Sunday, March 11, 2012


Salt Lake City does have several neighborhoods with names. I don't seem to live in one of them. I live just south of the Avenues and quite a bit north of Sugarhouse. I don't think I am in University. There are small words on the top of some signs where I live that say this street is in "Central City," but no one I have heard has ever used that name for anything. Sometimes I see signs advertising a meeting of the "East Central" neighborhood association, but no one ever calls where I live "east central" either (although I do think this is the most accurate name for this part of town.) But I have had many people tell me that I live "downtown."

Now I think that "downtown" ends several blocks west of my street. I kind of think that "downtown" ends at 500 East or perhaps all the way to 700 East which is a major street and looks a lot like a borderline. But I will accept that I live downtown if that's where people want to put me. I really like downtown.

The new downtown renovation, City Creek Center,  is due to open up next week, March 22. I can't wait. I am sure there will be things to criticize, but so far I am liking what I can see, and I want to see more. It's not the actual shops and things I'm looking forward to. I don't shop regularly at Nordstrom's, Macy's, Tiffany's etc., and doubt I will take up the habit. What I am looking forward to is having more people downtown. That's where I think the whole design concept got it right. ( I have to give the Church a lot of credit here for wanting this.) The new downtown has places for people to live, work and play. And I think that people will do just that....especially the live part. And having people LIVING there is what makes all the difference in how the place functions.

I spent a lot of time in the heart of downtown now as play. Sundance is all downtown. Taiko drumming is downtown. Our knitting group at the Rose is downtown. Tai Chi is real close to downtown. I go every so often to a concert or play downtown. I like many downtown restaurants.

I can walk to and from downtown if I have to or want to, but most of the time I take either a bus or the TRAX. Four different buses that go downtown are very convenient for me. I have no qualms about my safety walking around downtown no matter what time of day. More than once I have taken the very last TRAX train home. I have walked home late at night on the odd night when I was too late for the TRAX. The whole space between the heart of downtown and where I live is just a neighborhood where people live, nothing to be afraid of.

I have come to really like the new downtown Harmon's grocery store. It was designed from the beginning as a downtown grocery store, meant to meet the lifestyle needs of people who live downtown. It's a bit different from other stores in town. It is planned for people who will walk there and back, so it does not feature many huge super sized products. It has lots of small baskets and trolleys instead of lots of big carts.It has more than usual store prepared fresh food. It has more gourmet and artisan food.  There is a cafe, a cooking school space, a little kitchenware department with very nice things, and a post office that is open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK UNTIL 8 P.M.!!!!!!!!! The store itself is open until 11 P.M. daily.

And guess what? People are going there. I see people walking to and from the store all the time. I see parents with kids in little carts into which they put the purchases. I see people on the bus or waiting at the stop with shopping bags. I see bicyclists shopping there. I go down there on the bus which is amazingly convenient for me. This is my new grocery store.

I say to people all the time that I do not go to the suburbs. There is very little that I need to go to the suburbs for. The city itself has just about everything I need and want.

Just yesterday I was explaining to someone how I think that driving in the city is much easier than driving in the suburbs. In the city proper, no one street is ever packed with cars (except for a few times on a few streets and even then mostly when some kind of obstruction like an accident is involved.) But in the suburbs you are forced to drive on those huge arterial streets all the time which are always just packed and fast moving. The developments where people live aren't too bad, but you don't go into a development unless you are going to a specific home that's inside of just driving through on the way to someplace else. The developments are all just dead ends.

In the city you always have tons of choices about which street to take. If there is an accident or construction or something, you just take one of the parallel streets instead. There aren't that many lanes, and no one can drive real fast in the city. Everything is well lit. Add it all up, and I find the city fairly easy and safe to navigate with a car, even in the heart of downtown.

I do go to some of the suburbs sometimes, of course. I go to a few businesses in Millcreek Township, Murray or Holladay, just south of SLC proper. I go to the Target at Ft. Union sometimes. (But now we have a city Target store so trips to Ft. Union are not necessary any more. Yeah!) I even go every so often to the IKEA in Draper (it's right on the freeway  so you don't have to go very far at all into Draper when you are there, but you do have to drive down there on the interstate. I plan those trips well. Sunday morning is a good time to go.)

Yesterday I went down to our excellent local cook wear store, Spoons 'n Spice. It's just a straight shot down 900 East. For the first time, though, going both down and back, I had this strange new feeling. I felt I was just too far away from downtown to be comfortable. I couldn't wait to get myself back north, back to where I belong...downtown.


  1. I love living near downtown. I need to check out that new Harmons! I've been to the Harmons in Brickyard a couple of times, and it has really good stuff. I also would like to go to the former Emigration Market which is now a trendy little Harmons. I've heard it's really nice (although maybe a little over-priced).

    I would love to check out the City Creek Center with you if you would like some company. I could drive to your house and we could either walk or Trax it down there. That would be a lot of fun.

    Sometimes I tell people that I live "near downtown" if they are not from Salt Lake, or if they are from Salt Lake I tell them that I live in Liberty Park area, but usually I tell them that I live in Sugarhood. Because it's not quite as nice as Sugarhouse, and it's a bit touch and go in spots like a "hood" is. But I like it here. I have some really great neighbors, and can easily get to the park or the ballpark by walking :)

  2. The downtown Harmon's is probably a bit pricey the Emigration Market one. Yes, let's do go check it out together.