From the sky above Utah, Salt Lake City sparkles amidst the rugged Wasatch Cache National Forest, Great Salt Lake and Oquirrh mountain range. This is the view that law enforcement officials from all over the country will be awed with when they head to the 60th Biennial National Conference and Exposition this August. Every two years, the NFOP holds its National Conference to set the goals and agenda for the organization. If you’re heading to the big event this year at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, you’ve got more on your itinerary than the everyday tourist stops. Our guide will point you toward awe-inspiring canyons, local hot spots, delicious five-star cuisine and unique boutiques that make up the beautiful host city.
Shortly after Brigham Young arrived in 1847, he drafted the plans for Great Salt Lake City, named after the salty lake to the northwest, and focused on the site of his new Temple. From there, planners arranged street blocks on a grid pattern in ten-acre squares. The streets downtown would be 132 feet wide — “wide enough for a team of four oxen and a covered wagon to turn around.”
It took nearly 40 years to build the massive granite edifice which would eventually become a worldwide icon for the Latter Day Saints Church and the heart of Temple Square. Today, only card-carrying Mormons can enter the Temple, but anyone may wander through Temple Square and its three city blocks of pioneer buildings and heritage.
Beyond the Temple, Utah’s most popular tourist attractions include the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, Museum of Church History and Art, the Beehive House — Brigham Young’s residence in 1855 — and the Family History Library, where visitors can access the world’s largest collection of genealogical resources. If you’ve got the time, volunteers will help you establish your ancestry and family tree in a matter of hours.
Navigating Salt Lake is simple once you understand that the Mormon Temple is at the center of the map. Shuttles or rental cars get you from the airport to your downtown hotel or the Salt Palace Convention Center in 10 minutes, and the city’s Trax lightrail system zips you around town for $2.25; but it’s a smart idea to grab a rental car if you plan to explore areas beyond the city limits.
Salt Lake City has four distinct seasons that each bring a unique beauty to its temperate desert climate, which meteorologists have deemed a “dry heat.” In the spring, you can ski in the mountains and then head down to the Salt Lake Valley for golf, running and road biking. Summers reach 100-plus degrees in the middle of August, but a short 30-minute drive north into the mountains delivers you to cool breezes and 80-degree weather with sporadic afternoon thunderstorms to keep things interesting. The nights are usually chilly no matter what time of year it is. Therefore, the dress code is “weather appropriate” rather than “place appropriate.” Even the fancier dining spots allow jeans and boots. You might, however, want to pack a nicer outfit if you plan to visit a nightclub or attend a Sunday sermon.
The Salt Lake food scene rivals those of bigger cities. Make reservations at gems like Lugano’s; its lively, bistro-style atmosphere and open-air kitchen make for one of Salt Lake’s most popular Italian restaurants. Seafood fans can’t get over how a land-locked state can serve satisfyingly fresh spaghetti with shrimp, mussels, clams, garlic, chili flakes, basil and tomato.
The pricier Metropolitan is in the heart of downtown and presents one of those rare opportunities get dolled up for dinner. The eclectic menu of “New American Cuisine” supports local growers and is served on white-linen settings by meticulous waiters. Locals love the Metropolitan Mushrooms stacked on a truffle potato puree and drizzled with a red wine sauce. Drop in on weekdays for 2-for-1 appetizers and nightly for three courses for $30 plus free corkage.
If you want Mexican food with a flair, be prepared to wait in line for a table at local-favorite The Red Iguana. The small café has grown so popular that its owners opened an Iguana 2 just a few blocks away last year. What drives traffic is the encyclopedia-sized menu of authentic Hispanic flavors, like the chile Colorado with tender chunks of steak in a cinnamon-spiced sauce with New Mexico chiles, and the red pipian mole of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflowers seeds, guajillo chiles, onions and tomatoes ladled over succulent boneless chicken. Besides the scrumptious food, what keeps you coming back is the enthusiastic and efficient staff.
Best in Brew
Utah has put itself on the map for quirky, quenching craft brews. In fact, Utah has nearly twice as many breweries per capita than New York. You can start your tours right away; Salt Lake International is a short five-minute cab ride to Uinta Brewing Company, the largest independent brewery in the state. Enjoy a free tour and massive sandwich paired with Uinta’s King’s Peak Porter, a 2010 Great American Beer Fest winner, or try the seasonal Sum’R Organic Summer Ale.
