Provo seems like it only has so much to do. After you have done everything you might be asking like a lot of people, well now what? As someone that has grown up around here and calls Provo my “streets” I want to break down some of the most common and cliche things to do and give you some suggestions on how to elevate your experience.
1. The Riverwoods
One of the coolest places in Provo is also commonly looked over. With awesome restaurants and stores to peruse through there is a lot to do. However, the best place to go is The Provo Beach Resort what looks like just an arcade and FlowRider from the outside actually has a lot more to offer. My favorite things to do are the indoor ropes course, bowling alley(I know, bowling is lame but it really does feel cooler here), you can even rent beach cruisers and ride on the Provo River Trail, which is right outside the resort. If you are hungry there is a restaurant called Seven Brothers that started in Hawaii. They have great burgers and some great fries that would go great with a game of Bowling.
Pro Tip: If you bring a date and he or she is from Texas be sure to impress her with a visit to the Ike’s Creamery, they sell Bluebell Ice Cream and it is a huge deal in Texas.
2. Virtual Experience Arcade
If you haven’t tried out virtual reality yet, you are missing out. The saying “perception is reality” takes on a whole new level of meaning. It’s tough to say what the best games are because they are constantly adding new ones to there already big catalog. The people that work there are super helpful in getting you setup, especially if it’s your first time. You can play things like virtual dodge ball to a James Bond like game where waves of robots are trying to kill you and you have an arsenal of weapons to stop them. In order to play with someone else you both need to rent a booth and at $25/hour per booth it might seem pricey. Especially if you are on a date and both want to play at the same time, you’ll need two booths. If you don’t mind taking turns then they have couches that you can use until your up again. You can check out more info and reserve a spot ahead of time here.
Insider Tip: Every Tuesday they have a deal that they call 2 for 1 Tuesdays. Which is exactly what it sounds like. So now you and someone can kill robot legions together!
3. Utah Lake
In my opinion one of the most under visited places in Provo. It is an awesome place to go to, throw a frisbee, skip rocks or swim in the lake (I know the lake is gross, but I have boated on it and definitely drank some of the water and I’m still here), if you can skimboard it is a perfect lake to use. One of my favorite things to do is start at a park in Provo, like Exchange Park, and bike the Provo River Trail towards the lake, read a book under one of the trees and eat a packed lunch.
If it is winter you can confidently walk on the frozen lake and it makes a great place to have a dance party.
4. Ghost Tours
Provo has two ghost tours that are a great opportunity to learn about the city and get scared at the same time. One is a walking ghost tour that operates during October and the other is a bicycling ghost tour that operates almost every week when the weather permits. Basically from March to November. Whichever one you choose, be assured that they make a fun activity or date night.
5. Bridal Veil Falls
Did you know there was actually a restaurant at the top of Bridal Veil Falls? It was burnt down a long time ago by what people say was arson. There was once a tram car that transported people to the top and the fact that’s gone is so sad. A group hiked up there and got some pretty cool video of what it looks like if you don’t want to hike up there yourself. Another cool thing about the falls is that there are huge fish at the bottom that you are not allowed to catch. You can feed them so if you’ve always wanted to feed some fish at the bottom of a waterfall now is your chance. This is easily the best place in Provo to photobomb people. if you have a nice camera you can easily pretend to be from any local news organization and get people to pose for you.
Update: They actually took the wreckage of the old restaurant off the top of Bridal Veil Falls so if you hike up there you won’t see it. Still a cool hike though.
6. Good Move Cafe
This place is up there as one of the best things to do in Provo, especially if you are looking for a date night. It is a good place to get food in its own right and they have a HUGE selection of games. From Sorry and Monopoly to ones you’ve never even heard of. The sheer volume can be intimidating and that’s where the employees of this unique cafe become invaluable. Tell them what you are looking for and they will give you several suggestions. For example, let’s say you are on a date and would rather not compete against each other so you want a game where you can both be on the same team against the board. They would recommend something like Dead of Winter so you can kill, or be killed by, zombies together.
Pro Tip: If you wanted to come in and just play the fee is $5 per person or if you order $30 worth of food the fee is waived. Since dinner for 2 is usually $20 and the fee to play is another $10 it doesn’t really make sense to not order $30 worth of food and desserts.
7. Hiking The Y
Everyone has to do this hike at least once but that doesn’t mean you have to do it like everyone else. The best time to hike the Y is at night when the sun has been down for a couple of hours and you won’t risk heatstroke navigating what must be the steepest switchbacks in the west. Another way to mix things up is to bring a powerful flashlight and send out morse code signals at the top. Tell people to text you and then broadcast your number to the whole city and see who picks up on your message. Bring a bluetooth speaker and enjoy some tunes while hiking.
You can find directions to the trail head here.
8. Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms have been around for quite some time now and if you haven’t tried one yet you’ve most likely heard someone tell you how cool they are. In case this is your first time hearing about them here is a quick synopsis. You are locked in a room with whatever friends you came with and you have 60 minutes to solve multiple puzzles, find keys, and eventually complete a main objective. Whether it be escaping from a zombie invasion or solving the mysteries of an ancient Egyptian tomb. It requires teamwork and it’s more exhilarating than you’d think. Provo, luckily enough, has two escape room businesses and they are less than two blocks away from each other.
9. Bicentennial Park
I’m shocked of how few people know this park even exists. With acres of beautiful grass, a disc golf course, a playground, sand volleyball courts, a pond with ducks and a boardwalk through a small forest, this place has everything you need for a fun day. In the winter there are even great hills for sledding. Find directions here.
