BEST of UTAH 2023 | The BEST restaurants, bars, entertainment, nightlife, dishes, drinks, media, and politics in Utah. | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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    Red Kiln Pottery Gallery: ceramic arts made by - 11 Salt Lake City artists - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy photo
    • Red Kiln Pottery Gallery: ceramic arts made by 11 Salt Lake City artists

    Best Arts & Crafts Studio
    Red Kiln Pottery Gallery
    ou might not realize how expansive the category of "pottery" could be until you step through the door at Red Kiln Gallery. Work by 11 represented artists fills the shelves, from that perfect decorative coffee mug to get as a gift (or for yourself), to something fascinating to hang on the wall. And for those who do the work themselves, you can apply for membership to join the artists' workspace. 393 E. 1700 South, SLC, 801-695-4945,
    2. Art Haus
    3. Salt Lake Pottery Studio

    Best Art Gallery
    Urban Arts Gallery
    Urban Arts Gallery has always celebrated the idea that art can be hella fun. Its monthly themed group shows often feature engaging themes, like the annual "Heroes and Villains" pop-culture showcase, or "SLC Queer," a Pride celebration of LGBTQ-themed works. Beyond that, they get the community involved in creation, with regular events including Paint Nights for upcycling used canvases, and the unique date night of Couples Speed Painting. 116 S. Rio Grande St., SLC, 801-230-0820,
    2. Utah Cultural Celebration Center
    3. The Monarch

    Best Arts Nonprofit
    Salt Lake Film Society
    Those who shrug at the idea of film as "art" might need to expand their horizons. The Salt Lake Film Society exists to support the communal movie-going experience, one that's not just about box-office results, but about showcasing classic cinema on the big screen. Beyond their flagship theater, SLFS also supports the work of aspiring filmmakers through its MAST program, providing instruction in how to navigate both the creative challenges and practical realities of getting their work out into the world. Broadway Centre Cinemas, 111 E. 300 South, Ste. 99, SLC, 801-321-0310,
    2. Salt Lake Acting Co.
    3. Urban Arts Gallery

    Best Classical Music/ Opera Performance
    Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Concert, Utah Symphony
    How do you hook a younger audience into the glorious experience of hearing a live orchestra in a state-of-the-art symphony hall? By pairing the performance with a hit movie. Utah Symphony's "Music Meets Movies" series has been delighting crowds with live accompaniment to cinematic favorites, and they've certainly loved experiencing the Star Wars films—because it's hard to convey the chills you get from hearing John Williams' iconic opening fanfare played in the same room. Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, SLC, 801-533-5626,
    2. Rigoletto, Utah Opera Co.
    3. Fischer's Farewell, Mahler, Utah Symphony

    Best Concert of the Past Year
    The Cure
    It's hard to narrow down and crown a winner to the best concert of the year, but that's what the Best of Utah polls are for. Our readers have spoken and dubbed post-punk kings The Cure as the year's best concert. The Cure stopped by Vivint (now the Delta Center), and just rocked everyone's faces off. For nearly 50 years, The Cure have blazed trails, set records and become one of the most recognizable names in the punk rock world. Hopefully, we have the honor of hosting them again before any mention of retirement.
    2. Post Malone
    3. Brandi Carlile

    Best Concert Series
    Twilight Concert Series
    For 36 seasons, the SLC Twilight Concert Series has brought national and worldwide acts to perform alongside local favorites, and each year, delighted fans flock to see who stops by for the series. In 2023, we saw the likes of Lord Huron, Death Cab for Cutie and Soccer Mommy, so it'll be exciting to see what 2024 holds for one of the longest-running concert series in the state.
    2. Ogden Twilight
    3. Red Butte Concert Series

    Best All-Ages Concert Venue
    Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
    The "all-ages" venue can mean many things, including a place for pre-21s to enjoy hip new bands. But it also can mean a great place for the family to enjoy a show, such as the lovely environs of Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre. Sure, the kids might not be nostalgic for acts like Blues Traveler or Boz Skaggs (on the 2023 lineup), but their music appreciation will skyrocket hanging out under the stars with the parents. 2188 E. Red Butte Canyon Road, SLC, 801-585-0556,
    2. USANA Amphitheatre
    3. Kilby Court

