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One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Hello!

We will arrive to SLC airport in late June at 2:30 p.m. After getting our luggage in hopefully less than an hour we would take Lyft/public transportation to Downtown to settle in Royal Garden Inn.

Is there any better choice of transportation to the hotel?

Then we would take Lyft/public transportation (which?) to Ensign Peak, enjoy the views.

Than walk down to Capitol Hill, see Capitol Building, walk further to Downtown to visit Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saint Day Saints, see Temple Square, Beehive House, Cathedral of St Madeleine, SLC public Library, Family History Library, Pioneer Park and SLC Convention Center.

Retire in Royal Garden Inn.

Next day in the morning visit Tracy Aviary and Liberty Park and Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Gilgal Statue Park.

Is there enough time to visit these two in 3 hours (from say 9 am to 12pm)?

At around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. we should pick up our rental car at the airport.

Then we would drive first to Antelope Island and after that drive on to settle in Shelly near Idaho Falls for the night (before heading on to Grand Teton NP etc).

How does this sound?

Any suggestions to change itinerary, include some extras or take something out?

How to join free tours? Are there any reservations needed?

Help much appreciated!

Thank you!

Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
1. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Oh, and to help with our itinerary:

we arrive on Thursday 28th June and leave on Friday 29th June.

And there may be a free shuttle to airport offered at Royal Garden Inn.

Edited: 3:38 am, September 30, 2017
Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
Level Contributor
20,702 posts
449 reviews
2. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Overall plan should work. Uber and Lyft have a good setup at the airport. Taking Trax light rail is also an option from the terminal. You would have about 400-500 meter walk from the Courthouse station. Uber or Lyft would be the quickest and cost is reasonable. You can use public transportation for your other stops, but Uber or Lyft would be a lot quicker.

Might be worth seeing if it's cheaper to pickup your rental downtown. I know from your post you're using a broker to get a full package inclusion so that may or may not work. In any case, it's just a short ride back to the airport. I would think it very unlikely the hotel would have a shuttle.

Have fun.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,136 posts
36 reviews
3. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

It looks like you've done a lot of research about sites/points of interest in Salt Lake. But did you do any research on the Royal Garden Inn? I assume you picked it based on price. But it gets terrible reviews on Trip Advisor. Read for yourself.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60…

It also has a poor reputation locally. This property and the Rodeway Inn across the street from it are probably the worst two tourist hotel properties in Salt Lake. You really need to cancel that reservation and book something else. The Carlton Hotel is a budget hotel that gets pretty good reviews on TA and is well located for the main tourist sites you're interested in. It's an easy 2 block walk to Temple Square on a lovely city street. The Carlton Hotel has a shuttle from the airport. The Royal Garden Inn does not.

http://www.carltonhotel-slc.com/

Now to address your itinerary plans. It appears that you are just trying to check off boxes and not really give any particular site much time. With your limited time, I suggest that you skip Tracy Aviary, Liberty Park, SL Library, Pioneer Park (which is a park that most locals avoid during the day and evening), Gilgal Gardens and unless you are seriously in to genealogy, the Family History Library. These are all minor in importance. You can walk by the SL Convention Center. But I don't see the draw of spending anytime there. The Cathedral of the Madeline is a nice walk down South Temple and is close to the Carlton Hotel if you switched your hotel reservation.

I also suggest that since you are picking up a car at the airport, that you do it the day you arrive. It will save you time the next day which you already have jammed packed with possible activities. The extra day probably wouldn't cost that much and I would think you'll spend almost the equivalent if you are using Uber to get all around. Plus, you won't have the hassle of handling your luggage more than necessary.

Here's what I suggest you do with your limited time in SLC.

Day of Arrival: It will probably be about 3:30 or so by the time you're out of the airport. Go directly to your hotel and check in, which I hope is the Carlton. Walk a couple of blocks to Temple Square and downtown and explore. All the buildings, except the Temple, are open to the public without charge. You can join a guided tour if you like. But it really isn't necessary. There are two visitor centers, the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall on Temple Square. The LDS Conference Center is on the block north of Temple Square. The Beehive House is a block east of the Temple. On Thursday evenings, you can attend the open rehearsal of the Tabernacle Choir in the Tabernacle. You'll find lots of places to eat on Main Street downtown as well as in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Temple Square. You can easily spend several hours just visiting Temple Square and the surrounding area. If you are able to get to the Church Office Building before 4 PM, you can go up to the 26th floor observation deck for the best views of the city. You have to go with an escort. But there is no charge.

