City Guide 2009 | Where We Live | City Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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City Guide 2009 | Where We Live

What we like about the streets we call home.


Back in the day—when the Shoshone, Ute and Paiute roamed the Salt Lake Valley—the natural world ruled for, like, thousands of years. But then along came Mormon leader Brigham Young, who, in 1847, scanned the valley from the mountains above and declared, “This is the right place.” At his utterance, a humble pioneer outpost came into being, eventually emerging as Utah’s capital city, an international transportation hub, the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and host to the 2002 Winter Games. 

With its 180,000 residents (and an estimated 2.1 million along the Wasatch Front), Salt Lake City today is anything but pioneer-quaint. It is forever attempting to update its downtown, so much so that much of the city center is under construction and will be for years. But residents yearn for a sense of history and place, and luckily, those qualities abound in the city’s neighborhoods.

It’s a sad fact that during the recent building boom, a number of older commercial blocks got plowed under to make way for modern shopping malls. Even worse, some of these projects got caught in the economic downturn, which means they’re temporarily stalled. All the more reason to take refuge in the city’s diverse ’hoods and find new places to care about.

The city fathers some time ago carved up Salt Lake City into seven districts, each one represented by a city council member. Who better than an elected official to know the unique nooks and crannies of their districts? They walk their district’s streets and knock on doors every four years to ask for votes. So we asked them to brag up their districts, and here’s what they said:

Northwest: Rose Park, Fairpark, Jordan Meadows, Westpointe
Councilman Carlton Christensen

What’s so great about district 1?
Great neighborhoods with affordable housing and incredible proximity to the downtown. Close proximity to Salt Lake City International Airport and major freeways on both the east and west side of the area. Strong tradition of multiple generations of families that not only grow up in the area but return to raise their own children in the same communities.

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Lofte’s Pizzeria & Coffee
: 2110 W. North Temple, 801-363-0808 (just west of I-215).

Chubby’s: Mexican food, 955 N. 1400 West, 596-2070.

Golden Pearl: Chinese food, 1625 W. 700 North, 363-5223.

Diamond Lil’s: Technically outside the district but considered one of us, 1528 W. North Temple, 533-0547.

Name some “must-sees.”
Steenblik Dairy: Located just on the outside perimeter of Riverside Park. Building is in disrepair but reminds you of the history of the past.

Utah State Fairpark: Still in operation with historical buildings and a strong Utah heritage.

Agricultural community north of the Salt Lake City Airport: Because of the airport, it will probably be one of—if not the—last agricultural communities in Salt Lake County.

Views: Looking at the mountain skyline of the Wasatch Front from the northwest quadrant, you can see from Provo to Brigham City.

Sensitive wetlands between the Northwest Quadrant and the Great Salt Lake.

Any challenges?
Balancing the needs of a growing and diverse community and some of the social challenges that come with it. This diversity is also is the strength that has held it together for most of these years. The high birthrate has kept our local elementary and middle schools full and planning for the responsible growth of the northwest quadrant to help accommodate both the city and region’s growth in the next 30 to 40 years. We are also faced with the need to rebuild the current airport while being sensitive to the environment surrounding it.

Anything else?
District 1 is a broad mix of housing, people and politics that has come together and accepts each other at face value with a strong heritage of pride about who we are and what we want to be. From its early years, it’s always been a home to immigrants and refugees who have come here for one reason or another and has been a starting place for many in our community. It values literacy, good parks, natural corridors like the Jordan River and has been the starting place for many who have contributed to our greater community and nation.

Pete Suazo, the first Hispanic senator for Utah, grew up and raised his family here. Tom Hall, Ron Whitehead and Florence Bittner were also early community leaders. Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, one of the most influential thinkers in business, points frequently to his growing up in Rose Park.

We have coming up on the horizon, the construction of the airport line of light rail, redevelopment of North Temple, retail development on Redwood Road at 700 North and on North Temple, and construction of a regional sports complex west of Interstate 215 and 2200 North. One third of the city’s potential future growth of residents and businesses could take place in District 1 over the next 40 years.

What can you say? When you’re No. 1, you’re No. 1!

