Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ten suggestions for a fun-filled Omniture Summit (from a former Salt Lake City local)

I spent the bulk of my teenage years dreaming about how wonderful life must be outside Utah. Having left 13 years ago, I’m now facing a case of absence making the heart grow fonder. Salt Lake City has much to offer in the way of natural beauty, historical significance and social entertainment. Here are a few suggestions of things to do during the 2010 Omniture Summit from a former local’s perspective.

  1. Radio Gaga: Tune your radio to FM 90.9 KRCL, The Mighty 91, The Lion of Zion. I have lived in Tokyo, Portland, Los Angeles, Austin and now Philly and I can honestly say that along with Santa Monica’s KCRW, this is one of the most eclectic, anti-Clear Channel stations around. What about your NPR addiction? Try 90.1 KUER.
  2. Eat Here, Get Gas: Red Iguana is great for Mexican food, but the crowds are intense. Hint: they recently opened a second location about two blocks* away from their North Temple location. Crowds MIGHT not be as bad there. And don’t worry about the gas part. You’ll be fine. (*Caution: If you’re going to walk from the North Temple location to the South Temple location, go in a group. It isn't extremely dangerous, just a precaution.)
  3. Angelic Hosts Proclaim: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (aka The Mo-Tab) gives public rehearsals in the Tabernacle on Temple Square most Thursday evenings at 8:00 and 9:30. Call the Temple Square visitor’s center (1-801-240-4872) to make sure the shows are on. Speaking of which…
  4. Eyes Heavenward: You’ve probably seen pictures of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka The Mormons), but it’s understandably more impressive in person. Completed in 1893, it took 40 years to construct. The local stone mason’s union maintains they could have finished the job in 38 years (I made that part up.) While you’re there, don’t miss the Tabernacle, another 19th century architectural wonder, and the Church History Museum (just across the street to the west.)
  5. First Kiss: I’ll never forget smooching Jenny Ashe under a tree on the grounds of the State Capital building. Highly Recommended. The tree has since been uprooted and Jenny probably isn’t available, but you’re already there, so you might as well peek inside Utah’s…
  6. Seat of Power: The best State Capital in the entire State of Utah. Yeah, it’s a pretty impressive structure. Site of my Senior Prom where I was First Attendant (what is that all about?) with Marcy Sonntag. The girl I took to prom? Janean McMurray. I ended up marrying her six years later. But I digress.
  7. Burn the Fat: The weather in SLC should be pretty good during the 2010 Summit. Burn off (or preempt the accumulation of) that conference food spare tire with a run up Memory Grove and City Creek Canyon. What about all those stories of abductions and violence in Memory Grove after dark? Yeah, they’re probably true. Best to go after sunrise or in a group. 5.3 miles, out and back.
  8. Back-room deals: Once reserved for railroad and mining tycoons (non-Mormon males only, thank you) the Alta Club has transformed itself into a discussion chamber for new-economy wizards and politicos, all gender, race and religious persuasions welcome. Any chance of you getting in while you’re here for Summit? Omniture is more likely to change “Unique Visitors” to “Unique Cookies.”
  9. Quiet Workspace: Get out of your hotel room and head two blocks east to the Salt Lake City Public Library. This beautiful architectural edifice offers ample desks, stunning views and free internet (thanks to Pete Ashdown.)
  10. Alpine Tranquility: This one is part of the official Summit Agenda, although in my three years, I have yet to see Josh James or Brett Error on the slopes. They’re too pooped after all the after parties and the after-after parties. You don’t party as hard as they do, so you should get onto the bus and head up Little Cottonwood Canyon for some of the most stunning views around. My parents had a timeshare at Snowbird when I was a kid and this is where I learned to ski, so I’m more sentimental than most about its slopes. That said, even non-skiers would be advised to make the trek up the canyon. In addition to some amazing slopes, there are several restaurants and a bustling patio, perfect for basking in the sun, weather permitting. Take a few minutes to absorb nature’s inspiration as you figure out how you’re going to transform all the great ideas you had at Summit into action. This trip wasn’t cheap and you’re going to have to start justifying next year’s participation as soon as you get back to the office on Monday.

A word of caution: Salt Lake is relatively safe, but don’t go exploring dark alleys on your own. Use common sense. Travel in groups if walking at night. Just to be safe.

There you go. Have a great Summit. Don’t eat too much. Meet new people, and get out of the hotel for a few minutes. Enjoy the beauties that Salt Lake has to offer. I hope to see you there!