This American State Has Three Michelin Stars

That's right — it's not just restaurants.

Photo: © AndreyKrav / Getty Images

The tire company famous for awarding stars to the best restaurants in the world also recognizes tourist destinations for their excellence, and Utah made the cut. Indeed, the Beehive State was the first U.S. state to receive three stars from Michelin in 2018. While you won't find any Michelin-starred restaurants in Salt Lake City, there are plenty of other reasons to visit.

"Utah is a beautiful state, a destination worth making a special trip for American and international visitors, including the French who love it," said Philippe Orain, the international director of Michelin Travel Guides, in a statement. "I am happy and glad to give this recognition for the high quality of service, the beauty of its world-class landscapes, and the concentration of three Michelin Star National Parks (the highest of the U.S. with Zion, Bryce, Arches, and Canyonlands)."

The state was, of course, delighted with the honor.

"This is the first time in Michelin history, the hundred years they have published this, that they have recognized a state as [a] tourism destination that you simply must see," Utah Office of Tourism Director Vicki Varela told KPCW. "They describe it as essential, exceptional, worth a journey in itself."

In the Michelin Green Guides for travel, destinations follow a three-star rating system, similar to the one used for restaurants. Editors of the guide use nine weighted criteria to assess a destination, and three stars were awarded to Utah largely due to the state's exceptional local hospitality, as well as visitors' accessibility to hidden gems and The Mighty 5 national parks.

And what's not to love about Utah? There's a fantastic artisanal chocolate scene, bourgeoning farm-to-table movement, and a craft cocktail culture that rivals any global destination.

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