Holiday Guide: The Quintessential Thanksgiving in Utah
For many, Thanksgiving can be stressful. There’s the travel, the cooking, the hosting, and piles of dirty dishes to wash. This year, enjoy a more relaxing holiday in the Beehive State. With beautiful mountains out your window and the promise of fresh mountain air, a Thanksgiving in Utah is one to look forward to.
When you think about the perfect Thanksgiving, you probably picture rustic, harvest-esque scenes and the comfort of a crackling fire. Located in historic, downtown Park City, High West Distillery and Saloon offers all of these vibes, and more. Have a glass of whiskey in the company of your friends and family before you prep (or attend) a delicious Thanksgiving celebration the next day.
Thanksgiving gives us all the excuse to eat an inordinate amount of pie. More often than not, Thanksgiving pie either means unmemorable, store-bought pies or a lot of time spent in the kitchen. That’s where June Pie comes in. A charming pie shop located in Heber, June Pie sells sweet and savory pies ranging from $20-$25 a piece. At June Pie, you can expect all of the classic pie flavors, as well as an exciting array of specialty pies, including cookie pie, brown sugar pudding pie, and butterscotch pumpkin pie.
If you’re concerned about the origins of your turkey (or just want a fresher tasting turkey), consider buying a turkey from Utah Natural Meat in West Jordan. At $5 per pound, the turkeys are not only well-priced, but naturally flavorful and moist without all of the scary fillers typical of some store-bought turkeys. The farm’s turkeys never receive any growth hormones or antibiotics, and all of the farm’s poultry is humanely harvested.
If the family wants to get out of the house on Thanksgiving morning without having to run a half-marathon, Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo holds a Thanksgiving event called “Feast with the Beast.” From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can watch animals smash, roll, and play with pumpkins and turkey shaped piñatas. In addition, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the zoo puts on a Thanksgiving-themed craft booth.
Although there are many great spots for Black Friday shopping in Utah, Fashion Place is the perfect place to get all of your Christmas shopping done early. Located just south of Salt Lake City, Fashion Place is an expansive shopping mall that is easily accessed from Utah’s main freeway. Featuring popular stores such as Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters, Madewell, Nordstrom, and Lego, Fashion Place is also home to the Cheesecake Factory.
There are few things Utahans get as riled up about as University of Utah football. This year, there are no college football games on Thanksgiving Day in Utah, but the Utah Utes will take on the Colorado Buffaloes on Nov. 25 at Salt Lake City’s Rice Eccles Stadium. If you’ll find yourself in Utah for the few days after the Thanksgiving holiday, tickets are still available.
Nearly all Utah museums are closed on Thanksgiving Day, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting one before or after Turkey Day. The Anasazi State Park Museum in Boulder offers fascinating Native American history. This museum showcases one of America’s most interesting Native American tribes: the Anasazi.
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Although you shouldn’t necessarily need an excuse to satiate your appetite on Thanksgiving Day, running a half-marathon could help you to feel better about periodic moments of pseudo-gluttony. The Thankful 13 Half Marathon starts in Lehi and runs along the beautiful Jordan River Parkway Trail. If 13 miles sounds like too much for your taste, the race also includes a 5K and then a fun-run for children.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all of our loved ones and all of the beautiful things in life. This includes animals! The Humane Society of Utah is a fantastic place to volunteer during the Thanksgiving season. Volunteer Work at the Humane Society comes in a variety of forms: fostering an animal, caring for animals, working at events, or completing other organizational duties. If animals have made a difference in your life, it’s likely you’ll love volunteering here.
It’s not often that you get to go skiing on Thanksgiving Day. But in Utah, this is normal. Most of the state’s premier ski resorts open before Thanksgiving. So pack up your family and get some good skiing in before you head home to sip on cocoa, sit by the fire, and eat hefty amounts of turkey.