Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics and the state’s capital, Salt Lake City, Utah, is the place-to-be, suggests avid traveler and blogger Ammon Cunningham. As a writer about various travel destinations, including his home state of Utah, Cunningham knows that there are few places offered what Salt Lake City has in Utah’s backyard.

A populous city boasting 1.15 residents across the entire metropolitan region, Salt Lake City has grown immensely as a result of its economy, religious immigration and its recreational offerings. For travelers, it is a mecca for outdoor recreation, primarily skiing, as well as other activities.

Culturally, the city contains multiple museums for visitors to peruse. From the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum, the LDS-focused Church History Museum, Fort Douglas Military Museum, Clark Planetarium and the art, technology and science-themed The Leonardo. Music and performing arts also have a stronghold on the city with a variety of off-Broadway shows, consistent concerts and a strong local music scene including a publication dedicated to it. Festivals are many around Salt Lake City as well, including the Utah Arts Festival which welcomes more than 80,000 annually and has run since 1977.

Recreationally, there is no shortage of activity. The city is home to the NBA team Utah Jazz with many amateur sports as well. Just east of Salt Lake City, one can discover many winter sports, such as snowboarding — and participation is said to have increased at the ski resorts by nearly 30% since hosting the Winter Olympics. In summer weather, find boating, fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, camping and more along the same Wasatch Mountains.