“Put your little hand in mine and there ain’t no mountain we can’t climb … I got you babe! I got you babe!”
“Hello everyone, it’s Groundhog Day! So put on your booties before you step outside, because it’s cold outside!”
Maybe you recognize these lines from a comedy classic movie. Read to the end to find out what it is. If this article looks like a lot of words, I highly recommend cracking open a local Utah beer before beginning … Okay, got it? Good.
Does it feel like everyday you live is just like the last? Does February bring you down? It shouldn’t. We are now past the middle of winter and the days are getting longer. This has been an incredible winter season. The mountains are full of deep packed snow. The Salt Flats are full of water. God has answered our prayers! Except that we still aren’t over our drought. And yet it feels like something is happening this winter that hasn’t happened in a very long time ― we will likely exceed 500 total inches of snowfall in our mountains. In this issue we want to show you how to best enjoy the winter mountains and the splendor and joy of Utah.
But in an effort to not simply repeat ourselves (this being our 8th annual February Fun Guide), this year’s guide is quite different from years past. Life is more than just where to go and what to do.
Sometimes it’s better to live in a more freestyle, Zen-like manner and observe what not to do, and let the world open up to you like a lotus flower. So, inside this year’s issue you will find the worst possible winter dates you can go on. I don’t agree with all of them. But maybe for a first date with someone you found on Tinder, or Fishes, or Farmers Only, it could be fun to see how they react to a cold-water plunge in a bikini or swimsuit, and watch their teeth chatter. It might even be more fun than deep, emotional conversation. I say do it! But we also didn’t forget to include the best things to do and the best places to dine in this issue.
NBA All Star Weekend Guests
NBA All-Star guests, we have a note just for you. There is something very special about Salt Lake City, and it isn’t in our Cheesecake Factory, it isn’t in our special Starbucks or even in our McDonalds. It’s in the water. We have antidepressants in our water supply. This makes us some of the happiest people on earth! This is unfortunately true, but we’re working on it. And that’s not all.
What is very special about Salt Lake City is our amazing locally-owned bars, pubs, breweries, distilleries and restaurants. If you really want to know and experience the best of Utah, visit the folks on our updated listings of the best of Local Utah food and drink, found on page —. Don’t worry about visiting the mountains, just view them through your car or bus windows. Our mountains are seriously overrated.
State of the City
Last week, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall delivered her annual State of the City address in which she gushed about what her administration is doing to combat climate change. She allowed Salt Lake City residents to trade in their gasoline lawn mowers for electric ones (at no cost to those who traded their mowers), and 531 total gas mowers were surrendered! I believe that was the highlight of the speech, and perhaps Mendenhall’s biggest “mic drop moment” so far.
Not much can top that. What else could surpass that kind of commitment to clean air? I hate to sound like a know-it-all, but how about reducing the number of homeless people smoking crack on the sidewalks? I’m not kidding. Walking around downtown this past week, I witnessed brand new, gorgeous apartments rising, with many homeless people lying on the grass watching construction while consuming crack, meth and fentanyl.
This is a complicated and difficult problem to solve because cheap drugs are so abundant. If everyone were instantly locked behind bars for drug possession, our prison wouldn’t have any space for violent offenders, but hard drug addicts on every corner, openly using, openly dealing, openly preying on the homeless who are easily victimized is a very sad reflection on our city.
The Mayor praised the work her administration has conducted in “building more affordable housing, and spending more on affordable housing this year than all previous years combined.” Mendenhall is proud of her administration’s “spending.” But I have one simple question: where is this affordable housing? I don’t see it anywhere. I see studio apartments renting for $1,300 per month. Two bedrooms for $2,800. Los Angeles currently has more affordable housing than Salt Lake City. But I forgot, it’s not “affordable housing” that does the trick any more, it’s “deeply affordable housing” that we need.
The new term is required because apparently $1300 for a studio is now the new “affordable.” Just as our dirty air is now clean (thanks to all those lawnmowers being gone), the new trees our city planted can be chopped down and used as firewood by the homeless.
Gaslighting aside, at least the NBA All-Stars and their elite celebrity friends won’t need to witness the homeless problem. Like the city did for the Outdoor Retailers Show that returned to Salt Lake last month, they will move the homeless west of 400 West (behind the Rio Grande building) to keep them out of sight. Pay no attention to what is happening there.
Big Changes Coming
There are also some nice developments happening in our city. The Granary District is becoming a reality. Take a walk around the area called Woodbine Food Hall where the Mayor spoke. Stoll down and visit INDUSTRY, Slackwater Pizza and Kitos Brewery. This area is almost unrecognizable. You’ll feel as if you are in a different, more mature city. Indeed, these tall work/live/play/eat great food areas will become the new norm.
Salt Lake City is growing up super fast. Buckle up, because this certainly doesn’t feel like Groundhog Day (the film starring Bill Murray). Every day is a new adventure!