Introduction to Provo, Utah
Incorporated in 1849, the Utah city of Provo was named for French-Canadian explorer Etienne Provost, who first explored the area in 1825. Settled by Mormons in the late 1840s, Provo soon came to be known as the "Garden City" due to its substantial assortment of trees, fruit orchards, and gardens. The year 1875 was a significant one in Provo history, marking the founding of Brigham Young Academy, later to evolve into Brigham Young University (BYU), the largest church-affiliated university in the nation. Since that time, the city and its university have enjoyed a symbiotic connection, growing hand-in-hand to the point where today's Provo can boast a budding high-technology industry and sporadic national attention from the university's academic and sports programs.
Situated about 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, Provo is the county seat of Utah County. Highways serving the city include Interstate 15 (which connects Provo to Salt Lake City), U.S. Route 89 and U.S. Route 189. Closest cities to Provo are Orem (5 miles to the north) and Springville (6 miles to the south). According to 2005 U.S. Census figures, Provo is Utah's second-largest city (barely edging West Valley City in population).
Things to do in Provo
Every July, Provo is host to America's Freedom Festival, one of the nation's largest celebrations of America's Independence. The festival consists of over 30 events which take place throughout a 21 day period commencing on Flag Day (June 14) and ending on Independence Day (July 4). The anchor event is The Stadium of Fire Spectacular, which takes place in BYU's Cougar Stadium. The month of December is the timeframe for the annual WinterFest in Downtown Provo, a series of festive events starting with the early December Christmas Parade and culminating with New Year Eve's First Night, a public celebration marking the passage from the old year to the new with dances, children’s activities and the midnight Firework Finale.
Cultural sites in Provo start with BYU's first class Museum of Art which has housed world-famous exhibits such as the Masada and Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the Vatican's Etruscan Exhibit. Other cultural venues in the city include the Pioneer Museum, BYU's Monte L. Bean Museum, and the BYU Arboretum. The Sundance Ski Resort is home to the Sundance Film Festival and Summer Theater. The resort also offers a number of recreational activities, including fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and downhill and cross-country skiing.
The Provo sports scene centers on collegiate athletics in the form of the Brigham Young University Cougars. The BYU athletic program sponsors teams in football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and track & field. Utah County's only professional sports team is located five miles away in the neighboring city of Orem. The Orem Owlz are a Minor League Baseball rookie-league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Owlz play in the Pioneer League.
Major league professional sports are less than an hour's drive away. Salt Lake City is home to a number of pro teams, including:
- Basketball: Utah Jazz (National Basketball Association)
- Arena Football: Utah Blaze (Arena Football League)
- Soccer: Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer)
Also playing in Salt Lake City are the Salt Lake Bees, a Minor League Baseball Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Angels. West Valley City, located only 8 miles from Salt Lake City and 40 miles north of Provo, is home to hockey's Utah Grizzlies who play in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).