If You Do Only One Thing This Summer ... | Summer Guide | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Culture » Summer Guide

If You Do Only One Thing This Summer ...

12 can't-miss suggestions for Utah summer fun.


  • Courtesy of Heber Valley Railroad
Josh Loftin: Ride a train. A great family outing is a ride on the Heber Creeper through Provo Canyon. For historical perspective (but no actual train rides), visit the Golden Spike Historical Park, 30 minutes west of Brigham City. For a more modern train ride, hop on the Frontrunner and travel to Ogden for dinner and a baseball game. Or, for the truly ambitious with a few days to spare, book a ticket on Amtrak to the Bay area.

John Paul Brophy: For those with a boat and a love of fishing, a mid-week day at Strawberry Reservoir is a true slice of heaven. Often, we have been the only boat on the water, and the view and solitude are balm for the soul. Hooking into a couple of big cutthroat trout just adds to the incomparable pleasure.

Scott Renshaw: Especially if you never have before, see a performance of Salt Lake Acting Company’s Saturday’s Voyeur. No one who has lived in this state and felt slightly out of place should miss the opportunity for that kind of, “Yeah, what the hell is up with that?” collegiality at least once.

Dan Nailen: Read James Lee Burke’s The Tin Roof Blowdown. It’s not just another chapter in his continuing series about drug-addled, alcoholic Vietnam vet/private dick Dave Robicheaux—it’s also arguably the best-written look at post-Katrina New Orleans and the surrounding region you can find. Can’t wait to see how he weaves the BP oil spill into a future Robicheaux adventure.

Jerre Wroble: Set up a tent at Watchman or South campground at Zion National Park. Bring a cooler and a comfy outdoor chair. Hike early in the mornings and hang out at the visitor center in the hot afternoon. Stay for a week or a weekend. Commence to soak up the rock-tastic views of one of the nation’s finest national parks.

Alice Chen: Volunteer at an animal shelter this summer. Maybe cleaning cages isn’t your favorite summertime activity, but it’s incredibly rewarding to take out an overenthusiastic dog and play a little ball.

Rachel Hanson: Get a library card. If you haven’t visited a library since you were a kid, it’s time to get reacquainted with this amazing free service. Bookworms can find out-of-print works, new releases too expensive to buy in hardcover and backlist titles not available at local bookstores or even Barnes & Noble (hello, three shelves of P.G. Wodehouse). The library also carries CDs and DVDs (no waiting for that next disc of Twin Peaks) and offers downloadable audio books and e-books. The downtown library is an amazing space, and the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of the smaller Salt Lake City branches offer a much-needed respite from sweaty, busy summer days.

Ashton Strait: Venture to Park City for the Park Silly Sunday Market on historic Main Street. Here, you’ll find gourmet cupcakes and artisan honey while marveling at quirky art and crafts for sale at booths that line the street. The market operates every Sunday starting June 13 through the end of the summer. Take in the good food and good times in the mountain air.

Michael White: Enjoy a bottle of wine and some conversation with your significant other, while dining under the patio lights at Caffé Molise in downtown Salt Lake City. Molise’s amazing patio is well maintained and clean, plus it has a cool fountain and plenty of shade. Start early, drink slowly, stay late and order dessert. No significant other? Take a chance and ask that girl or guy you’ve been drooling over all winter to accompany you.

Keyra Kristoffersen: Hit up Moab. Wake up to a view of the red cliffs over the Colorado, head down Potash Road aka Wall Street and climb, hike around Arches in the late afternoon, and finish with fish & chips at the Moab Brewery. It’s the perfect day.

Jesse Fruhwirth: Hike the lands along the Wasatch Front proposed to be given wilderness protections. Interface with nature and discover a fundamental piece of yourself you may not have known was there.

Eric Peterson: Read Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy series: All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing and Cities of the Plain. A three-part philosophical Western spread across the Mexican borderlands and back again. The fact that it’s trilogy won’t be apparent until you start the final book, but when you put down the Cities of the Plain, just tell me that’s not a work of genius that will shake you to the bone.