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Getting around SLC

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Winnsboro, Louisiana
posts: 104
reviews: 61
Getting around SLC

Flying into SLC, planning to stay near airport and have two days to fill. Will we need to rent a car to get to the downtown area? We would like to do and see some (or all, if possible) of the following: tour Temple Square, the Beehive and Lion houses, State Capitol, and Convention Center; and visit the Gateway, Red Butte Garden, and This is the Place Monument.

If we don't rent a car, how we will get to the downtown area? Or would it be better to the do the rounds with Big Bus Utah rather than trying to find and get to the places we are interested in ourselves?

Thanks for help and suggestions!

Salt Lake City, UT
posts: 898
reviews: 8
1. Re: Getting around SLC

Is there a reason you're staying out near the airport? Staying in the downtown area would be far more convenient to your destinations. If staying at N airport hotel is mandatory, let us know which one in particular. Some are near the new TRAX light rail line, but others aren't. Municipal buses may be an option if you're not on the light rail line. Look at www.rideuta.com for transit schedules.

A tourist bus may be an option too. I've seen them plying the local streets, but have no first hand experience.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 13,108
reviews: 117
2. Re: Getting around SLC

Public transportation in the roughly six block downtown area is free, so buses and TRAX light rail can get you around once you are there , but you do still need to get downtown.

If TRAX or bus can't get you there you could always call a cab.

Of the places you mentioned all but Red BUtte Garden and This is the Place Monument are downtown. For those two you would be better off having a car.

US Bus Utah might actually be a good option for you as they will get you to some of the outlying areas. I like that they are hop on hop off and so will allow you to take your own time at each spot. Though at $31 for a one day pass you could probably rent a car for a day for less if there are two of you.

Some websites: usbusutah.com/index.php…

http://www.visitsaltlake.com/

Winnsboro, Louisiana
posts: 104
reviews: 61
3. Re: Getting around SLC

Planned to stay near the airport to catch an early flight out. Thought we could get the light rail from the airport into the downtown area, but didn't think we'd want to try to chance getting back into the airport for an early morning flight. (Been there, done that in another city and it didn't work so well!)

Planning to stay in one of the Marriott properties near airport - either the Springhill Suites or the Residence Inn

(due to using reward pts). It would be great if we could catch the lite rail near the hotel.

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 3
reviews: 13
4. Re: Getting around SLC

You can get to (or close to) all of those places on Trax, which runs to the airport, although you may have trouble early mornings or late night and/or the bus. Personally, I'd skip the convention center--it's just a big carpeted building. I'd also skip the Gateway in favor of City Creek if I wanted to do shopping.

If I had a couple of days in SLC though, I'd do one day of the city stuff (all of the stuff you mentioned), and on the second day I'd rent a car and head up into the mountains. Lots of walks/hiking, cool restaurants, and some of the best views you'll find anywhere. In fact, if you put a day in the mountains first, I'd bet that you'll skip the city stuff and spend a second day in the mountains as well. I've been all over, and there aren't many places more spectacular that the Wasatch Mountains. Hope you have a nice trip!

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,443
reviews: 18
5. Re: Getting around SLC

It looks like both of the options you listed are west of the airport, which means they won't be on the Trax line. The bus service from this area would include a transfer and take almost an hour to get to the City Creek Center, whereas, if you had a car it would take about 15 minutes. There are always cabs, but if you're traveling back and forth, it might be more cost efficient to rent a car.

Of all of the sites you wish to see, most are within walking distance of downtown hotels, excluding This Is The Place and Red Butte Gardens. The Convention Center won't allow you inside unless you have a pass to the current convention. However, there is a visitor center for everybody, as well as the adjoining UMOCA Museum.

I would always recommend staying downtown as opposed to the airport because you will be within walking distance of most of your desires stops, there is more to do, food options etc, and is quite safe. The SLC airport is less than 15 minutes from downtown. It's not like Denver or JFK, where it could take an hour depending on traffic.

You could really knock out most of your list in a single day depending on how much time you spend at Temple Square and the Family History Center. I would echo the thoughts Road Bike Jake and spend a couple of hours, at least drive up, Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon for some fresh mountain air and scenery. Walk around the boardwalk at Silver Lake and have lunch at Silver Fork Lodge. Something along those lines. What ever you do, have a great time.

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
posts: 10,794
reviews: 205
6. Re: Getting around SLC

There are plenty of Marriott properties downtown and you will find that to be more convenient in all respects than staying at the airport. The downtown Marriott is the most convenient to trax. Courtyard a bit less so, Springhill a bit removed from trax. Downtown to airport by car/taxi/shuttle is maybe 5-10 minutes longer than the airport hotels, which are quite inconveniently located west of the airport. If you have two days to fill, definitely get a car and see the area.

Have fun.

Winnsboro, Louisiana
posts: 104
reviews: 61
7. Re: Getting around SLC

I was concerned about downtown parking if we rented a car and the heat factor in walking around in late August. I think maybe it will be best to rent a car, stay downtown & walk/Trax to closer places, & then have our own wheels for those things further out. Sounds like we don't want to miss a drive into the mountains.

Thanks for all the suggestions. We are looking forward to seeing your city & area for the first time!

Salt Lake City, Utah
posts: 3
reviews: 13
8. Re: Getting around SLC

Berock: I think you're right on with your latest post. Parking downtown is plentiful and cheap (compared to a lot of cities), and getting around town is really easy. IMO, you can't come to SLC and not go to the mountains. If you want good dining and decent shopping in the mountains, visit Park City. If you want to see some breathtaking sights, head to Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, or LIttle Cottonwood canyons. Plenty of beautiful walks/hikes in any of those canyons if you're up for it. SLC will be hot in August (but without humidity, so it's bearable compared to a lot of places I've been), but the temps in the mountains will be perfect.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
posts: 1,443
reviews: 18
9. Re: Getting around SLC

Albion Basin would be a great place to visit in August, though you may arrive right in between the spectacular wildflower season and autumn leaves changing colors. Cecret Lake is short 1-mile hike right in the shadows of the Devil's Castle and would be good for a picnic in this area. The Snowbird Tram which stops at 11,000 feet for mountain top views, is a nice option as well.

Utah
posts: 80
reviews: 7
10. Re: Getting around SLC

I agree with that mentioned above. Don't stay by the airport. Stay right downtown and use Trax to get around for the most part in the downtown area. Utah isn't like other places with heavy traffic. I've never had a hard time getting to or from the airport. Other than downtown SLC, Utah is too spread out to avoid renting a car.

I would just add one word of caution. If you plan on going into the mountains, be aware of what you are getting into. Utah is a nature lovers paradise, but for the most part it is wilderness. Don't just drive up into the mountains and expect to get the experience that you are looking for. Identify and plan a specific mountain destination so that you aren't left wondering where along the vast Wasatch Front to go. There are countless mapped trails, but if you want more of a leisure day-trip scenic experience, then some of the more commercial options are better and are focused more around the ski resorts. In that case you should check out Snowbird or Park City Mountain Resort.