fun things to do in Salt Lake City

The Great Salt Lake that gives Salt Lake City its name provides the area with a unique and magnificent natural landscape. That means hiking trails, rock climbing, fishing, camping, and all other outdoor activities for nature lovers.

That’s not all, though. The Mormon pioneers that founded Salt Lake City almost two centuries ago laid the foundations for a rich history. It’s culminated in architectural religious marvels like the Temple Square, which takes up five full city blocks and is the home base of the world-famous Tabernacle Choir.

There are also haunted mansions, award-winning restaurants, world-class museums, and all kinds of fun things to do in Salt Lake City. There’s guaranteed to be something for everyone. Let’s dig in!

1 – Visit the Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake, Utah 1

The Great Salt Lake, which is where Salt Lake City gets its name from, is the largest saltwater lake on the entire western hemisphere.

The lake is home to a rich natural ecosystem and famous as a refuge for migrating bird species like golden eagles, barn owls, and American avocets. It’s a great place for birdwatching! It’s also surrounded by incredible hiking trails and camping grounds.

2 – Visit the five city blocks that make up Temple Square

Temple Square, Salt Lake City

Temple Square in Salt Lake City is a holy site that was originally designated by Mormon pioneers as the spot for a temple of God.

Currently, it is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and encompasses a full five city blocks.

All structures, houses exhibits, libraries, and historic sights are dedicated to peaceful worship.

3 – Learn about the city on a bike tour

bike tours in Salt Lake City

Bike tours depart from several key spots in Salt Lake City, and they’re a great way to get to know the area.

Ride to historic spots like Temple Square which encompasses a full five city blocks and the unique “visionary art experience” of the Gilgal Sculpture Garden.

While you cycle, learn about the local history of Salt Lake City’s Mormon settlers from an experienced guide.

4 – Explore the city and solve puzzles with scavenger games

scavenger games in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City offers a number of enjoyable scavenger games and activities that will have you exploring the entire city and solving puzzles and riddles.

Along the way, see important historical landmarks like the Salt Lake City Temple and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

This is a perfect activity for groups of friends, families, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and even work groups.

5 – See Salt Lake City like never before on a trolley adventure

trolley tours in Salt Lake City
credit to Salt Lake Trolley Tours

Another great way of seeing the amazing historical sights in Salt Lake City is with a trolley tour.

These tours take place on detailed replicas of classic trolleys and will guide you through all the city’s mansions, cathedrals, and mountains.

While onboard the trolley, you’ll be treated to a number of performances from the incredibly charismatic and theatrical guides.

6 – See animatronic dinosaur sculptures at Dinosaur Park

Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, Utah

Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is probably the closest thing to Jurassic Park that you’re ever likely to see.

It has over 100 animatronic dinosaur sculptures, expertly painted and modeled after real dinosaur fossils.

The park has three on-site museums, a fully operational paleo lab and its events calendar is updated regularly.

7 – Head to Point of the Mountain for some paragliding

paragliding in Salt Lake City

The Salt Lake area is truly breathtaking, and one of the best ways to take it all in is by paragliding over it.

Head to the area known locally as Point of the Mountain and take off with an instructor, on your own or with a friend.

There are even tours provided by local experts in order to make sure you fly over the best locations.

8 – Bring the kids to Treehouse Museum

Treehouse Museum, Utah

Utah’s Treehouse Museum is a not-for-profit museum dedicated to helping children ages 12 and under learning through fun and interactive exhibits.

Kids will be able to learn about everything from dinosaurs to international architecture through all kinds of games and activities.

The museum also hosts birthday parties and is available to rent for anything from wedding receptions to literacy nights.

9 – Book an evening spa

spas in Salt Lake City

Like any great vacation destination, Salt Lake City is home to a number of great spa and meditation destinations.

Whatever your preferred relaxation technique, be it full body massage or isolation therapy, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for here.

Indulge in a day of self-care to recharge those batteries and get back to exploring the city.

10 – Go skydiving from 13,000 feet in the air

skydiving in Salt Lake City

Not too far from Salt Lake City, at the Tooele Valley Airport, is a state-of-the-art skydiving facility.

Climb 13,000 feet in the air and then leap into a 50-second free fall before gently floating back down to the ground.

Whether you’re looking for lessons or an expert level jump, a vibrant community of fellow thrill-seekers awaits you here.

11 – See all the key spots on a hop on hop off bus tour

Utah State Capitol Building, Salt Lake City

The Utah State Capitol Building, Salt Palace and Temple Square are just a few of the key locations you’ll be able to spot on a bus tour in Salt Lake City.

