Eight ways to keep it cool in downtown SLC

August 02, 2023 Written by Melissa Fields
Eight ways to keep it cool in downtown SLC Courtesy: Rockwell Ice Cream Co.

Nine. That’s the number of days temps reached or exceeded 100 degrees last month in Salt Lake City. And we’re not done yet. If history is any indication, we’ll likely get another 10 days of hot weather before summer 2023 is in the rearview. But have no fear. Following is a compilation of fun and festive ways to stay cool while embracing summer’s sweet second half.

Sip an icy cocktail

The margarita, Aperol spritz, sangria, pina colada or a paloma are all popular steamy-day sippers. But why not try a seasonal cocktail custom-made by a local mixologist? Something like Alibi Bar & Place's Trail of Joy, a refreshing combination of pisco, sake, rinquinquin (peach liqueur), lemon, and honey. Alibi Bar & Place, open daily, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Open your mind in air-conditioned comfort at UMOCA

SLC’s de facto center for contemporary expression just opened three fantastic new exhibitions: A Greater Utah, a sweeping and powerfully thought-provoking display of nearly 30 Utah artists’ work selected by six guest curators, each hailing from a different region of the state; Left Time, a video piece by Steven Stallings-Cardenas examining the often stifling limitations of the modern workplace; and Ben Sang’s Gut Set, a collection of place-specific items that Sang describes as “artifacts of an embodied experience of living in Utah.” UMOCA, 20 S. West Temple, open Wednesday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., $10 suggested donation

Indulge in summer’s favorite dessert
doki doki

This is what we’re daydreaming of during summer’s dog days: a cup of soft serve topped with acute and crunchy fish-shaped waffle cookie from Doki Doki Japanese Dessert Café, 249 E. 400 South, Monday to Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; a scoop of vegan tea & biscuits, lavender, rocky road, or banana brownie ice cream (we promise you won’t miss the dairy!) from Monkeywrench, open Monday – Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, noon to 11p.m.; a homemade cinnamon waffle cone stuffed with white chocolate cashew ice cream from Rockwell Ice Cream, 115A Regent St, Monday – Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. 11 p.m.; or a generous scoop of Nutella gelato from Capo Gelateria Italiana, 260 S. 200 West, open Monday – Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

Get your science on at Clark Planetarium

Admission to the well-done exhibits there is always free of charge, of course. You can also buy a ticket to catch a film in the planetarium’s IMAX 3D theatre or Hansen Dome Theatre. But for something really special, grab tickets to one of the planetarium’s monthly Night Vision shows, alive show when educators or guest speakers unleash the Dome Theatre's suite of advanced modeling and multimedia tools to explore a range of astronomical topics. This month’s Night Vision shows, on August 11 and 12th, will explore Comets and Meteor Showers.

Catch a cool breeze from a rooftop bar
Rooftop Patio Gracies

Even on SLC’s hottest days, cool air from the Wasatch Mountain Range wafts down from higher altitudes to cool off the valley floor once the sun goes down. Position yourself to take advantage of this natural phenomena by taking a sundown seat at one of downtown’s cool rooftop bars: Gracie’s, 326 S. West Temple, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Van Ryder, atop the Le Meridian Hotel, 131 S. 300 West, Tuesday –Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight, Sunday, 5 to 10 p.m.; or Green Pig Pub, 31 E. 400 South, 11 a.m.to 2 a.m., daily.

Splash around in The Gateway’s Olympic fountain.

We dare you to resist walking through the cool, dancing spray of water making up this snowflake-shaped fountain at The Gateway outdoor mall. This family-friendly plaza where the fountain is located is furnished with tables with umbrellas and turf inviting hanging out and staying awhile. 15 Rio Grande St, open Thursday through Sunday until 9 p.m., fountain closes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesdays for Goat Yoga and Sunset Yoga, respectively.

Take a spin on a GREENbike

Nothing invokes a sense of summery freedom more succinctly than pedaling a bike while the wind whips through your hair. GREENbike, Salt Lake City’s bike share, allows you to pedal traditional two-wheelers or pedal-assited e-bikes for next to nothing—your ticket to ride a GREENbike starts at just $3 for 60 minutes. More than a dozen stations dot the downtown core. Download the share’s handy app to find out what’s available at each station in real time. 

Catch a ride downtown on TRAX

Instead of getting in your oven-like car after a long and leisurely morning at the Downtown Farmer’s Market or an evening of cutting a rug at the Gallivan Center’s Big Band Dance Night, consider catching a ride home in cool comfort on UTA’s TRAX, S-Line or Frontrunner. Around trip fare for an adult is just $5. What’s more, by doing so you can feel good in knowing you helped keep Salt Lake’s air just a little cleaner. 

Visit—and celebrate—the Main Library
MainLibrary9 1

One of the ways the Salt Lake City Library System is celebrating its 125th birthday this year is by offering free tours of its gorgeous and architecturally significant Main Library (210 E. 400South), designed by the internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie. These 45-minute,free tours are held on the first Wednesday of the month and begin from the A-frame sign in the library’s Urban Room (main atrium) at noon. Pre-registration is not required.