One of the most striking modern buildings in Salt Lake City , Abravanel Hall (123 W. South Temple St., 801/355-2787) glitters with gold leaf, crystal chandeliers, and more than a mile of brass railing. Careful attention to acoustic design has paid off: The concert hall is considered one of the best in the world.
The Utah Symphony Orchestra inaugurated its new home in 1979 after $12 million and three years of construction; the Utah Opera also performs here. An illuminated fountain flows outside on the plaza during concerts.
The Clark Planetarium and science center (110 South 400 West, 801/456-7827, www.clarkplanetarium.org , 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Wed., until 9 p.m. Thurs., until 11 p.m. Fri.-Sat., until 6 p.m. Sun., most exhibits free, IMAX movies require payment), in the new Gateway shopping center, offers a 3D IMAX theater with a five-story screen, plus popular family-oriented science and space exhibits.
A highlight is the Hansen Dome Theatre, which employs state-of-the-art technology to project a star show on a 360-degree 55-foot dome. Also in the Star Theatre are Cosmic Light Shows, which combine computer animation, special effects, and a 12,000-watt digital surround sound system.
The Salt Lake Art Center (20 S. West Temple St., 801/328-4201, www.slartcenter.org , 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and Sat., until 9 p.m. Fri., 1-5 p.m. Sun. in summer only, by donation) hosts a changing lineup of traveling and thematic exhibits, including displays of painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, and conceptual art.
Diverse art classes and workshops are scheduled along with films, lectures, poetry readings, concerts, and theater. A gift shop offers art books, posters, crafts, and artwork.
The enormous Salt Palace Convention Center (between 200 South and South Temple St., along West Temple St., 801/534-4777) just keeps getting larger. After a recent $58 million expansion that enlarged the facility by 40 percent, the Salt Palace encompasses 515,000 square feet of exhibit space and 164,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 45,000-square-foot ballroom and 66 meeting rooms.
Even in the sprawling scale of downtown Salt Lake City , this is a big building. The center houses the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Visitor Information Center (90 S. West Temple St., 801/521-2822, www.visitsaltlake.com ).