9 Things to do in Salt Lake City

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.

9 things to do and see in Salt Lake City #slc #utah #visitutal #saltlakecity


Here are nine things you can do in Salt Lake City (that I hope to get to experience myself someday soon):

Ski Photo by Pint Size Pilot
Photo by Pint Size Pilot

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.

Everything you need to know about skiing Salt Lake City can be found at Ski Utah, including a complete list of resort opening dates for the 2017/2018 ski season.


Utah Ski Resorts by SkiUtah.com
Photo by Ski Utah

Pro Tip:  Read ten fun facts about Utah’s famous snow here.


Donut Falls in Salt Lake City Photo from Meelad at Exsplore.com
Photo by Exsplore.com


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.


Extreme tubing trail in Salt Lake City Photo by Melanie Woods
Photo by Melanie Woods


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
  • snowmobiling.

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,
  • golf,
  • ride horses,
  • mountain bike,
  • hike,
  • raft,
  • alpine slide,
  • and zip line.

I loved Adrienne Murphy‘s post about growing up in Salt Lake City and how amazing summertime is in the mountains.

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.


Temple Square in Salt Lake City by Jon the Road Again
Photo by Jon the Road Again

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.

Jonathan Rundle from Jon the Road Again has a fantastic post full of photos and more from his visit to Temple Square.

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.


Salt Lake City Capitol Building by Moosylicious
Photo by Moosylicious

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.

Inside the SLC Capitol by Traveling Todds
Photo by The Traveling Todds

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.

Pro Tip:  Salt Lake City’s bus and light rail systems (TRAX) are convenient, affordable ways to get around town. Most of the downtown area is fare free!



The Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, Utah
Photo by Alicia Glassmeyer

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.


Salt Lake City Bus Tour by Salty Spaces
Photo by Salty Spaces


Pro Tip:  See more of Salt Lake City by leaving the driving to US Bus Utah. Tours include the Trolley Tour, Double Decker Bus Tour, Great Salt Lake Tour, and Antelope Island Tour.


Red Butte Garden
Photo by Red Butte Garden

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.

Photo by MathProfHiker
Photo by Mathprofhiker from the Bennett Vista Trail

Pro Tip:  Download maps of Red Butte’s main garden or the natural area here.

SLC Public Library by Wandering Scientist
Photo by Wandering Scientist

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 Article5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library


The Copper Onion in Salt Lake City, UT
Photo by Gastronomic Salt Lake City

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!

Tour the state capital building and eight other things to do when you visit Salt Lake City, Utah #slc #saltlakecity #utah    Visit Temple Square and eight other things to do when you visit Salt Lake City, Utah #slc #saltlakecity #utah #temple #templesquare


4 thoughts on “9 Things to do in Salt Lake City

Share Your Thoughts