10. Crandall Historical Printing Museum
Not quite the best-kept secret in Provo but this place sure has some surprises. It is the most complete printing museum in the world. Apparently, the Smithsonian sent them pieces because they have a more complete collection. It is still fully functional and they sell some cool printed items. If you want a complete history from the Guttenberg Press to what the first Book of Mormon was printed on, this is the place. Check out there site here.
Pro Tip: This is not the most fast-paced tour. You will learn a ton but be prepared for to be there for a bit. Don’t let that discourage you, just not the best first date idea.
11. Squaw Peak
As the most Cliche make-out spot that no one goes to, it makes this list because it needs some clarification. An amazing drive and an even better view at the top. You can see the whole of Utah County and it is worth the hype. However, it is packed at night with people from families having dinner on their tailgate to toddlers running around. Possibly the best make-out spot if you are the only one there and the worst every other time. Maybe try it at 3 A.M. when kids are usually asleep but anytime before midnight is a no go.
When it comes to hiking, mountain or road biking it is amazing. I’ve heard that longboarders actually sweep the road clear of rocks so they can descend safely. That must be true because it is always in immaculate condition.
13. Sundance Resort
This place is for way more than skiing and snowboarding. Great yet easy hikes are everywhere when the snow is absent and they throw a huge Halloween event with moonlight ski lift rides along with monthly full moon lift rides in the summer. If you can’t ski or snowboard try your hand at cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. You can rent them very cheaply at Outdoors Unlimited and then go up and have a ball and get one of the best workouts of your life.
Pro Tip: Search Groupon or Living Social for deals before you go and pay full price for something here.
14. BYU Museum of Art (MOA)
If you went to BYU then you know that this is the most cliche free date on the planet. It is a great museum and much bigger than you would think. The insider information for the MOA is that admission is free and there is a great cafe located inside but it is only open during lunch. To make going to this museum more fun try to think of a game to play, like tell a story about what happens right after the scene in the painting takes place.
15. Downtown Provo
While this probably should be the first on the list as far as insider information there is too much info to give. Downtown Provo is not huge but there is a lot there. It just takes some adventuring. A couple recommendations are to stay away from Los Hermanos, it’s pretty bad Mexican food (update: very easy to do now that it burnt down), and if you like books you will love Pioneer Book. They go to estate sales and buy really old books so you can find some really cool stuff here. Upstairs they have a hot chocolate maker and some comfy chairs to sit on while you read.
16. Best Places for Hot Chocolate and Ice Cream
Since Utah has a hot summer and a freezing winter it is important to know where to go to get the best ice cream and hot chocolate. As far as ice cream, the Rockwell Ice Cream shop takes the prize with Sub-Zero coming in second. Both places are open late, are good value, and have amazing ice cream. They even make an almond milk ice cream if you can’t have dairy. Hot chocolate is a tough one but Sodalicious wins because dipping one of those cookies in hot chocolate is too good to pass up. 7-Eleven and Denny’s come in tied for second because these staples are the only place you can go if you want some hot chocolate after midnight.
17. South Fork Park
This is the best place to have a bonfire and stargaze, South Fork Park is a gem that only a decent amount of people know about. The park closes at 11 and a cop will come ask you to leave about 50% of the time around midnight. They are great though and are usually surprised if you have clothes on which is mildly disconcerting…
Pro Tip: Make sure you bring lots of blankets because it is about 20 degrees cooler up there than it is in Provo. If you have a bean bag, bring that to sit on and it helps with the cold a lot.
18. Provo Rec Center
The rec center has been in Provo for a couple years now and its a pretty sweet place that has basketball courts, swimming pools, racquetball courts, a gym, a spin studio, yoga, etc. The bicycles they use for the spin studio are also top-notch. You can pay for a monthly membership but if you just want to go in once or twice the daily fee isn’t bad. The water slides are no Seven Peaks but they’re pretty good, especially since Seven Peaks is closed. They actually have a small climbing wall that if you fall you just fall back in the water.
19. Rent a Boat
I know, I know! Rent a boat, you kidding me?? That’s got to cost a fortune! Well, actually no. Epic Recreation has made it affordable. A 20 foot boat is only $160 for a 2 hour rental. Check out their site here for pricing on other boats. Sure, for one person that’s a lot but if you get a group of 4-6 people to go out on the lake for a couple hours that’s not that expensive of an activity.
If you are not into boating and/or that price is a little steep, you can also rent paddle boards, kayaks, lilly pads, and more. Check those out here!
20. Go On a Cruise
This would make a better date than anything else. The Bonneville Sailing Company does sunset sails that take you around Utah Lake any day you’d like. You call Louise, one of the owners, and she will set an appointment for you. Check out their page here. I’ve done one of these cruises and it was awesome! Our captain was Skipper Mike and he was great! He was willing to take plenty of pictures of my date and me and even let us drive the boat for a bit.
Pro Tip: Bring a dessert to eat while you watch the sunset.
21. Head Out Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is a great way to experience nature and do something unique! Rocky Mountain Outfitters is one of the biggest horseback tour companies in the state. They offer rides of varying lengths and locations. Click here to see their Provo options. The sunset ride would make a perfect date night. If you’ve never been horseback riding make sure you call in for recommendations on what to wear and what you’ll be doing so that you’re prepared. Shorts and skirts are an obvious no no.