The city is the home of Brigham Young University, a private higher education institution operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Provo also has the largest Missionary Training Center for the LDS Church. The city is a focus area for technology development in Utah, with several billion dollar startups operating in Provo. The city's Peaks Ice Arena was a venue for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. Sundance Resort is located 13 miles (21 km) northeast at Provo Canyon.
In 2015, Provo was cited among the "Best Small And Medium-Size Cities For Jobs," and Utah County, where Provo is the largest municipality, was named by the BLS for highest job growth for the year. In 2013, Forbes ranked Provo the No. 2 city on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Provo was ranked first for community optimism (2012) and first in health/well-being (2014).
The area was originally called Timpanogots (meaning "rocky") and was inhabited by the Timpanogos (meaning "fish eaters"). It was the largest and most settled area in modern-day Utah. The ample food from the Provo River made the Timpanogos a peaceful people. The area also served as the traditional meeting place for the Ute and Shoshone tribes and as a spot to worship their creator.
Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante, a Spanish Franciscan missionary-explorer, is considered the first European explorer to have visited the area, in 1776. He was guided by two Timpanogos Utes, whom he called Silvestre and Joaquin. Escalante chronicled this first European exploration across the Great Basin desert. The Europeans did not build a permanent settlement, but traded with the Timpanogos whom they called Lagunas (lake people) or Come Pescado (fish eaters).
In 1847, the Mormon Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, which was just north of Timpanogos Mountain. At first, they were friendly with the Mormons. But, as relations deteriorated with the Shoshoni and Utes because of land claims and stealing of livestock by the Indians, tensions rose. Because of the reported stolen goods of settlers by the Utes, Brigham Young gave a small militia orders "to take such measures as would put a final end to their [Indian] depredations in future." This ended in what is known as the Battle Creek Massacre, in modern-day Pleasant Grove, Utah.
The Mormons continued pushing into Timpanog lands. In 1849, 33 Mormon families from Salt Lake City established Fort Utah. In 1850, Brigham Young sent an army from Salt Lake to drive out the Timpanogos in what is called the Provo War. The ruthlessness of the Mormon invaders angered the Timpanog, which contributed to the Walker War. Fort Utah was renamed Provo in 1850 for Étienne Provost, an early French-Canadian trapper who arrived in the region in 1825.
Provo lies in the Utah Valley at an elevation of 4,549 feet (1,387 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.2 square miles (114.4 km2), of which 41.7 square miles (107.9 km2) is land and 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), or 5.66%, is water.
The Wasatch Range contains many peaks within Utah County along the east side of the Wasatch Front. One of these peaks, known as Y Mountain, towers over the city. There is a large hillside letter Y made of whitewashed concrete halfway up the steep mountain, built in the early part of the 20th century to commemorate Brigham Young University (original plans included construction of all three letters: BYU). Wild deer (and less frequently, cougars, and moose) still roam the mountains (and occasionally the city streets). The geography allows for hiking, skiing, fishing and other outdoor activities.
At the 2010 census, 112,488 people, 31,524 households and 21,166 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,697.6 per square mile (1,042.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.8% White, 0.7% Black or African American, 0.8% American Indian, 2.5% Asian, 1.1% Pacific Islander, 6.6% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.2% of the population.
There were 31,524 households of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 12.8% of all households were made up of a single individual, and 4.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.24 and the average family size was 3.41.
22.3% of residents are under the age of 18, 36.4% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 10.5% from 45 to 64, and 5.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23.3 years. For every 100 females there were 98.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.
At the 2000 census, 105,166 people, 29,192 households and 19,938 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,653.2 per square mile (1,024.3/km²). There were 30,374 housing units at an average density of 766.3 per square mile (295.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.52% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.80% American Indian, 1.83% Asian, 0.84% Pacific Islander, 5.10% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.47% of the population.
There were 29,192 households of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 11.8% of all households were made up of a single individual, and 4.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.34 and the average family size was 3.40.
22.3% of residents were under the age of 18, 40.2% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 8.6% from 45 to 64, and 5.7% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 23 years. For every 100 females there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median household income was $34,313 and the median family income was $36,393. Males had a median income of $32,010 and females $20,928. The per capita income was $13,207. About 12.5% of families and 26.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.
The residents of Provo are predominantly members of the LDS Church, commonly described as Mormons. According to data taken in 2000 by the ARDA, 88% of the overall population, and 98% of religious adherents in the Provo-Orem area are LDS. According to a study in 2015, the Provo-Orem metro area is about as dissimilar to the rest of America as possible. Weighing factors such as race, housing, income and education, the study ranked Provo-Orem 376th of 381 of the United States' largest cities in terms of resemblance to the country.
