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My Town: Donny Osmond’s Picks for Provo

The entertainer shares favorite places to explore in his Utah hometown

spinner image photo of donny osmond in upper left corner; the words greetings from provo utah in upper right corner; on background of buildings, street and mountain in provo, utah
Illustration: MOA Staff (Osmond Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images; Background and Stamp: Getty Images)

Donny Osmond, 65, is currently busy in Las Vegas performing at his Harrah’s residency, but the prolific entertainer has called Provo, Utah, home for decades. He shares the favorite Provo-area spots that he and his wife, Debbie, like to visit with friends and family, including their five sons and 13 grandchildren. 


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Make a reservation at … 

The Tree Room at Sundance is Debbie’s and my favorite place. And when you say “favorite place,” obviously you talk about the food, but it’s much more than that. It's the experiences you have had at a restaurant. It was where I had one of the first dates with Debbie [and] … one of my sons got engaged there. ... If we ever want to go out to a really nice restaurant and have a really nice meal with a great atmosphere, we look at each other and say, “Yeah, it's the Tree Room.” It’s the ambience, and the fact that [Robert] Redford kept it very rustic. Even after he sold the property, they had a deal they would keep it rustic. That's what we love about it. … It takes us back to some real innocent years of the ’70s when we first started dating.


Insider tip:

Sometimes in The Tree Room, they won't have my favorite [item on the menu], but it’s a little secret. I guess I can let the secret out: Pepper steak may not be on the menu, but they always have it in the kitchen. So I can’t say that I'm a true vegan. I call myself a “cheagan” because I cheat, but after you taste the pepper steak, you’ll understand why.

spinner image deborah and donny osmond at table with coffees in front of them
spinner image deborah and donny osmond at table with empty wine glasses and plates in front of them
The Tree Room at Sundance is a sentimental favorite for Osmond and his wife, Debbie. They're seen above dining at the restaurant in 1977 and then 40 years later in 2017.
Both photos courtesy of Osmond


Take the family shopping at …

The Shops at Riverwoods. They have live music there. Every spring or summer they have all these artists come, and they do chalk and make paintings on the cement. It’s so fascinating. They decorate the entire place up. They have bistro lights everywhere, firepits in the winter, waterfalls. It’s so cool. … It’s just a fun place to bring the kids.

spinner image donny osmond holding baby outside next to fire while snow falls
Osmond and his family enjoy shopping and taking in the sights and sounds at The Shops at Riverwoods.


Go for a hike at … 

Mount Timpanogos [in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest]. Oh my goodness, I think it’s almost 12,000 feet high, so it’s an all-day excursion, and there’s a place called Emerald Lake halfway up. There’s a trail called Timpooneke. There’s a couple trails to get up there, but Timpooneke is the best one. It's hard. It takes you all day. You gotta start at 5, 6 in the morning, and you get back at night. But if you can summit it … the vista up there is amazing. Some people … start late morning, early afternoon and they’ll camp at Emerald Lake, and they’ll summit it the next day.

spinner image two people hiking up a mountain filled with purple, yellow and white flowers
The second-highest mountain in Utah's Wasatch Range, Mount Timpanogos features miles of hiking trails and stunning views.
Getty Images


Travel back in time at …

Blickenstaffs. They’ve got old-fashioned candies and pop. I mean, it's like going back to when I was a little kid. They’ve got wooden toys and stuff that I used to play with, little fire engines and stuff like that. But it’s the Bit-oh-Honey and Bazooka and the Fanta. You just go back in time at Blickenstaffs.

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Enjoy outdoor water sports at …

There’s a reservoir called Jordanelle [Jordanelle State Park in Wasatch County]. What's really cool about this area … is they have all the [water] toys and all the boats [and] you rent them for the day. I took my family last summer, and we rented two boats and two Jet Skis and it was a blast.

spinner image one person on jet ski, while other is diving into water
Jordanelle offers ample space for picnicking, camping, boating, fishing and recreational water sports.
Rick Bowmer/AP Images


Take an amusement park ride at … 

My grandkids go there all the time: Lagoon [in Farmington, Utah]It's up north closer to Ogden, where I was actually born. That place is buzzing with young kids all throughout the summer [and has] roller coasters like you can’t believe.


Experience the atmosphere at …

The Bonneville Salt Flats [in Tooele County] is another place that I love going. I did a commercial out there and also a photo shoot for one of my albums. You talk about an amazing atmosphere: You feel like you're on another planet when you go out to the salt flats. If you can go out there when there is a [car] race [on the Bonneville Speedway], it’s pretty phenomenal. It’s an all-day event.

spinner image beautiful white salt crust with mountains far away in the distance beneath a blue sky
A 30,000 acre expanse comprised of white salt crust, The Bonneville Salt Flats are generally open to the public for recreational purposes.
Getty Images


Thrill seekers will love …

Utah Motorsports Campus [in Grantsville is] really cool. I took my boys up there and put them in race cars. I took a racing course. I actually won a couple of races — Grand Prix races — one in Long Beach and one in Denver, so I’d been teaching them little techniques of racing. I put them in cars and put them on the track. They just had the time of their lives. And they have a go-kart racing track. They kicked me out for being reckless. That is a fun place.

spinner image donny osmond wearing toyota racing outfit standing next to his car with three kids in front of him
Osmond fondly remembers his Grand Prix racing days, and has enjoyed taking his young sons go-kart racing at Utah Motorsports.

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