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Salt Lake City: Updated and close to everything

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BY SHAWN STINSON
If you haven’t been to Salt Lake City in the past few years, you’re in for an eyeopening ride — whether it’s on the nearby ski slopes or the sleek light rail transit system. Since hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, this city of more than 183,000 has gone from good to great. With more than $1.5 billion of construction projects in final stages in the central business district alone, and the slated 2012 completion of “Downtown Rising,” an ambitious mixed-use development on two blocks in the heart of downtown, Salt Lake City stands ready to join the ranks of the major metropolitan centers of the West.
Spurred on by its hosting role in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Salt Lake began reinventing itself during the past decade. It started with improved infrastructure: rebuilt freeways, airport and convention center expansions, and a major light-rail system. All of those features made the city more accessible and desirable. A new light rail line from Salt Lake City International Airport is planned for completion in 2013, making it easier than ever to whisk into Salt Lake’s vibrant downtown in minutes. One of 16 “silver-level” bicycle friendly communities across the country, according to the League of American Bicyclists, Salt Lake now sports a new bicycle transit center, replete with showers and lockers, in the Intermodal Hub which ties together all train, light rail and bus systems downtown.
In addition to its easy accessibility from anywhere in the country, Salt Lake has established itself as a major outdoor destination in a cosmopolitan setting. Salt Lake’s world-class ski resorts — Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude — are all within 30 minutes of such amenities as the AAA Five Diamond Grand America Hotel and its posh spa, or the Hotel Monaco. Entertainment options abound, too. Salt Lake is home to professional opera and symphony companies and hosts numerous Broadway Across America musicals, not to mention professional sports teams.
The city and its nearby canyons tempt diners with an appetizing selection of restaurants, populated by world-traveled chefs cooking local and regional ingredients and serving them with award-winning wine lists. From Rocky Mountain cuisine to superb sushi, it’s all here.♦
Shawn Stinson is the Director of Communications at the Salt Lake City Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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