The second most populous county in Utah has long had a reputation for rejecting the worldly delights of flashy clubs, classy cocktail bars and fine dining that one might find in its neighbor to the north, in exchange for a firm focus on being the most family friendly. While the population center has shifted in recent years with an explosion of growth, the focus is still predominantly centered on large families with lots of kids. That doesn’t just mean oversized plastic menus everywhere you look (a small but persistent counter culture has seen to that). It’s home to a handful of historic Main Streets populated with eclectic local boutiques, a rich tradition of promoting the (PG-rated) performing arts and beautiful natural wonders in American Fork and Provo Canyons. And, you know what, some of those family-friendly activities are a lot of fun. In Pleasant Grove City alone, you’ll find an escape to a fantasy land at Evermore Park and extreme go-kart racing at The Grid. And there is so much more to be found if you know where to look.
Who Lives There?
Median household income: $50,072
Median age: 23.7
Black/African American: 1.1%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1.0%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1.3%
Some other race: 2.8%
2+ Races: 5.5%
What’s the Rent?
Median home price: $475,000
Median rent for one bedroom: $1,095
Where Do You Shop?
If you want to get away from some of the big box stores and cookie-cutter outlet malls, you can find some niche boutiques and local shops along the main drag of Provo’s Center Street. For used and rare books there’s Pioneer Book and Writ & Vision. Boothe Brothers Music offers instrument repairs, rentals and music lessons, and you could come across a rare find at Platinum Sports and Music Memorabilia. Misbehavin’ Clothing Co. sells seasonally curated clothing collections and one-of-a-kind handmade items. Taylor Maid is a salon and beauty supply shop with a theatrical edge.
Where Do You Eat?
Food at Communal is focused on fresh, local and sustainable ingredients. The menu boasts straightforward American fare, made delicious by the attention to detail, like garlic mashed potatoes and balsamic marinated flank steak. Meals are served family style. It’s also one of the few stalwart brunch options in the Provo area, but it’s not open on Sundays.
Where Do You Play?
A true gem of Northern Utah County, American Fork Canyon (in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest) is home to a myriad of natural wonders to explore and marvelous sights to see, including Mount Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Alpine Loop Scenic Backway and Cascade Springs, a natural spring feeding a lattice-work of waterfalls and crystal-clear pools. The canyon is a prime location for rock climbing, camping, fishing, hiking and biking.
Best Place to See Them Before They Get Big
The Provo area has a rich history of indie pop and rock acts that have made the big time. Neon Trees got their start at Velour Live Music Gallery, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year. Beware, this all-ages venue is alcohol-free and caters to a college crowd that could make you feel old if your twenties are far behind you.
Best Clean Comedy Scene
The G-rated comedy scene is Utah County’s main cultural export. But clean doesn’t mean unfunny. Practitioners can’t rely on shock humor. See what we mean at Improv Broadway, Comedy Sportz, Dry Bar Comedy, find the laughs online at jkstudios.com and watch BYU TV’s Studio C skit comedy show at byutv.org.
Welcome to the neighborhood! View all of Best of the Beehive 2022: Neighborhood Edition. And while you’re here, subscribe and get six issues of Salt Lake magazine, your guide to the best of life in Utah.