Salt Lake City was established in 1847 by a group of Mormon settlers that was led by Brigham Young, who were looking for a place with the sole objective to find a site, where they could practice their faith and beliefs without any external restrictions of any kind.
With several monumental institutions being built over the coming years such as the Salt Lake Temple and the Brigham Young University and various other institutions, Salt Lake City observed a fast expansion as a heart of Mormon culture and industry. The city had an era of development and prosperity especially in the early 1900s.
This beautiful city is located at the intersection of several significant thoroughfares which made it a very significant center for trade and commerce and business in the western part of the United States. It is known by the nickname “Crossroads of the West”.
The city is a significant hub for mining, agriculture, and outdoor recreation owing to its location at the base of the Wasatch Mountains and close to the Great Salt Lake. With diverse inhabitants and strong arts and technological communities, Salt Lake City is still a crossroads of culture and ideas today.
1. Crossroads of the West-Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City, the state capital of Utah, is an intriguing and popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. There is no lack of things to do and see in this vibrant city with its breathtaking natural scenery, rich history, and flourishing cultural scene.
Salt Lake City, Utah has activities for everyone, from seeing world-class museums and art galleries to going on outdoor excursions in the adjacent mountains and national parks.
2. What to do in Salt Lake City
Today, Salt Lake City is a dynamic, multicultural metropolis with a booming economy. It also has a rich cultural legacy and continues to be a significant Mormon Church hub, as well as a center for technology, education, and outdoor leisure.
With so many surrounding ski resorts in the winter, easy access to the outdoors, and a vibrant bar and nightlife scene.
3. List of 10 Things to Do in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is the ideal destination to tick off your bucket list if you enjoy the outdoors, are interested in history, or are just searching for an exciting and different travel experience.
We’re going to look at 10 of the best fun things to do in Salt Lake City in this guide, including well-known sights and concealed treasures.
3.1. Discover the Unique Ecosystem of the Great Salt Lake
From which Salt Lake City, Utah derives its name, the Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in North America, west of the Mississippi River in Utah and 30 miles west of downtown Salt Lake City; covering an area of 1,700 square miles.
It is one of the most unique wonders of the world. Why? Because the color of the lake appears pink.
At the lake, there are plenty of activities to choose from. You can take a boat ride, go fishing, or have a picnic next to the water while admiring this gorgeous Utah locale.
Both tourists, as well as locals alike, relish visiting the Great Salt Lake. Visitors can take a boat tour to see the lake’s countless islands and beaches or swim in the lake, though the high salt content might make it difficult to float.
The lake is a well-liked site for bird-watching and offers spectacular sunsets as well. The surrounding mountains also add scenic beauty to the place.
The lake is known for being a haven for migratory bird species like golden eagles, barn owls, and American Avocets and is home to a diverse natural habitat.
Additionally, it is bordered by fantastic camping areas and hiking trails.
Thus, the Great Salt Lake is an intriguing and distinctive natural wonder providing a glimpse into the magnitude and grandeur of nature.
3.2. Explore the History of Salt Lake City through its Museums
There is a great deal of museums in Salt Lake City, Utah that highlights the rich cultural and historical legacy of the city.
Some of Salt Lake City’s most notable museums are listed below:
3.2.1. Natural History Museum of Utah
Located at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain Range on the University of Utah campus is the Natural History Museum of Utah, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Salt Lake City.
The Natural History Museum of Utah is a recognized research and collections organization committed to offering enthralling exhibitions and instructive programs on the natural history of the state and the world.
This museum houses an extensive array of artifacts and displays the biodiversity and natural history of Utah and the surrounding areas.
It is an excellent site for people who are interested in learning more about the geology, archaeology, and paleontology of the region.
Uncover the evolution of the native plants and animals while studying the ancient Egyptians, the Navajo tribes, and ancient Egypt.
The Natural History Museum also features exhibits on wildlife and Native American culture and a variety of intriguing permanent displays, such as the well-liked Dinosaur Gallery along with revolving special exhibitions that highlight the work of modern artists, scientists, and historians.
The museum’s Traveling Treasures program makes a few exceptional historical exhibits accessible for on-site viewing.
Thus, the Natural History Museum of Utah offers visitors a distinctive and fascinating experience owing to its dedication towards excellence in research and education and is also an ideal location for families and students since it provides a range of educational programs for visitors of all ages.
3.2.2. Utah Museum of Fine Arts
First established in the year 1950 the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is a marvelous museum with a large selection of artwork from all cultures and eras, including ancient civilizations and contemporary artists.
Its permanent collections include more than 17,000 artifacts that are not merely limited to pieces from around Salt Lake City but across the globe.
