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Salt Lake City Activities

Things to Do In and Around Salt Lake City

Downtown Salt Lake City is home to many excellent restaurants and a host of local breweries and distilleries. Main Street’s lively dining and nightlife scene is within easy walking distance to the Hilton Hotel and is located on the TRAX, Salt Lake City’s light rail system; within downtown SLC’s “free fare zone,” there is no charge to ride TRAX. Locally-owned eateries, representing a variety of cuisines, are just a short TRAX or taxi ride away. From Utah’s own “fry sauce” to flown-in-daily fish, you can find almost any food or drink you might desire. If you would like to explore more of Salt Lake City and its environs – for an hour or for a day – please browse our excursion guide.

Museums and Attractions

Perhaps best known for its historic Temple Square, Salt Lake City is also home to several museums, theaters, and concert halls. Take a tour through Utah’s ancient geological environments, its extraordinary paleontological and extant biodiversity, and the history of its eight sovereign tribal nations at the Natural History Museum of Utah (the host for our evening reception on March 24). Examine  an impressive collection of nineteenth-century artifacts at The Pioneer Memorial Museum or check out an exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, or the innovative and experiential Leonardo (a great educational excursion especially for families). You can catch a show at Eccles Theater or the Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall. Early Spring is also a great time to explore one of the largest botanical gardens in the Intermountain West at Red Butte Garden.

Nineteenth-Century Interest

The neo-Gothic Salt Lake City Temple (built 1853-1893) sits at the center of Temple Square, a gated city block overseen by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Square also features the Salt Lake City Tabernacle (1864-1875), noted for its massive dome, original hand-crafted organ, and impeccable acoustics, and the intricately-designed Gothic Revival Assembly Hall (1877-1882).  The nearby Beehive House (1854) was the primary residence of Brigham Young while he was both President of the Latter-day Saint Church and Territorial Governor. The Salt Lake City and County Building (1891-1894) exhibits an ornate Romanesque style and now buttresses downtown’s Library Square. Utah’s vast nineteenth-century railroad wealth is on full display in the McCune Mansion (1898-1901), built by the tycoon for whom it is named. The Salt Lake City Cemetery contains a myriad of curious and haunting nineteenth-century gravestones in a serene setting, representative of its origins in the rural cemetery movement. 

Day Trips

Those wishing to travel a little further afield will find much to explore in the Salt Lake City region. Park City, located just forty-five minutes away, was once a nineteenth-century silver mining boomtown and is now home to the Sundance Film Festival, the High West Saloon, and numerous restaurants, galleries, and boutiques.  The Park City Museum tells the nineteenth- and twentieth-century histories of this mining town. For those wishing to explore the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island State Park and Robert Smithson’s iconic 1970 earthwork, Spiral Jetty, are both within a two-hour drive. Other nearby attractions include the visually arresting Bonneville Salt Flats and Golden Spike National Historic Park, the site of the 1869 completion of the first transcontinental railroad. 

Local Parks and Trailheads

Situated as it is at the mouth of three canyons, Salt Lake City provides lots of options for outdoor recreation and urban hiking. Memory Grove Park is located just over a mile from the Hilton Hotel, in the lower City Creek Canyon, and is perfect for walkers and runners. Hikers need only travel a little further up the canyon to access well maintained trails that connect to the expansive Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Popular hikes include the quick climb to Ensign Peak, where Brigham Young and his fellow pioneers mapped out their plans for Salt Lake City, or the scenic overlook provided by the Living Room Trail, located in the foothills above the Natural History Museum. More serious hikers may want to take a 20-minute car ride to explore the many trails of  Millcreek Canyon. For family-friendly recreation, This is the Place Heritage Park offers a glimpse of Utah’s history and Liberty Park features several playgrounds and sports facilities, as well as the Tracy Aviary and Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts.

Skiing and Snowboarding in Utah

Utah is world-renowned for its powder-perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding. March is the perfect time to explore the slopes and enjoy warmer spring weather, and with nine world-class ski resorts within driving distance, it is easy to turn a visit to Salt Lake City into a ski holiday. You can hop  on the ski bus and take public transportation to Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood Canyons, where you will find Brighton, Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird Resorts. Brighton Resort, in particular, is where many locals learn to ski and kids under age 10 ski free. For those willing to drive, Park City, UT is home to Park City Mountain and Deer Valley, Sundance Mountain Resort is located in Provo, UT, and Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are located just outside of Ogden,  UT.

National and State Parks

Utah is home to five national parks, several national monuments, and numerous state parks. Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park are distinctive for their breathtaking canyons and striking red rock formations, and all are located near the adventure-seeker’s capital of Moab, in the southeastern part of the state. Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park span from south-central to southwestern Utah and are known for their stunning vistas and unique geological features, such as monoclines (wrinkles in the earth) and hoodoos (spires of rock). For a look into Utah’s Pre-Colombian past, Anasazi State Park allows visitors to tour an Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloan)  village occupied between 1050 and 1200 C.E. Nine Mile Canyon, "the world's longest art gallery," is home to an estimated 1,000 rock art sites and over 10,000 petroglyphs, painted pictographs, and other works of art created by the Fremont culture and indigenous Ute people.

 

Last Updated: 9/10/21