When the RV Industry Association first announced the location of its inaugural, newly imagined RVX – The Experience show, the questions started coming.
Salt Lake City? Really? Is there anything to do there? Can you even get a beer there?
It’s not as though Louisville, Ky., is a hub of arts and entertainment, but after all those years, the industry had become pretty comfortable with Fourth Street Live and getting an annual slice of Derby Pie at local restaurants.
Still, says Visit Salt Lake Director of Communications Shawn Stinson, the Utah capital not only is surrounded by the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and punctuated by the Salt Lake Tabernacle, but it also has a bustling nightlife that includes any number of local restaurants, breweries and even distilleries within easy walking distance of the hotels near the Salt Palace Convention Center – site of the RVX in March.
Much of the development toward nightlife in downtown Salt Lake City came from when the city hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002.
“We’re anything but a dry state,” Stinson said. “Our brewmasters have won medal after medal for a couple of decades. The distilling scene has been booming of late. The restaurant scene is fascinating. A lot of mid-level cities – their access to cultural arts may be limited, but chefs are beginning to realize they don’t necessarily need to be in the New Yorks or Parises or San Franciscos any longer. Since the Olympics, once we got on that top shelf of recognition because of our outdoor recreation and the sports world, more and more creative chefs are coming here and sourcing locally and kind of creating their own niche and doing extremely well.”
That isn’t to say every corner of downtown Salt Lake is populated with a uniquely Salt Lake business. There still are plenty of chain restaurants offering a more familiar flavor to visitors.
As for drinking establishments, laws in Utah have changed over the past decade, overturning the “private club” requirement to be served full-strength alcohol.
Also in downtown are a number of cultural locales such as performing arts centers, historical sites, fine arts galleries and theaters if dealers and suppliers are looking to extend their stays.
A light rail system called TRAX connects the points downtown with a hop-on, hop-off line that is free of charge.
And for those who occasionally took in a basketball game in Louisville during RVIA meetings past, the Utah Jazz have a home game March 11 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and March 14 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, conveniently located across the street from the Convention Center during RVX.
A Look at Downtown
For more a sense of what Salt Lake City offers, be sure to check out the interactive map. It isn’t by any means intended to be an exhaustive look at everything to do in downtown Salt Lake City, but is meant to offer a sampling of what is available.
Included are a handful of local restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries. Click on the sites to be taken to the location’s official website. Also located is the Salt Lake Tabernacle (also known as the Mormon Tabernacle), the Convention Center, the main RVX hotels and the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
There are plenty more places to eat, drink and just have a good time than those located here, but this will get anybody off to a good start.
Check out the slideshow below highlighting downtown attractions as well as the site of RVX.
To learn more about downtown Salt Lake City, click here.
To read a blog about the Salt Lake City music scene, click here.