When you’ve got more time, take a drive up to Wasatch Brewpub, Utah’s first legal brewpub, opened by Schirf Brewing Company in 1989. With beers like the crisp First Amendment Lager, Schirf pokes fun at Utah politics with award-winning recipes. Sharing the same brewing and bottling facilities with Schirf, Salt Lake Brewing Company (a.k.a. Squatters Pub & Brewery) fills its eatery and bar with college students, business professionals and conference attendees. The highlight of your night comes from the brew sampler of classics, like the Provo Girl Pilsner dished out on a sawed-off ski.
Just around the corner and steps from The Energy Solutions Arena, Red Rock Brewing Co. serves up a sophisticated menu in a boisterous, industrial-style space where regulars clamber for one of nine homebrews, including their German Black Bier, gold medalist at the 2010 Great American Beer Fest.
The Bohemian Brewery & Grill, founded by a couple from the Czech Republic, helps foodies pair their beer via the menu’s suggestion symbols; for example, you’re suggested to order a pint of Cherny Bock to go with the Blackberry Brandy Chicken. Don’t forget to take a stroll through the upstairs vintage scooter collection before you leave.
You can find live music, theater and bars coming alive on any night of the week in Salt Lake. The Beer Hive Pub has one of the best selections of craft beer in the state. And they are definitely the guys to ask for a recommendation; owner Del Vance is also the co-founder of Uinta Brewing Company. Maybe that’s why the bar boasts a unique frosted rail, which means that your last sip will taste just as good as the first.
Locals also pull up a stool in the friendly neighborhood Tap Room. The cash-only joint is cheap, noisy and full of life. For a bigger selection, The Bayou, tempts you with 250 kinds of beer, from exotic to PBR, to wash down its scrumptious gumbo, catfish and jambalaya. On live-jazz weekends, it’s standing room only.
If you enjoy live music, The Depot is one of the state’s few venues for national touring bands like The Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule, Michael Franti and Spearhead. And we can’t forget Urban Lounge, where local players come to rock out. For a low-key vibe, the club hosts weekly acoustic nights on Sundays. Check out Gracie’s for a not-so-low-key vibe, where you can dance the night away.
If you’re hoping to do something fun with the family after hours, there’s the IMAX/Clark Planetarium at the downtown Gateway Center. Catch a concert or Utah Jazz game at the Energy Solutions Arena, or take in an improv comedy show or play at the Off Broadway Theater.
A Salt Lake City shopping experience gives way to unique home décor, exceptional antiques and excellent clothing deals. Eclectic stores and antique shops dot the downtown area around 200 South and 300 East. Immerse yourself inKen Sanders Rare Books, which carries more than 100,000 new, used and rare books on Western Americana, Native Americana, travel, adventure and natural history.
Speaking of history, it meets style at Trolley Square. The recently renovated shopping center used to house Salt Lake City’s trolley cars in the early 1900s, and you can still take a free walking tour among the charming brick and stone hallways. The festival marketplace is a great center to pick up some authentic salt water taffy, or shop for an adorable child’s dress at The Secret Garden. And be sure to check out the modern local art scene at Hive Gallery.
Continue your shopping spree with a trip up to Park City for an afternoon at the Tanger Outlet Mall. Park City offers smoking deals on name brands like Banana Republic, GAP, Nike, Oakley and The North Face. Head over to Hatch Family Chocolates when you’re ready to purchase that must-have Salt Lake souvenir. The family-owned shrine to those brown bundles of joy is a chocoholic’s oasis. The hand-dipped recipes have been handed down by generations of chocolatiers. Steve Hatch’s grandmother dipped chocolates in candy factories during the Depression, as they were the only places to hire women, and his grandfather would make chocolates for family holiday gifts.
Off the Grid
No other major metropolitan city sits as close to national forest land as Salt Lake City does. The adventures are yours for the picking: Fish a mountain stream, hike a remote trail, climb granite crags, float a river in an inner tube or fly a tandem paraglider. They’re all a five-hour drive south from Salt Lake City to the desert. But this desert is more accurately called a collection of national parks and protected Bureau of Land Management lands that radiate arid natural beauty. The thousands of acres within Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are a mountaineer’s paradise. Zion alone attracts more than three million visitors a year.