    Best Indoor Concert Venue
    The Depot
    Accommodating up to 1,200 concert-goers, The Depot is a unique multi-floor entertainment hotspot nestled in the historic Union Pacific Building at The Gateway. It features a full-service bar, food service, ample parking and arguably the best sound system in town. Countless bands and DJs have graced the stage of The Depot since opening in 2006, so here's to many more years of performances at the iconic venue. 13 N. 400 West, SLC, 801-456-2800,
    2. Abravanel Hall
    3. The State Room

    Best Outdoor Concert Venue
    Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
    After a long Utah winter, one of the joys of spring is the release of the concert schedule for Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre, set in the beautiful foothills of the Wasatch Range. As stunning as the venue is for a live show, it's the reliably great lineup that really catches our attention. They bring a slew of national touring artists, just waiting to be enjoyed with a picnic, a drink and a smile. 2188 E. Red Butte Canyon Road, SLC, 801-585-0556,
    2. USANA Amphitheatre
    3. Sandy Amphitheater

    • Courtsey @prestonpowellphoto
    • The fabulous Sequoia

    Best Drag Entertainer
    Don't call it a rigged election just because Sequoia served as host for City Weekly's own Pride Pageant celebration of drag royalty in 2023. Since returning to Utah post-COVID after performing regularly in the NYC drag scene, Sequoia has become a fixture locally, producing shows from Utah County to Ogden and standing out from the crowd both literally (in terms of height) and fabulously (in terms of talent). @theonlysequoia
    2. Tamara Knight
    3. Tara Lipsyncki

    Best Cultural Event
    Utah Pride Festival
    With LGBTQ rights under assault from a variety of fronts, the need for a celebration of that community as a whole feels as important as ever. Thousands gather annually each June for the floats, fun and fabulousness of the Utah Pride Parade and its accompanying festival. Unfortunately, the organization sponsoring the festival (Utah Pride Center) has undergone a temporary closure, layoffs and furloughs. It is reorganizing with a new board, leadership and strategic plan, which promises good things for the 2024 festival and parade. Stay tuned. 1380 S. Main, SLC, 801-539-8800,
    2. Utah Arts Festival
    3. Living Traditions Festival

    Best Dance Company
    Ballet West
    Celebrating its 60th birthday in 2023, the first professional ballet company to exist between Chicago and the West Coast continues to dazzle audiences, with seasons that combine classics like Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty with daring new work in its annual Choreographic Festival. Perhaps most significantly, its beloved seasonal production of Willam Christensen's The Nutcracker has become a family tradition spanning generations, giving young viewers their own chance to fall in love with dance. 52 W. 200 South, SLC, 801-869-6900,
    2. Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co.
    3. Repertory Dance Theatre

    Best Friend of the Arts
    Utah Arts Alliance
    It might be easier to identify all the ways that Utah Arts Alliance doesn't support the wide range of arts in Utah. You want a gallery? You've got Urban Arts Gallery. You want a full-on festival? You've got the annual Urban Arts Festival. You want multimedia support for arts? You've got the KUAA community radio station. From a resource database for items arts organizations might need, to the Connect pop-up events for aspiring artists, you've got a real friend in UAA. 663 W. 100 South, SLC, SLC Arts Hub: 801-888-9638,
    2. George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
    3. The Hive Market

    Best Haunted House
    Fear Factory
    Utah loves Halloween, and it really loves its haunted houses. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that when a Utah haunted house nails it, haunted house lovers around the country take notice, as Buzzfeed did in a listicle that ranked Fear Factory as one of the top three haunted houses in the entire United States. The creepy abandoned-factory location is just the beginning of a terrifyingly fun experience. 666 W. 800 South, SLC,
    2. Nightmare on 13th
    3. Castle of Chaos Escape Rooms & Haunted House

