One of the unsung gems of the intermountain west, Salt Lake City offers a wide variety of activities and excursions. From concerts and art galleries to ski resorts and mountain ziplines, Salt Lake City offers all of the benefits of a metropolitan city while also being just minutes away from mountain adventure.
Founded in 1847 by Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers he led, the once small desert town is now a thriving metropolis of culture. Superstar performers are frequently having concerts at the Vivint Smart Home arena downtown and at least monthly the local art galleries will host a public stroll. While the Utah Jazz offers the only professional sports experience, Salt Lake’s minor league baseball team, the Salt Lake Bees, provides a fun, family-friendly ballpark experience. All in all, we love Salt Lake City and think there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Salt Lake City sites and activities.
This 10-acre complex is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is home to the famous Salt Lake City temple, the tabernacle, (home of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, formerly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), a visitor’s center, and several other historic buildings. During Christmas time the square is covered in an impressive array of lights. While always worth the visit, renovations of temple square, including the historic temple itself, started in January of 2020, so some parts of the square may be unavailable to visitors.
2. Tracy Aviary
Located in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, the Tracy Aviary is the oldest aviary in the United States. Boasting over 135 different bird species, the Tracy Aviary is a must-see on your Salt Lake visit. It’s open 363 days a year and can be rented out for special events such as weddings and birthday parties. For a more interactive experience, you can pay an additional fee and feed the birds.
3. Big Cottonwood Canyon
Southeast of Salt Lake City proper is Big Cottonwood Canyon. In the winters, enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding at the Brighton or Solitude ski resorts. In the summers, participate in hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, and many other outdoor activities.
Are you an art enthusiast? On the third Friday of every month, local galleries and businesses are open late to the public to display and showcase the work of local artists. Some businesses even offer discounts for gallery stroll participants.
Located in the southeastern portion of the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island is home to free-range bison, antelope, and many other animals. It’s a great place for mountain biking, camping, or just strolling along beach.
6. Hogle Zoo
Visiting the 42-acre Hogle Zoo is a must for anyone visiting Salt Lake City. With more than 800 animals to see, the zoo will keep you busy all day. Be sure to check their calendar for special events like paint nights and behind the scenes tours.
7. Liberty Park
The 80-acre Liberty Park is Salt Lake City’s second-largest public park. A popular spot for local residents, the park often hosts local events and is the site of the Tracy Aviary.
One of Salt Lake City’s many museums, the Natural History Museum of Utah showcases exhibits on Utah’s natural history and helps to educate visitors about the role humans play in the natural world.
9. State Capitol
Built between 1912 and 1916, the Utah State Capitol building is full of history and wonder. Stop by between 9 am and 4 pm on weekdays for a free tour
The Clark Planetarium first opened in April 2003. It features educational exhibits and shows and even has a nightly laser show choreographed to rock music.
Interested in your family history? Stop by the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake. Owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Family History Library is open to the public and free to use whether or not you’re a member of the church.
Want to access your inner lumberjack? Head over to Social Axe Throwing in Salt Lake City. Experts will show you how it’s done and if you find you’re a natural, there are leagues you can join.
By far the swankiest hotel in Salt Lake, the Grand America is a sight to behold. Book a stay, check out the spa, or just enjoy the grandeur of the lobby.
14. Top Golf
Want to try golf with a twist? Top Golf is a high tech driving range with sensors in every ball that tell you when you’ve hit one of their many targets. Try out different golf games and enjoy delicious food delivered right to your bay.
Considered the largest theater-style auditorium ever built, the 21,000 seat conference center is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and hosts cultural events and concerts as well as church conferences. Free tours are available daily when events are not being held.
16. Utah Jazz Game
The only professional sports team in Utah, the Utah Jazz have all their games at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Check their schedule and go see a game!
Located in the personal residence of Brigham Young, the Lion House Pantry is a restaurant that serves history and delicious food. Everything is great but be sure to try the rolls!
18. Ensign Peak
Want a hike with a great view that’s not too far from the city? Hike to the top of Ensign Peak! It was from this peak that Brigham Young and other early pioneers started laying out plans for Salt Lake City.
The premier shopping destination in Salt Lake, this giant mall offers over 100 stores, has a retractable glass roof and features a creek with fish running through the middle of it!
By far the best comedy club in the city, Wiseguys features local acts as well as nationally recognized comedians. Think you belong on the stage? They have an open mic night every Wednesday.