As eclectic as always, yet on the up-and-up, one of Salt Lake's most popular old 'hoods has a colorful new look: lime green metal benches and purple lampposts, compliments of a renovation project funded by the city and local businesses. Known by its street coordinates, 9th and 9th is lined with vintage brick buildings housing enough one-of-a-kind boutiques and ethnic eats to brighten any gray, late-winter day.
The neighborhood is nine blocks south and nine blocks east of downtown Salt Lake City's Temple Square.
Head three blocks west to visit 100-acre Liberty Park (1100 South 600 East; 801/972-7800), one of the oldest and largest parks in the city. It's also home to the Tracy Aviary ($5; 589 East 1300 South; 801/322-2473), where you can mingle with more than 400 birds, including crested tinamou, monk parakeets, and numerous endangered species.
Coffee Garden. Warm up with a velvety rich latte in the new home of locals' long-loved coffeehouse. INFO: 878 East 900 South (across the street from the original location); 801/355-3425.
Cahoots. Cards and gag gifts ranging from risqué to ridiculous: leg lamps in the Adult Room, or a motorized mug to stir up your chocolate milk. INFO: 878 East 900 South; 801/538-0606.
Hip & Humble. Housewares, aprons, and stylish pj's fill the old mercantile. INFO: 1043 East 900 South; 801/467-3130.
Floribunda. A jewel box of a stationery shop that also sells baubles, bangles, chandelier earrings, and Victorian-style necklaces. INFO: Closed Sun; 920 East 900 South; 801/359-4013.
Koo De Ker. Fashionable, funky handbags, hats, and high-end denim like Hudson Jeans and Blue Cult ― at high prices. INFO: 1037 East 900 South; 801/359-4870.
Tower Theatre. Take in an indie, international, or cult flick matinee at this refreshingly vintage venue run by the Salt Lake City Film Society. INFO: 876 East 900 South; 801/321-0310.
Barbacoa Mexican Grill. Fresh and fast. Fill up with a barbacoa pork burrito. INFO: $; 859 East 900 South; 801/524-0853.
Café Trio. Thin-crust pizza, pasta pomodoro, and Italian wines await, two blocks north of 9th and 9th. INFO: $$; 680 South 900 East; 801/533-8746.