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10 Perks About Attending College Downtown

Location, location, location …

While it may not be your top priority in choosing a college, you can’t discount the impact your campus environment has on your college experience. Ensign College is uniquely situated in the heart of Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, providing unparalleled access to the best the state has to offer. So, not only do Ensign students benefit from the academic rigor of small class sizes in a collaborative deep-learning environment, they enjoy all of the perks of a lively city right outside their classroom.

Whether you enjoy participating in extracurricular sports, exploring eclectic eateries or visiting diverse events, shops and museums, downtown Salt Lake is the place to be (when you’re not studying, that is!) We’ve compiled a list of the best places to shop, eat, visit or play* so you can make the most of your free time between classes.

  1. Getting around. Downtown Salt Lake is known for its easy-to-navigate layout. The wide sidewalks, ample crosswalks and accessible bike lanes make traveling the city on foot or bike a simple task. In addition, the state’s prolific public transportation through Utah Transit Authority (UTA) traverses the valley in all 4 directions, with frequent trains and buses. The best part? Ensign College offers all active students a free UTA pass , with bus stops, Trax stations and access to the Front Runner commuter train all within blocks of campus.
  2. Take in the temple. At the (literal) center of downtown stands The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ infamous Temple Square . With access to concert performances, visitor’s centers, holiday lighting and breathtaking photo opportunities, there’s plenty to keep you busy for an afternoon.
  3. Shopping, shopping everywhere. Looking for a place to hang out with friends and peruse shops? Look no further than The Gateway and City Creek Center , both located less than a mile from Ensign College.  You’ll find high end shopping, restaurants, exciting events and more water features than you count in these downtown destinations. And don't forget the myriad local shops along Main Street and State Street to explore.
  4. Local artisans. If you’re hoping to explore a little local flavor, you won’t want to miss the Downtown Farmer’s Market , which is open from June to October on Saturdays and Tuesdays. You’ll find handmade crafts, art, body care items, jewelry, clothing and more, not to mention every kind of farm fresh seasonal produce imaginable. Plan to spend several hours taking in the freshly baked pastries, jams, candles, honey and teas, as well as enjoying live entertainment from local groups.
  5. Where to eat? Now THAT is the question. Downtown Salt Lake offers hundreds of dining options within a few square miles of Ensign College. Indian, Thai, Greek, Italian, Hawaiian, Vegetarian, Brazilian or Mexican, whatever food you fancy, you can find it in Salt Lake. The town offers plenty of low-key options for students on a budget, as well as many one-of-a-kind experiences like The Roof, which boasts panoramic views of temple square from the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. And, of course, for a quick bite between classes there’s always the Summit Grill , located right on-campus.
  6. Sports, concerts, expos and more. Looking for something exciting to do over the weekend? You won’t have any trouble finding entertainment downtown . The city offers a plethora of outdoor and indoor concerts, plays, dances, expos, festivals, and holiday events year-round. Vivint Arena , located a block from the college, hosts everything from NBA and NHL games to monster truck rallies and circuses. From marathons and 5ks to parades and roller derbies, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Salt Lake.
  7. Date nights galore. On the hunt for a fun date night? Try one of several local movie theaters, or visit Clark Planetarium or the Children’s Museum at Discovery Gateway . Give bowling, mini golf, or ice skating a whirl. Or, enjoy an evening of off-the-cuff levity at the local Off-Broadway Theater . Searching for something a bit more educational? Consider visiting the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art , or the Utah Museum of Natural History .
  8. Stay fit. If staying in shape is a priority, you can sign up for a membership at one of several fitness centers downtown. The Gym at City Creek, Planet Fitness, State Street Boxing gym and Salt Lake CrossFit are just a few of the gyms situated near Ensign’s campus.
  9. Join a team. Playing team sports is a fantastic way to get to know people in your community and make friends. If you’re interested in joining a local sports team near Ensign College, you can check out all the options offered through Salt Lake County .
  10. Hit the mountains. Utah is world-renowned for its natural playground—the Wasatch Mountains . If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’re in the right place. Whether you love to ski, sled or snowboard, hike, mountain bike, or rock climb, there’s no shortage of ways to get outdoors near downtown Salt Lake.

*Please note that due to fluctuating state and city mandates related to COVID-19, many businesses and events may have restrictions in place. Be sure to call or check online for updates and rules before visiting.