Cheap Thrills | Summer Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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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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Hike the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, then Volunteer at This Is the Place Heritage Park: Free/$10
Honor ancient Lake Bonneville for carving out the Salt Lake Valley by hiking the foothills of the Wasatch Range along the Shoreline Trail, which, at around 5,100 feet in elevation, runs on top of the Wasatch Fault for most of its route. While hiking the trail, you can access This Is the Place Heritage Park. Visit the iconic This Is the Place monument for free, as well as the new Mormon Battalion Museum inside the visitor center. You can also volunteer to help in the Village, in the houses or maintain the grounds. Or, just pay the admission so you can enjoy pony rides, an American Indian village, artisan trade demonstrations, historical trains and more. 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-582-1847,

Snowbird Brewfest: $1 and up
The fourth-annual Snowbird Brewfest is well-stocked (with beer from Bohemian, Red Rock, Uinta, Hoppers, Ruby River, Moab, Wasatch, Squatters, Roosters and Epic breweries) and, even better, cheap—admission is free, and it’s just $1 per 3-ounce beer sample. No bar patio in the state has this selection and scenery combo—beer it in the mountains. Highway 210, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird, 801-933-2222, June 16-17,


Cottonwood Heights Platform Pool: $5.50
Hands down the best way to beat the summer heat is with some extreme pool action, and the Cottonwood Heights pool is one of the best splash zones in Utah. It’s more than just a simple outdoor pool; here you’ll find multi-level diving platforms for the daring, tons of deck space for tanning and a two-story splash slide that rips. 7500 S. 2700 East, Cottonwood Heights, 801-943-3160,

Moonlight Hike on the Brighton Lakes Trail: Free
During the day, this 3.8-mile moderate hike showcases cliffside overlooks, woodland forests, breathtaking valley views and wildflowers galore. The trail will take you past three pristine blue mountain lakes: Lake Mary, Lake Martha and Lake Catherine. (There’s also a fourth lake, Dog Lake, on an offshoot trail.) Because of its beauty and popularity, the trail can get crowded on many summer days. But on a clear evening, with a full moon overhead, the hike can pretty much be all yours. Keep your eyes peeled for moose and assorted magic. Brighton Resort parking lot, 12601 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brighton

Lectures & Sundance Films at Red Butte Garden: Free
Red Butte Garden offers a few days of the year when admission is free. In the summer, that day is July 24. And that’s not all that’s free: There are free horticulture lectures on June 25 (tree identification), July 30 (Western wildflowers), Aug. 27 (creative ways to garden with limited water) and Sept. 24 (discover ornamental grasses). If the cold and icy roads of the Sundance Film Festival kept you away from screenings, here’s your chance to see Sundance films for free, outside in the garden amphitheater at sundown (around 9 p.m): June 20 (Under African Skies), July 11 (CSNY DÉJÀ VU), July 25 (Filly Brown) and Aug. 1 (Bones Brigade). Plus, there is always an art exhibit by local artists in the visitor center. 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801-581-4747,

Bike & Get Horny at Solitude: Free
Sure, who doesn’t love eating Utah’s best cuisine at the Taste of Wasatch (Aug. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at Solitude Mountain Resort), especially when 100 percent of the monies raised go toward ending hunger in Utah? But at $90 per ticket, it isn’t cheap to attend, even if it is for a damned good cause. Luckily, there’s plenty of free stuff to do at Solitude, include hiking Silver Fork trail, biking the Wasatch Crest Trail and watching the Mid-Week Mountain Bike Series races, held July 31 and Aug. 7, 14, and 21. Solitude is also the spot where alphorn players from around the world hold an annual retreat that ends with a free alphorn concert on Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. 12000 Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-534-1400,



Park Silly Sunday Market: Free
Thanks to the DIY Park City locals, Main Street gets silly on a weekly basis over the summer. From June through September, Park Silly Sunday Market is a one-stop walkway of local and regional arts and crafts, eclectic music and performance art, booths for the foodies and just plain hungry, home-grown fresh produce and more. Park Silly gets bigger every year, and while you can see all there is for free, bring a some cash if you want to barter your way to claiming some unique treasures. Main Street, Park City, 435-655-0994, Sundays, June 10-Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,

Deer Valley Trails Hike: Free
While winter was a letdown this year, anyone looking to make up for lost time on the mountain this summer will find plenty to do on Deer Valley Resort’s trails. The trails are open to hikers and bikers, with free historic hikes running June through October. For best results, park at the Silver Lake Express parking lot and hike to the peak of Bald Mountain for the best view of Park City and its surroundings. A lift pass up the mountain would be $13, but a ride down is free and is a great reward after a long uphill hike. 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City, 435-649-1000, full lift service 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,


Canyons Saturday Summer Concert Series: Free
“Park City” and “free” are two phrases that rarely appear in the same sentence, so when there are free concerts in Park City, people notice. Free concerts bring the masses here, so to make it to the biggest, plan ahead, pack your lawn chair (but no sharp-legged chairs or chairs taller than 9 inches) and arrive at Canyons at 4 p.m. on Saturdays to claim your spot in the grass for one of the best places to picnic with live music. Confirmed bands include Tea Leaf Green and The Wood Brothers. 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-649-5400, Saturdays, July 14-Sept. 1, 6-8:30 p.m.,

Park City Gallery Stroll: Free
What do the Kimball Art Center, J GO and the Old Towne Gallery all have in common? Aside from the obvious, these art venues are some of the best stops along Park City’s Gallery Stroll on Main Street. Park your car in the China Bridge Garage and walk to the roughly 20 participating art galleries within a stone’s throw of one another. You’ll be able to wine and (sort of) dine without spending a dime. Main Street, Park City, last Friday of every month, 6-9 p.m.,

Peoplewatching at Park City Coffee Roasters: Free
Don’t get us wrong: The coffee is great and the service is friendly, but that’s not why you should visit Park City Coffee Roasters. The coffee shops are the crossroads for the many strange, interesting and beautiful people of Park City; you’re as likely to see a thousand-dollar fur coat as a handmade hemp sack in either of the two locations. It has a comfy atmosphere in which to slow down, enjoy some cold iced coffee and do some people watching. 1680 W. Ute Blvd., Park City, 435-647-9097; 638 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-0051,

Szechwan Chinese Kitchen: $6.75 and up
There are a few things sacred to your average Parkite: fresh powder and the lunch special at Szechwan Chinese Kitchen. A well-known spot for the PC lunch rush, before 3 p.m., there are 43 items on its lunchtime menu that include an egg roll, steamed or fried rice and choice of soup, all for under $8. Casual atmosphere and some tasty Chinese cuisine make this a local secret no more. 1612 Ute Blvd., No. 103, Park City, 435-655-8916, lunch special 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.,