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The City Journals

What’s on your Salt Lake bucket list? Local guide book offers ideas

May 03, 2019 10:27AM ● By Spencer Belnap

Author Jeremy Pugh signs copies of the second edition of his guide book, “100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die.” (Spencer W. Belnap/City Journals)

By Spencer W. Belnap | [email protected]

If you live in Salt Lake City or areas nearby, what activities and items are on your bucket list?

The question is one that writer Jeremy Pugh loves to offer answers to in his “100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die” guide book. The second edition hit store shelves in March. The local writer was signing copies and giving talks in bookstores across the city around its release. 

“The title is a little dramatic,” Pugh said at a signing in the Sugar House Barnes & Noble. Reedy Press is the Missouri-based publisher, and they have similar guides and titles for dozens of cities across the nation. 

“The first edition came out a few years ago, and this one is kind of a tune-up,” Pugh said. “It’s a chance to highlight some other things that I think are cool about Salt Lake, beyond the ski resorts and Temple Square.”

The list of 100 things is separated into five categories — food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and shopping and fashion. Classic suggestions like “wolf down a pastrami burger at Crown Burger” or “scale the heights of Mount Olympus” rolled over from the first edition. About 40 new and updated ideas are included in the second. New offerings include things like “tour the city on electric wheels” now that e-scooters are here, and “tell your story at The Bee,” a monthly event that just started up in the past couple years. 

“Some things had closed, some things had changed since last edition,” Pugh said. “I swapped out a lot of stuff and tried to mix it up quite a bit.” 

Visitors and residents may find inspiration for adventures and dates in the growing city they never thought about. They may also be inspired to travel to another pocket of Utah they’ve never been to with several of the ideas in spots such as Antelope Island and small cities like Perry. If someone wanted to attempt to do all 100 things on the list, they would need a substantial amount of time, but it could be done.   

Pugh hopes the guide book comes in handy to all the new people moving to Sugar House and the valley beyond. He has lived all over Utah since coming down from Idaho Falls as a child. He started writing for community newspapers in cities such as Logan and St. George outside of college. He ultimately settled in the capital city and has been editing and writing off and on for Salt Lake Magazine since 2006, currently serving as one of their digital editors. Freelance work for ski and travel publications also comes about regularly for him.

“This book is kind of a love letter to the city,” Pugh said. “I think it’s important you love where you live.”

A third edition of “100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die” could be a possibility another few years down the road, but Pugh is working on another project for the same publishers called “Secret Salt Lake.” It is a guide book as well, but more in depth and focused on weird and obscure Utah myths, legends and places. That guide is expected to be released sometime later this year. You can visit Pugh’s website,, to find out more information.