The museum is embellished with a well-balanced mixture of ancient and contemporary pieces, allowing you a wide range of styles to enjoy, which comprises American, European, and Asian artworks.
People can get an up-close glance at rare and distinctive works of art at these shows.
Special exhibitions exhibiting the work of particular artists or groups are frequently presented at the museum.
The museum provides a range of workshops and events to educate visitors about the various forms of art on show.
Thus, people can visit the Utah Museum of Fine Arts to witness the opulence and diversity of art from other cultures.
3.2.3. Pioneer Memorial Museum
One of the enjoyable things to do in Salt Lake City is visit the Pioneer Memorial Museum, operated by the daughters of Utah Pioneers.
The primary objective of the museum is to uphold the history and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of the early settlers in Utah.
The displays are lined with written artifacts, information and data collections, photographs, and enormous memorabilia collections along with the Mormon Trail and handcart businesses.
Dresses, quilts, music, medicine, and other relics that migrants of the Latter-Day Saints utilized throughout their historic trek to Salt Lake City are among the many items housed in the museum.
There are also some very intriguing display pieces, like rattlesnake rattles, hair art made in the style of Queen Victoria, and a petrified potato.
Therefore, for anybody passionate about the history of the American West and the pioneering spirit that shaped it, the Pioneer Memorial Museum is a fascinating and insightful stop.
Thus, visitors interested in history, culture, science, and art can experience an enormous range of attractions in the museums of Salt Lake City. These museums are certainly worth a visit, regardless of whether you live in the city or are just passing through.
3.3. Temple Square
Located in the center of downtown Salt Lake City is the Temple Square (Salt Lake City Temple) which serves as the headquarter of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) or the Salt Lake Temple, often referred to as Mormons.
With its striking architecture and imposing construction, covering 10 acres and encircled by stunning vegetation, Temple Square stands out as the top Salt Lake City attraction.
Numerous additional well-known locations, including the Tabernacle Choir, Church History Museum, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, LDS Conference Center, Family History Library, and a ton of other places you ought to visit may be found in Temple Square.
3.3.1. Church History Museum
The Church History Museum at Temple Square is made up of a variety of objects that trace the history of the LDS Church from its inception in the early 19th century to the present day, including manuscripts, journals, works of art, and pictures.
A replica of the original printing press used to print the Book of Mormon, first published in 1830, is one of the museum’s centerpieces.
The lives of notable members of the church’s past, such as Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, can also be studied by visitors.
The museum also offers a range of interactive exhibits and engaging educational programs that draw visitors in while they learn about the background and doctrine of the church.
3.3.2. Tabernacle Choir
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is one of the Salt Lake City attractions that no visitor should skip.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints choir formerly known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is a well-known choir made up of over 360 volunteer singers.
From hymns and popular songs to classical choral compositions, the choir’s repertoire covers a variety of musical genres.
Over the years, they have published several albums, several of which have garnered accolades and received several awards.
Every Sunday at 9.30 am, a live stream of the choir’s performance is given.
If you happen to be in Utah between September and November or between January and May, you can observe them in action in person at no charge.
3.3.3. Family History Library
Located in downtown Salt Lake City at Temple Square run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this wonderful library opened in the year 1894.
With more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed footage, hundreds of thousands of books, and an extensive array of maps, journals, and other resources, it is the largest genealogical research facility in the world.
Its broad resources have enabled millions of people from various nations to learn more about themselves and their ancestry.
This library offers a ton of activities, and numerous workshops and classes at Temple Square, Salt Lake City.
More than 30 languages are available to be used for this help, and you will be taught how to access the library’s resources, databases, and records.
What’s more? Its services are mostly gratuitous.
Anyone interested in learning more about their family history should visit the Family History Library.
3.3.4 Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Joseph Smith Memorial Building was founded at Temple Square and constructed in 1911; initially, a hotel has now been renovated as a conference facility in honor of Joseph Smith, the founder and the first prophet of the LDS Church.
In addition, Joseph Smith Memorial Building houses a theater, a museum, and a cafe and hosts over 600 events.
There is also the “Legacy Theater” a 500-seat theater inside that screens motion pictures pertaining to the background and doctrine of the LDS Church.
Therefore, Temple Square shouldn’t be missed by anyone having an interest in religious history, architecture, or culture. It is a singular and fascinating location to explore because of its magnificent buildings, lovely gardens, and rich history.
3.4. Utah State Capitol Building
Built in 1916, this marvelous Beaux-Arts edifice- Utah State Capitol Building situated at Capitol Hill ought to be visited by every history or architectural aficionado.
The Utah State Capitol Building with its incredible structure and breathtaking views of the Salt Lake Valley is regarded as one of Utah’s most notable landmarks.