West Side: Glendale, Poplar Grove, Fairpark
Councilman Van Turner

What’s so great about district 2?
Reasonable housing prices, enjoyment of open space, accessibility and use of the Sorenson Unity Center (1383 S. 900 West, 886-2619) and Sorenson Multi-Cultural Center (855 W. California Ave., 974-2420).

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
The Red Iguana, 736 W. North Temple, 801-322-1489.

La Frontera, 1444 S. 700 West, 977-9771; 1236 W. 400 South, 532-3158.

La Hacienda, 1248 S. Redwood Road, 973-0738.

Name some “must-sees.”
Fisher Mansion, 1206 W. 200 South, a unique historical treasure that adjoins the Jordan River parkway.

International Peace Gardens, 1060 S. 900 West, 974-2411, representing the cultural diversity of 26 nations.

Raging Waters, 1200 W. 1700 South, 972-3300, waterpark with a 500,000-gallon wave pool and water rollercoaster.

Any challenges?
Creating a walkable community and convenient neighborhood shopping.

Anything else?
Working with Home Depot and KaBOOM!, the City recently built a new children’s playground at the park located at 1200 W. 1700 South across from Raging Waters. Also, the City is planning to build a new library in the Glendale neighborhood.

Capitol Hill, Greater Avenues
Councilman Eric Jergensen

What’s so great about district 3?
The Capitol Hill, Avenues and Guadalupe neighborhoods have such a diversity of people whose combined talents, background and community focus make for remarkable neighbors and a remarkable neighborhood experience.

These same neighborhoods have delightful historic residential architecture that adds to the community diversity (and the remodeling requirements, too).

The proximity of these neighborhoods to downtown makes it easy to visit downtown shops, cultural, civic and institutional activities.

These neighborhoods are also close to City Creek Canyon and the foothills, so open space is easily accessible for recreational activities—hiking, biking, etc.

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Hatch Family Chocolates, 390 E. Fourth Ave., 532-4912.

Cucina’s Deli, 1026 E. Second Ave., 322-3055.

Em’s, 271 N. Center St., 596-0566.

Sawadee Thai Restaurant, 754 E. South Temple, 328-8424.

Café Shambala, Tibetan food, 382 E. Fourth Ave., 364-8558.

Name some “must-sees.”
State Capitol, (recently renovated—fantastic!), 350 N. State, 538-3074.

Cathedral of the Madeleine, (especially the Madeleine Choir performances and annual Madeleine Music Festival) 331 E. South Temple, 328-8941.

First Presbyterian Church, 12 No. C St., 363-3889.

Memory Grove Park, 375 North Canyon Rd., 521-7969. n

Temple Square (viewing the Christmas lights is a must), 50 W. South Temple, 240-1245.

Concerts on Temple Square, Assembly Hall, 50 N. West Temple, 240-3323.

Lion House, 63 E. South Temple, 363-5466.

Beehive House, 67 E. South Temple, 240-2671.

Governor’s Mansion, 603 E South Temple, 538-1005.

Salt Lake Acting Company for great local theater, 168 W. 500 North, 363-7522.

Any challenges?
The challenge of upgrading older residential housing while maintaining the character and scale of the existing historic neighborhoods. Traffic and mobility: We must influence people to slow down to the speed limit on our neighborhood streets as well as consider readily available alternate forms of transportation. Maintaining quality of life, walkability and the neighborhood feel in this very urban area.

Anything else?
City Creek Canyon and foothill open space—including Bonneville Shoreline Trail—makes for great hiking and biking opportunities—rare, considering they are so close to downtown. Gravity Hill on Bonneville Drive. Salt Lake City Cemetery—approximately 120,000 are buried in the cemetery including civic and religious leaders, as well as a few outlaws (it’s the largest city-operated cemetery in the United States). Many of the historic homes were built by people who contributed to the history of our city, state and nation. Come to District 3 and see for yourself why it is so wonderful!

Downtown, People’s Freeway, Central City, East Central
Councilman Luke Garrott

What’s so great about district 4?
District 4 is the heart of Salt Lake City. Running from the University to the Gateway, it downtown. While it suffered during the years of urban flight and suburbanization, those days are clearly over. In five years, downtown Salt Lake City will be place to be in Utah—forget Park City. Our city, reaching its potential, will be totally unique on the planet, a vibrant concoction of saints, sinners and the rest of us—all doing our thing.

