3 Romantic Downtown Staycations

February 07, 2024 Written by Melissa Fields

Who says you need to fly or drive for hours to celebrate the one you love? Just in time for Valentine’s Day—or any other time this winter when you might be looking for a little couple-time inspiration—are the following three overnight-in-downtown-Salt Lake itineraries, each featuring a fabulous restaurant, vibrant performance by downtown arts organizations both large and small and an inviting place to stay.

360-degree-views dining, a theatrical must-see and a checking out the Monaco’s recent refresh

The evening views from downtown Salt Lake are a bona fide twofer: look to the west, and you’ll be treated to a million-dollar sunset over the Oquirrh Mountains; to the east the cityscape is framed by snowcapped Wasatch Range, awash in warm pink alpenglow. These incredible sights are on grand display when you spend an evening in one of Mar | Muntanya’s cozy dining globes. Reminiscent of a fairytale-like European gondola car, these temperature-controlled transparent enclosures provide an unforgettable setting for an intimate dinner for two—or, if you prefer, a festive dinner party for up to eight. Mar | Muntanya’s dining globes are located on the Hyatt Regency Hotel’s sixth-floor Sundance Deck where you can drink in the stellar views (and stargaze, once the sun goes down) while sampling Mar | Muntanya’s creative Catalonia and Basque-country inspired cuisine. (170 W. South Temple, inside the Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City, dining globe reservations
 MG 9836

Longtime Salt Lake City residents often consider Ballet West within the context of The Nutcracker, America’s first and longest running version of this classic ballet. But Utah’s signature ballet company, now celebrating its 60th season, is also regarded as one of the country’s best and this month is performing a piece that both worthy of Ballet West’s deep well of talent and one that is sure to pack the Capitol Theatre with aficionados and neophytes alike: Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s classic story of doomed love. Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute first interpreted this classic and enduring piece for Ballet West in 2010. For this season’s performance, Sklute has “tightened up the pacing, and heightened the drama to create a work that melds this 19th century classic with 21st century sensibility,” Sklute says. Get tickets as soon as you can to see this amazing show, which is guaranteed to sell out.  (Capitol Theatre, 52 W. 200 South)

End the evening by checking in at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco, where a gorgeous, full building reno was completed in late 2023. The hotel’s previous gold, tan and burgundy art-deco-themed décor has been replaced with a sleeker, mountain-modern aesthetic, replete with cool navy blue and gray and accented by crisp, white walls, high-alpine-inspired art and midcentury furnishings. The result is guest rooms and common areas that remain characterized by unique pops of vibrancy and a design-focused appeal, but in a much more soothing way. In the morning, go ahead and sleep late ;check out is luxuriously not until noon. After you do finally rise, head downstairs to the Monaco’s onsite, Euro-inspired bistro, Bambara, for brunch, served on Saturdays and Sundays until 2 p.m. (15 W. 200 South)

City Creek Center’s stylish new steak and sushi house, the Utah Symphony’s outstanding February triple bill and a classic hotel with a cool, 1920s-inspired speakeasy

Though its roots are in the Pacific Northwest, Aqua Terra Steak + Sushi, has fully embraced its first Utah location by presenting a double-threat menu of creative sushi made with the freshest fish alongside the best cuts of regionally source beef. Add in Aqua Terra’s stylish décor and top-notch cocktail program, and you’ve checked all the boxes for a fantastic date night dinner destination. When you go, be sure to leave room for dessert. We suggest a classically creamy and decadent milkshake from the restaurant’s Mak-N-Jak’s Milkshake Bar, where $1 from every shake sold goes to the Salt Lake Education Foundation. (50 S. Main St, inside City Creek Center)

Aqua Terra

This month the Utah Symphony is featuring a trio of must-attend events, including Casablanca in Concert, February 9 and 10, an amazing evening combining a film screening with a live symphony performance; a shining installment in the symphony’s Masterworks’ Series, Strauss’ Don Juan, February 16 and 17, featuring Mark Davidson on the trombone; and, on February 23 and 24, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2, a beautiful program that features both a piece that the symphony will perform for the first time and a U.S. premiere performance by one of the world’s most renowned violinists, Tabea Zimmermann.  Best yet: all three of these performances are eligible for Utah Symphony’s students and 30-and-under ticket discounts. (Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple)

For an affordable night away at a property heavy on onsite amenities, book a room at the  Hilton Salt Lake City Center. You’ll not only enjoy easy walking access to multiple downtown  attractions (The Utah Symphony’s home, Abravanel Hall, is just a 10-minute walk away, for example.), but you’ll also get to take advantage of the Hilton’s thoughtful onsite amenities, like a Starbucks coffee shop in the lobby; the onsite Spencer’s Steaks & Chops, a longtime and prestigious contributor to downtown’s stellar dining scene; and the Rare Room, a sultry, 1920s-inspired cocktail lounge that’s an ideal venue for both kicking off your night on the town with a craft cocktail or, at the end of the evening, curling up with a cozy nightcap before heading up to your room. (255 S. West Temple)

KinserStudios Hilton Rareroom 1

Experiencing a downtown dining institution, celebrating Salt Lake’s independent theater and resting your head in a Salt Lake City historic landmark

Elegant yet casual, friendly and professional service and simply fantastic food with no trace of pretension is what you’ll find at Bambara. On a recent visit, the bartender in the restaurant’s accompanying Vault Cocktail Lounge was respectfully conversational while he effortlessly made a nearly perfect Old Fashioned. In the restaurant, one perfectly executed course followed another—prosciutto beignets, blue cheese potato chips, bison and filet mignon. Bambara has always had a reputation the downtown destination for special-occasion dining. Its latest iteration expands its appeal from a date-night or other special celebration venue to a new go-to for after-work drinks and impromptu Friday night meetups with friends. (Inside Kimpton Hotel Monaco, 15 W. 200 South)
Bambara prosciutto beignets r5 c6759.399.0.1601.1601.full

Following its status as the defacto Salt Lake valley home to the Sundance Film Festival in January, the Rose Wagner Center for Performing Arts’ schedule for the remainder of winter bristles with a roster of must-see theatrical events, like: Pygmalion Productions’ Last Lists of My Mad Mother (February 9-24), a funny and poignant story of a mother and daughter navigating the elder’s progressing dementia and the daughter’s transition to primary caregiver; and Plan-B Theatre Company’s Balthazar (February 15-March 3), playwright Debora Threedy’s riff on Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice that’s a life-and-death journey through the law, love and gender identity. (138 W. Broadway)
pyg last lists tam and reb 1 570x342

Downtown Salt Lake City was in the midst of its industrial heyday when the Peery Hotel was constructed in 1910. The three-story Prairie-style building, on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1978, has functioned continuously as a hotel since then. In 2016-17 the hotel received a head-to-toe, remodel and historic preservation; and in 2019, it was placed it an historic preservation easement with Preservation Utah to ensure the venerable hotel’s historic character and architectural integrity remains intact. A stay there today, amid its gorgeous vintage-inspired furnishings and antiques, is a bit like stepping back into time—but to a past with modern conveniences like ethereally comfortable beds, large bathrooms and a sophisticated wine bar and restaurant. (110 W. Broadway)
Peery Hotel E1A3174BLAKELY Edit