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10 Ways Provo is Actually Becoming Cool

Known as the heart of Happy Valley and home to thousands of stone-cold sober BYU students, there's more to Provo than meets the eye. Over the past few years, all kinds of cool things have been popping up in this presumably bland suburb.

1. Provo bands are making it big.


Though the members originate from all of the country, chart-topping bands like Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees got their start in this college town, playing at local venues and practicing in their apartments. Last season's "The Voice" singer Ryan Innes and local bands like Desert Noises and The Moth and the Flame are also making a national name for themselves.

2. The local dining is making a name for itself.


Award-winning eateries are popping up all over Provo, making it a destination for foodies from all over the state. Tasty and unique restaurants like Communal, Station 22, Black Sheep Cafe, Cubby's, SLAB pizza and jDawgs have all opened within the past few years, offering a wide range of food to please any palate.

3. There are fashionable places to shop


Once a barren landscape of bad retail stores, University Mall is now packing in some of fashion's favorite chains, including H&M, Forever 21 and Cotton On. It may be technically located in Orem, but it's plenty close for Provo-ites to get their fashion fix, without having to make the journey to Salt Lake.

4. Google Fiber is here, and it's FREE


Google's coveted high-speed internet is available in exactly three cities in the whole United States: Kansas City, Austin and Provo. Many local hospitals and other business get the services free, with a connectivity option that is 100 times faster than today's average broadband speeds. How did Provo make the cut? It's home to many startups and entrepreneurs, and Google wants to see how they can make good use of their product.

5. Billion-dollar companies reside here


Speaking of entrepreneurs, Provo’s Riverwoods Business Park boasts not one, not two, but THREE billion-dollar tech companies: Qualtrics, Vivint, and Ancestry.com. There must be something in the water. And it can't hurt to start drinking it up.

6. It's a haven for legitimately cool craft fairs


This ain't yo momma's craft fair. Annual events like Beehive Bazaar and Bijou Market sell amazing products like artisan jellies, stylish accessories and handmade art — the kind you totally want to display in your house, too. These fairs reel in crafters and DIY-lovers from all over the state to stock up on unique, handmade goods.

7. Summers include the Rooftop Concert Series


The first Friday of every summer month, hip local artists like Mideau and The New Electric Sound perform a free concert on the roof of the Provo Town Square parking terrace. Families, college students and hipsters alike gather to enjoy the warm nights and good tunes from a unique vantage point.

8. Provo canyon provides all kinds of nature-filled aventures


Home to Sundance Resort, Bridal Veil Falls and more, Provo canyon offers outdoorsy action all throughout the year. Locals head just ten minutes up the canyon for climbing, hiking, snowboarding, scenic drives, picnics, bonfires and more.

9. The farmers market is full of fresh produce and local eats


Quickly catching up to Salt Lake City's massive market in both size and popularity, Provo's seasonal farmers market hosts all kinds of farm-fresh goods for tasting and purchasing, every Saturday of summer. Local food trucks, bands and crafters also come out to entertain the crowds.

10. There's indoor surfing


Provo Beach Resort is one of the few places in Utah where locals can catch a wave, thanks to the indoor flowrider. This activity center also offers golfing, bowling, a ropes course and more, all in one spot. Places like the new Provo Rec Center, the Covey Center for the Arts and the Museum of Art at BYU also offer plenty of activities and cultural entertainment, so you can be sure you'll have plenty to do in your free time.