Situated in the Utah Valley, Provo has an interesting and storied pioneer past dating back to 1849, when it was founded by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Provo and the surrounding Utah Valley have since grown to become a major area for billion-dollar tech start-ups and businesses, including Qualtrics, Ancestry.com, Vivint Solar, Podium, and Domo, as well as education and tourism, perhaps the region’s biggest draw.
Among the city’s most prominent landmarks is Brigham Young University (BYU). It’s one of the biggest religious universities in the United States. A juicy trivia nugget: NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young is the great-great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, the university’s founder.
There are a plethora of both indoor and outdoor activities to do here as well, including exploring the city’s parks and hiking trails, like Rock Canyon, the Y Mountain, and the vast area of nearby Sundance, or visiting the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, or any of BYU campus’ free, top-notch museums.
Hey, if the area was good enough for Robert Redford to purchase a giant plot of land and start Sundance, there’s gotta be something special going on here.
Show Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Provo, Utah
- 1. The Sundance Mountain Resort
- 2. Covey Center for the Arts
- 3. Provo Canyon Scenic Drive
- 4. Black Sheep Cafe
- 5. Provo Pioneer Village
- 6. Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
- 7. The Y Trail
- 8. ABG’s Bar
- 9. BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures
- 10. Waffle Love – Provo
- 11. Rock Canyon
- 12. Utah Lake State Park
- 13. Provo Beach
- 14. Brigham Young University Museum of Art
- What are some family-friendly things to do in Provo, Utah?
- What are some free things to do in Provo, Utah?
- Are there any historic sites or museums to visit in Provo, Utah?
|Most significant landmark||Brigham Young University|
|Best park||Utah Lake State Park|
|Best free activity||BYU’s Museums|
|Best activity for kids||Provo Beach|
|Best activity for adults||Sundance Mountain|
|Best food||Black Sheep Cafe|
|Best nightlife||The Commons at Calabasas|
|Best place to stay||Sundance Mountain Resort|
Things to Do in Provo, Utah
1. The Sundance Mountain Resort
Address: 8841 Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, Sundance, UT 84604
The Sundance Mountain Resort is an outdoor lover’s paradise at the base of Mount Timpanogos, set among more than 5,000 acres of protected wilderness. Owned by Robert Redford for over 50 years and sold in 2020, the resort’s location offers a peaceful escape from Provo and nearby Salt Lake City.
In the summer, guests can ride the Outlaw Express to experience panoramic views on their way to the top of Mandan Summit. There’s also a zip line tour, more than 25 miles of mountain biking trails, over 10 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, and fly fishing.
In winter, resort guests can experience world-class mountain skiing, while the Sundance Nordic Center offers cross-country skiing through 15 miles of groomed trails. Several restaurants are on-site, including The Foundry Grill, which pays homage to early settlers, farmers, and miners, and The Tree Room, which features art from Robert Redford’s private, extensive collection.
2. Covey Center for the Arts
Address: 425 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601
The Covey Center for the Arts is a dynamic artistic hub that showcases a wide range of performing and visual arts. With live theater productions and music concerts to art exhibits, galleries, and classes and workshops, the Covey Center offers nearly everything across the spectrum of performance and visual art.
Live performance events include the Utah Metropolitan Ballet, Moon Over Buffalo, Dance Club in Concert, Carpenters Remembered, The Principle Wife, Dial ‘M’ for Murder, and The Woman in Black.
The classes and workshops on offer are Kids Ballet and Kids Ballroom (as well as pre-teen and teen programs), Kids and Pre-Teen Cheer, Teen Hip-Hop, and more. Adult workshops include Musical Theater/Jazz, Beginning and Intermediate Ballet, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Ballroom.
The center also features artists from across Utah in its four art galleries: the Eccles Gallery and the Smoot Secured Gallery on the main level, the Center Street Exhibit Gallery at the front entrance, and the second-level Upper Gallery.
If catching a performance or attending a class or workshop, the Provo Marriott is conveniently located a short walk from the Covey Center and offers an indoor pool, luxury bedding, and free Wi-Fi.
3. Provo Canyon Scenic Drive
There are multiple routes you can take on the scenic drive through Provo Canyon, but the main attraction is going to be the massive waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, in the heart of the canyon.
There is an easy out-and-back trail that leads to the falls. The trail is open year-round, but access may be limited in the winter due to heavy snowfall.
A short drive from the mouth of Provo Canyon, Bridal Veil Falls Park has picnic tables with grills, parking lots, and plenty of grassy spots to sit and enjoy the beautiful nature. The park sits next to Provo River, and a short walk further down leads to the paved Provo River Parkway Trail that leads to the falls.
