or the passionate dance and song of Pacific Islander group Islands in the Desert, just to name a few. The center also host permanent and traveling art installations as well as educational programming for youth looking to have a world of art brought to them in a fun classroom setting. 1355 W. 3100 South, West Valley City, 801-965-5100, www.WVC-UT.Gov

Bubble Tea at Gossip Tapioca: $3.99
Bubble-tea aficionados can’t get enough of the special Taiwanese drink at Gossip, a local eatery and haven for boba fanatics. Bubble tea is a sweet tea-based drink that comes filled with tasty “bubbles” of small tapioca balls. Gossip girls and guys are fond of favorites such as mango, taro root and other boba combinations, like the white-chocolate coconut banana. There’s also more to bubble about at Gossip than the boba, such as killer Vietnamese coffee and some of the best pho in town. 1629 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-886-2868

Bucket O’ Crawfish: $9.95
If you’ve got a hunger for seafood that can’t be sated with a simple plate’s worth of tasty crustaceans, then you need to make Bucket O’ Crawfish your next dining destination. Here you can get tasty seafood by the pound for just about $10. With prices like that, you can hunker down with a couple dozen tasty crawfish, clams or shrimp, paired with a zesty, lip-smacking Cajun spice or savory garlic butter. 1980 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-419-0900,

Ride the Mechanical Bull at The Westerner: Free
Only one club truly puts the “West” in West Valley, and it’s none other than the honky-tonk haven of The Westerner. Test your mettle against the metal of the club’s mechanical bull for free. If that doesn’t grab you by the horns, you can certainly always root for those who will challenge the bull (especially on Friday nights, when female riders don bikinis). The Westerner also has free karaoke in a quiet corner of the club, where you can croon Patsy Cline and Jerry Jeff Walker to your heart’s content. 3360 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City, 801-972-5447


Stroll through the Latino Mall: Free
WVC’s Latino Mall is more than just an emporium of all things south of the border. Here you can check out amazing gifts and goods during a stroll through a mini mall that bustles with all the life and color of Tijuana. Bring a few bucks just in case you’re unable to resist some of the tasty foods available at the mall, like the steamy bowls of posole, tender Peruvian-style roasted chicken and—how’s this for variety?—great Vietnamese noodle bowls. Every Sunday, you can sup on these authentic tastes while also enjoying free live music from great Latino bands often rocking classic norteño music. 2470 S. Redwood Road

Game Grid Arcade: 50 cents & up
Gamers, rejoice! If you want to come out of your game cave this summer and beat the heat in a nice air-conditioned arcade, nothing beats the Game Grid in WVC. This arcade specializes in rare arcade games like Pac-Man Battle Royale and Super Street Fighter IV. Besides arcade mainstays like pinball and air hockey, Game Grid also hosts online arcade tournaments so you can come test your mad joystick thumbs against gamers across the country. Valley Fair Mall, 3601 Constitution Blvd., West Valley City, 801-964-0599,



American West Symphony Pops Concert: Free
Symphony under the stars has become a great Utah tradition. You can head up to Park City, or you could stay closer to home and enjoy a free pops concert by the American West Symphony. Bring a blanket and the family to a performance of rousing classics like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture, “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, June 28, 8 p.m,

Early Bird Weekends at Club 90, $1.95 and up
A night on the town of music and dancing doesn’t have to break the bank. If you come to Sandy’s Club 90 before 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, you can enjoy a relaxing dinner or appetizer, then pay no cover charge for a full night of fun. Check the club’s calendar for the schedule of DJ or live band entertainment. 9065 S. Monroe St. (150 West), Sandy, 801-566-3254,

Draper Days: $8
Every July, thousands of Utahns take advantage of a full week of free or low-cost events in Draper leading up to Pioneer Day. The annual rodeo at the Ballard Equestrian Center from July 13-14 is only $8 for adults and $5 for children. Families can enjoy a free carnival and pool party at the Treehouse Athletic Club on July 16. And the July 20-21 days of free entertainment at Draper City Park features live music performances, a parade and evening fireworks. Various Draper locations, July 12-21, full schedule and maps at

International Folk Festival: Free
For the fourth year running, Sandy Amphitheater will host a free showcase of folk-art groups from around the state performing traditional music, singing and dancing. The full slate of 2012 performers is not yet set at press time, but the 2011 event featured entertainment representing Nepal, Hungary, Scotland, Spain and the Ukraine. Take a mini global tour without leaving the 801. Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, 801-568-6097, Aug. 22, 8 p.m.,


Sandy City Movies in the Parks: Free
The summer roadshow of family-friendly flicks returns to Sandy City parks this year; they provide a 30-foot inflatable screen, the show and available-for-purchase concessions, while you just bring a blanket or a chair. Features scheduled for 2012 are The Muppets (June 20, Flat Iron Park), Puss in Boots (July 11, Wildflower Park), Cars 2 (Aug. 8, Bicentennial Park) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (Aug. 22, Crescent Park). Various Sandy parks, dusk, full schedule at

Living Planet Aquarium: $9
If you’ve yet to experience Utah’s showcase of aquatic critters of all kinds, a warm summer day is a perfect opportunity for a cool visit. Regular adult admission is only $9 for adults and $7 for children; discounts are available for KUED/KUER members. Visit with the latest residents at the North American river otter exhibit, learn about Utah’s own indigenous waterlife or get your hands wet in the touch pool. 725 E. 10600 South, 801-355-3474,

Jordan River Parkway Trails: Free
Wonderful spots abound for a stroll or a bike ride along the Jordan River and other picturesque locations in South Jordan. Trailheads include the Jordan River Parkway Trail (692 W. 10600 South), Bingham Creek Trailhead (4500 W. Skye Drive) and Shields Lane Trailhead (9879 S. 950 West). Shields Lane trail includes picnic tables; bring a lunch and find a little oasis of serenity in the suburbs.