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As the gateway to several of the state’s mountain resorts, Salt Lake City boasts a booming dining and nightlife scene worthy of checking out including a new beer hall and downtown theater and several restaurants with private dining space that recently joined the scene.

>>  The 185,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Theater opened in October. Highlights include a six-story grand lobby with retractable glass walls along Main Street; 2,500-seat Delta Performance Hall; multiuse, 150-seat Black Box theater; and Encore Bistro open for breakfast and lunch daily and dinner on performance nights with a menu customized to match the current show. artsaltlake.org

>>  Located in what was Salt Lake’s original Ford auto dealership, Current Fish & Oyster has been generating buzz since it opened in 2015, landing on OpenTable’s 100 Best Restaurants in America list for 2016. The seafood emporium can host 50 in a private upstairs dining room. currentfishandoyster.com

>> Newly opened by three chefs in the Zions Park neighborhood, TableX is all about minimalist design and delicious dishes such as Morgan Valley steak tartare, Christiansen Farm Berkshire pork and Idaho rainbow trout. The private Garden Dining Room overlooks the restaurant’s vegetable garden and accommodates up to 14 guests. tablexrestaurant.com

>> Also with private dining options, HSL is the Salt Lake branch of Handle in nearby Park City and serves seasonal and local foods from beef cheek burgers to coddled duck eggs while Stanza Italia Bistro & Wine Bar specializes in small plates, fresh pastas and wine all served in a vast modern space. hslrestaurant.com; stanzaslc.com 

>> Beer Bar is Salt Lake’s version of a late-night beer hall with more than 150 beers and a menu featuring house-made bratwursts, local breads and Belgian fries. Next door is sister nightspot BarX, first opened the year Prohibition was repealed in 1933 and totally refurbished by the current owners in 2010. beerbarslc.com 

Smart. Artsy. Alive. The hallmarks of college towns—thriving downtowns, enviable cultural scenes, and the energy that comes with intellectual curiosity—make for some pretty livable places. Add mountain majesty to the mix and you’ve got some compelling destinations for meetings and events. The following trio of Western college towns fi ts the bill exactly along with several other communities worthy of consideration.

Fairbanks, Alaska

 

Being surrounded by grapevines is blissful in itself, but add a measure of mountains and the atmosphere goes nearly off-the-charts spectacular. The soils and climate of the American West have proven bountiful, resulting in a large a number of vineyards with meeting and event spaces that are surrounded by peaks or located in the foothills of Oregon, California, Idaho and Colorado.

Oregon

 

Oink and Moo, a food truck that has operated in New Jersey since 2012, is making big news! The truck is known throughout NJ towns like Hoboken and Asbury Park, but after expanding to Philadelphia, it won a Vendy award for Rookie of the Year. Now, The Daily Meal has rated Oink and Moo the No. 2 best food truck in the United States. The food is straight up BBQ—beef brisket or pulled pork sliders, chili, tacos, quesadillas, and ribs.