Getting to know Provo

Home to Brigham Young University (BYU), a private university founded in 1875 and operated by the LDS Church, Provo — like so many lucky-duck cities in Utah — is surrounded by a wealth of outdoor recreational areas including extraordinarily gorgeous national parks, crimson-hued canyons, cascading waterfalls, fish-filled rivers and more. Nestled in the heart of what’s known as the Utah Valley, Provo is backdropped by the grandeurs of Mount Timpanogos with its spectacular nearly 12,000-foot summit. Home to innovative high-tech companies, superb healthcare facilities and several higher education venues (crowned by BYU), Provo also features easy access to the magnificent mountains and snow-capped ski resorts in northern Utah.

In Provo, residents can choose from a variety of price-points and home-styles ranging from red-brick ramblers to modern contemporaries to multi-million-dollar estates. You can also find mountainside log cabins, sprawling ranch homes with friendly front porches and big grassy lawns, mountain-view tri-levels and church-style Colonials. Townhomes and condos also dot the residential landscape.

The Feel

Embraced by the majesties of Mother Nature, Provo residents and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, rock-climbing and exploring the trails of Provo Canyon highlighted by a hike to Bridal Veil Falls, so-named because the waterfall’s shimmering cascades of water resemble a traditional white bridal-veil. You can spend a day boating and water-sporting at Utah Lake State Park or fly fishing or floating in the pristine waters of the Provo River. In many places, private outfitters offer bike, kayak and tube rentals as well as horseback riding and zip lining for the more adventurous. Campers take special delight in night-tenting in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, while cavers love to reconnoiter the richly scenic area that includes stunning tree-covered slopes.

But you don’t have to be a hiker, biker, camper, caver, boater or fishing-afficionado to appreciate life in Provo. More sedate but equally enjoyable pursuits include strolling through downtown Provo and checking out any of the dozens of eateries and boutiques that populate the area; as you peruse your gastronomic and shopping options, you’re sure to get a sense of the community-based atmosphere that permeates downtown. For those with a thirst for all kinds of knowledge, BYU offers free admission to multiple museums including the BYU Museum of Art, the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures, and the BYU Museum of Paleontology. When it comes to employment options, top employers in Provo include BYU, the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and Vivint (a manufacturer of home security systems).

Provo tidbits:
  • I-15 runs through western Provo connecting the city with much of the rest of Utah.
  • Amtrak provides service between Provo and Chicago to the east and the San Francisco Bay area to the west.
  • Provo is the hometown of the well-known musical family-performers, The Osmonds.
  • According to the Utah Division of State History, Mormon settlers originally called the area Fort Utah, but renamed it Provo in 1849 in recognition of Etienne Provost, an early French-Canadian trapper, guide and mountain man.
  • Provo is the location of the LDS church's largest Missionary Training Center (MTC). Each week, nearly 500 missionaries arrive for weeks of training before they depart for their assigned mission-locale. More than 1,000 instructors, a number of them returned missionaries, teach 60+ languages at the Provo MTC.

An Incredible Location

Things To Do

Home to Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo is surrounded by gorgeous national parks, crimson-hued canyons, cascading waterfalls, fish-filled rivers and more. Nestled in the heart of the Utah Valley, many Provo residents enjoy hiking, biking, rock-climbing, boating, fly-fishing and camping, however, you don’t have to be an outdoors-afficionado to appreciate life in Provo. For example, there are plenty of art galleries, historical venues and museums, indeed, BYU offers free admission to multiple museums on its Provo campus.

Here’s a small sampling of what there is to do and see in Provo and the surrounding areas.

