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Planning a Salt Lake City Adventure?

One Fall season, my ex-boyfriend (who I’ll call “Mr. X”) and I embarked on a trip to the Pacific Northwest.

Overall, it was a lovely trip! We came away from our adventures with so many new memories to look back on and reminisce about. 

But, while the trip may have ended on a high note, it certainly didn’t begin that way…

Today, I’m writing about my Salt Lake City adventures, the 1st leg of that Pacific Northwest trip I took with “Mr. X”… I wish I could share stories about what an incredible time I had there. I’m sure I could make up some phony-baloney garbage… “Top 10 things to do in the Pacific Northwest”… blah, blah, blah.

But, if I only wrote about the “good” and not the “bad” or the “ugly”… it wouldn’t be “Real Girl Review”.

Seattle, the 2nd leg of my Pacific Northwest trip was far more successful. My time in Salt Lake City pales in comparison. You can read about my adventures in Seattle here!

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Before we dive into any stories or reviews, I thought you should know… As of this posting, the following blog posts are not sponsored. Any products or services reviewed were paid for out of my own pocket unless otherwise noted.

[This post was originally posted July of 2020. Updated August of 2022]

Planning a Trip to Salt Lake City

What is Salt Lake City Known For?

When you think of Salt Lake City, you probably think of Mormons, Mountains, and Desert… And you’d be right, it is definitely all of that. But, the city is also so much more.

Quote | “I went to Salt Lake City and the Mormons tried to convert me, but when I found they forbade tea and tobacco, I thought it was no religion for me…”

Leaving for Salt Lake City

A few weeks before leaving for SLC, I’d been in the hospital for an infection. But, I was on medication so I figured I should be fine on my trip. It was starting to subside.

Little did I know, that would lead to a Lupus flare-up. It was brewing in my body and would rear its ugly head after my arrival in Salt Lake City. 

If you suffer from a chronic illness too, check out my blog: 20 Helpful Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness.

Flying to Salt Lake City

The Flight

geeves wearing a zebra designed mask on a flight to salt lake city
Getting settled into my flight. Because of my Lupus, I’m autoimmune. I’ve been wearing masks long before COVID-19.

We flew out of Boston Logan Airport with Delta Airlines. I got cozy with some movies, had some breakfast, and relaxed during my flight. 

One of my favorite things, when I’m flying, is being able to look out my window. One of the reasons I always get the window seat. 😉 The sight of the mountains in the distance is breathtaking.

flight view of mountains

We flew into Salt Lake City International Airport. My mom loves Moose. As I was passing a souvenir shop, I got her a Moose keychain and some “Moose poop” candies… LOL… obviously not real… (just chocolate).

Geeves posing with salt lake city sign

Driving through the city from the airport, we noticed right away that the air was super dry. It also smelled very smoky. Evidently, there was a big fire nearby that had been going on for days. 

That, in combination with the high altitude, gave me a bit of a headache. That coupled with my Lupus flare up didn’t help… At least the mountains were pretty to look at…

freeway, mountains and blue skies heading into salt lake city
Entering the city.. in an uber, on the way to our hotel..

Where to Stay in Salt Lake City

geeves silhouette looking out the window of hotel room
Can you see the Mountains in the distance?

What I’m about to say may come as a shock. I don’t rave about every hotel I stay at just so that you’ll stay there too… What’s the point of Real Girl Review if I’m not being honest with you?

How did I like our hotel stay at Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek? I’ll point out the pros and cons.

This was tricky… I wanted to rate it 3.5, but no such RGR Rating exists.

Cons

  • The rooms on the Marriott’s website seemed much newer, more modern, and sleek. The room we had was very old and outdated. We ended up switching rooms halfway through our stay.

Pros

  • The room had a balcony and a nice view.
  • The hotel had a lounge for loyal members. Grabbing snacks or drinks when we wanted was convenient.
  • Very conveniently located in the center of the city’s highlights.
  • They have room service which I remember being pretty good.

My Best & Worst Hotel Finds

Having traveled 170+ days/yr. for many years, I’ve stayed at all kinds of hotels and accommodations, mostly through Marriott. Check out my blog where I share my favorite and least favorite hotel finds.


Overall, I’d say this hotel is great if you want to be in the center of things, but not if you’re looking for a luxurious stay.

While check-in was easy and the lobby seemed nice, the rest of the hotel was outdated which was a shock once we got to the room.

geeves looking out of the view of downtown salt lake city

The Hotel Lounge

Throughout the day, we’d grab snacks at the lounge. My status with Marriott gave us access to complimentary breakfast, drinks (alcohol extra), and hors d’oeuvres throughout the day. 

