Let’s take a trip Tuesday – Provo, Utah

Name: Rachel  
Location: Provo, Utah

How long have you lived there? 
I’ve lived in Provo almost 4 years now. 

If you moved from somewhere else, where did you move from? Why? 
I grew up in Waycross, GA (close to the Flordia border) and then moved to Augusta, GA (close to the South Carolina border) when I was in high school. I absolutely 100% love Georgia. It will always be a place that I call home. But when I was applying for college I wanted to go somewhere completely different than what I had grown up around… I wanted a whole other experience. I am LDS (aka Mormon) and so Brigham Young University was a definite option. Utah seemed like such a different, new, and exciting place. I applied, got in, and now I’m here and almost done with my Bachelor’s degree! 
How is the weather?  
The weather here can be as different as night and day. In the summer, it gets hot hot hot. After all, Utah is basically a desert. But from about November to March everything turns into a winter wonderland. We get tons of snow, tons of ice, and up the canyon there are a few waterfalls that freeze over ever year. Ha, we actually had a couple of avalanches up in the mountains just a few weeks ago. Provo’s weather hits both extrememes during the year. We definitely have a spring and fall, too, where the weather is nice and comfortable, and the transition periods are just lovely, especially in the mountains. Because of the mountains and the higher elevation, though, you pretty much need a jacket year round. Even in the summertime it can get pretty chilly at night. 

Tell us what a typical weekend is like for you there? 
Right now a typical weekend for me starts by sleeping in! My husband just graduated from college, but the job he’s at now has him waking up almost an hour earlier than what he’s use to for school. And I’m still in school, so I’m getting up extra early for my 8am classes. So we like to get that little bit of rest when we can to start the day out right. The rest of the weekend is spent finding stuff to do – and I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing. In Provo, something is always going on. We have our famous Farmer’s Market every Saturday in the summer (best food and great crafts), there are often little festivals going on downtown (the Latin American festival and the Pioneer Days are held every year), the Sundance Ski Resort up the canyon runs the ski lifts on full moons, we have a water park (7 Peaks) in the middle of the city. Sometimes we go hiking up the canyon, or up on top of the Y (literally the letter “Y” on the side of the mountain, made out of concrete), or we’ll even go walking down the Provo River Trail. A lot of times we’ll catch a dollar movie and then stroll around town, trying to find some antique shop or little cafe we’ve never been to before. Every weekend it’s something different. I’ve even started keeping a list of all of the events/activities/food places in Provo we’ve never been to – the list just keeps growing! 
  Where do you like to eat in your town? 

Such a hard question! For a while, we tried to never eat at the same place twice – Provo has so many good, so many different restaurants and bistros and we wanted to try out as many of them as we could. There are, however, 2 main dinner places and 2 main dessert places that anyone visiting in Provo needs to go to: 
It’s a Brazilian Grill and is one of the best places you will ever eat at in your life! You sit at a table with a “stop” and “go” stick. When you turn the stick to green (go) the servers bring you meat, vegetables, pineapples, etc. on this huge skewer and cut off as much as you want on your plate. When we have out of town visitors, we always make a trip here. It’s definitely a dining experience. 
Costa Vida/Cafe Rio 
    These are both “fast-food” Mexican restaurants, and some people have a prefence of one over the other, but they basically   have the exact same menu. Both are huge staples of Provo. Me and the hubs have frequent diner cards to both of 
    them. On weekends I’ve seen the line so long it goes out the door! And if it’s your first time there you 100% have to get the  pork salad. Seriously – the day we move away from Provo where there are no sweet pork salads will be one of
    my saddest days to date. 
    The Chocolate
    This little lovely dessert shop is just the cutest thing you’ve ever been. And technically it’s in Orem city (which is literally right beside Provo) but as far as I’m concerned they are one and the same. They have cupcakes, gourmet hot chocolate, 
    cookies, etc. The whole entire shop is all desserts. And the shop itself is in a little remodeled house – they have tables and chairs scattered through 2 stories open spaces and private rooms. It’s super cute, and their desserts are always 
    100% delicious. 

