12 Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

From a thriving performing arts scene to the world's largest collection of genealogy records, it's a fantastic place to start your Rocky Mountain adventure.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Aerial view of Salt Lake City

An overhead view of Salt Lake City in Utah

Go to museums, browse galleries, go shopping, and sample delicious eats in Utah's capital city.

A convenient gateway to some of America's most stunning national parks, Salt Lake offers endless options for outdoor enthusiasts as well as cultural art lovers, families, and history buffs.

At the heart of downtown, visitors can browse museums and galleries, sample endless dining and shopping options, enjoy an arts festival, attend a Broadway musical, visit the zoo, catch a symphony or planetarium cosmic light show, or enjoy some picking at a farmers market. Nestled at the base of the Wasatch Range, you are also only minutes from streams and trails to hike and bike.

City Creek Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

City Creek Center

A recent addition to the bustling Salt Lake scene is City Creek Center. This 23-acre, sustainably designed mixed-use development includes retail stores, restaurants, and residential and office space. City Creek offers a unique shopping experience featuring 90-plus stores and restaurants, including Nordstrom, Macy's, Michael Kors, and Coach in a pedestrian-friendly environment.

City Creek is an outdoor-oriented shopping center, but features two fully retractable glass roofs spanning 500-plus feet total to ensure a year-round, climate-controlled environment as well as a pedestrian skybridge over Main Street connecting the two primary blocks of the project. Combining City Creek with the openings of two ground-breaking museums, Natural History Museum of Utah and The Leonardo, is proof that Salt Lake City is in the midst of an urban renaissance with a strong cultural slant.

And rounding it all out, Salt Lake City is also enjoying an explosion of incredible new restaurants featuring award-winning chefs, as well as new nightclubs and bars. Located just minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake and its cosmopolitan downtown provide the ideal gateway to and from America's most treasured national parks.

Getting Around Town

Utah Transit Authority provides transportation throughout the Salt Lake City metro area and surrounding region, including SLC airport, ski areas, and a free FLEX light rail system downtown. (rideuta.com)

Top 12 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Area:

Capitol Theatre

Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City

Capitol Theatre

Built in 1913, this elegant theatre is home to the Utah Opera but hosts everything from comedians to large-scale productions.

Historic Temple Square

Temple Square in Salt Lake City

Temple Square in Salt Lake City

This iconic attraction includes the temple, gardens and historic tours, although the temple itself is closed to tours. 

FamilySearch Center

This is the place to go for beginners wanting to research their family.

Family History Library

To really dig deep, head here where more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records live.

Gilgal Scupture Garden

Sculpture of Joseph Smith's head on a sphynx at the Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah

Sculpture of Joseph Smith's head on a sphynx at the Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Filled with 70 eccentric sculptures, including Joseph Smith's head on a sphynx, this small city park is free.

Natural History Museum of Utah

Exhibit at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah

Exhibit at the Natural History Museum

Located at the University of Utah's Rio Tinto Center, the Natural History Museum of Utah features exhibits and interactive displays about Utah's geology, ecology, and paleontology. The site of the museum in the Wasatch foothills adjoins several trailheads, and displays invite visitors to step outside as part of their tour. Admission is $11 for adults; $8 for children ages 3-12. Location: 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wed. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (nhmu.utah.edu)

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

This world-famous group holds free, public rehearsals on Thursday evenings in Temple Square.

Hogle Zoo

Hudson the Seal at Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo

Hudson the Seal at Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo

Home to more than 800 animals, this easy-to-navigate zoo offers opportunities to feed a rhino.

Antelope Island

Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake, Utah

Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake, Utah

As the largest island on the Great Salt Lake, Antelope is a major Pacific Flyway stop. The 28,000-acre Antelope Island State Park offers bird-watching information at the visitor center and a network of trails. Admission is $9 per vehicle. The island is located 41 miles north of Salt Lake City and accessible via causeway. Take exit 332 off I-15 and follow signs to Antelope Island. Open daily 7 a.m. to dusk.

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City in Utah

Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City in Utah

A National Scenic Byway, the 15-mile drive (one way) up Big Cottonwood Canyon climbs from Salt Lake high into the mountains. Trailheads on this road are part of Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Hike to Dog Lake, Lake Blanche under Sundial Peak, or Donut Falls. From Salt Lake City, take I-215 to 6200 South (the "Canyons" exit). Continue east on UT 152, following signs for Brighton Ski Area.

Red Butte Garden

The Middle Pond area of Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City

The Middle Pond area of Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City

Located in the Wasatch foothills, this botanic garden offers outdoor yoga seasonally and live concerts.

Utah Olympic Park

A father and daughter ride the alpine slide at Utah Olympic Park.

A father and daughter ride the alpine slide at Utah Olympic Park.

Ride on a bobsled, alpine slide or zipline at this fun, family-oriented park.

hr-green_300x4

For more information:
Visit Salt Lake
(800) 541-4955
visitsaltlake.com

Related

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

Moab's Top Seven

From a walk past life-sized dinosaurs to rafting the Colorado River, your family trip will be full of adventure.

Estes Park Aerial Tramway.

6 Things to Do in Estes Park

Known for its lodging, small-town charm, and knowledgeable outfitters, Estes Park serves Rocky Mountain National Park and access to the national forest.

Sunrise reflection at Grand Lake, Colo.

Grand Lake at the West Entrance Town to Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand Lake, Colo. is located just one mile from the West Entrance of the park and is home to the largest and deepest natural alpine lake in the state.

Inside one of the three cars at The Train Cars Coffee & Yogurt Company in Nederland

Top 10 Things to Do on a Day Trip to Nederland

Forty miles south of Estes Park along the Peak to Peak scenic byway, sits the small mountain town of Nederland, Colo. Nicknamed “Ned.”

Park Avenue rock formations in Arches National Park, Utah

5 Stops on Arches National Park's Scenic Drive

Don't miss these five awe-inspiring formations in Arches National Park that can be seen after a short stroll from their parking areas.

Paddleboarding in Sheep Creek on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Country's Desert Oasis

Take a break from the desert heat by jumping in the sparkling water and spend several days exploring this 91-mile-long reservoir.

Rafting on the Green River inside Dinosaur National Monument

Vernal's Hidden Gem says, "Welcome to Dinosaurland"

You’ll dig ancient animal history in Vernal, Utah, located close to Dinosaur National Monument

Sunrise at Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

6 Romantic Things to Do in Rocky Mountain Park

Rocky Mountain National Park and its two gateway towns offer a number of romantic ways to spend time together.

Glamping at Under Canvas near Zion National Park

Why Glamping is Great for Non-Campers

Want to sleep under the stars but prefer to skip sleeping bags, dirt and pit toilets? Try glamping near national parks across America.