Get a feel for the area and all the most important spots on a comfortable bus, and snap some pictures while you’re learning about the local history. Many of the tours offer the added benefit of being able to hop on and off the bus at your convenience!

12 – See the diametric street signs at the Salt Palace Convention Center

Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City

Salt Palace is a pillar of the Salt Lake City community, as it’s the first choice for conventions, conferences, trade shows and other events.

As far as convention centers go, it’s cutting-edge. A large part of the roof is covered with solar panels, which in turn provide a significant portion of the building’s power.

In 2016, Salt Palace was selected to be the location of an art installation called “Point of View.” It features 150 unique street signs with diametrical words written on them, all in close proximity of each other. It’s a great spot for a photo!

13 – Take a hike through Red Butte Garden

Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City

A visit to Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City, especially for nature lovers.

You can visit the more than 21 acres of developed gardens any time of the year, including its over 5 miles of hiking trails. The place also hosts different events and displays, depending on the season.

14 – See one of America’s largest cemeteries on a haunted ghost tour

ghost tours in Salt Lake City

Just like any other place in the United States, Salt Lake City is rich with history, some of it very dark. Embark on a ghost tour to see some of the oldest and most haunted spots in the city, including America’s largest municipally-owned graveyard.

Take pictures in haunted mansions, abandoned train depots, and plenty of other spooky spots, as you listen to the numerous ghost stories that surround them.

15 – Learn about the city’s neighborhoods on a segway tour

segway tours in Salt Lake City

There are a lot of fun things to do in Salt Lake city, and it can be tricky to decide what to do first. Luckily, the city has a number of segway tours available at all hours of the day and evening.

Learn some historical facts from experienced guides, as you cruise around in comfort and style. Visit the city’s neighborhoods, parks such as City Creek Canyon and Memory Grove, and the Utah State Capitol Building.

16 – Visit the six galleries at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City

Located within the Salt Palace Convention Center, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art boasts six full gallery spaces.

Exhibits are regularly rotated to highlight works from contemporary artists at the local, national, and international levels.

The museum also offers classes and host tours along with all kinds of other events and activities.

17 – Interact with sloths and Asian otters at SeaQuest Utah

SeaQuest Utah, Layton

SeaQuest in Layton, Utah, has over 1,500 hundred unique species of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals from five different continents.

Here, you’ll be able to interact with stingrays, sloths, Asian otters, kinkajou and all kinds of other critters.

The company makes sure that animals are healthy and happy, so much so that you’ll even be able to feed them while you’re here.

18 – Hit the Weber River and go rafting

rafting in Salt Lake City

Utah is actually famous for its river rafting runs, so why not try this one of the fun things to do in Salt Lake City.

Right nearby are the Provo River and Weber River, both great starting points for a rafting adventure.

Most of the runs last around two hours, but there’s kayaking and beautiful hiking trails, so there’s no reason to leave once you’re done.

19 – Visit the International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park

International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park, Salt Lake City

Jordan Park in Salt Lake City is most famous for being the home of the International Peace Gardens.

Conceived in 1939 and completed after World War II, the gardens represent 28 different countries from around the world.

Jordan Park itself is free and open to wander through, though the Peace Gardens require additional payment for access.

Directions in Google Maps

20 – Go kayaking on the Deer Creek Reservoir

kayaking in Salt Lake City

The Deer Creek Reservoir is located on the Provo River near Salt Lake City.

During the day, the crystal clear waters of the reservoir are open to kayaking, windsurfing, swimming, fishing, and plenty of other activities.

The area is rife with amazing plants and wildlife, which makes the surrounding Deer Creek State Park a perfect spot to go camping.

21 – See the natural red-rock formations at Arches National Park

Arches National Park, Salt Lake City

Arches National Park is named from its more than 2,000 natural red-rock arches. There are also tons of incredible balanced rocks, rock fins and other types of natural formations to be seen here.

Local artists host galleries and events in Arches National Park all year long, thanks to the park’s Community Artist Program.

22 – Go skiing or zip-lining at Utah Olympic Park

Utah Olympic Park, Park City

Built to host the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics, the Utah Olympic Park is still open to the public and offers quite a few exciting activities.

Available activities include skiing, summer bobsled, zip-lining, and alpine slide, just to name a few out of a great deal.

The Olympic Park also plays host to gymnastic demonstrations and other shows and events. Make sure to check out its event calendar if you’re thinking of paying a visit.

