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For “Utah’s Best” Look No Further than the U

Main lobby at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

July 1, 2013 – If you’re looking for the best in arts, culture, recreation or family fun, you need look no further than the University of Utah campus.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Choice Awards for 2013, published Friday, named the Natural History Museum of Utah, Red Butte Garden and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts tops on several lists. All the attractions are within a two-mile footprint, and better still, you can walk, bike, take TRAX or ride a bus between all of them.

Natural History Museum of Utah: Winner, People’s Choice for Museums; Winner, People’s Choice for Family Fun; Second Runner-Up, Editors’ Choice for Utah Dinosaur Destinations.

“Spend the day. You have 150 million years to cover” is not just a slogan. The 163,000-square-foot facility is home to more than 1.2 million objects and offers innovative exhibitions and educational programs to thousands of residents and visitors each year. The Tribune notes that visitors can “imagine the region’s future as well as its past” and that “special events and exhibitions make the museum a place that can easily be visited several times a year.” A patio and café also make it a popular stopping spot for those using the nearby Bonneville Shoreline Trail. For more information, visit

Red Butte Garden: Winner, Editors’ and People’s Choice for Concert Venues; First Runner-Up People’s Choice for Family Fun.

Next door to the museum is the Red Butte Garden, also part of the University of Utah. The garden has more than 100 acres of display and natural gardens, including the Children’s Garden, walking paths and natural areas with hiking trails. And then there is the concert venue, where the Tribune says “nothing signals summer’s arrival like the amphitheater at Red Butte Garden” where top performers like Steely Dan, Merle Haggard and Tony Bennett are on the 2013 schedule. Accompanying the musicians is the “spectacular view of the crimson canyons … Salt Lake valley… and the moon always overhead.”  For more information, visit

Utah Museum of Fine Arts: Winner, Editors’ Choice for Museums; First Runner-Up, People’s Choice for Museums.

Simply put, “this is the state’s showpiece for art, classical and modern,” says the Tribune, with recent exhibitions focusing on interesting modern art, ranging from last year’s classic race cars to the current exhibition of “outsider art” by photographer Mike Disfarmer. Especially noteworthy, programs for families and classes for children run year-round. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is Utah’s only visual arts institution that collects, exhibits, interprets and preserves a comprehensive collection of more than 5,000 years of global art. Highlights include European and American masterworks, art of Utah and the American West and new work from emerging international artists. For more information, visit

Also worth noting, all three organizations are part of the Foothill Cultural District, which was the editors’ first runner-up and people’s second runner-up for Tourist Spots. The District collectively draws more than 2 million visitors each year and also includes Utah’s Hogle Zoo, This is the Place Heritage Park, Olympic Park, Ft. Douglas Museum and the University Guest House.