Utah: The Hidden Gem You Never Knew You Wanted To Visit

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

Let’s face it. Utah does not have a great reputation. When it comes to the arts and culture, education, and ways to keep yourself busy aside from twiddling your thumbs on your front porch in the middle of nowhere, people often look past Utah when planning a trip as if it were non-existent. However, these archaic stereotypes could not be more incorrect. Utah boasts some of the most awe-inspiring national parks in the country, with surreal scenery every which way you turn. This state has nine well-ranked four year universities and an up-and-coming food scene that is sure to make your mouth water. Year after year, more and more people are drawn to Utah to take advantage of its low-stress lifestyle and its highly rated level of overall well-being.

Possibly one of the most popular and exciting events that this off-the-beaten-path state has to offer is the Sundance Film Festival. Taking place in beautiful Park City for the last thirty one years, people from all walks of life from all over the world will gather from January 21st – 31st to show and watch some of the finest and most promising independent, American and international short films, feature-length films, and documentaries. Its mission, discovering new films and new voices from around the world via original and authentic storytelling, lead to films gracing the screen that are guaranteed to leave you feeling nothing short of captivated. In addition to single and multi-day tickets on sale for the premieres of the many different genres of movies, Sundance also offers a wide variety of free (!!) events as well; film panels, concerts, and media installations, just to name a few.

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

In between all of these events and film screenings, it’s beyond worth it to channel your inner Shaun White or Lindsey Vonn and hit some of the world famous slopes of Park City and nearby Salt Lake City. From there, since you are sure to work up an appetite, check out 501 on Main in Park City or Pago in Salt Lake to get a taste of some of Utah’s best restaurants that are quickly gaining national attention. So much so, that chefs from around the world are setting up shop in Utah to treat people with their culinary skills, and we could not be more thankful.

If snow sports are not your forte but adventure you still seek, fly into Las Vegas as opposed to Salt Lake City, rent a car, and drive up through the stunningly beautiful and equally fascinating red cliffs of Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service, so celebrate the centennial by taking in the fresh, mountain air and experiencing the sights of the strikingly impressive natural rock formations and extraordinary views that are unparalleled to anything you’ve ever seen before in your life. From there, continue east to Arches National Park, where the lizards do push-ups and the night sky’s beauty is as inspiring as it is breathtaking.

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

Photo by Samantha Katzeff

Continue northward and eventually you will reach Provo. In addition to being home to Brigham Young University and the Provo City Center Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Provo has also been listed as one of the top cities for business and careers, as a cultural hub, first for volunteerism, first in health and well-being, and first for community optimism. So whether you’re looking to catch a football game, to learn about the Mormon community, or to simply get your happy on, Provo has something to offer everyone, and will leave you with a feeling of satisfaction and pure, unadulterated bliss.

From Provo, make the trek north until you reach Sundance, where you’ll have the chance to experience the event that has jumpstarted the careers of countless extremely famous directors whose names may be slightly familiar to you. Do the names Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino ring a bell? In addition to launching the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest names in directing, Sundance is responsible for bringing much more attention to films such as: Saw, Super Troopers, The Blair Witch Project, Donnie Darko, Clerks, and Precious.

That being said, if having the opportunity to take part in the success of some of 2016’s soon-to-be blockbuster hits and to be one of the first people in the world to view these movies, all while simultaneously being surrounded by some of the world’s most astonishingly beautiful landscapes, then why are you still sitting there at your computer? Hop on a plane and head over to Utah, already!

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