“On a clear day, you can see the tram at Snowbird from my front yard,” Tim Zuver points toward the Little Cottonwood ski resort 15 miles to the east. This view is one of the many reasons Zuvers has loved living in Sandy’s historic district for the past 25 years. The spectacular view connects Sandy’s diverse mining heritage to its current status as a popular canyon city with access to Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. Once a refinery boom town, this area brought migrants from around the world to work the mines between the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountains. Since its founding 160 years ago, Sandy has expanded far beyond its original square-mile settlement and is now rich in many of the Wasatch Front’s most impressive cultural and outdoor resources. Here are our top picks for how to spend a day in Sandy like a local.
RISE AND SHINE
Bike, hike, ski or climb Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons. The once prosperous mining encampments in these canyons have transformed into world-class ski resorts boasting The Greatest Snow on Earth. Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude are year round destinations with adventures suited for all interests and abilities, from wildflower festivals to ziplining.
Dimple Dell Regional Park–This local canyon hosts 630 acres and 15 miles of trails with jaw-dropping views of the Wasatch mountains. Hike, run, or ride horseback a little closer to home.
Storm Mountain Park— A quintessential neighborhood park with covered picnic area, playground, baseball diamond, and tennis courts. The annual Sandy Balloon Festival is held here every August.
Mountain Yoga Sandy–Yoga, pilates and barre classes with childcare options make this a favorite for parents with young children. Their four-elements approach to fitness, and their hot yoga and hot pilates classes appeal to everyone. Book early for a spot!
Porter Rockwell Trail–A trail fit for all ages and abilities, this fully-paved path spans 11 miles between Sandy and Draper. Great for bikes and strollers, plus bonus points for being shady in the summer and plowed in the winter.
YOUR MORNING CUP
The Bean Yard Coffee House–This locally owned shop roasts their own beans and supports sustainability and education in coffee-growing communities. Expect every brewing device available to make your Cup of Joe just the way you like it.
The Honeysuckle Coffee Co–Hipster meets hygge. Locally roasted & small batch coffee offered alongside a heathy line of teas, specialty sodas and fresh baked goods. All ingredients are local & hormone free.
The Clever Bean–Coffee with a healthy drizzle of the smarts. Weekly community events bring people together to discuss current events and topics that matter.
Ryan’s Bagel Cafe–Fresh, tasty ingredients served with a smile and a price you’ll appreciate. One of the best bagel joints in the valley.
LUNCH & SWEET TREATS
Namaste Kitchen— This newly opened restaurant offers flavorful Indian and Nepali cuisine. The friendly staff will make you feel right at home and the delicious lunch buffet will have you planning a second trip.
Shake Shack–Utah’s first and only location for this nationally renowned burger icon. Prepare to wait in line, but worth the wait.
Sumo Burrito–Sushi burritos will rock your world. Ramen, salad and sushi tacos also offered. Uber popular among the Sandy lunch set, so give yourself some extra time to order.
Saigon Sandwich–Serving Banh Mi, Pho, and other authentic Vietnamese rice and noodle favorites. Home-style recipes and fresh local ingredients. Ask about the weekend specials.
Create Donuts Co–Choose your base, choose your filling and toppings, add a scoop of gelato. Voila!
Iceberg Drive In–A family tradition in Salt Lake for over 56 years. Your culinary challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to see how many mix ins you can fit into an extra-large thick shake.
SHOP AND STROLL
Sandy is well known for its shopping convenience and access to almost every national chain and superstore imaginable. The Shops at South Town and Quarry Bend are home to some of the biggest names in retail. But you can also find small-businesses and locally owned restaurants scattered throughout one of Sandy’s many abundant strip malls.
Union Square Sandy–A slice of historic Sandy filled to the brim with small and local businesses. One of Utah’s first strip malls, this is Sandy’s version of a small-town main street.
The Shops at South Town–This traditional mall is loaded with all kinds of national retail staples like Macy’s, REI, H&M, Target and Sephora to name a few. Harry Potter shops come round during the holidays to delight muggle, witches and magical creatures.
