Salt Lake City: Real Soccer and Great Sushi, Here We Come.

An ambitious 12-hour road trip from Portland, Ore. to Salt Lake City, Utah brought back so many memories of my past trips to this city. Salt Lake has changed a lot in the past five years, but I was counting on some things being the same — I wasn’t disappointed at all.

As I neared the city, I hoped to be fortunate enough to catch a good portion of the Real Salt Lake soccer game that was in progress. As a season ticket holder for the Portland Timbers, I didn’t want to miss a chance to see a live game, even if my team wasn’t playing. Actually the first Major League Soccer (MLS) game I ever saw was in Salt Lake City nearly six years ago. I wanted to see if they still had it.

My boyfriend Todd and I lucked out. Just as we drove up to the entrance of the Rio Tinto Stadium, we noticed a couple of guys selling tickets to the game. I rolled down the window and before I had a chance to ask, the man said “I have two seats, four rows from the front lines for under face value”. Of course, we quickly exchanged tickets for money from our truck window and parked half a block away. What luck it was.

The atmosphere was vibrant inside, but not like the Timbers games we were used to. Real played well in the first 20 minutes of the game and was ahead 2-0. We sat down just after half time and watched as the Galaxy pushed past their 2 point to win the game 3-2. The officials were terrible, but the players were not playing like the top team in league. It was almost as if they just gave up after the first two goals. Our seats were great and we got to witness an altercation up close between the Real trainer and a Galaxy player who was taking liberties he shouldn’t have. It sure was fun to watch.

Salt Lake City isn’t really about soccer games, but it is one of the best events to see in the city. For me, Salt Lake’s best attributes are its food, its rich history, and many amazing examples of historic architecture. Temple Square is a city center not to be missed. Its large fountain and garden features are beautiful and relaxing. Take the tour of the LDS Convention Center and view the city from its rooftop gardens. For an inside look at your own family history, head to Salt Lake’s Family History Library, home to the worlds largest catalog of historical family documents.

By the time you finish reading about your long-lost great uncle, you will have built up a serious hunger. For me, there is only one place I crave in this city: Happy Sumo. Happy Sumo is one of the top sushi restaurants in the country and it’s within walking distance of Temple Square, in the Gateway Mall.

Happy Sumo has one of the largest arrays of sushi combinations I’ve ever seen as well as a full menu of excellent classic dishes. For us, it was all about the sushi. I’ve been here about a dozen times and sampled many of their sushi rolls. My favorites are the Diva and the Baja. This time I fell in love with a couple new items, the Spicy Scallop Roll and the special Sashimi Tacos. We shared the Sunset Roll and Bacon Crunch Roll which were pretty good too.

After all that sushi, we rolled ourselves out the door. A great place to stay near the city for under $75 was the Days Inn in South Salt Lake. We have stayed in the city many times before, but most hotels are over $100 per night. We booked the Days Inn online for $54.oo. When we checked in, the desk guy gave us the suite! It was perfect. Not only had we saved money on the hotel, but we wound up in a large room with all the extras including a huge spa.

(801) 486-8780

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