23 – See why indoor skydiving is just as thrilling as jumping out of a plane

indoor skydiving in Salt Lake City

Indoor skydiving is fast emerging as an exciting alternative to jumping out of a plane with a parachute.

Floating in a 12-foot wind tunnel in full skydiving gear is certainly convincing lots of other thrill-seekers.

A number of facilities in and around Salt Lake City in Utah offer indoor skydiving, along with indoor surfing, rock climbing, and other previously outdoor-only athletic activities.

24 – Look back on the pioneers at This is the Place Heritage Park

This is the Place Heritage Park, Salt Lake City

This is the Place Heritage Park is a Utah state park located only 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.

Among the great spots to visit within the park is Old Desert Village, a museum dedicated to recreating the everyday life of the early settlers in the 1800s.

The park also offers full tours, horseback trail rides, and plenty of special events on its regularly updated calendar.

25 – Take a snowmobile tour

snowmobile tours in Park City

The Salt Lake area is surrounded by rivers, mountains and forests, which can be enjoyed as snowmobile trails.

Explore nearby areas like Wasatch Mountain, Mirror Lake, Mill Hollow, Mount Nebo, and Skyline Drive.

Local rentals are available, as well as are guided snowmobile tours, so anyone can enjoy this exciting winter activity.

26 – Visit the islands of Liberty Park

Liberty Park, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s second-largest public park, Liberty Park boasts a river and two islands all its own.

There’s also a number of playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts and bocce ball courts.

On top of that, it’s a great place for a picnic under a gazebo or on the grass, and you can walk off the meal on one of many walking or jogging paths.

Directions in Google Maps

27 – Work with friends and family to leave an escape room

escape rooms in Salt Lake City

Another leisure activity that’s quickly becoming more and more popular is the escape room.

Trapped in an enclosed space with nothing but your wits and your teammates, you’ll have to solve puzzles and find clues in order to obtain a specific goal and escape in the allotted. time.

Salt Lake City offers a number of brain-teasing escape rooms, all a guaranteed hoot for whatever group attempts them.

28 – See world-class exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah

Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City
credit to Natural History Museum of Utah

Learn about the ancient Egyptians, see life through the eyes of the native Navajo tribes, and discover the evolution of the local animal and plant life, all at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Thanks to the museum’s Traveling Treasures program, there’s also some unique historical exhibit available to see firsthand.

The permanent collections range from paleontology and entomology, all the way to anthropology and botany.

29 – Go for a bird walk at Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens

Tracy Aviary & Botanical Gardens, Salt Lake City

Located in Liberty Park, which is Salt Lake City’s second-largest public park, Tracy Aviary is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of local birds and their habitats.

The aviary takes up a full 8 acres of the park and includes lots of exotic and unique birds that visit the feeders on the premises.

Among a number of other activities, the place offers scenic bird walks through the Salt Lake Valley.

30 – See the extensive book collection at Salt Lake City Public Library

Salt Lake City Public Library, Utah

Much as you’d probably expect, the Salt Lake City Public Library has an extensive collection of books for kids, teens, and adults.

Just like any other library, they often play host to events, and it’s a good idea to check their event calendar before paying them a visit.

The library also offers passport services for anyone looking to apply for or renew a US passport.

31 – Take a class in between seeing exotic animals at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo houses animals from all over the world across its impressive 42 acres.

Check out desert elephants, African lions, snow leopards and polar bears, all happy and safe in perfect recreations of their native habitats.

Don’t forget to pass by the gift shop, try the food at the Beastro, or learn something new at one of the many wildlife classes the zoo offers.

32 – See the unique structures at Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Gilgal Sculpture Garden, Salt Lake City

Recently restored and made fully open and free to the public, Salt Lake City’s Gilgal Sculpture Garden is what’s known as a “visionary art environment.”

There are 12 unique structures located on the grounds, along with a large number of engraved texts, poems, and scriptures.

It also has a real garden that blooms three seasons of the year. It’s supported by a state-of-the-art irrigation system and maintained by the Salt Lake City Master Gardener Association.

33 – Relive life from two centuries ago at the Pioneer Memorial Museum

Pioneer Memorial Museum, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Memorial Museum, operated by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, is dedicated to honoring the founders of Utah.

Throughout the museum’s three floors are rooms that showcase the medicine, clothing, and lifestyle of the founding fathers.

The Pioneer Memorial Museum is free to access and wheelchair accessible, though unfortunately no cameras are allowed while visiting the exhibits!