I then recommend that you drive up to Ensign Peak about 45 minutes before sunset. There are great views of the city. But the sunset over the Great Salt Lake from there can be stunning. You'll drive past the State Capitol on your way to Ensign Peak.

Next Day: If Antelope Island is a priority, then you need to get on the road and not spend anymore time in downtown SLC. Antelope Island is about 40 minutes north of SLC and you can easily spend several hours there. The drive to Shelley ID (and I have to ask why Shelley as it's a very small town and kind of off route for going to GTNP.) will take about 4 hours.

Why did you pick Shelley Idaho for an overnight? As I said, it's a very small town that serves the local farmers with some basic services. I suppose it's budget again. I hope you aren't planning on using Shelley as a base to visit GTNP. It's a two hour drive from there just to the southern end of the town of Jackson.

It would probably be a better idea and better use of your time, if you just drove all the way to Jackson/GTNP this day. I can provide information on a scenic route that's more direct than going all the way to Shelley. From my house in downtown SLC, this particular route is a 4.5 hours, minimal stops.

Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
4. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Thank you Connie!

I think your tips are so valuable! We will stick to your proposed itinerary.

It was actually you who suggested me, not to spend 2 nights in SLC but to head to Idaho Falls for the second night (Shelley is near) and use it to make the most of Grand Teton NP.

It is a bit weird, I know, but we will visit GTNP on our way from Shelley and then return to Driggs (I know... but budget accomodations are so rare over there) and then head to YNP from Driggs the next day to make the most of it (3 full days).

We do not look for mundane accomodations, like Carlton Hotel, we want to invest more into sightseeing. But you are right about reviews about Royal Garden Inn. Is Motel 6 a better solution?

Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
5. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

What are the prices at Carlton Hotel like? I can not find the price list.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,136 posts
36 reviews
6. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

I don' t hear anything locally about Motel 6. So if TA reviews are OK, it's probably fine. Interesting that you call the Carlton mundane. Well, the Motel 6 is just as mundane. Nothing special about it. Room rates are probably about the same. The Carlton is better located though.

Scroll down on the link I gave you. At the bottom of the page it says rates starting at $84 a night. There isn't a price list. Contact them directly.

Edited: 5:19 pm, September 30, 2017
Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
7. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

I did write to Carlton Hotel.

I thought it is a fancy hotel, but isn't really. Seems like it has good service.

Motel 6 is in the same area as Royal Garden Inn... so probably not a better solution?

Is that area in general shabby or just the hotel itself?

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,136 posts
36 reviews
8. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

The area around the Motel 6 isn't shabby. It's more light industrial and commercial. The Motel 6 is on the same block as one of the best hotels in town. Royal Garden Inn is a half block from the Motel 6. But judging from TA reviews, it's run down, dirty, has surly employees and poorly managed. It doesn't appear that way from the outside though.

Trzic, Slovenia
Level Contributor
392 posts
84 reviews
9. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

I guess none of the 3 budget hotels in this area (Motel 6, Roadway Inn or Royal Garden Inn) has too good reviews.

I wrote twice to Carlton Hotel but received no answer :-(

Do they offer rooms with two separate beds? What is the usual cost?

If that will not work I am considering Crystall Inn and Suites or Plaza Hotel. Although a bit pricey (120-150$/night for two separate beds)...

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,136 posts
36 reviews
10. Re: One short day in Salt Lake City - itinerary help

Unfortunately, in SLC the budget hotels near downtown are a bit sketchy. The Rodeway Inn has a horrible reputation for crime.

Of the Crystal Inn and Plaza Hotel, the Plaza is better located for visiting the downtown sites. It's directly across the street from Temple Square. The Crystal Inn is OK. It's a block and a half walk to a light rail stop that will take you downtown.