The breakdown in 2000 was:LDS - 98.0%
Catholic - 1.1%
Protestant - 0.8%
Other - 0.2%
Provo has more than 100 restaurants (with over 60 in the downtown area) and a couple of shopping centers. The Shops At Riverwoods and Provo Towne Centre, both shopping malls, operate in Provo. Several small shops, music venues and boutiques have popped up in downtown, along Center Street and University Avenue. Downtown has also begun regularly hosting "gallery strolls", held every first Friday of the month, featuring local artists. There are many different dining establishments in and around downtown Provo. A few exclusively downtown Provo examples include A Beuford Giffords, aka ABGs, one of only three bars in all of Provo and the only bar to host live music every weekend; and Tommy Burger, a burger stand noted for burgers and Chicago-style hot dogs.
Five Provo companies are listed on Inc.com's Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.The largest, DieCuts With a View, is ranked number 1403 and has revenues of $26.2 million. Other companies on the list are VitalSmarts (ranked 4109, with $41.4 million in revenue), and Connect Public Relations (ranked 3694, with $6.1 million in revenue). The global recreation and entertainment company Ryze Trampoline Parks, with locations throughout Asia, Europe and the U.S., is headquartered in Provo.
MediaWorks Inc., one of Utah's premiere film and video production companies, was founded in Provo in 1998 and continues to provide production services to companies throughout the United States.
The Food & Care Coalition is a local organization providing services to the homeless and low-income citizens of Provo and Utah County. They also provide volunteer opportunities.Action Target, a shooting range manufacturer
Aquaveo is a water modeling software company with customers in almost all countries around the world.
Morinda Bioactives (formerly Tahitian Noni International) is a multi-level marketing health and skin care manufacturer whose products are based on the Tahitian fruit called noni.
Nu Skin Enterprises, a multi-level marketing firm for skin care products, was founded in 1984. In 2005, some 82 percent of revenues for the $1.5B USD company were generated through markets in Asia.
Qualtrics, a private research software company.
Vivint (formerly APX Alarm Security Solutions) is a residential security company with customers in the United States, New Zealand, and Canada.
According to Provo's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:
Every July, Provo hosts America's Freedom Festival at Provo which includes the Stadium of Fire at BYU. It is held in LaVell Edwards Stadium, home to Brigham Young University's NCAA football team. The Independence Day festivities are quite popular among local residents and have featured such notable figures as Bob Hope, David Hasselhoff, Reba McEntire, Mandy Moore, Huey Lewis and the News, Toby Keith, Sean Hannity, Fred Willard and Taylor Hicks. In 2015, the event included performances by Journey and Olivia Holt, and was hosted by the television personality Montel Williams.
Provo has two other large festivals each fall. Festival Latinoamericano is an annual family-oriented Labor Day weekend event in downtown Provo that offers the community a taste of the region's Hispanic culture through ethnic food, vendors, and performances.
The city has hosted an annual LGBT Provo Pride Festival since 2013.
The Covey Center for the Arts, a performing arts center, is located on 425 West Center Street. It features plays, ballets, art showcases and musical performances throughout the year. The size of the building is 42,000 total square feet. The main performance hall seats 670 people. There are three dance studios furnished with piano, ballet bars and mirrors. Another theater is the Brinton Black Box Theater that seats 60 for smaller more intimate events. There are also two art galleries: 1,620 square-foot Secured Gallery and the Eccles Gallery in the lower lobby.
Provo is the location of the LDS Church's largest Missionary Training Center. Each week some 475 LDS missionaries enter for 3–12 weeks of training before they depart for the mission field, becoming part of more than 58,000 in more than 120 countries. About 1,100 instructors (many returned missionaries) teach 62 languages. The center in Provo began construction in July 1974 and was completed in July 1976. The MTC was expanded in the early 1990s to become the largest of 17 such centers in the world.
The Provo City Library is a public library which occupies the building of the former Brigham Young Academy built in 1892. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Its collection contains over 277,000 media. The library is located on University Avenue and 550 North.
Finished construction in 2013, the center provides a location for aquatic recreation next to the Provo Power plant.
The Provo Utah Temple is located at the base of Rock Canyon in Provo. This temple is among the busiest the LDS Churches due to its proximity to Brigham Young University and the Missionary Training Center.
The Provo City Center Temple used to be the Provo Tabernacle, an LDS tabernacle completed in 1898 that is owned by the LDS Church. It was almost completely destroyed by fire on December 17, 2010. Only the brick skeleton of the Provo Tabernacle remained at the corner of 100 South and University Avenue. On October 1, 2011, Thomas S. Monson, president of the LDS Church, announced that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt using the surviving original exterior to serve as a second LDS temple in Provo. The completion of the new temple will make Provo only the second city with two temples within its city limits, the other being South Jordan, Utah. It is also only the second instance of a tabernacle being repurposed as a temple, the first being the Vernal Utah Temple.