34 – Go horseback riding at Salt Lake County Equestrian Park

Salt Lake County Equestrian Park, Utah

With 120 acres of land dedicated to horseback riding, training, racing and rodeos, the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park is a must for horse lovers. The park is open to the public for both freeriding and training.

Apart from equestrian activities, the park also houses an 85,000 square feet arena that hosts sports events, concerts, and trade shows.

35 – Listen to the world-class Tabernacle Choir rehearse and perform

Salt Lake City Tabernacle at Temple Square

Often referred to as the “America’s Choir,” the Tabernacle Choir is a world-class group of 360 male and female singers, spreading their love of God and Jesus Christ through choral music.

The choir’s home base is at Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, where they practice and perform regularly for the public, usually accompanied by the Orchestra at Temple Square.

36 – Catch a broadway show at Eccles Theater

Eccles Theater, Salt Lake City

The Eccles Theater is Salt Lake City’s classiest destination for musical and theatrical performances.

Making sure it hosts only the finest shows, the theater works with a number of first-rate touring organizations, including Broadway Across America.

As soon as you walk through the door by the five-story glass lobby, you’ll be dazzled by the architecture of the Delta Performance Hall. It is based on the natural beauty of Utah’s southern landscape.

37 – Squeeze in a round of golf at one of the renowned courses

golfing in Salt Lake City

The weather in Salt Lake City is perfect for golfing practically year-round, and there are plenty of beautiful courses to choose from.

There’s the Bonneville, renowned for its view of the entire Salt Lake Valley, the Forest Dale, which is Utah’s oldest golf course, and quite a few more.

Challenging enough to warrant a visit, the courses hold yearly tournaments and are available to rent for events.

38 – Admire the view from the top of Ensign Peak

Ensign Peak, Salt Lake City

Nearly 200 years ago, settlers climbed to the top of Ensign Peak and began planning what would eventually become Salt Lake City.

The trail that begins in Ensign Peak Nature Park and ends at the peak itself is only about a mile long, but it is steep and rocky enough to provide a challenge. Once you reach the peak, reward yourself with a picnic while you watch the sunset!

Directions in Google Maps

39 – Go on a shopping spree at City Creek Center

City Creek Center, Salt Lake City

What’s a good vacation without a shopping spree? The City Creek Center is a one-stop spot for all your shopping and dining needs.

They’ve got stores for clothes, luggage, electronics, home decor and anything else you could possibly want. Be sure to check out its website for exclusive sales and events taking place on the grounds.

40 – Check out Squatters Pub Brewery, Salt Lake City’s first brewpub

Squatters Pub Brewery, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s first local brewpub, the Squatters Pub Brewery was built in an abandoned hotel in 1989 and has been winning awards since it first opened.

It also serves delicious bourbon burgers, mac and cheese, and other delicious pub classics. All of the ingredients are locally sourced and sustainably focused.

41 – See the local “Crown Jewel” Sugar House Park

Sugar House Park, Salt Lake City

Known locally as the “Crown Jewel” of Salt Lake area parks, Sugar House Park gets its flattering nickname from its vistas, large pond, and multiple public pavilions. The park also has courts fields for soccer and baseball, a basketball court, more than one playground, and a small amphitheater.

On top of that, the park’s fantastic road is also shared by drivers, walkers, hikers, and, in the winter, cross country skiers.

42 – Find out about the fascinating history of the Wheeler Historic Farm

Wheeler Historic Farm, Salt Lake City

Wheeler Historic Farm is yet another charming regional park located in Salt Lake City. It has a long and fascinating family history. Apart from being a top-notch tourist attraction, it still functions as a real farm today.

It offers all kinds of different events and programs, including a Sunday Market where local vendors offer top-of-the-line homemade food, goods, and art.

43 – See the many memorials at Memory Grove

Memory Grove Park, Salt Lake City

Home to many memorials to fallen soldiers, the Memory Grove Park deserves a visit.

Check the Pagoda which was built from the same marble as the Lincoln Memorial in DC, the granite shaft, and circular bench built by the 145th Field Artillery.

The park’s amenities include a scenic jogging path and a number of picnic tables.

Directions in Google Maps

44 – Get an appreciation for city life and cultural diversity at the Urban Arts Gallery

Urban Arts Gallery, Salt Lake City

The Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City has been helping showcase work by emerging artists since 2013.

This nonprofit art space is dedicated to showcasing an appreciation for city life and cultural diversity.

