Destination Information

Practical Information

Download the Salt Lake City Practical Information Guide for useful information you can carry with you on your trip.

About Salt Lake City

+ click to enlargeSalt Lake City,1 the capital of Utah, has a metropolitan area population of about 1 million. Prior to 1847, the Shoshone, Ute, and Paiute people dwelt in the Salt Lake Valley for thousands of years. Salt Lake was officially founded in 1847 by Mormon settlers. In 1870, the city was connected to the Transcontinental Railroad, and the immigration of various ethnic and religious groups followed. Today, Salt Lake is best known for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, serving as the international home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and having strong outdoor recreation and tourism industries.

Salt Lake City is 4,327 feet (1,320 m) above sea level. The city is located in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. It is bordered by the Great Salt Lake to the northwest and by the steep Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges to the east and west, respectively. The highest summit visible from Salt Lake City is Twin Peaks, which reaches 11,330 feet (3454 m). The Salt Lake Valley floor is the ancient lakebed of Lake Bonneville, which existed at the end of the last Ice Age. Several Lake Bonneville shorelines can be distinctly seen on the foothills or benches of nearby mountains.

In the fall, nearby canyons are filled with the vibrant colors of aspen groves and other trees. Temperatures remain warm enough for comfortable outdoor recreation. October average temperatures range from a daytime high of 65 °F/18 °C to an evening low of 46 °F /6 °C.

Salt Lake has every amenity a traveler could need. Museums include the LDS Church History Museum, the Clark Planetarium, the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, a Natural History Museum, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The City Creek Center area, located just across from the Convention Center, is the downtown arts hub, and has several theaters and galleries. The local music scene is very diverse, with a variety of venues supporting local music nightly. There is ample access to hospitals and places of worship. The city is easily explored on foot, by bicycle, or by using the TRAX public transit system.

For an interactive map of the city, please visit

About Utah

Utah, whose name is derived from one of its first native residents, the Ute tribe, is the fastest growing state in the United States and was rated in 2012 as the “best state to live in” by Money magazine.

Thousands of years before the arrival of European explorers, the Anasazi and Fremont tribes lived in what is now known as Utah. The Navajo settled in the region around the 18th century. In the mid-18th century, other Uto-Aztecan tribes, including the Goshute, Paiute, Shoshone and Ute people, also settled in the region.

Spanish exploration to the region began in 1540. In 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain, the land became part of Mexico, then became U.S. territory in1849 after the Mexican-American War. Utah’s exploration in the early 19th century was dominated by fur trappers and traders. In 1847, Mormon pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake City Valley and in the following few decades, nearly 100,000 settlers came to Utah. Statehood was officially granted on January 4, 1896. Today, the primary economic industries in Utah include mining, outdoor recreation, tourism, transportation, services, and information technology and research.

Utah’s geography is very diverse. It hosts three unique geologic regions: the Colorado Plateau, the Great Basin, and the Rocky Mountains. Sandstone formations dominate the southern landscape, creating spectacular natural arches, mesas, buttes and vistas. The Wasatch Mountain Range (highest peak is 11,928 ft/3,636 m) runs down the center of northern Utah and hosts world-famous ski resorts. The Uinta Mountains (highest peak 13,258 ft/4123 m) run east to west. Areas of Utah primarily range from arid to semi-arid, with the exception of the higher elevation areas in the Wasatch that benefit from the lake effect.

About the United States

The United States3 (U.S.) is one of three countries in North America, the other two being Canada and Mexico. Home to 315 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous nation in the world. What started as a collection of 13 colonies in the mid-1700s blossomed into 50 states spanning more than 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2). The U.S. is federal republic with a bicameral legislature and its current president is Barack Obama.

Prior to European colonization, what is now the U.S. was home to many different Native American tribes, from the eastern Iroquois Confederacy to the western Apache and Pueblo, to name but a few. Spanish settlers arrived first arrived in 1513, and in 1776 the English colonies along the Atlantic coast declared their independence from Britain, creating the United States of America. Expansion continued westward, across the Mississippi River and into the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. Families saw the West as the “new frontier” that held great promise for a the future. The California gold rush in the late 1840s also spurred westward migration.

A nation of immigrants, the United States is a diverse country: ethnically, religiously, and culturally. Most Americans live in urban areas (82%), and some of the fastest-growing cities are found in the western and southern states. English is the standard language, but Spanish is spoken in many southwestern states as well.

The geography of the U.S. is as diverse as its people. The coastal plain of the Atlantic seaboard gives way further inland to deciduous forests and the rolling hills of the Piedmont. The Appalachian Mountains divide the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the grasslands of the Midwest. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the world’s fourth longest river system, run mainly north–south through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, interrupted by a highland region in the southeast. The Rocky Mountains, at the western edge of the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m) in Colorado. Farther west are the arid Great Basin and deserts such as the Chihuahuan and Mojave. The Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast, both ranges reaching altitudes higher than 14,000 feet (4,300 m). Climates range from tropical to alpine to oceanic. The United States is home to more than 400 mammal, 750 bird, and 500 reptile and amphibian species.

We look forward to welcoming you to the United States!

(1) Information on this page is drawn from a variety of online sources, including and the Utah and Salt
     Lake Wikipedia pages.