I unexpectedly loved Kansas City and unexpectedly did not love Salt Lake City but I think traveling for a vacation rather than exhibitor life and getting out of the city more would have changed my opinion drastically.
I dreaded DREADED visiting Kansas City on a weekend in the middle of the summer when I could be at the shore. However, Kansas City is charming and hip and walk-able. All things I love in a city. I arrived earlier than my colleagues to set up for the expo so have a day to myself. After setting up the booth alone (several tears and a few hours later) I had the city to myself! Kansas City B Cycle (bike share) have locations everywhere and with my hotel about a mile away from the convention center and city center the bikes allowed me to zip around town to explore.
I found a beautiful Whole Foods and purchased a picnic dinner, some wine (it was a fancy picnic) and biked to a park near my hotel. I spent the rest of the week biking to and from the conference center and discovering the trendy Crossroads Arts District and Power & Light District along the way. Adventurous eating at Michael Smith, traditional BBQ at Jacks Stack BBQ and way too much sushi at Nara (why we ate sushi in the middle of the country I am not sure) mixed with endless show floor samples made the frequent cycling much needed. Little art galleries, hipster bars and interesting restaurants on every street corner of the very clean city made me very much, unexpectedly, want to return to Kansas City.
I had high hopes to hike and enjoy the West Coast wilderness while in Salt Lake City but probably should have spent more time in Park City. Next trip if I have the time I plan to rent a car and drive out and ski or hike. Eerie silence filled Salt Lake’s ambiance especially on our Sunday arrival. The city picked up a bit during the working week but returned to silence in the evening.
Locals recommended walking up the Freedom Trail to Memory Grove Park which resulted in astonishing views of the surrounding mountains while not too strenuous. I ran (walked) a well worth it trip up to the Utah State Capital building for similar views. The final day I was determined to hike an actual mountain while in Utah. I had mentioned my hiking desire to our late night, Tesla driving Uber driver and he recommended Grandeur Peak. He offered to take us there the next day off the books. So against better judgment while waiting for a red-eye home I dragged my pregnant co-worker out (I promise I shared my water), texted the Uber driver and safely arrived at the base of Grandeur Peak! A few hours later and dozens of photos we waited outside the Natural History museum for an official Uber driver to collect us. I enjoyed the fast casual kebab restaurant Spitz and found the highly praised Mexican restaurant Red Iguana disappointing.
Next time, Park City, definitely.