We recommend taking a private rafting adventure for a more adventurous way to experience the Provo River.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Nephi, Utah
4. Black Sheep Cafe
Address: 19 N University Ave, Provo, UT 84601
Black Sheep Cafe prides itself on being a “from-scratch” kitchen, meaning freshly prepared food is served daily.
The majority of the food they prepare is made right on the spot. The fries are peeled and hand-cut every single day. The meat is purchased in bulk, ground, and weighed into individual patties. The sauces they create are made from scratch, not bought in a bulk can.
Their menu and recipes constantly change to keep up with the seasonal fruits and vegetables. The restaurant’s favorite dishes include the Buffalo Burger, Shrimp and Grits, Cactus Lemonade, Hog Jowl Tacos, and Hog Jowl Nachos.
Black Sheep Cafe is a true fusion restaurant, taking inspiration from Native American, Mexican, and Southwestern Heritage, to ensure that their food is held to a higher standard while bringing people from all walks of life together under the same roof.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Zion National Park
5. Provo Pioneer Village
Address: 600 N 500 W, Provo, UT 84601
The Provo Pioneer Village is a highly immersive and free museum run by volunteers that offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of pioneer life.
Numerous skilled volunteers are scattered throughout the village performing many crafts replicative of the period, including, but not limited to, blacksmithing, woodworking, beekeeping, quilting, coopering, animal husbandry, and food preservation.
Village tours are the best way to experience this cool and lively museum. Tourgoers, and museum visitors in general, will be shown what life was like for the pioneers before the coming of the railroad. Countless tools, furniture, and other artifacts are on display throughout the grounds.
There are currently four different types of tours on offer:
- A docent tour led by one of the knowledgeable volunteer staff members, lasting around 90 minutes.
- A self-guided tour with audio boxes that allows visitors to explore the countless buildings and exhibits at their own pace.
- The scavenger hunt tour, mainly for kids to learn about the village in a fun way.
- A group tour for parties of 12 or more.
All tours are free, as is general admission, though cash donations are accepted.
6. Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
Address: 645 E Phillips Ln, Provo, UT 84604
The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum is a free natural history museum on the Brigham Young University campus. This BYU museum opened in 1978 and has an impressive botanical and taxidermic animal collection. Each exhibit aims to educate the public about animals and human interactions with nature and how humans protect the environment.
The museum has several programs and events. Educational camps include Critter Camp, Junior Naturalist, and Biology Bootcamp, all geared toward kids and their education. They also have Family Nights, Night at the Museums, Trivia Night, and their popular Tanner Lecture Series.
Their unique exhibitions include Our Living Planet, Protect Your Planet, Quest for Knowledge, Our Sacred Stewardship, Explore the Provo River: Protect your Watershed, Because of Plants, Why Insects, and more.
During a museum visit, guests may participate in live animal demonstrations, take pictures, and enjoy fun activities on the children’s group tours, scavenger hunts, and more. The museum may provide resources for teachers and school personnel who need materials tailored to large natural history studies.
For a comfortable and budget-friendly stay near the BYU campus and its museums, the Best Western Plus Provo University Inn features an indoor pool, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi.
See Related: Best and Fun Things to Do in St. George, Utah
7. The Y Trail
Address: Slide Canyon Trail 062, Provo, UT 84604
If you want to take the kids outside and expend a bit of energy, then taking them hiking on the Y Trail on Y Mountain is a great outdoor activity.
However, the trail might not be suitable for all children, as the elevation gain is just over 1,000 feet. The hike is moderately steep but short in length. As long as you are prepared with water and strong legs, the hike is doable for just about everyone.
There is a concrete “Y” plastered on the side of Y Mountain. The “Y” is an emblem of the BYU campus, and preparations for it began in 1906. This landmark is directly above Brigham Young University.
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8. ABG’s Bar
Address: 190 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601
If you are intrigued by the idea of reliving your college days and nights, then a visit to ABG’s Bar should be on your nighttime itinerary. It is considered one of the best bars in Provo.
This gastropub has nothing but the classics that you would expect from a small college bar. But, sometimes it’s fun to relive those nights from your college past. With all the classics, including live music, classic beer, gastropub food, and pool tables, you will surely be brought back to the late ’80s and ’90s.
For food choices, all you have to pick from is bar food…and more bar food. So if you’re looking for the classics of burgers, grilled sandwiches, and wings, you have found yourself looking in the right place.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Ogden, Utah
9. BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures
Address: 2201 N Canyon Rd, Provo, UT 84604
Another one of the top free museums in the area is the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures. Learn about various peoples, cultures, and history from around the globe. It’s a beautiful museum for anyone to come together and learn about people they might not know much about.
Exhibitions include Maya Weaving, which allows visitors to travel to Central America, encouraging them to explore the rich customs of the Maya people through their vibrant textiles.