    Bringing all the laughs: comedian - Craig Sorensen - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy photo
    • Bringing all the laughs: comedian Craig Sorensen

    Best Local Comedian
    Craig Sorensen
    It's not easy to find humor at the intersection of being Mormon, being gay and having a disability, but Craig Sorensen manages to hit a sweet spot of self-deprecating recognition that gives him a unique comedic perspective. Sorensen also demonstrates his versatility by working not just in traditional standup, but as part of the Crowdsourced Comedy improv group, for which he serves as a co-producer. IG @kcraigsorensen
    2. Aaron Woodall
    3. Mallory Everton

    Best Local Author
    Brandon Sanderson
    Writing in fan-favorite genres like fantasy and science fiction—and signing on to complete a beloved series like The Wheel of Time—is bound to gain you a devoted following, if you're really good at what you do. Sanderson is just that, in addition to being remarkably prolific, with four new novels published in 2023 alone. He's also classy enough that, when Wired magazine wrote a particularly mean-spirited profile of him in March 2023, he encouraged his fans to just let it go.
    2. Terry Tempest Williams
    3. Brandon Mull

    Best Local Band
    Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
    Pixie and the Partygrass Boys are no strangers to the Best of Utah winners list. The group is constantly innovating and delivering satisfying genre-bending music that appeals to a variety of audiences. Their most recent release, The Chicken Coop, Vol. 1, is an incredible collection that is perfect for newbies and longtime fans alike. Give them a listen and keep an eye out for live shows—you won't want to miss them.
    2. The Backseat Lovers
    3. Talia Keys and The Love

    Best Local Poet
    Paisley Rekdal
    It might be enough that Paisley Rekdal herself is one of the state's most accomplished poets, including serving as the state's Poet Laureate from 2017-2022. But Rekdal also dedicates herself to preserving and chronicling the history of Utah writers through the Mapping Literary Utah project, demonstrating a devotion to the creative work by so many other literary artists. She deserved praise both for her own work, and for celebrating the traditions of which it is a part.
    2. RJ Walker
    3. Wynter Storm

    Best Local Stage Actor
    Deena Manzanares
    She has been a familiar face in Utah for years, including her regular gig on ABC 4's Good Things Utah, but acting for live audiences is still a part of Manzanares' life. This year, she took on the role of the evil queen in Sting & Honey's production of Snow White, bringing her wickedly effective talents to bear, and once again delighting our readers. IG @deena_marie
    2. April Fossen
    3. Doug Irey

    • Courtesy photo

    Best Muralist
    Evan Jed Memmott
    "Nothing Lasts" proclaims a work Evan Jed Memmott created for the South Salt Lake Mural Fest in 2019, a representation of a personal mantra accepting the transitory nature of things. But we think it's fair to say that the artist's vibrantly colorful pieces contradict that notion a bit, as they cover walls throughout the valley with exciting, peculiarly Utah images that are bound to stick with you. 2285 S. Main, South Salt Lake,
    2. Shae Petersen aka Sril
    3. Josh Scheuerman

    Best Movie Theater
    Broadway Centre Cinemas
    It's been a rough stretch for theatrical moviegoing post-COVID, but Salt Lake Film Society keeps fighting the good fight, providing a place (Broadway Centre Cinemas) that dares to argue that even documentaries, independent dramas and non-English language films have a place on the big screen. Plus, they keep providing fun ways for audiences to enjoy classic cinema, such as the "Summer Showdown" and Halloween season's now-traditional "Tower of Terror." True lovers of film know they're not just for streaming on your computer. 111 E. 300 South, SLC, 801-321-0310,
    2. Brewvies Cinema Pub
    3. Tower Theatre

    Best Museum
    Natural History Museum of Utah
    Even from a distance, it's impressive, with the copper-trimmed exterior shining in the sunlight in the foothills. Step inside, and you get a fantastic experience of hands-on exhibits devoted to Utah's own unique history, from dinosaurs to ancient indigenous peoples to modern ecosystems like the Great Salt Lake. Touring exhibitions supplement the permanent collection to delight and educate visitors of all ages. 301 Wakara Way, SLC, 801-581-6927,
    2. Utah Museum of Fine Arts
    3. Clark Planetarium

