Guide to Provo, Utah
This post has been a long time in the making, folks. I’ve been wanting to do a feature on Provo, Utah, where I’ve now lived for three years, but as you know, it takes awhile to feel situated and like you’ve been able to experience a lot in your town. I’m a terrible social planner, but I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for it to come out, so sit back, it’s time to explore everyone’s top bucket list location, Provo, Utah (ha!).
Provo is a popular destination for Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, and being one myself, I often get asked where to eat, where to stay, what to do. I also find that a lot of people from the North take the Utah I-15 route to go South to see Utah’s great national parks: Bryce, Zion, Arches to name a few. Utah is a gorgeous state and there’s a lot to see, especially if you love nature. I love looking at nature, but admittedly, I’m not the biggest nature go-getter. I prefer to mosey really.
Provo is about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, and one of the last cities before you travel south down to the national parks and further south. For that reason, it’s another popular stop along the way. Being a university, there’s more diversity than you’d expect and a lot of interesting people.
I’ve found that a lot of people are moving here from all ways of life and I love that it feels more and more diverse. After living in major cities for the last decade before moving here, I was expecting it to feel more small town and I’m so pleased with the direction it’s going. There’s more and more rad things to do and people are really latching onto it and making it their own.
Many of the residents here are, as you might expect, part of the LDS community and with that comes a lot of unique living patterns. For example, LDS people don’t drink alcohol so the preferred vice of choice is soda and sweets. Thus, a thriving soda and sweets scene is prevalent. Never heard of such a thing? Neither had I! But the NY Times caught hold of it when a lawsuit went down between two competing soda places. Food for thought. Pun absolutely intended.
Here we go!
Where to eat in Provo, Utah
Warning: there’s a LOT of pizza choices. Mostly because they are the best ones and not necessarily because I only love pizza though of course I do. I’m only human.
Lars’ Short List
- Communal is perhaps the only restaurant in the area where you’d go for a really nice meal. There aren’t too many options for a date night that’s not cafeteria style and this one is nice for the farm-to-table aspect. I find that they have a very stable menu, which means that we don’t go too often because it often feels like there’s not too much change. Their chicken is delicious.
- Black Sheep a fun spot for Native American/Mexican/Southwestern fushion. They’re known Navajo tacos but personally I love their hog jowl tacos and buffalo nickel burger best. Get their cactus pear lemonade for the whole table.
- Station 22 is a great place to bring out-of-towners because of the historic feel. It’s a Southern-inspired cuisine and the decor reflects that. They’ve got a large selection of old-fashioned sodas, in true Provo fashion.
- Slab. I love Slab SO much. A “slab” is basically two pieces of pizza put together. I LOVE the rosemary potato bacon. I get it every time, but they have so many options that I should try.
- Pizzeria 712. YUM! I adore their starters–you basically can’t go wrong with any of them! And all of their pizzas
- Cafe Rio is a popular Utah chain but there’s a reason for it. Two words: pork salad. But that said, I love their tacos because their tortillas are *chef’s kiss*.
- Ginger’s Garden Cafe is located in Springville, just south of Provo. It’s right by our studio. It’s all healthy and good. Delicious smoothies. Plus, afterwards, you can take a yoga class.
- Aubergine Kitchen. A delicious healthy option!
- Owl Bar and Foundry Grill at Sundance. You can’t beat a trip up to Sundance, just 20 minutes outside of Provo in beautiful Provo Canyon.
- Slate Restaurant is located inside the Marriott Hotel. While the ambiance isn’t the coziest, it’s one of the best kept secrets of Provo’s dining scene.
- Seven Brothers burgers is my fave burger joint.
Other Yummy Eats
- Bombay House. It’s not my favorite Indian in the world, but most people around town think it’s the best.
- Bistro Provenance is a new restaurant from the same group that does the best restaurants in town. I’m excited to try it for a nicer meal!
- Treehouse Room at Sundance for a fancier meal.
- Brasas. Yummy Mexican. Plus, they let you try everything before you buy it.
- Kolaches. A Czech pastry that come in savory or sweet. There’s always a line and they go until they sell out so go early!
- JDawgs: Delicious, loclaly-owned hot dogs! You must get the sauce on top.
- Art City Trolley. Restaurant inside the iconic Springville trolley.
- Cubby’s. I love their tri-tip salad.
- 180 Tacos
- Bam Bam’s BBQ. Their sauce is the best! I’m a brisket girl myself.
- Waffle Love. Delicious waffles!
- Don Joaquin’s Street Tacos. Cheap and good Mexican.
- Pogo. A lot of readers mentioned Pogo and I haven’t tried it yet!
- Block Restaurant. Another farm to table restaurant.
Treats to eat in Provo, Utah
- Provo Bakery. Fun local vibe. And good news, They take custom orders!
- Taste. It’s a new chocolate tasting shop. The interiors alone are worth the visit. It’s reminiscent of European cafes.
- Hokulia Shave Ice
- Rockwell Creamery. Homemade ice cream. Try the mint chocolate chip (REAL mint!).
