First step of our trip: Salt Lake City! A very nice experience in spite of a city with relatively few things to visit; let's be honest: two days are more than enough to do the tour of the city itself...
Watch the first part of our trip on video!
A little history
Salt Lake City is the city where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (whose followers are more commonly known as... the Mormons!) was established and is still based. If, like us before our departure, you know little or nothing about them, here is their history in (very) brief:
The Mormon Church was founded in 1830 in the state of New York. It is a Christian church, whose members suffered violent persecution at its inception. After a long and arduous exodus in search of a Promised Land where they could live out their faith in peace, the Mormons settled in the Rocky Mountains between the Great Salt Lake and the mountains. To survive in the inhospitable land, the early pioneers had to set up irrigation systems that diverted water from the mountains to work the land.
Salt Lake City subsequently grew considerably under their leadership (the city became the starting point for the conquest of new settlements, attracting tens of thousands of Mormons in just two decades) and its history is representative of the industrious and persevering character of these people and their emblem: the bee.Today, about two thirds of Salt Lake's population is still Mormon.
What we liked
- Its unique architecture, which allows breathtaking views of impressive buildings and the surrounding mountains,
- The mentality of its inhabitants, whose culture of welcome and mutual aid is particularly well developed: smiles, availability and a sense of service!
Not to be missed
In the city
Start by walking through Temple Square to appreciate the heart of the city and the birthplace of the Mormon community.
In the centre of the park, the imposing Salt Lake Temple only opens its doors to the public on very rare occasions: it is likely that you can only admire it from the outside as it is reserved for the faithful for religious ceremonies. Do not hesitate to visit it and admire the Mormon Tabernacle at its feet.
Go to the Mormon Church's headquarters and present yourself at the reception desk: a guided tour of the premises will be offered to you with one of the volunteers (free, of course). It only lasts about half an hour, but it will allow you to learn a little more about the history of this Church... And to enjoy an exceptional view of Salt Lake and its surroundings from the two terraces on the top floor.
On your way up to the Capitol, take a few minutes to admire the conference centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a massive building with a capacity of over 20,000 people.
Finally, head up the hill to the Capitol, where a tour (yes, still free) with one of the volunteers is highly recommended, who will guide you through each of the building's rooms, their history and current use.
In the vicinity
A two hour drive from Salt Lake (which is in the middle of nowhere, you won't find public transport around here), stop to look at the dry salt lake at Bonneville Salt Flats. If you're lucky and it didn't rain the day before (which unfortunately wasn't the case for us), you can take a walk on the large white expanse which is not unlike the salt flats of Latin America!
Where to eat?
Our favourite addresses in Salt Lake :
- The Garden Restaurant, not so much for the quality of its food as for its stunning view of Temple Square,
- Valter's Osteria, for its colourful boss and inimitable pasta,
- The Benihana, for its cocktails (with alcohol, it happens even in Salt Lake!) and the show of its chefs, virtuosos of Teppanyaki.
Some useful information in a wheelchair...
Like most American cities, Salt Lake City is quite wheelchair friendly. Wide pavements, large spaces allowing for many buildings (including lifts), accessible public places, adapted squares, signage... you won't have to worry much about your mobility!
Note, however, that the city is located in the middle of the mountains: while most streets are relatively flat, some sites (including the Capitol) are on top of hills. If you have difficulty climbing steep hills, you may want to travel by car or bus.
For more details, find accessibility information about our hotel, bars/restaurants and sites visited on jaccede.com!