[y] Provo Visitors Guide
Provo, Utah is a growing city that experienced a 21.1 percent population increase in the 1990s. Today it’s the home to 105,166 people and is rated as one of the top five percent safest of 208 American cities with a population of 100,000 to 500,000.
The city is named for French-Canadian explorer, Etienne Provost, who explored the area in 1825. Reports of his travels inspired Mormon settlers to move to the area and officially establish Provo as a city in 1849.
Provo Fast Facts
- Provo is 40.24 degrees north of the equator.
- According to Forbes Magazine, Provo is the sixth-best place to live in the United States.
- The city library has 178,701 books.
- Provo is 4,549 feet above sea level.
- Brett Keisel, 2005 NFL player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was born in Provo.
- The average summer temperature is 75°F in the summer and 30°F in the winter.
- Provo is sunny more than 60 percent of the time from mid-February to the beginning of November.
- Provo takes up 39.6 square miles.
- Average annual precipitation is 20.13 inches of rain and 60.40 inches of snow each year.
One of Provo’s biggest festivals is the Sundance Film Festival and Summer Theater held each year by the Sundance Institute. The Film Festival showcases the work of 20 to 25 emerging American independent filmmakers and offers artist development. The Summer Theater celebrates creative theater movement, dance and storytelling. Call for more information. Each year Provo holds special events that have become huge attractions for visitors and locals. There are several small city festivals and rodeos during the summer. On July 4 there is America’s Freedom Festival and Stadium of Fire.
Visitors often enjoy the Crandall Historical Printing Museum on 275 East Center Street. Guests get to see an hour-long tour of printing through the centuries that includes presentations of working replicas of the English common press used by Benjamin Franklin to print Poor Richard’s Almanac, and the press used to print the first Book of Mormon in 1830. Admission is three dollars.
Joe Hutching Museum of Natural History (55 North Center Street) is also a popular attraction that includes dinosaur bones, a tusk from a wooly mammoth, and artifacts from Utah’s early residents like the shotgun from famed outlaw Butch Cassidy. While the museum is not directly in Provo (It’s in Lehi), it only takes ten minutes from Provo to get there. Walking through the museum takes about 45 minutes. Admission is free.
If visitors are up for a bit of a drive, the 607-foot Bridal Veils Falls in Provo Canyon is worth seeing. It flows highest in the spring and early summer and is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers. Hiking at the base of the falls lets visitors get a closer view. To get there follow Hwy 189 at the northeast of Provo.
Those looking for family-friendly entertainment should check out the 26-acres Seven Peaks Waterpark at 1334 East 300 North. It’s Utah’s biggest waterpark with more than 14 heated water attractions, a huge wave pool, and a lazy river. It also includes an 18-hold golf course.
Provo is a city that encourages physical activity. It’s the home to 10 golf courses, 37 public tennis courts, 32 public parks, five softball complexes and two ice rinks.
The Provo Mormon Temple (2200 North Temple Drive) that looks over the city is always a nice place to visit. The BYU Earth Science Museum on the BYU campus features good dinosaur exhibits and exhibits of early mammals. Visitors can even watch researchers prepare bones for display.
Science lovers can also visit the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum on the BYU campus. Here visitors see displays of mounted animals, movies, talks and presentations of dioramas.
BYU also has a Museum of Peoples and Cultures with collections as old as 50,000 years, and the interactive museum of art that frequently hosts international exhibitions.
Hiking, camping, fishing, boating, biking, swimming, skiing, and hunting are also popular pastimes at places like the canyons of Wasatch Range (on Highways 92 and 89), Mount Nebo (accessible from Interstate 15), the Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Camp Floyd/Stagecoach Inn State Park, Utah Lake Stage Park, and the Uinta National Forest.
Sports fans can enjoy watching amateur sports at Brigham Young University as the teams play football, volleyball, basketball, and baseball. BYU teams regularly rank top in the Western Atlantic Conference.
The arts are alive and well in Provo. To hear great singing visitors can listen to the BYU Men’s Chorus and Women’s Chorus with performances usually held at Provo Tabernacle, 100 South University Avenue. Call for additional information.
Like hands-on musical experiences? Then the Blues Jam at Muse is the place to go. All visitors need to do is bring their own instrument (guitar, harmonica, horn, tambourine, or even voice) to get a chance to make some music. Muse Music is held at 145 North University Avenue. The cost is $2 for performers and $3 for those who come to watch and listen.
Provo is full of galleries featuring local artists. Some galleries to check out are the Provo Arts Center (425 West Center Street), Freedom Gallery (225 West Center Street), Utah County Gallery (151 South University Avenue), or the Terra Nova Gallery (41 West 300 North).
Live theater can be enjoyed on the BYU campus or at the Center Street Musical Theatre at 177 West Center Street. Shows are usually presented on Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays beginning at 7:30 p.m. The optional dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise specified. Costs are $8 for adults and $10 per dinner. On Mondays visitors can get a discounted family rate of $25.
Pizza lovers or those looking for a great, affordable restaurant for a group should consider going to the Brick Oven Restaurant (111 East 800 North). It’s a 37-year-old restaurant with a large selection of pizza and multiple kinds of pasta and sauces. It also has a well-stocked salad bar. Reservations are encouraged especially on the weekend when the restaurant is its busiest.
Looking to try some Indian food? Then visit Bombay House at 463 North University Avenue. It’s known for delicious, authentic Madras Curried Lamb. Experience authentic Japanese food at Demae (82 West Center Provo). Visitors looking for good steak should try The Happy Sumo (4801 University Avenue).
Have a special event to celebrate? Try superb Peruvian cuisine at Se Llama Peru for a memorable night on the town. This restaurant is known for its high-quality service and excellent food and serves a wide variety of food from pasta to seafood. Prices are competitive and the food servings are generous. Call or visit 368 Center Street for reservations.
The racial makeup of most of the city is Caucasian. Provo’s African American population is much lower than the national average at 0.46 percent. Native Americans make up 0.80 percent of the population; Pacific Islanders 0.84 percent; Asians 1.83 percent; and 7.54 percent of the population classifies themselves as another race or multi-racial. Hispanics make a whopping 10.7 percent of the population. Provo communities are usually safe places to live with low crime rates. General religion makeup of the communities might affect these statistics since 88 percent of Provo is Mormon.
Communities in Provo are on average filled slightly more with women than men. Typically, for every 100 females, there are 92.6 males. About a third (33.8 percent) of Provo communities are home to children under the age of 18. Only 11.8 percent of the average community is filled with individuals living alone.