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Beehive Tea Room is a true jewel of Utah. This is what they call atmosphere, superbly formulated, where hot chocolate and chai meet “wedding library.” 12 W. 300 South, 328-4700.

Cannella’s: Since Junior’s Tavern moved out, they’ve moved upscale, which is a good thing, especially on the “club side.” The best fresh noodle in town, and you feel hip watching skating and surfing on the TV. 204 E. 500 South, 355-8518.

Club Orange is a new generation of dinner club, a very well conceived combination of new and traditional. It’s Europe and Los Angeles at the same time. 533 S. 500 West.

Martine is Hands down the best restaurant in town. As you enjoy their tapas, don’t forget the soup and salad. Everything’s a work of art here. 22 E. 100 South, 363-9328.

Big Ed’s: Real deal campus town U of U, just around the corner from the Pie. Hang out with townies, students, professors and Utes from all walks of life. Burgers, eggs and beer. I have to admit I’ve never had the “Gawd Awful”... does that make me a phony? 210 University Street, 582-9045.

Name some “must-sees.”
Gilgal Sculpture Garden is Mormon eccentricity at its best. 749 E. 500 South, 582-0432. Or go over to the gorgeous LDS 10th Ward Meeting House (410 S. 800 East). I’ve written love poems to it. Can you spot the former polygamous homestead on the block?

Pierpont Artspace/Pierpont Avenue, between 300 West and 400 West. To me, this is authentic beauty, the ragged glory of old warehouses with new uses. Hurry, tell the mayor that it needs to be listed on the historic register ... because right now, it’s ripe for demolition in the name of profit and progress.

Old Greek Town, 200 South between 500 West and 600 West. TRAX will take you there, and it’s another reminder of what was. This has long been Salt Lake City’s skid row, “the other side of the tracks.” This is also, potentially, Utah’s first transit-oriented neighborhood. From the standpoint of planning and zoning (the stuff that city council does), we’re at a crossroads: Will the pedestrian or the car rule? Can the artists, yuppies and homeless coexist?

Any challenges?
I mention these above: preservation of our historical buildings and places (and trees!), learning to live and flourish among our differences and creating new sustainable environments.

Anything else?
I have to self-promote just a bit: Rest well, you have a good city government. Keep us aware—let us know when we screw up. Your mayor is smart, honest and a good listener, and the City Council really wants to do the right thing.

East Liberty Park, Liberty Wells, People’s Freeway, Central City, East Central, Yalecrest, Wasatch Hollow
Councilwoman Jill Love

What’s so great about district 5?
Local businesses such as Liberty Heights Fresh, great open spaces like Liberty Park, beautiful historic homes and the central location of the district to many of the other great attractions our city has to offer, make District 5 the best place to live in Salt Lake City.

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Thai Siam, 1435 S. State, 474-3322.

Granato’s, 1391 S. 300 West, 801-486 5643.

Mazza, 912 E. 900 South, 521-4572.

Coffee Garden, 878 E. 900 South, 355-3425.

Finn’s Scandinavian Restaurant, 1624 S. 1100 East, 467-4000.

Name some “must-sees.”
Liberty Park, (including Chase Mill and Tracy Aviary), between 900 & 1300 South and 500 & 700 East .

First Encampment Park, 1700 South and 500 East, 972-7800.

Any challenges?
Preservation issues such as keeping historic homes; maintaining local business; traffic on 1300 East.

Anything else?
Proposition 1 recently passed gave $19.6 million to upgrade Tracy Aviary. A new Target development is coming to the 300 West area, and new high density housing along the west side of District 5 is making it a more vibrant area. Abe Jenkins, a racecar driver, set a new speed record on the Salt Flats in 1910 at 60 mph on a motorcycle. I once lived in a house on Lake Street where one of Brigham Young’s wives had lived, I’m sure many D5 residents have similar stories about their homes. Former mayors have lived here, and many General Authorities of the LDS Church, including President Ezra Taft Benson, who lived in the Harvard Yale area.