The Utah Valley Convention Center opened in 2012. It has 83,578 square feet of combined meeting, pre-function and garden space.Bridal Veil Falls (Utah), Provo Canyon, Utah County, Utah - A scenic waterfall located 10 miles Northeast of Provo
Brigham Young University Arboretum
BYU Museum of Paleontology
Crandall Historical Printing Museum, located at 275 East Center Street; this museum focuses on different printing methods and impact on society
LaVell Edwards Stadium - home of the NCAA college football BYU Cougars as well Stadium of Fire, an annual 4th of July fireworks show and concert
The Marriott Center - home of the NCAA college basketball BYU Cougars. The Marriott Center is also used for large university gatherings, such as devotionals, guest lectures, and graduation ceremonies
(Mount Timpanogos) Timpanogos Peak - the mountain shaped like a "Lady" lies on her back forms the northern horizon of Provo
Peaks Ice Arena, hockey venue for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games
Crandall Historical Printing Museum, located at 275 East Center Street; this museum focuses on different printing methods and impact on society
The Provo River, a river known for fishing and the Provo River Parkway, a paved bicycle and walking trail adjacent to the river
Reed O. Smoot House, a National Historic Landmark, located at 183 East 100 South
Seven Peaks Water Park, the largest water park in Utah.
The Shops At Riverwoods, a center of residences, retails, and entertainment located at the mouth of Provo Canyon
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, a national forest on the Wasatch Front bordering the east edge of Provo and Utah Valley
Utah Lake, a fresh-water lake popular for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities
Federally, Provo is part of Utah's 3rd congressional district, represented by Republican Jason Chaffetz, elected in 2008.
Provo is administered by a seven-member city council and a mayor. Five of the council seats are elected by individual districts of the city, and two of the seats are elected by the city as a whole. These elected officials serve a term of four years, with elections alternating every two years. Provo has a Mayor–council government, which creates two separate but equal branches of government. The mayor is chief executive of the city and the council is the legislative and policy making body of the city. Mayor John Curtis has been in office since January 5, 2010 and was re-elected in late 2013 with 86 percent of the vote.
Brigham Young University (BYU) is a private university operated by the LDS Church. BYU is the third-largest private university in the United States, with more than 34,000 students. It is the flagship of the LDS Church Educational System of higher education. On the campus is the Spencer W. Kimball Tower, the tallest building in Provo.
Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions is a private, for-profit university emphasizing graduate healthcare education. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). RMUoHP offers programs in nursing practice, physical therapy, occupational therapy and health science. RMUoHP will be building Utah County's first new medical school.
Provo College is a private, for-profit educational institution that specializes in career education. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Provo College offers associate degrees and diplomas in fields such as nursing, medical assisting, criminal justice, graphic design, and office administration.
All public schools in Provo are run through the Provo School District. The school board is composed of seven members, each representing a different district of the city. There are thirteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools. Provo High School was the first school in Utah County to be an IB World school. The school has a record of 4A state basketball championships. More state champions than any other school in the state. Timpview High School has a record of 4A state football championships.
Interstate 15 runs along the west edge of Provo, connecting it with the rest of the Wasatch Front and much of Utah. US-89 runs northwest to southeast through the city as State Street, while US-189 connects US-89 with I-15, BYU, and Orem to the north. At the north edge of the city, US-189 heads northeast into Provo Canyon, where it connects with Heber.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Provo station, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicago, Illinois, and Emeryville, California (near San Francisco). Provo also can be accessed by Greyhound Bus Lines and the extensive Utah Transit Authority (UTA) bus system. UTA's commuter rail service, FrontRunner, opened an extension to Provo from Salt Lake City on December 10, 2012. The Provo Intermodal Center, located adjacent to the Amtrak station, connects the FrontRunner with local bus routes.
The Provo Municipal Airport is Utah's second busiest airport in terms of the number of aircraft take-offs and landings. Allegiant Airlines offers commercial service to Phoenix, Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego. Salt Lake City International Airport is the closest international airport.
Provo is home (or hometown) to many well known people, including The Osmonds (including Donny, Marie, and the Osmond Brothers), LDS apostle Dallin H. Oaks, and NFL and BYU quarterback Steve Young. Robert Redford also maintains a home at the nearby Sundance Resort, just up Provo Canyon.
Provo City has three sister cities designated by Sister Cities International