New Shopping Venue in Salt Lake City, Utah with Flame Shooting Water Fountains: City Creek Center

I have to admit, I do not like shopping. From taking the time out of my busy life, to finding a parking spot, to the stress of keeping my boys from knocking down racks (and people) when they decide to play hide ‘n seek, to pulling on ill-fitting frocks in color-drain-fluorescent-lighting. It’s all a big hassle that I can never justify doing. When I do get up the courage to battle the mall-frenzy, I’m never without the help of reinforcements; usually my husband (to entertain the kids) or an unsuspecting friend (who will tell me I look fabulous, even when I don’t.)

These days, if I’m gonna shop, I need to go to a place that’s going to make my life EASY. A place that will relieve me of the hassle, entertain the kids and wow the husband. A place that I was sure didn’t even exist- until now.

City Creek Center building wrapper. Photo by Susan Tucker
City Creek Center building wrapper. Photo by Susan Tucker

Admittedly, I figured it would a very long time before a shopping center of any kind would open, let alone one as hyped up as the Taubman project in Utah. Therefore, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the City Creek Center Grand Opening Celebration earlier this month, not because of the shopping (mind you) but because this $1.5 billion project is one of the largest mixed-use developments in the United States. Spread across three blocks of land in downtown Salt Lake City, this 23-acre urban community is a sustainably designed mecca with flame shooting water fountains.

How could I possibly miss something this cool and exciting?

The day began with a ribbon-cutting ceremony complete with fireworks. I learned a little about the history of the revitalization project, which was 10 years in the making, brought 1700 construction jobs, and is the first major shopping center opening in the US since 2006. The center is LEED-certified and sustainably built using a whopping 70 percent of materials from existing structures. Historic buildings were refurbished, new buildings were added and all are part of this mixed-use project that includes offices, condos and retail.

After the ceremony, I joined 2000 shoppers to see what all the hype was about. I could literally hear the “oohs-and-ahhs” as I strolled from end to end. Locals and visitors alike were wowed and amazed by the no-detail-left-untouched magnificence. I didn’t feel like I was at a shopping center in Utah; I felt like I was on the Hollywood set of a fancy, high-tech movie.

There are SO many amazing things (something for everyone!) about City Creek Shopping Center; I’m whittling it down to the highlights.

For the Nature Enthusiast

  • A trout-stocked 1200-foot-long re-creation of the historic City Creek running the length of the shopping center, starting at an 18’ waterfall
  • Local limestone walkways with indigenous animal tracks sprinkled about
  • Plenty of trees, shrubs, flowers and plants
City Creek Center water features. Photo by Susan Tucker
City Creek Center water features. Photos by Susan Tucker

For the Kids

  • Did I already mention the creek running through? Kids are invited to feed the fish!
  • Housed in the flagship Nordstrom store, in the kids’ clothing department, there is a huge art and activity barn.
  • 77Kids, the new kids’ line from American Eagle, has an interactive photo studio. Kids can snap fun photos, draw on them and print them out. They can even be a star in their own (emailable!) music video
  • Explore the pre-historic Kids’ Zone next to the 12-restaurant food court
  • The Disney Store!
  • Many, many more kids’ clothing and toy stores
City Creek Center Kids' Areas. Photo by Susan Tucker
City Creek Center Kids' Areas. Photo by Susan Tucker

For the Moms

  • Underground parking garage with quick and easy access to elevators
  • Two amazing flagship stores: Nordstrom and Macy’s with well-lit dressing rooms and super-friendly staff (no need to drag unsuspecting friends along!)
  • Health, beauty and specialty stores galore (my fave- Tiffany & Co)
  • An abundance of restaurant options from healthy to upscale
  • Plenty of open-air, run-around space in between racks, I mean, stores
Tiffany & Co. Photo by Susan Tucker
Tiffany & Co. Photo by Susan Tucker

For the Dads

  • Uber-cool, ultra-amazing, fire-shooting, Bellagio-architect-designed water fountains. Fire. Shooting. Water. Fountains.  What more could Dad want? (But, there’s more!)
  • Enormous, retractable glass roof
  • Super-techy radiant heating and cooling walkways
  • Open door policy for Man’s Best Friend. That’s right! 80 percent of the stores welcome dogs. Convenient “poop” bags located throughout the Center
  • A flight status monitor at the centrally located Info Booth (so that Dad can know if his flight is late, possibly giving him more time to ogle the fire shooting water fountains.)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apsca8MWHxc]
No matter who you are or where you come from, the City Creek Shopping Center will undoubtedly amaze you. It is definitely worth it to extend a layover (15 minutes from the airport on SLC’s public TRAX line), or to make a weekend destination out of it.

Experiencing City Creek Center is not merely “Shopping,” it is “Adventure Shopping!”  And I look forward to exploring the trout-feeding, fancy-restaurant-eating, flagship-store-shopping, fire-shooting-water-fountain excitement with my entire family (even Fido!) very soon.

Note: City Creek Center is closed on Sundays. Thanks to City Creek Center for hosting this research trip.

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