Foothill/Sunnyside, East Bench, Sugar House, Yalecrest, Wasatch Hollow, Sunnyside East, Bonneville Hills
Councilman J.T. Martin

What’s so great about district 6?
It’s made up of some of Salt Lake City’s greatest neighborhoods: Foothill, upper Sugar House, Bonneville Hills, Wasatch Hollow and Harvard-Yale to name a few, as well as the neighborhood shopping areas of 15th & 15th, 13th South & 17th East and Foothill Village. The University of Utah, Research Park, Primary Children’s Hospital, and the VA hospital. The district is known for having safe and friendly neighborhoods. Housing prices in D6 are some of the best in the state for increasing in value (even in down markets).

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Bombay House, 2731 Parleys Way, 581-0222.

Cowboy Grub, 2350 Foothill Dr., 466-8334.

Five Alls, 1458 Foothill Dr., 582-1400.

Pinion Market & Café, 2095 E. 1300 South, 582-4539.

The Paris Bistro, 1500 S. 1500 East, 486-5585.

Eggs in the City, 1675 E 1300 South, 581-0809.

Mazza, 1515 S. 1500 East, 484-9259. 

The Blue Plate Diner, 2041 S. 2100 East, 463-1151.

The Dodo, 1355 E. 2100 South, 486-2473.

Name some “must-sees.”
This Is The Place Heritage Park, 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., 582-1847.

Hogle Zoo, 2600 Sunnyside Ave., 582-1631.

Miller Bird Refuge Park (which is home to the yearly live Nativity), north entrance: 900 South at about 1700 East (between Diestel Road and Military Drive).

Bonneville Shoreline Trail: various trailheads.

Any challenges?
One of the district’s biggest challenges is crushing traffic during the morning and evening commutes. Two of the main arteries to the University of Utah, Research Park, U Medical Center, and downtown go through the district along Foothill Drive and 1300 East. They bring noise, air pollution, many safety issues because of speeding, and drivers in search of quicker routes, who cut through neighborhoods.

Anything else?
Some of our residents include: Norma Matheson and much of her family including son Congressman Jim Matheson; Dave Martin (of Martin Door); Jon Huntsman Sr.; elected figures (past and present) such as Roz McGee, Randy Horiuchi, Dave Buhler, Dan Marriot (former congressman), and former Gov. Mike Leavitt; public figures like Pamela Atkinson; Bryce Jolley; Ken Bullock; Emma Lou Thayne (author); Afton Bradshaw (deceased); Bill Nelson (CEO of Intermountain Healthcare); Keith Lockhart; Jim Hogle; Coach Jim Boylen; Roger Boyer (Boyer Co.).

Unique history: The Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley in what is now District 6. They followed Emigration Creek through the district and spent the first night close by. D6 has two important riparian corridors: Red Butte and Emigration. Also, we have world-famous Carmen Pingree School for Children with Autism.

East Bench, Sugar House, Liberty Wells
Councilman Søren Simonsen

What’s so great about district 7?
Variety. Our neighborhoods include historic favorites like Sugar House, Forest Dale, Westminster and Highland Park as well as the posh country-club and East Bench areas. It is a diverse district, and has the best access to all sorts of attractions, from ski areas to great neighborhood parks to the best little business district in the region.

Got a few places to wine, dine and unwind?
Fiddler’s Elbow is a great eatery and beer house and the best local hangout in town to catch your favorite weekend ball game. Go Utes (of course)! 1063 E. 2100 South, 484-1804.

The Raw Food Bar is a Sugar House original and the most unique dining experience you’ve had. It’s a little hard find, but well worth the search. You’ve never experienced such mouthwatering delicacies with no meat and no cooking and no processed foods. Just good food the way God made it. 2148 Highland Dr., 486-0332.

SugarHouse Coffee, serving Utah’s own Rimini coffee, along with a wide variety of teas, herbal infusions, juices and pastries. Wish they were still in their old location, but the addition of the Sugar House mural wall made the move worth its while. 1045 E. 2100 South, 486-3311.

Highland Perk is the quintessential neighborhood coffee shop. Enjoy great coffee, tea and hot cocoa. Pastries and panini are great for breakfast or lunch. Dog and kid friendly, too. 1588 E. Stratford Ave., 486-7375.

House of Bread offers a warm plethora of baked goods, all baked fresh daily. The Raspberry Swirl bread and rolls are like manna from heaven. Also great for lunch and catering. 2005 E. 2700 South, 466-1758.