In the gift shop, you’ll find all kinds of souvenirs that are all locally produced and handmade.

45 – Learn some extraordinary things at Thanksgiving Point

ThanksGiving Point, Utah

Thanksgiving Point is a nonprofit farm and museum complex comprised of five main attractions — the Ashton Gardens, Butterfly Biosphere, Farm Country, Museum of Ancient Life, and Museum of Natural Curiosity.

Learn about paleontology, underwater life, agriculture and so much more at this one-stop education destination.

Some independent businesses and shops also operate on its two campuses.

46 – Trace your ancestry at the Family History Library

Family History Library, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s Family History Library helps people research and discover their families. It offers scanning and conversion services, consultations, and more. Most of its services are free.

On top of that, it has a world-renowned collection of books, periodicals, and microfilm to learn more about your ancestors if you like.

47 – See where decisions get made at the Salt Lake City & County Building

Salt Lake City and County Building

Just about every local government decision from the past century has been made at the Salt Lake City and County Building. Local protests, demonstrations, and peaceful assemblies mostly take place on the building’s civic campus.

This beloved landmark is one of the finest examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture in the US. It’s open to the public for both group and self-guided tours.

Directions in Google Maps

48 – Snap a picture at the Eagle Gate Monument

The Eagle Gate Monument, Salt Lake City

Originally erected to commemorate the entrance to Brigham Young’s City Creek Canyon property, the Eagle Gate Monument has been refurbished and replaced quite a few times over the years.

Its current incarnation is an arch topped by a statue of an eagle that stretches 70 feet across.

Being centrally located makes it an easy spot for tourists to visit and take great pictures with.

Directions in Google Maps

49 – Catch the latest blockbuster at Redwood Drive-In Movie Theater

Redwood Drive-In Movie Theater, Salt Lake City

The Redwood Drive-in Movie Theater in Salt Lake City is a fully functioning drive-in theater that has been running for more than 70 years.

Far from a relic of the past, the theater has advanced equipment, including a digital projection system and a powerful FM audio broadcast system.

Its film lineup is also always up-to-date with the latest movies playing in conventional cinemas.

50 – Hike to the top of Grandeur Peak

Grandeur Peak, Salt Lake City

Grandeur Peak is yet another gratifying hiking trail in Salt Lake City. Starting from the north end of the Church Fork Picnic Area, the top of Grandeur Peak is 8,299 feet above the Salt Lake Valley.

The view from the top is second to none, as you’ll be able to see Parleys Canyon and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Directions in Google Maps

51 – Descend deep into the Timpanogos Cave

Timpanogos Cave, Utah

The Timpanogos Cave was declared a national monument in 1922, and access is restricted to guided tours only. Tours only last about an hour and are limited to a small number of people.

Visiting this incredible cave system is totally worth the adventure, as marvelous trails, formations, and underground animals can be found here.

52 – Catch a Cosmic Light Show at Clark Planetarium

Clark Planetarium, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s Clark Planetarium has been teaching people about the science of space for over 50 years. Admission to regular exhibits is always free.

In addition to its regularly updated calendar of events and exhibits, it also puts on Cosmic Light Shows every weekend in the Hansen Dome Theater.

53 – Climb the Big Cottonwood Canyon for some great skiing and rock climbing

Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Big Cottonwood Canyon is yet another natural wonder in Salt Lake City, filled with hiking and skiing trails, and rock climbing roots. It’s home to the world-famous ski resorts, Solitude and Brighton.

The canyon also has a number of picnic and fishing areas, as well as camping installations.

Directions in Google Maps

54 – Treat yourself to the award-winning food at the Red Iguana

Red Iguana, Salt Lake City

The Red Iguana restaurant in Salt Lake City has won all kinds of awards for its food over the years — it’s also featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”

Discover its delicious use of classic Mexican ingredients, especially cilantro, fresh chilis, and epazoté, to name a few.

It also offers an extensive menu of signature margaritas and imported Mexican beers.

55 – Try some delicious plant-based menu at Zest Kitchen & Bar

Zest Kitchen & Bar, Salt Lake City

If you’re looking for healthy eats, trying out wholesome meals at Zest Kitchen & Bar is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City.

Everything it serves is plant-based, gluten-free, and organic.

It also has a large list of signature drinks and cocktails, such as beet sangria and berry lavender lemonade.

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting a taste of all the fun and exciting things to do in Salt Lake City.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out the best hotels and make sure to book an airport transfer to arrive in style.

As always, happy travels!