- Sweet Tooth Fairy. Yummy everything.
- Startup’s Candy factory. Utah is the land of chocolate covered cinnamon bears. They make theirs in milk AND dark chocolate. Open to the public.
- BYU Shop us a local tradition for candy and sweets. There’s also the Creamery on 9th for ice cream, but if I’m being honest, It’s not my favorite.
- Brooker’s Ice Cream. Ice creamery in the style of the founding fathers. Again, not my top favorite but fun for kids.
- Crumbl Cookie and Chip Cookies. You can’t go wrong with either.
Drinks (the non-alcoholic kind 😉
- Swig/Sodalicious. I’m not much of a soda fan (or anything with syrup) but locals love them. Which one is better? I have no idea. Try one of each and make the choice yourself.
- Ivie Juice Bar
Things to do in Provo, Utah
The ones with an asterisk are also kid friendly.
- Sundance.* I always take visitors to Sundance. It’s cozy and beautiful. They have zip lines, ski lift rides, skiing. Plus a number of workshops and classes. It’s beautiful.
- Sunriver Gardens. My favorite nursery in the area. Lovely plant collection and setting and fun gift shop. They even have workshops and such.
- Liminal. One of the newest shops in Provo. Has a great collection of plants in the back room and great gifts up in the front. Make sure to take a photo in front of their adorable mural!
- Velour. Provo has a surprising number of successful bands that have made it big and they typically start here.
- Provo farmer’s market.* Every Saturday in Pioneer Park.
- Hiking.* Provo Canyon, Rock Canyon, Squaw Peak. Well, everywhere really.
- BYU MOA. I interned there in college! Great exhibitions and collection.
- Harmony classes. The best local craft classes.
- Springville Museum of Art. This is the site of my very first internship. I made the museum newsletter. It was my first exposure to InDesign.
- Gem Studio and The Wick Lab
- Riverwoods. If you need some retail therapy.
- Color Festival in Spanish Fork.
- Utah Lake (rent at outdoors unlimited)
- Crandall Printing Museum: printing press
- Provo City Center temple* is brand new and beautiful. Lovely for a walk around. It used to be the old Provo Tabernacle and was burned down in 2011 and recently completed as an LDS temple.
- Provo temple.* The older 60s temple. A peaceful walk around or Provo City Center temple in downtown Provo.
- BYU campus. There’s even a slide in the Wilkinson center BYU Store.
Things to do in Provo, Utah with kids
Now that I have kids I see just how necessary this list is.
- Classic Fun Center.* You know I’m all about the skating. Here’s where to go.
- Stadium of Fire:* Biggest 4th of July celebration in existence. At least it feels like it. It’s so closet to my house it’s a little too close for comfort.
- Thanksgiving Point:* Visit for tulip season!
- Movies in the park* (rock canyon)
- Quarry Climbing. To be honest, I have NO experience with this. Ha! But maybe you’d like it.*
- Provo Beach Resort. It’s the closest thing we have to California. There’s also an arcade inside.
- BYU Bean Museum is a free museum where we take our two kids all the time. It’s great!
- Float the provo river*
Best Shops in Provo, Utah
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- Harmony. Great collection of artisanal fabrics, yarn, and gifts. Best ribbon collection in all the land!
- Heirloom has a beautifully curated collection of children’s books, antique jewerly, and original art. I go there when I need a unique gift.
- Pioneer Book. A local legend!
- Liminal. Has a great collection of plants in the back and cute gifts in the front. Make sure to take a pic in front of the adorable mural in the front.
- Actual Source. Minimal design book shop and graphic design agency.
- Foxglove. Best local floral shop with fun gifts.
- Pioneer Books. Fun used book shop environment.
- Blickenstaff’s. Beautiful toy shop when I feel want to feel like an Pinterest mom.
- Soel Boutique. Gifts for baby and mama.
- DI Provo. If you’re into thrifting! It’s organized by color!
- Brambles and Blossoms. Beautiful gardening and home goods shop.
- SOS Drug Co. in Springville. Old-fashioned soda shop
- Cat’s Cradle antiques shop. WONDERFUL antiques shop. The owner goes all over the world to collect. Not cheap.
- Asian Market 23 N 500 W. This is Paul’s favorite grocery store.
- BYU Museum of Art Store
- Planted Earth in Orem has a great collection of plants and antiques in an old home.
Best Hotels in Provo, Utah
There aren’t too many hotel situations in Provo. You have to go outside a bit for something really scenic and pretty.
- Washington School House Hotel. Ok, it’s not near Provo much, but it’s beautiful! Located in Park City.
- Hyatt Provo is the newest hotel downtown and is the best choice for the cost.
DOWNLOAD the Provo coloring page here.
What would you add to this guide to Provo, Utah?
Stay tuned, I’ll be doing more city guides including nearby Utah cities like Salt Lake and Park City.
Don’t miss our Guide to Colorful Walls in Utah Valley and Salt Lake