Rocky Mountain Grill is great for breakfast or any time. A no-frills diner with good “ma & pa” fare at reasonable prices. 2305 Highland Dr., 484-2771.

Name some “must-sees.”
Parley’s Historic Nature Park is a one-of-a-kind park in the valley. All the beauty and tranquility of the mountain canyons, but only a short walk or drive away. Beware of dogs, as it is the largest and most visited off-leash dog parks in the city. The railroad stop and hotel historic sites, along with the old aquaduct bridge are historic treasures. 2700 E. 2760 South.

SugarHouse Park is a family favorite. Great for ball games, tot lots, family reunions and sledding in the winter. It has the best Fourth of July festival and fireworks show in the valley. 1300 E. 2100 South.

Hidden Hollow is a gem of a park. It took the KOPE Kids (Kids Organized to Protect the Environment) from local elementary schools to champion the acquisition and restoration to make a great outdoor learning place that is a tranquil oasis in the heart of one of the city’s busiest commercial districts. 1255 E. 2160 South.

Highland Park is one of the valley’s notable historic districts. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the late ’90s, there has been more than $5 million in restoration and renewal by individual homeowners to make this one of the city’s most charming walkable neighborhoods. It is a regular on the historic homes tour of the Utah Heritage Foundation. (The area east of Highland Drive and south of SugarHouse Park.

Westminster College is a small campus that is big on community. The historic campus pre-dates most of the neighborhood, and elegant structures have been painstakingly restored. Community-oriented events, from arts and cultural performances to business and diversity symposia, keep the campus well connected to its place. The annual Bioneers conference hosted each fall draws a crowd of forward-thinkers from around the region. 1840 S. 1300 East, 484-7651.

Any challenges?
The “hole in Sugar House” at the intersection of 2100 South & 1100 East is evidence that the popularity of a place also brings with it great forces of transformation. The eight-story high-rise planned in place of the historic buildings that once graced the corner has stalled out due to a precarious economy. When completed, the development will boast Class A office space in Sugar House, along with high-end condos and up-scale retail. We all hope it comes sooner rather than later.

Traffic congestion continues to mount. Although Sugar House is arguably among the most walkable territories in the city, new development is bringing hordes of new cars. To combat this, local businesses and residents have championed alternative transportation projects. Sugar House was built around streetcars, and may become the first neighborhood to again be served by a modern streetcar system, such as those in Portland and Seattle. Plans are moving forward as federal and local funding become available. The Parley’s Trail—an eight-mile multi-use trail stretching from the mouth of Parley’s Canyon to the Jordan River in South Salt Lake—will be another way to connect businesses, schools, parks and neighborhoods together for walkers, joggers and bikers. With a substantial federal appropriation and local matching funds from Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, major portions of the trail are underway.

The large shopping center near the intersection of Parley’s Way and Foothill Boulevard has become a battleground of urban vs. suburban development. Wal-Mart has announced plans for a large supercenter, which will require a rezoning, while many local residents have come to arms to champion a mixed-use, neighborhood oriented and walkable businesses district much like Sugar House Commons, which is the recommendation of the master plan adopted in 1985, and supported by a citywide zoning change in 1995. The year this will finally play out may be 2009.

Anything else?
District 7 has something for everyone: Unique neighborhoods. Great neighborhood schools. Day life and night life.

Unique shopping destinations include: For Her: I Kim (2166 S. 1100 East, 322-3095) and Whimsy (2005 E. 2700 South, 485-9900) offer one-of-a-kind women’s fashions for dressing up or dressing down. For Him: Pib’s Exchange (1147 Ashton Ave., 484-7996) and Patagonia (2292 S. Highland Dr., 466-2226) offer unique casual clothing. For Home: The Green Building Center (1952 E. 2700 South, 484-6278) carries everything “green,” healthy and/or recycled for inside your home, and just across the street, Cactus and Tropicals (2735 S. 2000 East, 485-2542) carries everything that is actually green (and red, and yellow, and purple, and white, and orange) to turn your yard into your own little Garden of Eden. Tips and advice on building, planting and just about any other topic under the sun are, of course, free for the asking.

To participate democracy at the grass roots, join the Sugar House Community Council, the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m., at the Sprague Library (2131 S. 1100 East, 594-8640). tttt