Charles Barkley’s “Boring Ass City” Comment Sparks Utah Man’s Billboard Retaliation Featuring Activities Not in Salt Lake City

This past February, Salt Lake City hosted the NBA All Star game at Vivint Arena. It had been 30 years since Salt Lake had the honor of the All Star Game. During a telecast, Charles Barkley called out Salt Lake City for being a “Boring Ass City”.

Barkley said “These people going to heaven up this way. Ain’t nothing to do in this boring ass city. Ain’t nothing to do here. It’s a great city. But ain’t nothing to do here … I never ate so much room service in my life. Can’t smoke, can’t drink. These people going to heaven. ”

Barkley is not entirely wrong in his criticism of Utah’s alcohol laws. In the past, restaurants were required to construct a 7-foot barrier to shield children from seeing the pouring of drinks, but this requirement was lifted a few years ago. Although the alcohol percentage was increased from 3.2 to 5% three years ago, the legislature subsequently lowered the blood alcohol level threshold to .05, making it the lowest threshold in the United States.

In Utah, food must be purchased with any alcoholic beverage, unless the establishment has a sign that says “this is a bar,” in which case no food purchase is necessary. Interestingly, Utah, a Republican state that generally supports less government control, regulates all alcohol above 5%.

To counter Barkley’s “boring ass city” comments, a local man put up four billboards highlighting activities that demonstrate that Salt Lake City is anything but dull. As he put it, “Out of spite, I put up a few billboards throwing shade at Charles Barkley and his ‘boring a** city’ comments.”

a group of billboards with images of a man skiing

The problem is that the billboards actually prove Barkley’s point, as commenters pointed out, by featuring activities that cannot be done in Salt Lake City, such as visiting national parks or skiing.

“To be fair, while all of these things are great, none are actually IN the city.”
“Sure, but if you’re a former NBA star, entering his 60’s… it IS a boring ass city.
The bars are all spaced out. Parking is shit. liquor laws mean you can’t order bottles for a large group in a vip section, etc…”
“If you’re just in the city for a weekend, and you’re not someone capable of skiing/rock climbing etc… then this city DOES suck. We have fewer bars, fewer venues, fewer shows, fewer everything.”
“I do not understand people getting upset at their point of view. It’s a very realistic point of view considering MOST people don’t ski or rock climb or do any outdoor recreation, really. For most people, this is not an ideal city to spend a weekend in. Hard to argue otherwise.”
“I am an outdoor enthusiast… so this city and state work great for me. But I’m fully aware that most people do not have the money or time invested in those sorts of hobbies to make use of the city’s geographic privilege.”

Personally, I find Salt Lake City to be just fine. It offers plenty of public transportation, thanks to the 2002 Olympics, as well as a major NBA franchise, a thriving music scene that includes many alternative music artists, and a diverse culinary scene. Salt Lake City was once known only for The Osmonds and Jell-O, but it has matured into a more inclusive city that offers much more than it once did.”


  1. SLC has some really interesting things to do and isn’t that boring. Alcohol is much easier to get in recent years in Utah, but that is a state-wide thing. Besides, I don’t think you “need” liquor to keep from being bored. I’m a sports fan but the NBA is boring in my opinion. Another thing is that Charles Barkley lives in Scottsdale Arizona. It ain’t exactly exciting there most of the time. Hot as hades in the Summer and block after block of planned city. In defense of the billboards, the skiing is nearly in town up the hill at Park City.

  2. I was playing blackjack a few days ago in Las Vegas, chatting with the dealer, and the subject of neighboring states came up. I mentioned that I hadn’t been to Utah since I was very young and was told that I wasn’t missing much by not returning. I’m not sure that’s completely correct but I found it interesting.

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