I grew up on the East Coast and have lots of family living across 10 states. I’ve had the opportunity to visit them all. I’ve swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and have been to all four corners of the United States, and I still find Ogden one of the most charming cities I have ever been to.
I moved to Ogden from Pittsburgh my freshman year and found a fascinating blend of anomalies: old and new, historic and high-tech, religious and non-religious. These mixtures create a city that is appealing, intriguing and diverse.
The environment was one feature of Ogden that immediately captured my attention. Even though I have seen so much of the country, the massive mountains that surround us impressed me from the get-go.
When I first moved here, it was hard to believe mountains could look like the Rockies. They appear to be more of a backdrop, a picture to be admired from afar. After having adventured in the mountains, I have found they are much more real and interesting from the roads, trails and ski slopes.
My first experience with this was taking my Jeep through a trail in the mountains near Bountiful. The dirt-road switchbacks and lush forested paths pulled me in, bringing life to the peak that seemed merely picturesque before.
What makes the environment here diverse is that within a short drive you can go from climbing over the red sandstone rocks of the hot desert to skiing down the slopes of Powder Mountain Resort. You could be taking a stroll through a wooded park by the river and turn a corner and be in the city.
Ogden features a variety of historic buildings and Victorian homes, many of which have been turned into museums. Among my favorites is the Eccles Community Art Center on Jefferson Avenue.
Walking through Eccles, a converted three-story Victorian home, and hearing the floor creak adds another layer to my experience in Ogden as I stroll past the artwork. The atmosphere of this historic home enhances the art it is portraying.
Because of the old-timey feel of the city, Ogden appears to be more of a slow-paced hometown area than a big city. I specifically enjoy Historic 25th Street. Where everything is corporate chains, Ogden is quirky with its local establishments. Exploring downtown, you can find diners, sandwich shops, cafes and a local movie theater.
A Netflix original movie picked up on this, making downtown Ogden the setting of the movie Waiting on Forever, featuring Rachel Bilson and Tom Sturridge. I stumbled upon this movie a few years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to see where the movie was set. In one of the first scenes, the characters turn a corner and the Union Station appears in the background.
How fun to have picked up a random movie only to see the town you live in. Watching the characters walk down past The Queen Bee bookstore and other local establishments, I kept thinking, “I’ve been there. I’ve been there.” This is my city, and it is in a movie!
Ogden is unique because of its cultural background juxtaposed with the predominant religion in the area, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can find things in town that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. The town was originally founded around the train station, with brothels and bars littered everywhere in the area, which starkly contrasts the influence of the LDS church.
An old historic building has been turned into the Pioneer Women Museum, there is a bookstore chain specifically for LDS readers and most distinctively of all, Ogden is currently remodeling the LDS temple.
When friends visit from out of state, I often take them to the temple, to 25th Street, and surrounding areas in downtown Ogden. These are sites you cannot leave the state without having explored.
After seeing many parts of the country, I believe Ogden is one the most charming cities to be in. Having only moved here to attend Weber State University, this is a town I could see myself sticking to for years after graduation.