Amble the Avenues

Give in to spring fever on a historic Salt Lake City neighborhood stroll
Lucy Burningham

In Salt Lake City's Avenues District, April's cherry blossoms brighten the narrow, tree-lined streets. The neighborhood's scale is intimate, and flowering trees frame restored Victorians and historic buildings converted into shops, galleries, and cafes ― invitation enough for an easy spring walk.

Start on Third Avenue at the former garage that now houses the Two Creek Coffee House ($; 502 E. Third Ave.; 801/363-6260). Coffee in hand, stroll east on Third past the district's choicest old homes. Between J and K Streets, houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places include a box-style Victorian and a Queen Anne cottage.

In the Salt Lake City Cemetery (Fourth Ave. at N St.), trees and conifers grace the tombs of Utah's onetime elite. The mix of artists and politicians ― and 11 of Mormon leader Brigham Young's 27 wives ― makes for interesting headstone browsing.

Return to the present at the Q Street Gallery (closed Sun; 88 Q St.; 801/359-1899), where you can take in sleek, contemporary artwork. From here head to South Temple Street and stroll west down the prestigious 19th-century thoroughfare. The Salt Lake Masonic Temple (closed Sat-Sun; free tours, reservations required; 650 E. South Temple St.; 801/363-2936) is an Egyptian-revival gem complete with sphinxes; the gardens of the Chateauesque Utah Governor's Mansion (603 E. South Temple; 801/538-1005 for summer tours) should be in bloom.

Detour up E Street to the E Street Gallery (closed Sun-Mon; 82 E St.; 801/359-2979), a 1909 electrician's shop that is now a ground-level gallery. Backtrack to South Temple and continue west to the Romanesque, sandstone Cathedral of the Madeleine (tours on request; 331 E. South Temple; 801/328-8941). The restored interior of the Catholic church features vibrantly painted murals and ornate carved-wood altarpieces.

End your day at urban Avenues Bakery and Bistro ($$; 481 E. South Temple; 801/746-5626), with pastries, sandwiches, or dinner entrées ― on its small, flower-filled patio if the weather's right.

Blossom time

To take a walking tour of historic South Temple St., contact the Utah Heritage Foundation ( www.utahheritagefoundation.com or 801/533-0858 ext. 103) for a free brochure.