Whether you want to avoid the lines at the airport, or you don’t enjoy long car rides, a staycation is a perfect way to relax your mind, body, and wallet, all while getting that vacation experience you so desperately deserve. You should take your vacation days. You earned them, after all. And there is no better place to staycation in Utah than in Ogden!
I know what you may be thinking: “What does Ogden have for me?” Or you may be thinking of Ogden’s past reputation and how you may not want to spend your weekend in a rough and tumble town like that. Let me set the record straight.
Ogden, especially downtown, is not what your grandparents tell stories off. The city’s leaders have been able to take Ogden’s rich railroad, bootlegging, and gritty spirit, and turn it into an amazing destination for Utahn’s and visitors alike. Historic 25th Street is continuously voted one of the top 5 best main streets in America, and for good reason. These are all good reasons to discover Ogden for what it truly is — “the other Utah”.
When planning a staycation in Ogden you need to decide what type of experience you are looking for — urban or wild. And no, I don’t mean a wild party (unless that’s what you want).
For an urban experience I suggest a stay in one of the many downtown lodging properties. But my personal favorite? The Helena Loft Hotel. This newly renovated space is bookable through AirBnB and is located directly on Historic 25th Street, within walking distance of countless bars, eateries, shops, activities and more.
If you are seeking something closer to nature, I recommend a stay at the award winning and nationally recognized Compass Rose Lodge. Located in Huntsville, Utah, this boutique hotel will remind you of quant European ski towns complete with on-location beer and coffee. With Pineview Reservoir and three ski resorts just minutes away, this is a must for a staycation in the Beehive State.
The Compass Rose Lodge also houses the Halo Observatory. Yup, you read that correctly — an OBSERVATORY. Did I forget to mention that Ogden Valley houses one of our state’s nationally accredited Dark Sky Parks? So, during your stay at the Compass Rose Lodge, make time to gaze at the Milky Way.
During your time in Ogden, you are going to want two things that all good staycations have in common — food and fun. Let’s start with food.
Those of you wanting to explore our amazing downtown and urban experiences are within walking distance of countless places for good grub, but be sure to stop in at Sonora Grill for dinner. This Mexican restaurant is located in the Junction and has the literal ‘Best in State’ margaritas. After you enjoy your meal, you can walk across the street to see a movie, go indoor skydiving, indoor surfing, and so much more at the Salomon Center.
If you find yourself in Ogden Valley, you must stop by the Shooting Star Saloon. This bar is the oldest continuously operating bar this side of the Mississippi. It has been serving alcohol since 1879, even when it wasn’t legal. That Ogden grit came through and they met the needs of the locals. While you’re there, be sure to try a star burger — but be prepared to share it with someone. Boasting both a patty and a hotdog, it can be a challenge for any appetite.
Ogden Valley is also home to the iconic New World Distillery. Located in Eden, New World Distillery is close to numerous recreational venues including hiking trails and major ski resorts. The distillery boasts an inviting retail space, tours and tastings, with an impressive selection of spirits. It is a must-stop on your tour.
I have already mentioned indoor skydiving and surfing, but you can’t staycation in Ogden without experiencing our amazing outdoor recreation. Whether you’re downtown or on the fringes, be sure to go for a hike, get out on the water, or go for a scenic drive. If you go downtown, feel free to take a stroll along the Ogden River Parkway. You will get amazing views of the river and mountains and can even stop for a beer along the way at Ogden River Brewing. If you are looking for something a little more challenging, check out the many amazing trail maps on the Trail Foundation of Northern Utah’s website for a complete list of trails in the area.
An unforgettable vacation experience may not be as far away as you might think. Next time you want a weekend “away”, try a staycation in Ogden.
Subscribe to Utah Stories weekly newsletter and get our stories directly to your inbox