Sin City

There was a story in the Salt Lake paper today about Sin City. Las Vegas? Nope, Evanston, Wyoming (gasp!).

Evanston may not sound that exciting, but its lure is geographical. It's only an hour or so from Salt Lake City, and more importantly, it's across the border.

What does this mean? Liquor, fireworks, and gambling (oh my!).
"Evanston is the root of all Utah evil," says John Porter, owner of Porter's Fireworks and Liquor, and head of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. "That's the way Utahans think of it anyway."
While you can get liquor and (some) fireworks in Utah, the liquor is more expensive and harder to find, and the fireworks are less spectacular. Plus, it feels dangerous.
Two older couples in their 60s come out of Porter's Liquor Store, each with
their arms loaded with all the cases of beer and brown bags full of booze bottles they can carry. Smiling like teenagers getting away with something they're not supposed to do, they pile into a large SUV with Utah plates, drive onto the Interstate and head back toward Utah.
Here's something I didn't know:
Kegs are illegal in Utah. For years the Utah Highway Patrol used to sit at the Utah state line waiting to nab people with Utah plates returning from Wyoming to
confiscate their kegs and fireworks.
One other draw:
According to racetrack officials, 80 percent of Wyoming Downs patrons are from Utah. The parking lot is filled with cars with Utah plates. Utah has horse racing, but you can't bet on the ponies there. Gambling is illegal in Utah.
Living in northern Utah, as I do, Franklin, Idaho is a more convenient destination. They have a gas station there known as "Home of the Utah Lottery." They have a big banner and everything. Still, I might have to check out this Evanston sometime.


  1. There are no good restaurants in Evanston, so expect to get fast food if you go. The liquor prices aren't much different than in Utah, but the beer is close to half price. Also, you can come back to Utah by going south, through the Uintas, along the Mirror Lake highway. It's quite scenic, but the road closes in the winter, so go before the snow falls.

  2. I've been to Evanston.


    It's pretty much like going to La Tienda. However, the horse racing may be interesting if you're into that type of thing.

    I laughed at the "Dangerous" thing. That qualifies for pretty much every Starbucks in Utah for a good deal of the population. (Said the former scardy cat).

  3. i'm glad you brought up franklin. it's about 7 minutes from my house.

    i bet the beer in evanston isn't 3.2 percent alcohol, either. i bet it's the REAL STUFF.

  4. Thanks, Justin and Loralee, for your reviews. They'll come in handy when I write my travel guide for Evanston. Take that, Rick Steve!