Was it my favorite Marriott property? Definitely not… but it was conveniently located and clean. Our room also had a nice view of the Temple and Wasatch Mountains that we enjoyed from our balcony. I also really liked that the hotel was conveniently located in the center of things.

Because of the perks of being a Marriott member, I’d stay at this hotel again. However, you’ll find other Marriott and non Marriott properties to choose from throughout Salt Lake City, some that may even be better.

Booking.com

Booking Tip

Marriott has the cheapest rates online. So much so that they offer a price match guarantee + 25% off if you find a cheaper rate on Booking.com or similar for the same hotel and room type. All you have to do is sign up for a free Marriott Bonvoy membership, book your stay directly through Marriott.com, submit the price match claim 24 hours before your check in (3:59 PM). Book now, pay later.

Salt Lake City Adventures

Despite not feeling my best, I did manage to get myself out of bed to do a few things in the city and I’m here to share them with you.

geeves outside of wise guys live comedy show
Pumped for the show!

Mr. X and my thing used to be going to comedy shows wherever we traveled. We had been to well over 10 together internationally in the almost 3 years we were together. It was always fun. I’m glad I was able to get myself to do this.

When I booked the tickets online before our trip, I’d gotten them for their Ogden location. Wasn’t until we arrived at the Salt Lake City Wise Guys that I realized my error. They were nice though and let us watch the show there instead.

The show had several acts in the lineup. It was a good time and decent atmosphere.

Inside wise guys comedy show
Must be a popular place, they were a packed house!

The show was a lot of fun! We ordered some beers and relaxed. They also serve food.

Their lineup was pretty good. We laughed a lot! Some of the jokes we laugh about long after our trip.

The staff was very friendly. I’d unknowingly purchased tickets for a different location & they let me go to the show in SLC.

FUN FACT

Where did founders of popular dating apps, Tinder & Bumble go first to get the word out? Universities with Mormons.

In the Mormon community, 29 is considered old to be single. At that age, they’re already expected to be married with families of their own. Who better to target for a dating app?

The Gateway

3 star element

This is an outdoor plaza next door to Wise Guys with dining, shops, and entertainment.

After the show, we grabbed California Pizza Kitchen. I liked the vibe, they had cool seating areas. 

geeves posing at temple square in salt lake city

Visiting the Temple is one of Salt Lake City’s most popular attractions regardless of one’s religion.

I can see why this is the most popular attraction in Salt Lake City. Everything about Temple Square is beautiful. The architecture of the buildings, the gardens, the walking paths.. so quaint. There’s so much history there.

Exterior of Temple Square

The area is lovely to walk around and take photos. Even if you’re not religious, you can appreciate the history, architecture, & gardens throughout.

Geeves smelling the rose in the garden

There are also various upscale and casual dining options for you to choose from. For your trip to Salt Lake City, you can explore what Temple Square is all about here.

Garden Restaurant, Temple Square

3 star element

After exploring Temple Square, we came to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to admire the architecture and stained glass. Then, found Garden Restaurant for dinner.

We came at sunset which was amazing. That alone made the stop worth it. We watched the sunset while having dinner at Garden Restaurant which overlooks Temple Square with picturesque views.

Update:

Since my visit, Joseph Smith Memorial Building is undergoing renovations to include new dining options, which means that the restaurants I mentioned don’t exist anymore and have turned into different restaurants.

Sunset at Temple square from the rooftop of the Garden Restaurant

I think for a casual dining option, this place was great. It had a nice garden atmosphere and a retractable glass roof which was interesting to watch open up while dining.

Sunset view and drinks
Cheersing to the most beautiful sunset!
Dinner at the Garden Restaurant in Temple Square

I ordered the steak, which was decent. I don’t recall it being the best I’ve ever had or anything. Also, you couldn’t order alcohol which was literally a buzz kill, LOL. But, the views of the Temple were gorgeous.

City Creek Center in Salt Lake City

Talk about a luxe shopping experience. The fact that it was literally right below my hotel, I could see everything and was instantly intrigued.

In terms of a shopping environment, this was the next level. If I was the “shopping while on vacation” type, I easily could have spent hours here. It’s a nice atmosphere with their open-air style, water fountain, simulated creek, a water fountain, artwork & sculptures, upscale shops, and restaurants throughout. What’s not to love? 😉

geeves posing in front of a water fountain

But, since I don’t like spending time shopping while on trips, I decided to just take a quick stroll through City Creek Center after exploring Temple Square.. not that I would have the energy to shop honestly. 


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As I didn’t get a service here, I can’t leave a star.

The main reason we went to SLC on our Northwest trip, was so I could visit a friend I don’t see too often. We were headed in that direction. It was perfect timing. So, even though I wasn’t feeling my best, I couldn’t miss seeing her.

