We left Olympic Park a little bit early because we needed to pick up the Monster from the vet. Once we had all of his medication, we drove him back to the hotel and went out for the evening. As it was just after Thanksgiving, Christmas Events in Salt Lake City were just starting. We decided to get into the holiday spirit and check them out.
Ice Skating and the Big Tree in Gallivan Center
The first of the Christmas Events in Salt Lake city we checked out was The Gallivan Center. The Gallivan Center is the Salt Lake City equivalent of Rockefeller Center in New York. Starting around Thanksgiving the City builds a 60 foot christmas tree and an outdoor Ice skating rink for the everyone to enjoy. Ice Skating at the Gallivan center is not too expensive. It is $9 for admission and that includes skate rental. I grew up playing ice hockey, but have not been skating for a while. So, I was really looking forward to some ice skating. That being said, the ice skating was pretty tough to enjoy. I am not sure whether it was because it was Thanksgiving weekend or if the rink is always crowded, but it was completely mobbed.
The line for admission was out the door. By the time we got on the ice there was barely room to skate. It was so crowded it was borderline dangerous. The combination of the rink being smaller than a standard rink, the lack of people who knew how to skate, and the lack of parental supervision for kids who didn’t know how to skate caused a huge cluster. Several times I saw a kid fall, and no parent was there to help them up. It caused several people to have to swerve to avoid them or for the less experienced skaters, they tripped over them. A pile up of bodies while everyone has sharp blades on their feet is a very bad idea. Not to be that guy, seriously stop recording your kid flopping around on the ice for Youtube and help them up.
The Ice was also in really bad shape. This made it even tougher to skate. I have skated on many public rinks, and when you have a large amount of people, especially inexperienced people, on a small rink, you need to be constantly resurfacing. I know that interrupts skating, but this ice was in the worst shape I have ever seen. Due to these issues and both of us being out of shape, we skated less than expected. I really feel like if we went later in the season, it would have been less crowded and more enjoyable. Even so the rink itself and the area around it were beautiful.
The Christmas Tree
The 60 foot tree in Gallivan Center is quite impressive. While slightly shorter than the Rockefeller Center tree, this feels more overwhelming. I feel like this is a result of the tree not being surrounded by extremely tall skyscrapers.
The Jingle Bus
After skating the plan was to head over to Temple Square and see the Christmas Light display at the LDS temple. We decided to take the Jingle Bus to get there. The Jingle Bus is an absolutely awesome idea that Salt Lake City has during Christmas Time. The Jingle Bus is a free themed trolley that connects all of the major shopping and tourist points in downtown Salt Lake City. I am sure this does wonders to boost shopping at local businesses during the busy holiday season.
The Jingle Bus itself was freaking adorable. The Bus itself is decked out in Blue Christmas Lights and the driver and playing Christmas music. The driver wears a santa outfit and hands out toffee to the passengers as the board.
Temple Square Christmas Lights
Another of the great Christmas Events in Salt Lake City are the Temple Square Christmas Lights. Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The Temple Square Complex houses Salt Lake Temple. Salt Lake Temple is the biggest Mormon temple in the country. During the Christmas season the Church decks the temple out with over 100,00 Christmas lights. Admission to Temple Square to view this lights is free and it is a pretty good way to spend a half hour. You could easy spend an hour plus looking at the lights if you chose to stop and listen to the carolers.
There are a lot of cheap or free activities Christmas events in Salt Lake City and with the Jingle Bus it is really easy to travel between all of the major tourist areas.