It’s not every day that an event of global significance arrives at your doorstep. Such is the case next week as Salt Lake City’s University of Utah will be host for the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate. How many visitors will this socially-distanced event attract in person? It will be some time before the final data is tallied, but we know our community is engaged and our businesses are ready to serve your needs.

Road Closures and Anticipated Congestion

On October 7th, at or near the University of Utah:
• 200 S between University Ave and 13th E will be completely closed
• University Ave between 100 and 340 S will be closed to northbound traffic (potentially both lanes may be closed)
• 100 S between University St and 1455 East will be completely closed
• 13th East will be open to local traffic only (no thru traffic)

Downtown, additional changes due to accommodations (anticipated for Oct 5 – 8th):
• 200 S between West Temple and Main Street closed to eastbound traffic
• Main street from 200-300 S will be closed to southbound traffic

Rolling street closures can happen anytime during the date periods listed above. Expect changes the day of the debate.

Organized demonstrations are likely during this time. Be prepared October 7th for events near and around the Federal Building 125 South State (moving east to the University of Utah), Washington Square, and the Utah State Capitol grounds. We are grateful to the Salt Lake City Police department for their service and attention to detail, responding to needs as they occur.

How to Watch:

  • How to watch: The Vice Presidential Debate will air live on ABC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC and PBS Utah at 9:00pm ET / 7:00pm MT. Check your local listings.
  • The moderator: The vice-presidential debate will be moderated by Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington bureau chief. Topics will be announced a week before the debate. 
  • COVID-19 precautions: Due to health and safety protocols, ticketing will be extremely limited or unavailable. The campus has been cleared to help maintain social distancing for participants and visitors, directing online-only courses Sept. 27-Oct. 11, 2020.

 “On behalf of Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development and business owners, I’d like to welcome debate staff, the media, and visitors to Salt Lake City,” says Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development Director Ben Kolendar.  “You will love the sights and scenes of Salt Lake City and the entire State. COVID-19 provides some unique challenges but here are some of my favorite things to do (which also happen to be social-distancing friendly).”

Escape to the mountains! From, here are the Best Scenic Drives Around Salt Lake.

Photo cred:

Take a walk around the University of Utah (aka “the U”) campus and Red Butte Garden. The U has been named one of the Top 40 public universities in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Rent a mountain bike, SLC green bike, or scooter around downtown. Check out public art and other local attractions.

You may notice the considerable number of cranes and construction activity – we’re in the middle of great change in downtown Salt Lake City. The trends toward height, luxury and revitalization are part of a remarkable upsurge in real estate development.

Open Streets SLC runs every Thursday thru Saturday, a way to enjoy our local bars and restaurants in a fun, open atmosphere. The Main Street corridor from 400 South to South Temple offers expanded patio service areas for restaurants accompanied by buskers and artist activations in various locations from Exchange Place to City Creek Center. This is not a street festival or a block party, but rather an expansion of Main Street pedestrian options to allow residents and visitors the space to enjoy the energy of downtown.

Order takeout, enjoy responsibly socially distanced dining, and take advantage of patio options at our award-winning restaurants.  COVID-19 restrictions have changed to allow dine-in at Salt Lake County restaurants but many are still providing delivery or curb-side pickup. Search through restaurant listings here or here.. or here, oh and here too.  

About That Airport – #TheNewSLC

Salt Lake is a thriving modern community, and the Salt Lake City International Airport is the lifeblood of that growth. With 700 daily non-stop flights to/from more than 98 destinations into the Salt Lake International Airport, you can get to the airport from downtown in just 10-15 minutes. Not to mention, you are less than an hour’s drive from the airport to most of Utah’s 15 spectacular ski resorts.

The first phase of the new airport, a state-of-the art $4.1 billion facility with considerably more capacity, opened September 15th.  Large-scale art installations, designed by Gordon Huether, were inspired by the Salt Lake City community and surrounding landscape, drawing the natural beauty of Utah in. So even if you don’t have a chance to visit the stunning scenery of Utah, at least you get a sense of this amazing place that we call home.

Salt Lake City has a lot to offer. Salt Lake City will surprise you. And we’re well positioned to recover quickly from the effects of the pandemic. From all of us at Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development, we’re glad you’re here!