We planned a girl’s day at a spa called Richelle’s. Unfortunately, they didn’t put us down for the right time so we couldn’t get our treatment. (This was pre COVID)

Honestly, think I would have rated higher even if I had received a crappy spa treatment. I didn’t like the way they handled the situation. I get it, mistakes happen. It’s the way you handle it that makes the difference between a great customer experience and a bad one.

There was no apology or attempt at resolution. In fact, the employee tried to put the blame on me. I had a confirmation but it didn’t matter at that point.

Pedicure
Luckily, we got into a place last minute for mani & pedis.

Because we scheduled those appointments weeks in advance and didn’t have another plan since I wasn’t in town long, we drove around for an hour to find a nail salon open. Finally we found one but, I ended up having to pay them extra so they would stay open for us.

Was The Trip a Success or Not a Success?

geeves posing with Mr. X

Guess it depends on who you ask…

For me, it was a somewhat successful trip based on the things we were able to do in our short time there (3 days).

However, it could have gone a lot better without my Lupus flare-up. I felt exhausted the whole time. It took serious strength (mental & physical) to get myself out of bed.

geeves sleeping and hugging a pillow
One of Mr. X’s favorite things to do was take pictures of me while I was sleeping… This is the flare-up kicking my butt.

With my flare-up, I spent most of the time ordering room service and watching Ozark…

Netflixin’ and Chillin’ might sound relaxing for some. Not when you have a flare-up! I also don’t like being forced to rest in bed, especially on fun trips. Resting was the only thing that allowed me to recharge for the next thing though.

I look back now and I’m like how was I smiling in the photos… I felt horrible.. I think I was trying to fake it till I made it.. 😉

Mr. X on the other hand might tell you he thought it was a successful trip. He got to enjoy himself and said that it was a nice time. I ended up feeling guilty like Mr. X was missing out so I told him to go ahead and venture out in the city without me.

I had been to Salt Lake City once before this trip. I had overall, positive impressions of the city from what I experienced of it, which I might do a blog on another time.

outside fo salt palace convention center

He sent me these photos while I was in bed… I was like, “Thanks, that made me feel great about what I missed”… LOL

Mr. X’s camera roll…


Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World

Skip Vegas and head Reno! See where to stay in Reno and what to do in the biggest little city in the world.


Mark Twain in Salt Lake City

I’m a Mark Twain fan because I appreciate good humor and I love his humor… Oh, and because he’s an ENFP like me. 😉

In his 1871 book, “Roughing It”, which is part non-fiction and part fiction, he writes about his first encounters with Utah, including Salt Lake City, Mormons, and Polygamy.

Quite a fair bit of it sounds controversial but it’s meant to be funny. A lot of it is fictional. You might appreciate it.

Mark Twain:

“Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter.

We walked about the streets some, afterward, and glanced in at shops and stores; and there was a fascination in surreptitiously staring at every creature we took to be a Mormon. This was fairyland to us, to all intents and purposes — a land of enchantment, and goblins, and awful mystery. We felt a curiosity to ask every child how many mothers it had and if it could tell them apart, and we experienced a thrill every time a dwelling-house door opened and shut as we passed.”

The Book of Mormon Bible
Found in our hotel room

That’s a Wrap!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Salt Lake City Adventures and get inspiration for your own trip!

Have you visited Salt Lake City, Utah? What did you enjoy the most? If you haven’t visited, what would you be interested in doing? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂

illustration of geeves traveling with pink suitcase and blue outfit

If you found this blog useful, share it with someone you think might enjoy it!

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Thank you so much for your continued love and support! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.

Until next time… keep it real.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

20 Helpful Tips for Traveling with a Chronic Illness

Best and Worst Marriott Hotels I’ve Stayed In, Boom or Bust

The Biggest Little City in the World: Where to Stay in Reno

The Ultimate Packing List for Every Type of Traveler

3 Days in Seattle: Love at First Sight

Fun North Lake Tahoe Adventures in Palisades Tahoe, Olympic Valley

Magical Lighthouses of Maine to Experience


Fact Check:

Real Girl Review strongly values truth and strives for accuracy. If you read something that doesn’t sound right, feel free to contact me and I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary. Posts are updated regularly.

Always keep it real…

22 Comments

  1. Clay,

    Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and leave a comment. However, it seems as though you didn’t read it in its entirety. If you had, you would have noticed that the part about how many Mothers kids have is an excerpt from Mark Twain’s book “Roughing It” and not my own words. I’m sorry you were offended. I did warn that his book might be a controversial read for some.

