Salt Lake City, Utah

Escapes Under $500
by , SmarterTravel Staff
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Olympic Cauldron (photo: Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 12, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: activity, Anne Banas, Colorado Springs, destination, Escapes Under $500, Lake Placid, Salt Lake City, special event, sports, vacation package, Vancouver, weekend getaways, winter.

With the honor of hosting the last Winter Olympic Games held in the U.S., just eight years ago, Salt Lake City remains top of mind for many Olympic enthusiasts. And unlike other host cities that dismantle their Olympic cauldron, Salt Lake's is still in place (and is relit on special occasions) for all to see and admire.

The Utah Olympic Park, located in Park City just 30 minutes from downtown Salt Lake, still has bobsled, luge, skeleton, and Nordic events, as well as athlete training camps (admission is free to the public). Visitors can participate in "Learn To" clinics for these and other sports like freestyle aerial skiing (yikes!), as well as take a bobsled or skeleton ride or go on a free tour of the facility. At the Utah Olympic Oval, activities include skating on the 400-meter speed skating track, taking a class in figure skating or curling, or watching races or hockey games. Prices vary.


As with the other destinations I've mentioned, Salt Lake City is a prime location for great skiing. Area ski resorts include Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude, and skiers can try a different resort each day at discounted prices with the Ski Salt Lake Super Pass. Those who want to ski like it was 2002 should head to Park City, Snowbasin, or Deer Valley, which held the alpine events during the Games.

For a trip down memory lane, the Salt Lake 2002 Visitors Center and Theater at the Olympic Cauldron Park shows a video highlighting the 2002 Games every 10 minutes, and there's an Olympic museum exhibit within the Alf Engen Ski Museum.


    While the ski resorts near Salt Lake experience a high season with higher lodging prices in the winter, downtown Salt Lake is a veritable bargain, especially on the weekends when business travelers head out of town. Hotel rates average only about $100 per night in the city, and current winter deals claim to take off up to 40 percent. For example, you can stay three nights and get the fourth free at the Salt Lake City Marriott or Residence Inn Cottonwood through March 31; rates start at $109 per night with offer code D58.

Sample airfares (including taxes and fees for February weekend travel):

  • $249 Atlanta to Salt Lake City (US Airways)
  • $277 Kansas City to Salt Lake City (Southwest)
  • $283 Oakland to Salt Lake City (US Airways)
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