A Guide to the SLC Arts Scene

By Kate Button, Arts Writer, Copy Editor


For students returning to the University of Utah campus or for individuals setting foot in Salt Lake City for the first time, it’s important to find places that make the city feel like home. The Salt Lake arts scene is bustling and thriving with energy, and this art scene can help you find both entertainment and a community. Some things may look different as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the SLC arts scene is a truly exciting facet to attending school at the U or living in the surrounding areas. Here is a guide to some of my favorite aspects of the art world in Salt Lake. 


Located on the U’s campus, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is one of my favorite art museums in Salt Lake City. Filled with collections from around the world, the UMFA is a great place to start whether you know a lot or very little about fine arts. Until October, the UMFA is currently showcasing four landscape paintings from the Smithsonian Museum, so you’re sure to experience some great art while here.

For fans of nontraditional or modern artists and artworks, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art offers attention-grabbing and thought-provoking pieces. UMOCA is currently hosting an exhibition from the Guerilla Girls — which is a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about sexism, racism and inequality in the art sphere.


With so many great restaurants in Salt Lake City, it’s hard to pick just a few to highlight, but I’ll share my favorite picks for each meal of the day.

Breakfast/Brunch: Lazy Day Café

While this restaurant is a bit far from the downtown area, whenever I’m asked to give a brunch recommendation, Lazy Day Café is always on my list. With plenty of vegan options and lemon pancakes that are impossible to stop eating, this restaurant has something for everyone. It’s quaint exterior and inviting diner interior welcome patrons and make you feel right at home.

Lunch: Buds

With some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, Buds is easily one of my favorite places to grab lunch. Their menu is entirely plant-based, but given the quality of the ingredients and their options, you nearly forget that your meal is vegan/vegetarian. Buds is located in the heart of downtown, and this walk-up style restaurant offers outdoor seating to enjoy the sunshine along with some irresistible bites. If you try this place, you can’t forget to try their addicting zucchini chocolate chip cookies!

Dinner: Skewered Thai

Right across from Trolley Square, Skewered Thai may be easy to miss visually, but it is well worth a visit. With a wide range of options for those with dietary restrictions or not, Skewered Thai perfects each dish they offer. While the portions are large, it is nearly impossible to keep from wanting more. I am especially fond of their Panang curry with tofu — accompanied by a refreshing and light Thai iced tea. Their restaurant offers a perfect escape from campus while staying close to downtown Salt Lake City, and in the midst of midterms or finals, their food can fuel you through a late-night studying session.

Concert Venues

I’ve long been on the record as stating that Kilby Court is my favorite Salt Lake City concert venue — and possibly my favorite venue period. With garage band vibes and an intimate setting, Kilby Court encourages you to get up close and personal with great music. Kilby is typically the venue for small local artists, or artists who are touring the country while trying to gain a more substantial following. I have discovered some of my favorite bands and artists by simply attending Kilby shows and becoming infatuated with the opening artists. Kilby Court holds a special place in my heart, and the history of all the bands who have passed through its doors are marked with stickers plastered around the Kilby grounds.

For a more traditional concert venue with a larger capacity, I love The Depot. Located within the Gateway, The Depot hosts mid-size to larger acts. Wherever you are in the venue, it is easy to see the stage and enjoy the show. The Instagram-able sign out front displays upcoming concerts, and the stage itself easily adapts to hold any props or decorative elements from the bands. While The Depot does hold approximately 1,000 more people than Kilby Court, there is still an intimate aspect of live shows at The Depot.

For concert attendees who are 21+ years old, Urban Lounge offers a combined experience with a bar area and a concert stage. Whether you want to sit back and watch the show or get on the dance floor, both options are welcomed at Urban Lounge. Additionally, Urban Lounge happens to be right around the corner from Buds, and the venue is within walking distance of other bars in downtown Salt Lake.


The Salt Lake Film Society is a local non-profit that works to provide access to independent films and documentaries. They have two locations — the Broadway Theatre in downtown Salt Lake and the Tower Theatre at the 9th&9th intersection. While Salt Lake also has its share of large mainstream movie theatres, these smaller theatres similarly provide a traditional movie experience with the added benefit of supporting the local community.


With its venue right on the University of Utah campus, the Pioneer Theatre Company is extremely accessible for students. The Pioneer Theatre showcases everything from off-Broadway plays to Utah premieres and serious dramas to more lighthearted musicals. Complete with student discounts, the Pioneer Theatre works to ensure that quality theatre is available to all.

The Salt Lake Acting Company, or more colloquially referred to as SLAC, is a nonprofit dedicated to contemporary theatre and the development and production of new plays. With a keen eye towards innovation and producing the next generation of theatre, there is always something exciting going on at SLAC.

Plan-B Theatre Company is one of the other few professional theatre companies in Salt Lake City. Plan-B is committed to reflecting the local community upon the stage and aims for diversity and inclusion in their casting choices and production decisions.

Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, the Eccles Theatre is the local setting for Broadway Across America. This theatre connects local residents with the opportunity to see professional Broadway productions in their own backyard.

Support Local Art

With so many incredible local venues, the options and ways in which you can support local art are endless. Whether you’re just interested in one artistic medium, love all types of art or are looking for a community, the SLC arts scene is truly an incredible facet of life in Salt Lake City.


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