Last year, we went to San Francisco at Christmastime to visit my MIL and her husband.
This year, we will be going to Salt Lake City, to visit my mother and brother. My family moved to Salt Lake City in 1972. My classmates at my old school (in Maryland) wrote stories for me about the adventures I would have in the "Wild West"...which was a good thing, because I don't think I had ever HEARD about Utah at that point!
What most people know about SLC is that it is the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). In Salt Lake, there are Mormons and non-Mormons (I guess that is about like Jews and Gentiles in Jerusalem). In Salt Lake, non-Mormon usually means anti-Mormon, which is really too bad. Many people have heard of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The other thing people know about Utah is the skiing, and the fact that the 2002 Winter Olympics were held there. I had always wanted to be able to attend an Olympic Games, but bemoaned the fact that they were always so far away. Then, my family (hubby and son and I) moved to Texas about 5 years before the SLC Olympic Games. Figures, doesn't it? *lol*
One thing that frustrates most visitors about Salt Lake City is the street-numbering system. It's actually quite logical, but takes some getting used to. Each 'block' consists of 100 numbers. It doesn't mean there are 100 addresses between each block, though. But what really confuses people is that "7th East" aka "700 East" means it is 7 blocks east of the center of town ... but the street actually runs north to south.
The Great Salt Lake is a nice place to visit. The salt content of the Lake is so concentrated (2nd only to the Dead Sea) that you CANNOT sink. I know this from experience. But you have to shower off REALLY WELL after a dunk, or you'll wind up with a white crust on your body before you leave the beach.
A lot of people like to see the Bingham Copper Pit too. It's a large open-pit copper mine (one of the largest in the US, if not the world). On the way up to the observation area, you pass by a tire that is used on one of the mining vehicles. It is so big that people can stand inside it ... which happens a lot when cameras are out!
The street my mother's house is on used to be THE BEST place to watch the summer fireworks (occurring on both July 4th and July 24th - which is Utah's statehood day). Then they built two ugly office buildings in the field in front of her house and now you have to be up in the living room to see anything.
So - what will my family be seeing and doing when we visit there in December? Well ... I hope to contact some of my old theatre friends. For the 5-6 years previous to my oldest son being born, I participated in about 5-6 plays a year ... sometimes acting, sometimes doing tech work, etc.
I'd like to take my kids to the Hogle Zoo, where I used to volunteer in the Children's Petting Zoo. I can't wait to see my boys' eyes when I tell them I used to handle a 6 ft long Burmese Python!
I'd like my family to see Park City, where I have many fond theatre memories. I did four plays there (acted in all) in roughly the span of a year: "Run for Your Wife", "Deadwood Dick", "Bell, Book and Candle", and "No Sex, Please, We're British!".
There is a lot of good hiking to be had in the area surrounding Salt Lake City. I consider mountains my "home", so living in Texas for 8 years was tough on me. Kentucky is a little less tamed than Texas, and although the hills are not on the scale of the Rockies and Oquirrhs (pronouced like the color 'ochre'), they are a pleasant and comfortable reminder of home.