The Twilight Concert Series
At the south end of downtown, the library has ignited a new kind of city center and a more secular and inclusive gathering space. This same secular spirit is most easily seen on Thursday nights come summertime, when the Twilight Concert Series is in full swing. The streets are filled with revelers, packs of skinny-jean wearing cyclists fill the bike lanes, and Pioneer Park is one big mass of wacky, loud fun. The Salt Lake Library’s grounds play host to the Arts Festival, Living Traditions and Gay Pride events. Next door, the newest addition, the Leonardo museum, recently opened its doors. And on the hill above the University of Utah, there is a new Natural History Museum. The Salt Lake Arts Center is now the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and the stalwarts of the Utah Symphony, Opera and Ballet West continue to thrive and survive. These days, culture in Salt Lake comes in tuxedos and tutus, trucker hats and spray paint.
In the ’80s Broadway (300 South) was a shuttered-up street. Only the palatial Center Theater on the corner remained as testament to the once-great shopping avenue of shoe stores and furriers. Then the center was demolished to make way for the high-rise Broadway Center, and that was that. But when Ken Sanders opened his rare-and-used book store and it became an intellectual hub just off Broadway on 200 East, the boards on the storefronts started to fall. Now Broadway is home to clever locals like Frosty Darling and the modern-furniture consignment store Green Ant. There are well-curated antique and vintage stores like Retro Rose and Jitter Bug, and these blocks are the hub of the monthly Gallery Stroll.
The Tower Theater
Salt Lake Film Center
The restoration of the Tower in the early ’90s ensured independent cinema in Utah, and the Tower became a hub for film lovers and a welcome new-bohemian vibe. Then The Film Society took over the Broadway Theaters in the early 2000s and expanded its line up of art films and happenings. Now both are our window into smaller-run, films beyond the Megaplex.
NEW SLC SUB-POP: Angela Brown, editor of SLUG magazine. "Our city is growing up. People are investing in SLC and want to make a cool culture here. You can find something really cool to do every single night."
Some kids went on missions in Mr. Mac suits while others wore Doc Martins, flew purple mohawks and banged their heads at the Speedway Cafe. Salt Lake’s punk scene birthed the cult classic film SLC Punk and was uniquely vital—as only a counter-culture in the face of a dominant, squeaky clean culture can be. The scene still has its remnants: Raunch Records, for example, as well as the still thriving SLUG magazine. Every year the now-grown up kids, who once defiantly took drugs, played loud music and stomped around with sneering scowls, gather in Torrey for the Utah Family Reunion, to play the old (loud) songs.