Bridal Veil Falls/Provo Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls, a stunningly scenic 600-foot-tall (at its fullest) waterfall, is located in Provo Canyon, approximately 10 miles northeast of Provo.
  • It is a 1.4-mile hike to Bridal Veil Falls
  • Provo Canyon is also home to Vivian Park and the Provo River Parkway

Utah Lake State Park
One of the largest freshwater lakes in the western United States, Utah Lake has been open to the public as a state park since 1967. It is a very popular place to for boating, canoeing, sailing, fishing and other water-sports. Utah Lake is located west of Provo, about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City.
  • Park elevation: 4,500 feet above sea level
  • Open year-round
  • Tent and RV sites
  • Picnic areas
  • Boat ramps with docks

Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Located near Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains, the Timpanogos Cave National Monument protects three interlinked limestone caverns.
  • Visiting the site requires hiking a strenuous 1.5-mile trail up rocky slopes
  • The site can only be visited as part of a ranger-led guided tour

Brigham Young University (BYU) Museums
BYU is home to a number of open-to-the-public museums, including:
  • BYU Earth Science Museum
  • BYU Life Science Museum (Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum)
  • BYU Museum of Art
  • BYU Museum of Paleontology
  • BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures
  • BYU Planetarium

Covey Center for the Arts
The Covey Center for the Arts is a 42,000-square-foot performing arts center that features plays, ballets, art showcases and musical performances.
  • Main performance hall (seats 670)
  • Brinton Black Box Theater (seats 60)
  • Three dance studios
  • Two art galleries

Petroliana Museum
Located at Lakeside Storage, the Petroliana Museum is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. It features original porcelain gas/oil signs posted on poles, antique gas pumps, airplanes, antique cars, fuel delivery vehicles, an antique tractor collection and more.
  • ‘Petroliana’ is a category of collectibles related to gas stations or the petroleum industry
  • Family- and photo-friendly
  • Located next to Utah Lake State Park

Peaks Ice Arena
Peaks Ice Arena is a family recreation center that offers skating and hockey lessons as well as plenty of scheduled time for public skating.
  • Originally built as an ice hockey and figure skating practice venue for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

Provo City Center Temple
In 2010, the Provo Tabernacle was destroyed by fire; it was later renovated into Provo City Center Temple. Originally built in the late 1800s, the Provo Stake Tabernacle was designed by William H. Folsom, known as one of the finest church-member architects of the 19th century. Masterfully designed, the current architecture uses much of the external shell of the Tabernacle which is all that remained of the original building after the fire.
  • Renovations were finished and the temple was dedicated in 2016

Seven Peaks Water Park
The largest waterpark in Utah, Seven Peaks Water Park boasts 16 water slides, a 500,000-gallon wave pool, a lazy river, a giant half-pipe tube ride and 100-foot freefall drop-slides. There’s also a kids’ swimming area with just-the-right-size slides for the little guppies in your group.
  • Generally opens in late May; closes in early September
  • Pavilions and cabanas
  • Café and concession stands
  • Swimming lessons offered

America’s Freedom Festival/Stadium of Fire
America’s Freedom Festival is said to be one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the country. In addition to dozens of community events in May, June and July — including Freedom Days (a three-day festival in downtown Provo) and the ever-popular Star-Spangled Baby Contest — this patriotic event boasts a signature event called Stadium of Fire. Produced for more than 30 years, the spectacular Stadium of Fire takes place on or very close to July 4th in BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium.
  • Stadium of Fire draws hundreds of thousands of spectators every year
  • Stadium of Fire is often hosted by a well-known celebrity

Festival Latinoamericano
A celebration of Utah’s Hispanic culture, Festival Latinoamericano, or Latin American Festival, is an annual three-day festival held on Labor Day weekend.
  • Food, vendors, performances and more

Well-known for cuisine of all kinds, Provo has more than 100 restaurants (okay, some say more than 200…), with a tiny bite-sized sampling of the area’s mouthwatering eateries as follows:

A. Beuford Giffords Libation Emporium
  • Also known as ABGs; said to be one of only two bars in Provo
Bombay House
  • Features award-winning Indian cuisine complete with the rich aroma of exotic spices and sumptuous curries
Mozz Artisan Pizza
  • Combines vintage charm with scrumptious food for both meat-lovers and vegetarians
Tommy Burger
  • Known for its burgers and Chicago-style hot dogs