We suspected but did not know for sure that the city of Salt Lake and its satellite communities really decorate for an old fashioned Christmas. Our neighbors who used to live in Salt Lake City told us about the special tree in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and they advised us to dine for Thanksgiving at the Little America Hotel coffee shop, but we discovered on our own that the Macy’s in the City Creek Shopping Center downtown has unique Christmas windows.
The delightful holiday decor all over this Western city added a special and unexpected oomph to our week in Salt Lake City and beyond. Its festive feel especially enchanted the children among us. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building lobby was a treat that we would never have found on our own. Joseph Smith was the founder of the Mormons. His building is adjacent to the downtown temple and is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A one-time hotel, it contains 2 restaurants including a 10th floor one that affords perhaps the best view of the city. It was unfortunately closed when we wanted to dine there, but the lobby was opened and its tree was spectacular. We ate at Michelangelos instead, and loved this Italian restaurant.
Macy’s was very near the 76-year-old Joseph Smith building and its Christmas windows reminded the adults in our group of department store windows from long ago when urban stores really went all out for the Christmas holidays. This year’s theme was ornate, candy-centered creations that were definitely uncommon and fun to see.
Our neighbors also suggested that we spend a day in Park City. This town in the Wasatch Mountains 20 miles from Salt Lake City and home to the Sundance Film Festival has become Utah’s best resort town since we were last there. Known for its ski slopes, Park City also has a Main Street featuring 19th century silver mining boom architecture. Because the 2002 Winter Olympics were held in Park City, an athletic training facility and the Utah Olympic Park are now there. The latter’s bobsled ride on “The Comet”, one of the longest rides around, is a lot of fun. Our neighbors suggested that we go to the Snowbird Ski Resort and take its gondola up to 11,000 feet. They said it was a great experience for Midwesterners who don’t get much mountain time, but our son and grandchildren now live in Denver and get lots of mountain time. We spent our time instead in candy and cookie stores that are superabundant in Salt Lake City and its environs. We did, however, have Thanksgiving dinner in Park City.
As the week unfolded, we also experienced Luminaria in a formal garden in Lehi and a spectacular Christmas Parade in Ogden. Detroit-style pizza at Via 313 was an added bonus.