Zion’s 229 square miles (593.1 km) make a stunning landscape of slot canyons, monoliths and the world’s largest arch, Kolob Arch, which spans 310 feet (94.5 m). Mule deer, golden eagles, Bighorn sheep and mountain lions make their home in the cliffs and alcoves even in the 100-plus degree heat of summer. The Virgin River cools the air and provides a natural corridor for discovering the park. Take a self-guided trail hike along the river or through the narrow canyons, but check the weather and check in with a ranger to avoid being caught in a flash flood.
Bryce Canyon may not draw the crowds of its bustling neighbor, but that’s exactly why it’s a favorite stop for locals. Tucked in the 38,385 acres are 50 miles of hiking trails that wind you through brilliantly red and orange sandstone formations called “hoodoos.” Millions of years of wind and water erosion have created a surreal landscape that glows at dawn and dusk. Rangers offer free, moderately-paced treks among the rocks and bristlecone pines. The temperatures tend to be cooler than Zion with summer days in the 80s thanks to Bryce’s almost 8,000-foot elevation.
If water and adrenaline rushes are more your thing, then take a quick 20-minute drive north from the convention center to Lagoon Amusement Park and ride the winding rollercoasters. A water park with four giant slides and a Pioneer Village are all wrapped up into the largest fun zone east of the Mississippi and west of California. It’s sure to plaster a smile on everyone’s face.
Park City offers amusement of the resort variety. The historic mining town reinvented itself as a ski mecca after silver went bust. The city mined for gold during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games when it hosted the mogul and the aerial competitions at Deer Valley Resort and the first-ever snowboard halfpipe at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR). Take a walk through that legacy at the Alf Engen Ski Museum at the Utah Olympic Park. While you’re there, shoot the zipline, ride the QuickSilver alpine slide or take in a freestyle aerial show performed by athletes in training.
Nearby, Deer Valley Resort Snow Park Lodge in Park City is known for its world-class mountain biking terrain, but you can also bike and hike at PCMR. Little kids will love the Little Miner’s Park with its merry-go-round, airplane ride and mini-train. But the alpine slide at PCMR is no kiddie ride. You control your speed, which can top out at 45mph. On Main Street, you’ll find one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, bars and art galleries.
The Red Iguana
BEST IN BREW
Salt Lake Brewing Company
Red Rock Brewing Co.
The Bohemian Brewery & Grill
IMAX/Clark Planetarium at the downtown Gateway Center
Energy Solutions Arena
Off Broadway Theater
Tanger Outlet Mall
Hatch Family Chocolates
OFF THE GRID
Bryce Canyon National Park
Park City Mountain Resort
Alf Engen Ski Museum
Deer Valley Resort
The 59th Biennial National Conference and EXPO in Salt Lake City – It Won’t All Be About Business!
Conference Dates are August 14-19, 2011, at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Part of the fun of going to the FOP National Conference every other year is meeting up with old friends, checking out the sites of the host city and its environs and the events arranged every evening by the host lodge. In addition to the grandeur and beauty of Utah and Salt Lake City itself, which attendees to the conference should plan to investigate, the Utah State Lodge and Salt Lake City Local Lodge have arranged some entertaining events for each evening where friends and lodge members can come together and get the most out of their time at the conference.
Monday evening (August 15), things get rolling at 5:30 p.m. with a Rendezvous in the Park at Pioneer Park. Enjoy dinner and live entertainment that emphasizes the frontier history of Utah with a demonstration of Gatlin guns and cannons, Indian and trapper presentations and an outlaw-sheriff shootout.
On Tuesday (August 16) at 5:30 p.m., conference attendees will be invited to the Gallivan Center for entertainment and food, plus an open bar.
According to the center’s website, the John W. Gallivan Utah Center is furnished with an array of unique art projects, an amphitheater, an ice rink and pond, a huge outdoor chess board and an aviary. Its inviting atmosphere is complemented with performance areas of all sizes and vantage points that make the center a comfortable and fun place to enjoy activities, casual strolling or “people watching.” The center provides a focal point for the downtown crowd to gather for lunch or a short reprieve from the day’s hectic work schedule. Special event, such as exhibits, fairs, performances, parades, festivals and holiday celebrations, make the center a lively and exciting gathering place year round.
If baseball doesn’t do it for you, you can witness cage fighting with traditional rivals – law enforcement vs. fire fighters!
More details about these events will be on the National Conference website soon, and a fuller description of all events, education seminars, voting order and agenda will be published in the Summer issue of the Journal, which will be released July 11.
Start planning now to make your way to Salt Lake City for not just the conference, but your entire family’s summer vacation!
Vote Order for the 60th Biennial Conference Executive Board