It is situated on Capitol Hill and rises 300 feet into the air and is opulently adorned with a dome topping that is visible from across the city and the insides of which are delicately furnished by marble.
The area that is accessible to tourists is embellished with collections of objects from Salt Lake City and elsewhere, providing a rich insight into the state and its ideals.
The Golden Room, where the Governor hosts banquets, as well as other intriguing galleries equipped with changing displays are both worth seeing as well.
The Utah State Capitol remains open 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) from 7 am to 8 pm.
There are three ways to see the Utah State Capitol’s interior: with a guide, on your own, or virtually. Although all tours are free, each one presents a different viewpoint. Plan to attend a docent-led tour, which is offered every weekday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Also, if you decide on taking the Salt Lake trolley tours then this destination is covered by it so you won’t have to worry about getting off track while visiting your listed locations.
3.5. Visit Salt Lake City Attractions Which Include Its Parks and Gardens
There are many lovely parks and gardens in Salt Lake City, Utah that provide breathtaking natural landscapes and interesting activities. Here are a few examples of the same:
3.5.1. Liberty Park
Visit Liberty Park, the largest public park in Utah covering 80 acres, located in downtown Salt Lake City.
Liberty Park offers something for everyone making it one of the most appealing places to visit in Salt Lake City.
It features a basketball court for athletes, a playground for kids, and a picnic space for families.
In addition to basketball and volleyball courts, tennis courts, and a swimming pool, the park has a number of sporting amenities. For kids, there is a playground and a water play area.
For adults trying to get some exercise, there is a skate park, a jogging trail ideal for a morning walk or an afternoon stroll, biking trails, as well as a pond where people can go fishing or even hike through the gorgeous, lush green scenery, as well as stop at a variety of interesting locations along the way.
Among others, the main highlight of Liberty Park is its enormous pond, where visitors can hire paddleboats in the summer and go ice skating during the winter.
Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden are also located here at Liberty Park which serves as a botanical garden and bird shelter where apart from housing an extensive collection of plants and flowers it is also home to more than 500 different bird species.
Hence, the park is a renowned location for every kind of activity making Liberty Park a must-visit destination in Salt Lake City, Utah.
3.5.2 Red Butte Garden
On the University of Utah, the campus is a botanical garden and arboretum called Red Butte Garden.
You may bring some bite to eat and take a break at one of the many picnic sites or meander through the Red Butte Garden appreciating the colorful blooms and greenery. Or simply immerse yourself in the musical performances that take place in an amphitheater during summer.
There are over five miles of trails covering a dozen acres of gardens with specific themes like the Water Conservation Garden, the Herb Garden, the Fragrance Garden, etc.
Nature lovers can also explore the trails in the natural reserve that snake through the foothills and provide spectacular views of the mountains and city limits.
You may also participate in gardening courses, educational programs, and special holiday festivities whilst in Salt Lake City.
Hence, the Red Butte Garden is a true gem of Salt Lake City with its magnificent gardens, outstanding views, dedication to education, and devotion to sustainability, and is a must-visit site for nature lovers, music enthusiasts, or environmental fanatics.
3.5.3 Gilgal Sculpture Garden
The garden took more than two decades for Child to transform into the tranquil haven it is now.
It has more than 70 carefully engraved stones filled with oddly carved figures of all kinds and Latter-day Saints literature.
Apart from that, there are 12 unique sculptures and a statue of a Child,
Thus, visiting the Gilgal Sculpture Garden provides visitors with a special and remarkable experience.
3.5.4. This Is Place Heritage Park
This Place Heritage Park is a living history museum that chronicles the history of early migrants in Utah.
A working farm where visitors are able to witness how early settlers lived is one of the park’s many exhibitions and activities.
It is the ideal location for both children and adults to discover more about Utah’s history and culture.
3.6. Hike through the Ensign Peak
Situated close to downtown Salt Lake City, exploring the Ensign Peak nature park is one of the most fun things to do in Salt Lake City.
Ensign Peak Trail offers an ideal 1-mile length hiking trail for anyone wishing to escape the maddening pace of city life.
The top of the Ensign Peak offers viewers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Utah city, especially during dusk when you’ll be able to witness the magnificent Salt Lake Valley drenched in the orange rays of the setting sun.
Additionally, Ensign Peak is significant historically since it was there that Brigham Young, the founder of the Mormons, first spotted the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The peak serves as a monument to the Mormon pioneers’ contributions to Utah’s history.
So, be sure to put Ensign Peak on your list if you’re planning to visit Salt Lake City for stunning views and the historical significance of the location makes the little trek to the peak a worthwhile experience.
3.7. Explore the Big Cottonwood Canyon
Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range, this 15 miles long Big Cottonwood Canyon is a couple of kilometers drive from downtown Salt Lake City that offers incredible views of the trees and the surrounding mountain range.
