Temple Square is illuminated by tinted lights in downtown Salt Lake City, UT. (credit: Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

Salt Lake City is a world-class destination to the northwest of Denver. Home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, it boasts luxury hotels and fine dining, as well as interesting insight to the 2002 games. From fun family activities to strolling the downtown area, Salt Lake City is a great getaway vacation for any road-hungry traveler.

Getting there

Traveling North on I-25 into Wyoming, the most direct route is along westbound Highway 80 right into Salt Lake City. From the rolling hills of Wyoming to the Olympic City of Salt Lake, the 7-hour, 45-minute trip is a long haul that’s well worth the wait.

Stop Along the Way

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Bent Fork the Grill
5971 Sky Pond Drive Suite C106
Loveland, CO 80538
(970) 613-9333

For an early lunch on your way out of the state, Bent Fork Grill is a wonderful option. Located in the Promenade Shops at Centerra in Loveland, the easy-access dining right off the highway feels secluded and out-of-the-way. The front patio is a perfect place to enjoy the chimichurri steak tacos or lobster mac and cheese. Get a brownie sampler to go sans ice cream for an unbelievable sweet snack in the car.


Photo Credit: bambara-slc.com

Bambara Restaurant
202 S. Main St
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 363-5454

Located within the Hotel Monaco, the once historic Continental Bank lobby has been transformed into the fun and playful Bambara Restaurant. Here the food is a work of art in and of itself. The houndstooth banquettes also mingle with arched windows and historic glass to create an unparalleled ambiance. The Vault bar and lounge is a great place to enjoy the sophisticated atmosphere and expertly mixed drinks at the end of the day.

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The Metropolitan
173 W Broadway
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 364-3472

Featuring seasonally inspired American cuisine, The Metropolitan is in the heart of Salt Lake City. From $8 bar bites to small plates such as the tuna tartar salad or truffle pizza and main courses including the blue nose bass and baked tofu cakes, there is something for everyone. For a taste of something decidedly local, add the Utah beets to any dish. Other options such as blistered brussels sprouts or creamy Yukon potatoes are must-haves here.

RelatedCalculate Cost & Where To Fill Up On Next Long Trip 

What to Do

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Living Planet Aquarium
725 E 10600 South
Sandy, UT 84094
(801) 355-3474

Price: $9 for adults/$7 for children

With adorable river otters and stealthy sharks, the land-locked state of Utah hardly comes to mind first for penguin encounters and stingray feedings. With Living Planet Aquarium, that is exactly what guests will find. Founded by marine biologist Brent Andersen, Living Planet is a world-class aquarium. It provides educational activities and beautiful facilities perfect for families or couples visiting the area.

Photo Credit: stadium.utah.edu/Facebook

Olympic Cauldron Park
451 S 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 581-8849

Price: free

Home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City hosted a plethora of athletes from around the world during the games. The cauldron park includes Hoberman Arch, the 2002 Olympic Winter Cauldron Park Theater and visitors center. With a day-by-day depiction of the games, the anthems can almost be heard echoing off the surrounding mountains with this beautifully curated exhibition.

Related: Committee To Examine Benefits, Risks With Winter Olympics


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The Grand America Hotel
555 S. Main Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 258-6000

Click here for prices and reservations

This luxury hotel offers a refined European style to guests. With superior service, plush accommodations, this hotel boasts Salt Lake City’s only five-star status. The Grand America Hotel is surrounded by majestic mountain views and is home to ample dining options as well. From the soaring ceilings to the solid brass portico, the stunning property is worthy of Olympic praise, home to the Grand Spa and Garden Café alike.

Photo Credit: Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City/Facebook

Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City
15 W. 200 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 595-0000

Click here for prices and availability

In the heart of Salt Lake City, the hip and urban Hotel Monaco boasts chic accommodations and convenient location. With a light-rail stop near the hotel, guests have easy access to the city or may hop on a complimentary bike provided by the hotel to explore Salt Lake. A AAA four-diamond property, this place offers all of the amenities you could need. Everything from the complimentary 24-hour fitness facility to hosted wine receptions from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the lobby make for an excellent stay.

Chad Chisholm is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at Examiner.com.