Wednesday, August 22, 2018

10 Must-See Places in Downtown Provo

Downtown Provo has many unexpected treasures. These places are must-sees for locals and tourists alike. We’ve made a list of 10 of the best places in downtown Provo to make sure your visit is the best it can be.

1. It’s a bookstore! It’s an art gallery! It’s a meeting space! It’s Writ & Vision! This multipurpose store was designed to provoke respectful conversation and to help people learn from each other. Even if it’s not being used for a gathering when you visit, taking a look around the gallery and admiring the new and used books is an experience in itself. The pieces on display in the art gallery always have a theme and the pieces work to explore that theme and leave the visitor a little wiser than before. They also have several rare books and documents. Writ & Vision is meant to be an intellectual retreat that is accessible to everyone and it succeeds with a style all its own.

2. Taylor Maid is a costume store that was started in the 1970’s by a family who did makeup in Hollywood. They started small, but they were the only makeup and costume store in the area. In that time, Halloween was a holiday mostly for children, not adults, but the Taylor family saw the change coming and positioned themselves to be the lead supplier for children’s and adult costumes for Halloween and any time of year. Now their store has been open for over 40 years and it’s a wacky and wonderful place to visit.

3. A store in downtown Provo has plans for world domination. In the realm of chocolate, that is. At Taste, their goal is to make the best chocolate in the world. Visitors who sample their chocolate swear Taste isn’t very far from their goal. In this store, you get what you pay for, and what you get is utterly amazing chocolate. If you’re not sure what to get, they host tastings at the store. Signing up for a tasting class will not only get you incredibly delicious chocolate, olive oil, and sipping vinegar (yes really), but they will teach you how to enjoy chocolate like a connoisseur. If you’re too intimidated to try a class, visitors can also stop in for a Mini Tasting.

4. For visitors who are trying to eat more healthy food but don’t want to compromise on taste, The Spoon is the perfect lunch spot. This restaurant has a wide array of food on its menu and everything promises to be delicious as well as healthy. Everything from the appetizer to the main course is carefully crafted and portioned well, making it easy to enjoy your lunch and not regret it later. For those who are trying to avoid drinking sodas, they have many different kinds of flavored waters and lemonades as well.

5. Visitors will find an unexpected treat in Se Llama Peru, a Peruvian restaurant in downtown Provo. If you want to practice your Spanish, this is a great place to chat with the wait staff. Otherwise, you can chat in English. Although be warned about asking what’s good on their menu because everything is. Not only is their food delicious, but they also clearly take pride in how the food is presented. Everything is plated beautifully, making a meal here a trip for all of your senses.

6. Another store in Provo has plans for dominating the dessert market, however, this one is an ice cream store. Rockwell Ice Cream Co. has set itself up to be the local favorite and the ice cream place that locals take their friends to. The ice cream is made to be creamier than other kinds of ice cream and the owner takes pride in sourcing all of his ingredients locally. He visits the farms to make sure the milk from the cows, or honey from the bees, or flavors like mint, are all taken care of as they grow. The owner takes such pride in making the ice cream as delicious as it possibly can be and one taste makes that devotion obvious. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line, but be sure it will be worth it.

7. Pioneer Book is a bookstore whose owner loves books far more than most people do. For proof of that, you start with the outside of his bookstore, which is painted with the spines of several larger-than-life books. The titles of these books were carefully chosen by the owner because not just any book would do. Inside, the bookstore is crammed with books of all sorts from new to used to rare and out of print. The staff of the bookstore was picked so that collectively they have knowledge of just about every facet of literature. If you can’t find a book you love in this bookstore, you’re not trying.

8. If you need a quick pick-me-up between some of Provo’s fantastic trails, Ivie Juice Bar is a great place to visit. As the name suggests, it’s a juice bar, but it’s more than just juice. The owner, Ivie, was trying to understand how nutrition impacted her body and she found a fix that worked for her. Once she realized that changing her diet completely and including more fresh fruits and juices helped her, she knew she had to share this with the world so others could feel as great as she did. Accordingly, all of Ivie Juice Bar’s juices, smoothies, shakes, and acai bowls are made to be both delicious and healthy.

9. Although it may be unexpected to find in Provo, Hruska's Kolaches is a restaurant based on a mix of Czech and Texan recipes. This family-run eatery combines the buttery bread type pastry of a kolache with any sort of filling you could imagine. They range from savory fillings like biscuits and gravy to sweet fillings like fruit and cream cheese. The owners are fanatical about using fresh ingredients and creating everything themselves, from cutting their own meat to making their own jams. These tasty snacks are definitely for the morning. Hruska's Kolaches closes once they’ve sold out for the day, and this will likely happen around lunch time, so make sure you get there before that happens.

10. Finally, if you want to look around a shop that will have things you’ll never see again, Cat’s Cradle Antiques is the place to be. They pride themselves on finding the most unique items, jewelry, antique dolls, and much more. Looking around this shop is like looking at a museum with an erratic curator, except you can buy anything that’s on display. Even if you don’t go into the shop expecting to buy anything, looking at everything they have is an experience. And if your curiosity is piqued, you can always ask a member of the staff about their collection. After all, curiosity may have killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Although you might not have known it, there are many fantastic things to do in downtown Provo. This sampling is just a small portion of the gems that await you there. Provo is a vibrant town with more than you expect waiting just beneath the surface.