The Big Cottonwood Canyon is brimming with various outdoor activities including hiking, biking, rock climbing, etc.
Apart from enjoying camping and fishing, one can also explore the stunning picnic areas that it provides.
You may also hike through various lakes, the most prominent of them being Lake Blanche and Lake Mary.
The Big Cottonwood Canyon is also home to two ski resorts-Solitude and Brighton that offers some of the best snowboarding and skiing in the vicinity.
The canyon is especially lovely in the fall when the leaves change color or in the spring when everything is in blossom.
3.8 Get Lost in the Stores of City Creek Center
For all the shopaholics, the City Creek Center is an excellent spot to visit for it is the best mall in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Over 90 different restaurants, exquisite stores, and other establishments can be found inside this 700,000-square-foot complex, which is close to State Street in downtown Salt Lake City.
However, the City Creek Center offers more than just top-notch shopping stores.
The City Creek Center is exquisitely furnished and designed with a massive glass roof that acts as a retractable skylight and functions in accordance with the weather and comes with choreographed fountain displays, waterfalls, and a 1,200-foot stream teeming with fish!
There are also lots of excellent eateries for all the foodie junkies out there!
So, wouldn’t you visit this gem of a place?
3.9. Immerse Yourself in the Scenic Beauty of the Bonneville Salt Flats
The Bonneville Salt Flats located in the Utah desert, approximately an hour and a half west of Salt Lake City, are a must-see.
This area of the west desert, which covers more than 300,000 acres, has a thick salt crust left behind from evaporated lake that gives it a unique appearance.
The huge stretch of white is captivating, and the reflections of the sun give contribute to its extraordinary appearance.
To see this distinctive landscape for yourself, head out to the flats on foot, by bicycle, or by car. In addition to tourists stopping by to have a look, the region is renowned as a center for auto racing on a global scale, with drivers breaking numerous records in the Bonneville Salt Flats.
There aren’t any shades on the flats, so if you want to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats, make sure to carry plenty of water to drink and a lot of sunscreens.
3.10. Take a Trip to Park City
Located 45 minutes west of Salt Lake City is Park City, an excellent location to spend a vacation among the mountains.
Park City offers enough for every visitor to enjoy, be it during the summers or the winters.
Park City is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding. In addition, during the winter, tourists may engage in sports like snowmobiling, ice skating, and snowshoeing.
Park City is an ideal spot for hiking, mountain biking, and other sporting events in the summer.
Among others, one of the main attractions of Park City remains the Utah Olympic Park.
3.10.1. Utah Olympic Park
One of the greatest things to do in Salt Lake City, especially for adventure enthusiasts, nearby Salt Lake City is the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, which was constructed for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
The Olympic Park is used to hold several different activities, including luge, bobsleigh, and Nordic ski jumping.
There are numerous options, of which some are seasonal. While the Xtreme Zipline, the steepest zip line in the world, the Quicksilver Alpine Slide, freestyle ski jumping, and more, come under summer activity, the Comet Bobsled, the terrain park, the Rocket Skeleton is available during winter.
Therefore, Park City is a thriving and thrilling destination for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the wonder and adventure of nature while also savoring a distinctive fusion of history, culture, and contemporary comforts.
The Olympic Park in particular is a must-visit site that caters to a broad spectrum of interests with an extensive array of activities and spectacular landscapes.
Therefore, listed above are the top 10 things to do in Salt Lake City that are bound to make you fall for the city.
To make it more interesting for you, here are a couple more Salt Lake City attractions that you can surely add to your list if you’re planning to extend your stay.
Some of these attractions are Salt Palace Convention Center and the Marmalade Hill Historic District. Marmalade Hill Historic District is known for its beautifully preserved representations of Victorian-era architecture that make up this area including Italianate, Queen Anne, and Gothic Revival.
The next is the Antelope Island State Park, Thanksgiving Point a nonprofit cultural garden and educational center, and Clark Planetarium a science museum and planetarium dedicated to inspiring and educating its visitors about the mysteries of space and astronomy. Or you can also visit the Hogle Zoo and marvel at the magnificent polar bears.
Therefore, Salt Lake City is a dynamic and interesting tourist destination that offers a variety of fun things to do and see. There are plenty of things to do in Salt Lake City, from taking in the beauty of the natural surroundings to examining the city’s rich history and culture.
Salt Lake City has plenty to offer everyone, irrespective of whether you enjoy outdoor pursuits like hiking and skiing or prefer to visit the city’s galleries, museums, and restaurants.
Thus, in order to make the most of your vacation, add Salt Lake City to your schedule if you’re planning a trip to Utah. And do refer to the above-listed top things to do in Salt Lake City that are sure to come in handy.
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