Scheel’s –This astonishing 22,000 s.f. flagship store offers Utah’s largest selection of sports, fashion and footwear under one roof. Ride the famous ferris wheel or checkout their Facebook page for local events like Trick or Treating or avalanche safety.
Quarry Bend–Big box stores like Walmart, Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby mingle with local small businesses and eateries. Convenient one-stop dining and shopping for everyone.
FOR THE KIDS
Classic Fun–The place for families during the dog days of summer and cabin-fever weeks of winter. This Sandy institution has roller skating, laser tag, and video games. A great place for birthday parties. And flashback Fridays are always a good time!
K9 Speed Track–Indoor go-kart racing for all ages. Video games and fully-stocked snack bar tide the kids over between rides.
Kids Ski Free at Brighton–If your child is 10 or under, they are free to ski with a paying adult at Brighton. The best ski deal in the valley for younguns and a sweet 15 minute drive up the canyon if you live in Sandy.
5th and 6th Grade Ski Passport–With a Ski Utah passport, fifth graders all over the state of Utah can ski or snowboard for free. And sixth graders get 1 free ski pass to every resort. If you live in Sandy, it’s almost like sending your kid next door to ski or snowboard all winter.
La Caille–The pinnacle of romantic dining in Salt Lake for the last 40 years. The restaurant, Grand Pavilion, and gardens all provide spectacular settings for dinner or private parties.. Stroll through the three-acre vineyard, enjoy a canyon breeze on the patio; every inch of their 20 acre grounds is immaculately landscaped and maintained.
Tin Roof Grill–Infamous for its appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this bistro lives up to all the hype. Their deep and varied menu is sure to please the foodie and the finicky. Serving lunch and dinner every day and brunch on the weekends.
Sushi Time–A strip mall find with a bit of a cult following. Definitely the best sushi in Sandy, and their loyal crowd would like to argue the valley.
Makanmakan–Billed as Asian street food faire. You’ll swoon over hard-to-pronounce morsels from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The sampler is a great place to start your culinary cultural journey.
Hale Center Theater—The Mountain America Performing Arts Centre has been a cultural highlight in Sandy since 2017. This spectacular building is home to the Hale Center Theater which has been producing plays and musicals for 30 years and is one of the nation’s highest attended professional theatres.
Rio Tinto Stadium–Home of Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC. Catch a game with family or friends on the weekend.
Sandy Amphitheater–This open-air theater has seen some of our country’s biggest acts on its humble stage. Check out their schedule for concerts, comedy shows and plays. Chair and lawn seating available, with a park and splash pad next door for pre-parties and picnics.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Historic Sandy District–Many of the buildings from Sandy’s original mining neighborhood have been repurposed for modern businesses. The former police station is now a spa and the bank is a quilt shop. Wander around the village, visit the Sandy museum and walk a few miles on the shady Porter Rockwell trail.
Sandy Community Fishery aka Grandpa’s Pond–This 3 acre pond is part of a larger 14 acre park complex located at 1000 W and 9800 S. Parking, restrooms, pavilion, fish cleaning station and fishing pier are open to the public. Bring your own boat or float or fish from the shore between 10 a.m. and sunset.
Historic Sandy Community Garden–Twenty three plots on 1/4 acre of land are available through Wasatch Community gardens and rented for as little as $20. A portion of the produce is donated to the Copperview Community Center’s emergency food pantry.
Mountain America Expo Center–The Gem Faire, The Auto Expo, The Gun Expo, and The Festival of Trees, to name a few, are booked here every year. The biggest trade shows in the nation stop in Sandy.
Sandy Balloon Festival–A sunrise launch at Storm Mountain Park, an evening balloon glow at the South Towne Promenade, plus a 5k, carnival and live music. Usually the first or second week of August.
It’s no wonder this once bustling boom town is now a beloved home for so many Utahns and continues to be a safe haven for immigrants from all over the world. With so much to experience, you’ll probably need more than one day.
Want to know more about Sandy? Get a better feel for the neighborhood with our Sandy Photo Tour. Interested in living in Sandy? Our Sandy page has more neighborhood information and current property listings.
Niche Homes is a full-service real estate agency specializing in the Yalecrest neighborhood and surrounding Salt Lake enclaves. Contact us if you are interested in buying or selling a home.