“Open Streets” in downtown Salt Lake City plans to bring community together

Jul 2, 2024, 3:00 PM

Parts of Main St. in downtown SLC will temporarily close as part of the Downtown Alliances Open Str...

FILE: Cars make their way up and down State Street as a temperature inversion traps and fills downtown Salt Lake City with smog on January 31, 2017. Parts of Main St. in downtown SLC will temporarily close as part of the Downtown Alliances Open Streets initiative. (George Frey /Getty Images)

(George Frey /Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday and Saturday, July 12-13, and July 19-20, Main Street. will be closed to car traffic between 100 S. and 200 S. Instead, it will be open to foot traffic for which is the goal of Open Streets. 

“Main Street and downtown are at their best when people are prioritized over cars,” said Dee Brewer, executive director of the Downtown Alliance.

Organizers want downtown Salt Lake City to become a walkable hub like many cities around the world.

“When people think of the great cities that they love, they’re usually thinking of a highly pedestrianized and activated area,” said Brewer.

During Open Streets, businesses will be encouraged to spill onto sidewalk areas. There will be live entertainment with music and dancing filling the street.

“Young, old, families, singles everyone can find something for them,” said Brewer.

How did Open Streets start?

The concept originated during the pandemic in 2020, as city leaders brainstormed safe, open-air options for entertainment. It was a huge success and this will be the fifth annual Open Streets event.

In years past, there have been up to 40,000 people attending the event over the course of one of the weekends. Many of the event organizers are optimistic that this concept could become a permanent part of the downtown landscape.

“The city studied how they might do that on the street and they have plans for that,” Brewer said. “Open Streets is a demonstration of some of those activations and pedestrian concepts.”

The benefits of opening up the streets

Organizers also saw a need for ticketless entertainment options. Currently, people often drive downtown only because they have a ticket to a jazz game, a concert at Abravanel Hall or a show at Eccles Theater.  They want locals to use public transit or walk to an area with lots of options at all times of the day. It’s also a way to highlight and promote local businesses.

Open Streets fosters community in the heart of the city with an electric atmosphere that prioritizes pedestrians and families while supporting our small businesses,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “I am grateful for our city staff and the Downtown Alliance, who make this possible and help us showcase a Main St. pedestrian promenade that is walkable, small business-focused, and inviting to all.”

Open Streets is made possible by funding and staff support from Salt Lake City, the Downtown Alliance and The Blocks Arts District.

Each day will showcase different events including music, poetry slams, theater, art, a fashion show and more. 

The complete schedule of events for Open Streets can be found at

Related: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium welcomes baby penguin

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“Open Streets” in downtown Salt Lake City plans to bring community together