Utah is a popular destination for special-interest gatherings like Comic Con, as well as business and industry conventions, but travelers often don’t know much about Salt Lake City besides its role as the center of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The area has a lot more to offer than you might think. You’ll find great rates on luxurious lodgings at Hipmunk.com, such as The Grand America Hotel, and great activities like boating on the Great Salt Lake, skiing, and hiking to fill your free time.

Getting There

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Image via Flickr by kla4067

The Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) is Delta’s mid-country hub and handles hundreds of flights daily, so you should always be able to track down a deal on a flight. If you’re not renting a car, take the light rail from the airport into town for just $2.50, or see if your hotel offers a shuttle. If you decide to take a taxi, expect to pay around $20.

The Right Hotel Will Turn Your Trip Into A Dream Vacation

The Grand American Hotel is a remarkable space, designed to be one of the greatest hotels in the world. The lobby features extraordinary mirrors and chandeliers, and the rooms are decked out with hand-crafted furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows, so you can enjoy the breathtaking views. Enjoy a day in the Grand Spa, lounge by the pool, or walk to one of the scores of restaurants, pubs, and shops that surround the hotel.

If you’re looking for something a little more affordable, the Hilton Garden Inn is a very comfortable place to stay, just a block from the convention center. A swimming pool and hot tub will help you enjoy your stay, and fine details like Keurig coffee makers and jetted tubs in the rooms will make you feel like you spent a lot more. Consider upgrading to a Junior Suite to give yourself space to spread out and relax.

The Little America Hotel is a little dated but offers a lot of comfort and sweet details for a low price. The property’s excellent service has earned it a loyal following.

Fill Your Free Time With Outdoor Adventure

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Image via Flickr by CountyLemonade

You’ll find plenty to of adventures around Salt Lake City to fill your free time.  Within a 15 minute drive of the City, the mountains and canyons are waiting for you to hike and bike to your heart’s content. Although many of Utah’s natural areas are several hours to the south, City Creek Canyon and Red Butte Gardens are nearby and worth a visit.

The Great Salt Lake sits just 16 miles northwest of the City, with its marina on the south shore. Sailing is a year-round activity, due to the salt water that resists freezing.

In winter, you’ll find several ski resorts near the city. Park City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, is just a 40 minute drive away.

Have you visited Salt Lake City for a convention or vacation? What was your favorite nearby recreation area?

Lauren Haas is a freelance writer and world nomad. She travels the world and writes content for Hipmunk, CBS, Time Warner, and other websites. Follow her blog at www.TheSoulOfAJourney.com.