    Best Music Festival
    Kilby Block Party
    Kilby Block Party has taken on a life of its own. The festival continues to grow bigger and bigger each year, with more concertgoers flocking to SLC to enjoy the insanely stacked lineups. KBP 2023 featured acts like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pixies and many more. Not even a massive storm could stop the Block Party this year, held at the Utah State Fairpark, and next year is sure to be just as eventful.
    2. Loveloud
    3. Das Energi

    Best Musical Instrument Store
    Summerhays Music Center
    Having a trusted place to buy and have your musical instruments repaired is something that can easily be taken for granted. Whether your precious instrument needs a crucial repair, or if you are in search of a quick string replacement, Summerhays is the place to go. If you're in the market for a new instrument, you can buy or rent, or just stop in to browse. 5420 S. Green St., Murray, 801-268-4446,
    2. Guitar Czar
    3. Acoustic Music

    Best Neighborhood Concerts
    9th & 9th Book and Music Free Community Concert Series
    Concerts are already a blast, but when you make them free, they instantly become a thousand times more fun—it's scientifically proven. Costs aside, it's great to get out and bump elbows with your fellow community members and support local artists. It's an added bonus that you can do shopping for books, guitars, records and other arts-related products. Head out to enjoy good tunes and say hi to fellow lovers of the arts. 962 E. 900 South, SLC, 801-739-1159,
    2. Mondays in the Park, Liberty Park
    3. Heart & Soul Music Stroll, Sugar House

    Best Neighborhood Gathering
    999 Bike Ride
    In an ideal world, there'd be nothing notable about the 999—our streets would be filled with a blend of neighbors and visitors, navigating the city primarily under their own power and with the comfort and safety to freely explore or to stay put and hang for a spell. Until that ideal world arrives, we at least have the 999, which takes the empty parking lots, dark underpasses and forgotten corners of Salt Lake and, every Thursday at 9 p.m., after gathering at 9th & 9th, transforms them into the hottest party in town, open to all.
    2. Avenues Street Fair
    3. Chalk Art Festival Bountiful

    Best Paint Night
    Hogle Zoo
    Hogle Zoo's Paint Night isn't just a Canvas and Brush affair; it's a wild masterpiece waiting to happen! Surrounded by the enchanting beauty of nature, you'll channel your inner Picasso. No experience needed; the Paint Night at Hogle Zoo welcomes adult artists of all stripes, from beginners to seasoned pros, and you'll be guided step by step. All materials needed are provided. Sign up for a roarin' good time and let your imagination run wild. 2600 E. Sunnyside Ave., SLC, 801-584-1700,
    2. The Local Artisan Collective
    3. What's Ya Vibe Hip Hop Paint Night @ Scion Cider Bar

    • Courtesy SLAC / @toddcollinsphotos

    Best Theater Company
    Salt Lake Acting Co.
    For more than 50 years, Salt Lake Acting Co. has been a place where the essence of daring theater is celebrated, bringing in local premieres of Broadway award-winners, new works by local playwrights and other fresh voices. And while the name of the annual summer production has changed (it's now the SLAC Summer Show), it's one of the best opportunities to look at the craziness of Utah life, and emerge with a smile on your face and a song on your lips. 168 W. 500 North, SLC, 801-363-7522,
    2. Hale Centre Theatre
    3. Utah Shakespeare Festival

    Best Potter/Ceramicist
    Randi Lile
    Ceramic work can take many different forms, from functional pots and vases to elaborately abstract work. Randi Lile found her distinctive artistic calling in ceramic sculptures of sea life—and while it's far from the only kind of work she does, it's hard to resist the fanciful works that are sometimes a little creepy, sometimes charming, but always characterized by bold colors and brilliant glazing. 801-815-4538,
    2. Ben Behunin
    3. Min Oh, TinyFish Production

    Best Singer-Songwriter
    Tyler Glenn, Neon Trees
    We do love it when locals make good, and Utah has certainly embraced Neon Trees and frontman Tyler Glenn, particularly as he shared his personal story of coming out and leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That personal connection comes through, whether as part of the band, or in his solo album Excommunication. It's a thrill to have new music for a new 2024 album coming our way. IG @tylerinacoma, IG @official_neontrees
    2. Michelle Moonshine
    3. April Kerr

    Best Urban Public Art
    "Out of the Blue," aka "The Whale"
    Sculptor: Stephen Kesler; mural: Mike Murdock.

