With winter approaching, the first thing you might associate with Salt Lake City is “The Greatest Snow on Earth”, but here are eight more things you can do in Salt Lake City, after skiing.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve been lucky enough to spend nearly 30 days in the beautiful, high desert community of Salt Lake City.
Sounds amazing, right?
But before you get too jealous, know that all of my travel to Salt Lake City has been for work. That means that, besides a few amazing meals, I’ve been able to experience next to nothing in the Crossroads of the West.
As I head there on yet another work trip, I thought I’d live vicariously through other travel bloggers who have been able to experience the things on my list of things to do and see in Salt Lake City.
Here are nine things you can do in Salt Lake City (that I hope to get to experience myself someday soon):
1. Ski the Slopes
With nearly one foot of perfect powder falling every five days during ski season, it’s no wonder Utah’s slogan is “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” The mountains around Salt Lake City are home to eight, world-class ski resorts and travelers flying into Salt Lake International Airport can be skiing in one of four of those ski resorts within an hour of landing.
Pro Tip: Read ten fun facts about Utah’s famous snow here.
2. Hike the Trails
When the snow melts in the mountains, hundreds of gorgeous hiking trails are exposed. Most of these trails are within 30 minutes of downtown Salt Lake City. In the summer months, it’s easy to leave work, hike a trail, and be back home (or in your hotel) before the sun sets.
When winter returns, these same trails are good for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
Meelad and Cassie over at Exsplore recommend these five sites as the best hiking trails in Salt Lake City. As luck would have it, I did get a chance to hike up to their first listing, Donut Falls, one evening during my last trip to Salt Lake City. However, I didn’t have the proper footwear to get in the water and continue to the donut-shaped hole and get a shot like theirs.
If you’re concerned that the difficulty level of trails recommended by outdoor adventure travelers like the folks at Exsplore might be too challenging (something that’s definitely crossed my mind), then check out the fun hikes with kids in Salt Lake City over at Jake’s Nature Blog.
3. Visit Olympic Park and Park City
Home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, Olympic Park is located near Park City, about 25 miles east of Salt Lake City. Whether you visit in the winter or summer, there is plenty to do and see at Olympic Park and in the surrounding Park City area.
In addition to two, free museums — one dedicated to skiing and the other to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games — Olympic Park has a variety of outdoor activities. See a complete list of activities, including age and weight requirements, at The Salt Project.
The Park City area surrounding Olympic Park offers a variety of activities based on the season.
In winter, there’s downhill skiing and snowboarding (of course), but also:
- cross-country skiing,
- ice skating,
- dog sledding,
- tubing, and
If you’re headed to Park City in the winter, be sure to read this post at Pint Size Pilot full of tips and fab photos.
When the snow and ice have melted into summer, you can:
- fly fish,
- ride horses,
- mountain bike,
- alpine slide,
- and zip line.
Pro Tip: Whether you stay in the Salt Lake Valley or go higher up into the mountains, you may be at a much higher altitude than at home so be sure to review these tips for adjusting to high altitudes.
4. Tour Temple Square
With more than five million visitors a year, Temple Square sees nearly two times more visitors than Utah’s most popular national park. Temple Square is home to the Salt Lake Tabernacle, where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir practices and performs, and the Salt Lake Temple.
Pro Tip: All 35 acres of Temple Square are lit for the holidays the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. View this year’s holiday lights schedule here.
Pro Tip: If you have at least a two-hour layover at the Salt Lake International Airport, you can request a free shuttle and tour of Temple Square.
5. Check Out the Capitol Building
Utah’s state capitol is a beautiful sight, even if only viewed from outside. Cherry blossoms fill the grounds in the spring, and high school seniors and brides regularly use it as a photography backdrop. Just to the east of the Capitol is Memory Grove Park full of trails and picnic tables.
If you want to see the inside, the building is open every day of the week, including weekends. However, guided tours are only offered during the week. See more photos of the inside of the capitol by The Traveling Todds.
6. Stick Your Toes in the Great Salt Lake
The city’s namesake, the Great Salt Lake, is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. It has a much higher salinity than seawater which makes swimming in the Great Salt Lake more of a floating experience.
For amazing photos of Antelope Island State Park, an island in the Great Salt Lake, and her experiencing camping on the Great Salt Lake, check out Alicia Glassmeyer’s post at Buddy the Traveling Monkey.
7. Relax in the Red Butte Garden
Red Butte Garden is a 100-acre botanical garden and arboretum on the eastern edge of the University of Utah. It includes more than 20 acres of developed gardens and five miles of hiking trails. If you visit Red Butte Garden between May and September, your admission to the garden includes a tram tour.
For more information about hiking the Red Butte Garden trails, check out Mathprofhiker’s Hiking Blog.
Pro Tip: Download maps of Red Butte’s main garden or the natural area here.
8. Stroll through the Salt Lake City Public Library
Designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie — the brilliant architect behind the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas — the Salt Lake City Public Library opened in February 2003. In addition to housing more than half a million books, periodicals, and other reference materials, it offers a six-story, curved, walkable wall and a rooftop garden that offers breathtaking views of the city and the Wasatch Mountains.
Related Article: 5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library
9. Grab Some Grub
The one thing I have been able to experience in Salt Lake City so far are some of the restaurants. I carefully plan a visit to Bruge’s Waffles and Frites into each business trip because they have the best frites this side of the Atlantic. And, after living in the Netherlands for more than three years, I take my frites very seriously!
I’ve also had a fantastic experience at:
- The Copper Onion, an American restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City
- Porcupine Pub & Grille, great food at the foot of the Wasatch National Forest
- Provisions, an ingredient-driven restaurant where the menu changes with the seasons
- Red Iguana, killer Mexican food that’s worth the wait
- Sea Salt, modern Italian with a phenomenal patio
I keep a list of Salt Lake City restaurants to try on my phone and try to visit at least one of them each trip. The folks at Gastronomic Salt Lake City are a great source for recommendations and reviews. I also love Foodie Crush’s Guide of Where to Eat in Salt Lake City, UT.
What about you? Have you had a chance to visit Salt Lake City? Share your experiences in the comments section below!