    Sub Zero Ice Cream
    They use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream right in front of you. Enough said. 
Where do you like to shop?
Provo has a lot of antique/thirft stores. It’s become sort of a craze here! The deals people can get are amazing (one time I found a pair of Nordstrom heels for $7 bucks!). D.I. and Savers are really popular (they’re like the Goodwills of Utah). We also have tons and tons of boutiques sprouting up everywhere. Provo/Orem has 3 malls: University Mall, Provo Town Centre, and the Riverwoods. One of my favorite places to shop, though, is at the Gateway in Salt Lake City (about a 40 min. drive from Provo). It’s a huge outdoor mall with shops, boutiques, restaurants, and even an IMAX theater! Every time we go to Salt Lake, me and the hubs stop by. It’s definitely a fun place to experience.
Suggest some must see places for an out of town visitor. 
Oh man… where to start? I get so excited when people come to visit us because I can’t wait to show them around! In Provo, traveling up to BYU campus is a definite must. Even if you’re not LDS, the campus itself is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s nestled close to the base of the mountains. And speaking of mountains, you can’t leave Provo without taking a trip up into the Canyons and seeing Sundance (ski resort – owned by Robert Redford), Bridal Veil Falls (gorgeous waterfall within a 10 min. hike), and Sqaw Peak (it has one of the most gorgeous views of the valley). If you have time, hiking up to the Y is a really fun thing to do. There are also lots of places right outside Provo that are an absolute must-see, like Salt Lake City and Temple Square. You could spend hours walking around the grounds and going through all of the little visitor’s centers and history museums and not get bored. Plus, Salt Lake City itself is just an awesome city. There are also the natural hot springs in Midway, about a 20 min. drive from Provo up the canyon. Our favorite time to go is during the winter when there has been tons of snow – there’s nothing like sitting in a natural spring that acts like a jacuzzi with snow just chilling on the banks all around you. Oo, and the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Flats – awesome! Lots of people go out to the Salt Flats just to take pictures – it’s nothing but miles and miles of pure salt… it’s so pretty it’s almost surreal. There is the Hindu Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork (where they have an annual Festival of Colors), Zions National Park down in Moab, Park City (where the Sundance Film Festival is held), Mt. Timpanogas, Utah Lake… there are so so so many places worth visiting.

Tell us why you love your town: 
I love Provo for a thousand different reasons. The people here are very, very sweet and extremely welcoming. There is always something to do or something going on. Me and the hubs won’t live here for forever, but right now it’s perfect for us. Provo has two major universities (BYU and UVU) with a total of 60,000+ college students. That’s 60,000+ people our own age who are at the same stage of their lives that we are in and like to do the same things that we enjoy doing. It’s really an awesome experience! And I love that Provo, and Utah in general, is surrounded by so much nature. I’m an outdoors girl myself, but I’m use to trees and greenery. Provo is brown. It’s a desert. But it’s absolutely gorgeous. The mountains… holy cow, some days I still look out the window and I can’t believe that they are real. I love going up into the canyon to camp, and hiking out in Zion’s National Park down in Moab is one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. Utah has so much to offer… millions of people flock here every single year to go to Moab, or to see Salt Lake City, to attend the Sundance Film Festival, to ski and snowboard on the “greatest snow on earth”, etc. We’re less than a day’s drive away from California, traveling to Vegas in only a five hour trip and so is Yellowstone….there is always something to do, always something to experience. I absolutely love it. 

Anything else we should know about where you live? 
Don’t judge it before you get here. I did. But it didn’t take long for me to see how wonderful this place can be. And if you’re coming for a visit, write down a list of all of the things you want to see! And come back for a second trip – there’s almost too much to do in just one visit! 

Thank you Rachel for sharing with us all about Provo!  Don’t forget to check out her blog – The OBriens.  

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