    As far as your comment about there being more to do than hanging out in the hotel, I think you missed the point of the blog. It was not a guide, rather a story I shared about making the most of my personal situation while in SLC which unfortunately entailed me dealing with a flare up as I suffer from a serious chronic illness called Lupus which prevented me from leaving the hotel as much as I would have liked. My goal was to share that people with disabilities such as myself can still travel and enjoy certain aspects of various cities.

    Again, thank you for taking the time out of your day to share your views.

  2. Hi Stephen!
    Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave a comment. It’s always interesting to hear from Utah natives and their opinions on Salt Lake City. I visited a couple times but still have a lot to explore of the city according to my readers.

    Have a great day!

    Geeves

  3. I have read many reviews of Salt Lake and this one is the worst review I have ever read. I would give it a 1 star. There are so many other things to do than go to the mall, get nails done, and hang out at the hotel in Salt Lake. It is also very rude and unacceptable to ask kids how many Mothers they have. Less than 1% of the population is polygamous and less than 50% of Salt Lake City are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  4. As a born and raised Utahen I’m not Mormon now but I was raised LDS I’m not here to slam the people of Salt Lake but the dominant religion is to highly in control of what to visit without them Mentioning their beliefs or their history there were a lot of non Mormon Travelers that were persuaded to continue on through Salt Lake due to the paranoia of the Mormon leaders thinking anyone not Mormon was out to get them

  5. Hi Roberto,

    I appreciate you taking the time to share your opinions on my Salt Lake City blog. However, if you read the blog further, you’d notice that it was published well before COVID.

    I’m sorry you thought I was expressing negativity toward the city. However, unlike my other blogs, please note, this was not meant to be an itinerary or travel guide, rather, a travel story. I highlighted many things for people to do that I enjoyed but it wouldn’t be Real Girl Review unless I was honest in my reviews and so I shared the things I didn’t like as well which is what my audience appreciates. After all, I can only write about the experiences I’ve had personally.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

    Have a good day!

    Geeves

  6. This showed up on my Google News feed and I read it. I wasn’t impressed by the author’s writing, it read like a junior high blog. I’ve been to Salt Lake and there are so many beautiful things to see and do there. To focus your negativity on the smoke from forest fires and a miscommunication with a spa is ridiculous.
    And to give an establishment a one-star rating in the middle of the pandemic because you think you made the appointment on that date is brutal and childish.
    I’m surprised that this blog has any followers outside of the author’s immediate family.

  7. Salt Lake City is actually very liberal and LGBTQ friendly. Vast majority of SLC residents are non Mormon. And, we’re in the Mountain West region, not the Pacific Northwest – hence the high altitude versus sea level in Seattle. The people you were walking past wondering how weirdly religious they were, were most likely liberal, non-religious locals, or tourists such as yourself. We locals don’t go to Temple Square or the Joseph Smith building for dinner. Sorry you weren’t feeling well when you visited our city, but it sound like you were expecting to find all the stereo types associated with Utah and missed the richness and diversity of our city.

  8. Also as somebody who lives in utah, a large portion of the state are members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but only about 40% of people in Utah go to church every week. Also the church prefers not to be called Mormon and to be called members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 🙂

  9. Actually, the Mormon population of Salt Lake County is 49%, Salt Lake City’s Mormon population is much lower. If you come back, get outside that little area of downtown and see what really makes this city great.

  10. I lived in Upton Utah for 27 year’s, got divorced and moved back to Michigan where I grew up.

  11. Hi Taylor, thank you for pointing those things out! I always strive for accuracy. I’ve since updated the blog post to reflect those points.

  12. I think places closing early has more to do with demographics (their experience tells them people don’t visit their establishment after a certain time) than actual religious reasons. Also, the creek at City Creek Mall is not simulated. They built the mall around the creek that already existed. Pretty cool!

  13. Hi Melissa! I always encourage fact checking at Real Girl Review for the most up to date and accurate information possible. So, I want to thank you for taking the time to inform me of that. I’ve since updated the post. Thanks for reading, have a great day! 🙂

  14. I just want to point out an inaccuracy about the liquor laws. It depends on the kind of liquor license owned by the establishment if you have to buy food to buy alcohol. There are plenty of bars in Salt Lake where you can order just drinks.

  15. Hi Kemi!
    SLC is a great American find! If you find yourself out west, definitely make a stop. It’s totally worthwhile! Then, let me know what you get yourself into!

    Thank you for being an RGR reader!

  16. I’m curious if your understanding is that Mormons practice polygamy. There are polygamists in Utah, but they are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as Mormons). It was once a practice in the church, but hasn’t been for over 100 years.

  17. Awww…you really did look like you were having a swell time. Never been to SLC and my curiosity is piqued too. It’s definitely a unique city with its religion. I’m loving that salmon big time. Lol.

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