When you’re in town, we recommend picking up SLUG magazine and City Weekly and browsing the upcoming events. Salt Lake’s vibrant and varied music scene is often a pleasant surprise for residents joining the program from out of town. The city offers everything from underground acts in off-the-grid warehouses to big names in sold out arenas, and which venues to recommend is a matter of debate, since we have a lot of different tastes. That said, one resident recently hosted a lovely concert featuring an indie folk band, his specially brewed beer and his wife’s homemade pie, which solidified his backyard’s standing as the most beloved venue in all the land.
When it’s hot out , we recommend the free Snowbird Cool Air Concert Series, which is at 8,000 feet and perfect for summer nights. You can bring your own drinks and sandwiches, maybe from some of the shops we mention below. Peak wildflower season is typically in July, so if that’s when you’re visiting, head on over to Alta before the concert to behold the colors in the Albion Basin. If you’re feeling ambitious, there is a nice moderate-difficulty hike from the basin to Cecret Lake. If you’re feeling fancy, spend the night in the Cliff Lodge and use the rooftop pool for sweet views of the mountains. Outdoor concerts at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre and the Deer Valley Amphitheater bring in household names and are worth every dime if just for their beautiful settings, but do require planning because they sell out. The Ogden Twilight series usually has a crowd-pleasing lineup for a $10 ticket that includes the train ride to the amphitheater.
With regards to year-round venues, some of our more frequent show-goers would like to shout out Metro Music Hall for its chaotic character (aptly described on the Visit Salt Lake website as “frequented by a mix of hipsters, burners, goths, drag queens, artists, and rockers in ratios that vary with the night’s event, which could be anything from a punk show to an aerial arts performance to a live-model sketch night followed by dancing”), and as an aside recommend trying to score sought-after tickets to The Bee, Salt Lake’s version of The Moth. Our show-goers also like the Great Saltair, an old airplane hangar built up like Moorish architecture, which is set directly on the incredibly scenic shores of the Great Salt Lake (‘Palace of the Brine’ by the Pixies is a reference to this venue). Das Energi, a multi-day dance music festival with otherworldly sunsets, is held on the sandy grounds of the Saltair. Kilby Court, Urban Lounge and Soundwell are fan-favorite small venues. Another resident notes that there is a thriving local West Coast Swing scene and multiple studios that host social dancing events.