10 Perfect Summer Days in Utah | Summer Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly

10 Perfect Summer Days in Utah 

Where to eat, drink and play

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Summer is upon us, and you know what that means: The highways and byways of this great land will begin to clog with visiting friends and relatives, likely with your address dialed into their GPSes. So how do you set about to impress them? More importantly, how do you prove to yourself that living in the Beehive State is indeed “life elevated”? Luckily, Salt Lake City and its surroundings offer plentiful options to create “perfect days”; there really is a grab bag of possibilities (tell us about yours by commenting below). To get the conversation started, we divulge a few of our perfect-day itineraries below:

Four Counties, One Day
By Ted Scheffler

I’ll be covering a lot of ground on my perfect summer’s day, so it’ll begin with carbo loading at Sill’s Café in Layton (335 E. Gentile St., 801-544-4089) where the scones are the size of my head and you can still get an old-fashioned order of S.O.S. By 7:15 a.m., the old-timers are already gathered in big numbers and the parking lot is packed. To work off some of the calories and carbs, my next stop is at Layton’s Chapel Park for a vigorous set or two of tennis. The public park has two beautiful, free, hard-surface tennis courts—yours (or mine) for the taking. There’s also a lot of room to roam if you brought Fido with you.(152 S. 900 East)

By now, it’s warm enough to put the top down on the convertible for the drive to Tooele, where my perfect day includes karting at Miller Motorsports Park (2901 Sheep Lane, Tooele, 435-277-8000, MillerMotorsportsPark.com) with my son Hank—a speed demon. The .89 mile track is one of America’s fastest, with subtle-but-thrilling elevation changes and multiple track configurations to keep things interesting. Having worked up a healthy appetite karting in the hot sun, I’ll cool off with lunch on the patio at Salt Lake City’s downtown Café Trio (680 S. 900 East, 801-533-8746, TrioDining.com). We’ll start off with an order of steamed Manila clams and rosemary flatbread for Hank before getting on the outside of Trio’s delicious spaghettini carbonara.

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My son loves The Monkees and so The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees blasts from the car stereo as we head up to Deer Valley Resort (Park City, 435-649-1000, DeerValley.com) for late-afternoon mountain biking. This is my kind of biking! It’s lift-served, so most of the actual biking is downhill or on easy flats. But, with 55 miles of scenic trails and everything from easy to extreme terrain, there’s something for everybody at Deer Valley, not to mention mountain biking lessons and rentals.

Since we’re already at the resort, we’ll take in an evening concert at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Lodge amphitheater. First, we’ll pick up a Deer Valley gourmet picnic basket (must be ordered in advance), and then settle in on the Snow Park lawn for a show. This summer’s concert lineup at Deer Valley ranges from Ben Folds with the Utah Symphony to Jimmy Cliff to Earth, Wind & Fire to B.B. King.

Keepin’ It Simple
By Dan Nailen

Everyone assumes the life of a City Weekly music editor is full of rock & roll excess, and they’re right, for the most part. But you might find it surprising that my perfect day involves stepping away from all the drug binges and pansexual orgies—provided in exchange for online CD reviews—for some quiet, solo “me time.”

When a typical week includes days full of office work and nights stuffing myself in venues with hundreds (or thousands) of loud, boozed-up music fans, having a whole day with no agenda and no people in my face is always a treat. It’s a mini-vacation with no long-distance travel required. Friends naturally drop in and out of these “me” days, but I try to stay highly flexible and unscheduled.

As a working professional (of sorts) and adult (chronologically, at least), finding a way to schedule a full day of nothing in particular is hard work in itself. How often can any of us honestly say we have nothing on our daily schedules? No yard work to be done, no chores around the house, no family obligations. Even when your day is full of fun, like dinner parties with friends or the aforementioned drug binges, you’re still sacrificing some quality solo time. It’s a life full of compromises, and we all just try to find a balance we can live with. My “me time” days help me keep balanced.

A few places and activities do tend to recur when I manage one of these days. I walk to the Park Café (604 E. 1300 South, 801-487-1670) to sit on the patio, suck down streams of coffee and chow on some Michigan Hash, a mix of spuds, veggies, eggs and sausage that never disappoints. When afternoon arrives, I’ll hit the Broadway Centre Cinemas (111 E. 300 South, 801-746-0288, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org) or the Tower Theatre (876 E. 900 South, 801-321-0310, SaltLakeFilmSociety.org) for a flick, often enjoying the quiet time in the dark as much as whatever I’m actually watching.

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When evening approaches, you’ll often find me making my way to a Bees game at Spring Mobile Ballpark (77 W. 1300 South, 801-325-2337, SLBees.com). I might invite some friends, might not. After a couple hours in one of America’s most beautiful minor-league settings, a nightcap is naturally in order. Thankfully, the Lucky 13 patio (135 W. 1300 South, 801-487-4418) is within stumbling distance, and Duffy’s Tavern (932 S. Main, 801-355-6401) and Piper Down (1492 S. State, 801-468-1492, PiperDownPub.com) are within a few blocks. 

And if I’ve managed to stuff all that Me-driven activity in a day once or twice in a summer, you’ll find me toasting myself for a job well done.

Hook, Line & Stinker
By Eric Peterson

A day of ideal summer laziness combines several important elements: stogie-sucking, beer-swilling, summer reading and lazy fishing.

First, books. Be sure to patronize one of your fine local bookeries like the venerable and soon-to-be-relocated Sam Weller’s Bookstore (254 S. Main Street, 801-328-2586, SamWellers.com) or The King’s English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East, KingsEnglish.com). Good lakeside reading might include some Edward Abbey, Cormac McCarthy or Willa Cather—all good authors with the sense to make nature a main character in their writing. 


Now, beer. Again, why not go local? Hit up your local Squatters Pub Brewery (147 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-363-2739; 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868, Squatters.com) for a handy growler of hefeweizen, a perfect summer beer. Then again, a case of the 2010 World Beer Cup award-winning Cutthroat Pale Ale at Uinta Brewing Company (1722 S. Fremont Ave., 801-467-0909, UintaBrewing.com) would be most appropriate for the occasion as well.

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Next stop, smokes. Local institution Jeanie’s Smoke Shop (156 S. State, 801-322-2817) will be out of business July 1, thanks to the taxation of the morality police at the Utah Legislature, so stop by while you can for some screaming cigar deals. Or head to Sandy’s Hungry Trout Cigars (8634 S. 700 East, 801-566-5178) for some hand-rolled Maduros and Robustos for about $5 and smoke like a real Cuban. Or, try the Nicaraguan bullets for about only $1—think of the mini cigars clenched between Clint Eastwood’s teeth in just about any spaghetti western you can name.

Now, really head south. Chug along Interstate 15, stop in Payson and pick up lunch to go, a Big Mo hamburger from the Wee Blu Inn (39 N. Main, 801-465-9071), a tasty two-fister covered in gooey American or Swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, peppers and veggies. For only $6, this mountainous burger also comes with a hearty serving of paper-bag french fries you can munch on as you continue on down I-15 and fork down to Piute County for a day at Fish Lake.

You’ve arrived! Now for the best part: Smoke, drink, read, fish and repeat until dark. Stay the night, and you can marvel at a million damned stars reflected off the pristine lake and wake up to repeat the winning formula of the previous day. Or you can head back that night, if necessary. Either way, don’t forget to stop for pie and coffee (the coconut cream will knock your socks off) at Mom’s Café in Salina (10 E. Main, 435-529-3921), before rolling on home.

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