In 1847 Salt Lake’s founder, Brigham Young, wasted no time plotting the city on a tidy 10-acre grid made up of blocks and streets “wide enough for a team of four oxen and a covered wagon to turn around.” But the Avenues, established in the 1850s as the city’s first residential neighborhood, deviated from Young’s prescribed grid. The smaller blocks and narrower streets found here give this cozy ’hood a walkability and intimacy rare in Utah’s capital city. Replete with storybook architecture and mature, leafy trees, the Aves (residents’ affectionate nickname for this tight community) are made for meandering. Fiercely independent culinary destinations and inimitable late-summer events are other reasons to check out this funky, east-bench enclave.
Get your spice on at Saffron Valley East India Café (26 E Street, 801.203.3325, saffronvalley.com). Try bites of savory street food–inspired dishes like the fried lentil doughnuts or the goat vindaloo. Avenues Bistro on Third (564 3rd Ave N, 801.831.5409) is a cozy spot in a historic storefront. Focused on local ingredients and artisans, it’s a microcosm of the eclectic neighborhood. Go for breakfast, when they serve big, oven-fresh biscuits. Avenues Proper Restaurant & Publick House (376 8th Ave Suite C, 385.227.8628) is a mini craft brewery serving upscale pub fare in a contemporary setting with late-night weekend hours. Next door, Hatch Family Chocolates (376 8th Ave Suite A, 801.532.4912) offers hand-dipped chocolates and ice cream with an old-timey malt-shop vibe.
For a taste of Salt Lake’s pioneer and mining magnate history, go on a walkabout through the lush, 250-acre City Cemetery (enter at N Street and 4th Avenue). Find a guide to famous Mormon leaders and colorful characters at slc.gov.com/cemetery. The Cathedral of the Madeleine (331 E South Temple St, 801.328.8941, utcotm.org) is a must-see Gothic/Romanesque Revival masterpiece, complete with gargoyles keeping watch on its exterior. Inside, check out restored frescoes and the brilliant painted columns and vaulted ceiling.
The annual Avenues Street Fair is a family and neighborhood tradition chockablock with art, food, and music. The Nova Chamber Music Series presents a free outdoor concert (801.463.5223) in front of the pink Georgian marble Meditation Chapel in Memory Grove (300 N Canyon Rd), a bucolic war memorial park located at the base of City Creek Canyon.
Find “serenity now” at the Kura Door (1136 3rd Ave N, 801.364.2400), an eco-friendly, holistic Japanese spa known for its deep ofuro baths, tea ceremonies, and masterful massages. In a compact, lovely storefront studio nearby is Metric Yoga (88 Q St, 801.573.6090), offering a full roster of drop-in classes for all levels.