    While it can't be proven that Salt Lake City's embrace of the "sacred" whale is responsible for our record-breaking winter snowfall and much-needed spring rains ... it can't be disproven either. In a short time, The Whale has evolved from a controversial proposal to a curious attraction to, now, an intrinsic part of the 9th & 9th neighborhood, with its own tongue-in-cheek (mostly) religion and marathon route. Build the tail on 9th & 9th West! All hail The Whale! 900 S. 1100 East, SLC,
    2. Salt Lake City Police Brutality Murals
    3. South Salt Lake Muralfest

    Best Visual Artist
    Cat Palmer
    It's clear that we at City Weekly dig Cat Palmer based on her regular contributions to these pages as a writer, but our readers also know that she's a remarkable talent as a visual artist. Her photography runs the gamut from commercial work like wedding and family photos to some of the most iconic images of our city and its people, including the legendary "Last Supper" of local badasses. She's earned her own place among them.
    2. Justin Wheatley
    3. Andrew Alba

    Kate Kilpatrick, owner of Kilpatrick Art Garage in Helper - COURTESY PHOTO
    • Courtesy photo
    • Kate Kilpatrick, owner of Kilpatrick Art Garage in Helper

    Best New Gallery on the Block ... in Helper
    Kilpatrick Art Garage
    Kate Kilpatrick's new gallery in Helper is a dream come true, adding to Helper's draw as a destination for the arts. It has a garage grunge feel to it mixed with a fun, hip vibe. Kilpatrick says, "I create these works to express my curiosity and reverence of what has gone on before. I am drawn to the richness of life imbued in both events and items those events create." 80 S. Main, Helper, 801-712-7611,

    Best Art Wonders
    Anthony's Antiques and Fine Art
    In the film Return to Oz, Dorothy visits the Gnome King's Ornament Room, a mysterious chamber of magical objets d'art. Such a sequence enters our minds upon any trip to Anthony's, a family-run fine art and antiques establishment that has graced the Salt Lake landscape for more than three decades. In this stately jewel, you can find early Utah art and original paintings, sculptures and works on paper by American and European artists created across the centuries. 401 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-328-2231,

    Best Baring of One's Artistic Soul
    Andrew Alba
    Gifted in multiple formats such as painting, sculpture and drawing, local artist Andrew Alba has exhibited many striking and personal works drawn from his life and heritage. Whether providing his unique comment upon broad social issues or reflecting memories from his Mexican background, Alba's works are intimate, direct, and always himself. Painted or constructed, they tell stories that could not be heard in any other way.

    Best DIY Gettin' Crafty Classes
    Craft Lake City
    It's understandable if folks know Craft Lake City best for its namesake annual summer DIY Festival, but the organization doesn't just showcase people at their crafty best; it also helps create them. Throughout the year, Craft Lake City sponsors classes in a wide range of creative endeavors, helping folks learn skills like tote-bag decorating, lantern painting, food preparation and more, plus online STEM workshops for kids. 230 S. 500 West, Ste 125, SLC, 801-906 – 8521,

    Best Creative Stampede
    Tooele's Beautiful Bison
    Salt Lake may have a breaching whale, but Tooele is where the bison roam. Like many Western towns, Tooele has begun a campaign of bison installations throughout the downtown area, including at the Pioneer Museum, Main Street, the Veteran's Park and more. Painted by local artists, each bison has been adopted/sponsored by local businesses. Seven out of 10 have been placed so far. Tooele Downtown Alliance,

