Things to Do Outside in THE BLOCKS

What’s not to love about fall weather in Salt Lake City? Mid-summer’s sweltering temps are in the rearview and yet the days are still sun-splashed and comfortably warm enough to leave your jacket in the closet. In other words, there’s no better time than now to head down to THE BLOCKS. Following are a few fun things to do outside in downtown Salt Lake City over the next few glorious weeks. 

Not surprisingly, THE BLOCKS is chockablock with vibrant festivals this fall. You can immerse yourself in Italian food, wine, music; arts and crafts, a bocce ball tournament, an exotic Italian car show and more at the fifth annual Festa Italiana, held on the 14th and 15th at The Gateway (400 W. 100 South). The state’s largest free community art event—which features more than 150 artist booths, performances, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink—gets underway at the Gallivan Center (239 Main St) at the Urban Arts Festival on the 21st and 22nd. September is also National Hispanic Heritage Month, which will be celebrated with food, music, dancing and a parade (starting at 10 a.m.) at the Hispanic Heritage Festival on the 22nd at The Gateway (400 W. 100 South).  The month of outdoor festivals wraps up with a serving of some of the state’s best ’Q at the Rock ’N Ribs Festival on the 28th at the Gallivan Center (239 Main St).

It’s been a big year for two-wheeled transportation in Salt Lake City, and it’s no wonder. Using the city’s bike share, GREENbike, (which added 50 electric bikes to its fleet last month) or one of three dockless scooter options available downtown—Lime, Bird or Spin—is affordable, convenient and so much more fun than getting around in your car. For example, riding is a great way to check out downtown’s dozens of murals or to, say, head over to City Creek Center (50 Main St) for a little retail therapy after spending the morning at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to dusk, Pioneer Park, 350 S. 350 West) When you do take a turn on a bike or scooter, remember to bring a helmet and that sidewalks are for pedestrians.

Those goat yoga photos filling your Instagram feed aren’t just courtesy of hipster Los Angelenos. You can get in on this silly-fun fitness fad right here in the 801 every Tuesday through the 24th on the lawn next to the 2002 Olympics fountain at The Gateway (400 W. 100 South) at 7 p.m. Why do baby goats and yoga go together, you may ask? Well, once you get into a tabletop or plank, these cute baby goats will hop on your back and lend an extra 15-pound boost to your practice. And it’s pretty hard not to giggle when you’ve got a baby goat on your back. Goat yoga tickets are $22 for each hour-long session and must be purchased in advance at utahgogaguys.com.

Do you like live music, dancing and, more importantly, that hip, jazz-band vibe? Then you’ll love the Big Band Dance Nights at the Gallivan (239 Main St), presented by the Excellence Concert Series on the 10th and 17th. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with 30 minutes of free dance-floor instruction from Ballroom Utah. And then at 7:30 p.m. the magic commences as the band begins to play as the sun goes down. The dance floor is always full on these evenings, as are the audience seats. But don’t worry, this event never feels over-crowded and there’s always plenty of room to spectate from the lawn and stairs overlooking the stage.          

Finally, that September fall weather we waxed poetic about earlier in this piece provides the perfect backdrop for one of our favorite Sunday Funday past-times: brunch on an outdoor patio. Many of downtown’s best eateries have lovely outside seating areas where they serve up scrumptious brunch dishes—most with Bloody Marys and mimosas, of course! A few recommends include the leafy patio at the new Caffé Molise (404 S. West Temple), the inspired vegan menu specialties at Zest Kitchen & Bar (275 S. 200 West), the very chill vibe and stunning city skyline views from the rooftop patio at Gracie’s (326S. West Temple), the famous Italian sandwiches and pastas at Caputo’s Downtown (314 W. Broadway) and the decadent, locally sourced plates served at the Copper Onion (111 E. Broadway).

So, what are you waiting for? The sweet spot between summer and fall won’t last long. The time to make the most of it by getting outside in THE BLOCKS is now. 

Written by Melissa Fields