    Best Live Theater Fan Club
    Utah Theater Lovers
    Ever longed to see a flamboyant musical or somber theatrical production but couldn't round up a show date? Take heart, there's an instant group of theater buddies you can join, one that attends monthly performances around town. Enjoy a pre- or post-show meal or beverage, headed up by the brilliant herder of cats, Megan Gutierrez. This group also travels out of town to see shows, even to New York City, Boston, London and Edinburgh! Join on or at

    Best Recently Discovered Artist Community
    Bogue Foundry
    A veritable beehive of creative spaces, the historic Bogue Foundry emits a hip Brooklyn vibe. Here, you'll find resident artist studios of Sue Martin, Steve Creson, Nancy Vorm, Lisa Hubbert, Lewis J. Crawford, Fern & Reed, Cat Palmer, Anna Hansen of The Hex Press and Anita Albright. Saltgrass Printmakers, which just celebrated 20 years, is also part of this mixed artistic community, as is Circa Salon, Modern West Fine Art and Kings Peak Coffee Roasters. A true hidden gem! 412 S. 700 West, SLC,

    What Did We Miss?

    Best at Naughty and Nice
    Hot! Take Burlesque
    This burlesque troupe—which includes burlesque dancers from all around the Salt Lake area—is so good at their craft that they can apply their scintillating dance moves to any theme. If you want a night of performance completely set to BTS tunes? They've got a performance or five for that. Recently, they've put on variety shows honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, participating in Pride events and playing with themes like the recent Barbie craze.

    Best Draper Dance Studio
    The Moxy Movement
    In 2016, Angela Nelson and Sarah Child began creating a space and community for adults to explore their physical potential and build self-confidence through movement. Their search ended when they found The Old School located in historic Draper. With currently nine instructors, Moxy Movement features lessons in a variety of dances in two studios: their pole dance studio and aerial and dance studio. 12441 S. 900 East, Stes. 105 and 205, Draper, 801-999-8630,

    Best Immersive Adventures
    Mystery Escape Room
    If solving real life puzzles and problems is your forté, then you'll be in hot demand at the Mystery Escape Room. Originating at The Gateway, MER has since expanded to cities throughout the valley. Here, groups of people try to solve a mystery and tackle puzzles to escape a locked room in an hour or less. Each room's theme changes throughout the year, so even if you think you know the solution from a previous visit, next time you go, you'll probably be stumped all over again. 130 S. Rio Grande St., SLC, 385-322-2583,

    Best Locally Curated Immersive Art
    "Art" can be a complex word to define, but it's easy to agree on the idea that it's a process born of imagination. The fantastical worlds of Utah Arts Alliance's Dreamscapes are the product of more than 100 artists and artisans, creating spaces that combine physical and digital works into landscapes that might inspire another generation of artists. That the works are created from upcycled and reclaimed materials makes it even more remarkable. 10450 S. State, Ste. 2200, Sandy, 801-637-5155,

    Best Musical Performed in Utah
    Shucked, Pioneer Theatre Co.
    It's not exactly a common occurrence for Salt Lake City to get a chance to see a Broadway hit before it even gets a chance to go to Broadway. But thanks to a preview run at Pioneer Theatre Co., local audiences were treated to the hilarious, ear-wormy delights of the cornpone musical Shucked, which subsequently became a nominee for nine Tony Awards, including an acting win for Alex Newell. University of Utah, 300 S. 1400 East, Ste. 325, SLC, 801-581-6961,

    Best Stained-Glass Art
    'Roots of Knowledge' at UVU
    Stained-glass art sometimes seems like the most amazing creative accomplishment, finding illuminated beauty in a fragile medium. Utah Valley University is the home of "Roots of Knowledge," a stained-glass mural created by the artists at Holdman Studios over the course of nearly four years, and unveiled in 2016. This display looks at the human pursuit of learning, spanning 80 panels and 154 feet—a remarkable celebration of knowledge itself in a unique form. Fulton Library, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem, 801-863-7172,

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