Signs, Symbols, and Scripts allow visitors to discover how people from different cultures and times have used unique writing systems to communicate.
Through the Mask is another exhibit that makes the visitor consider how masks have been created for centuries to protect, give power, and create bridges between other worlds and our own reality.
The Residence Inn by Marriott Provo is a 5-minute walk from the museum and offers an outdoor pool, whirlpool, and fitness center. It also offers a complimentary shuttle service to destinations within a 20-mile radius.
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10. Waffle Love – Provo
Address: 1831 N State St, Provo, UT 84604
If you’re looking for a great breakfast spot while in town, the highly-popular Waffle Love has several delicious dishes to ensure you and the family start the day our right.
Who doesn’t love a good waffle in the morning? The fluffy dough, the magnificent toppings, and of course, don’t forget the whipped cream. They even have Chicken and Waffles, and anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with them. That’s a sweet and savory combination that cannot be beaten!
Some of Waffle Love’s most popular dishes other than their famous Chicken and Waffles include the Banana Cream Pie Waffle, the Churro Waffle, the Avocado Toast Croissant Waffle, and the Red Wonder, which features Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream.
See Related: Best Restaurants in Ogden, Utah
11. Rock Canyon
Address: Rock Canyon Trail, Provo, UT 84604
If you’re looking for one more awesome hike before you go back home, check out one of the best places to hike in the area: Rock Canyon. This hike is a moderately steep trail about six miles through the canyon and back. Kids are welcome on this hike, but it can get kind of slippery in the springtime due to the melting snow.
Everyone will enjoy the serene, beautiful backdrop of the meadows that lead to the canyon. Once at the canyon’s base, hike through the trail to experience a jaw-dropping hike. The sheer beauty of the rocks in the canyon is enough to make you stop and take it all in.
It’s always nice to have at least one of those moments on each trip you take to really stop and take in the true beauty of your surroundings.
12. Utah Lake State Park
Address: 4400 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601
Utah Lake State Park is among the most popular locations in Provo. The beauty of Utah Lake is on a different level because it is also a freshwater body. It’s a haven for fishermen who can fish all day long.
There are a few things that I think make Utah Lake State Park a great place to visit. But, of course, the top thing is the outdoor adventures.
Want to go sailing along Utah Lake? Bonneville School of Sailing and Seamanship has sailing lessons for you to learn how to explore the waters without an engine.
Picnics, barbecues, or simply walking on one of the many park paths are also options for fun. Utah Lake State Park cannot be missed, as it’s located near downtown Provo.
See Related: Best Restaurants in St. George, Utah
13. Provo Beach
Address: 4801 N University Ave #210, Provo, UT 84604
Provo Beach is an amusement center in The Shops at Riverwoods just north of the city. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes to get here from downtown Provo. With an assortment of indoor activities, guests can escape the harsh winter weather or heat of the summer while still having a blast.
Activities and attractions include the FlowRider, an indoor wave machine that pumps 30,000 gallons of water a minute right under your feet for a realistic surfing experience, a bowling alley, ropes course, arcade, mini croquet, carousel, toddler town, mega playground, and more. Guests can also play laser tag on an adventure to the beach at Cape Canaveral, the center of America’s space race in the 1960s.
Provo Beach is open Monday through Thursday from 3 pm to 9 pm, Friday from 3 pm to 10 pm, and Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm.
14. Brigham Young University Museum of Art
Address: Campus Dr, Provo, UT 84602
Visiting the Brigham Young University Museum of Art is essential for anyone interested in art and culture. Located on the university campus in Provo, the museum houses a vast collection of artwork from various cultures and periods. From ancient artifacts to contemporary paintings, the museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the beauty and complexity of art.
The museum features many exhibits, including Maynard Dixon: Searching for a Home, Primal Forces: Earth, Wit and Vision, Of Souls and Sacraments, Plexus No. 29, and Monumental Matters. The museum’s Sculpture Garden features 11 sculptures in different artistic styles and mediums spread over elegant walkways and a beautiful landscape.
Those interested can sign up for a free interactive tour led by a trained Museum Educator or reserve a time to lead your own group on a self-guided tour of their current exhibitions.
The museum also runs many programs, including Open Studio, an art-making program for all ages, Van Gogh to Playdough: Art for Pre-K Children, Art After Dark, Gallery Talks, Yoga at the MOA, and the Family Arts Festival. There are numerous other events and programs as well, so it’s best to stay up to date with the museum directly.
What are some family-friendly things to do in Provo, Utah?
Provo has several great, family-oriented activities, including Provo Beach, the Provo Pioneer Village, outdoor adventures at Sundance Resort, and the excellent museums on the Brigham Young University Campus.
What are some free things to do in Provo, Utah?
Provo and the surrounding Utah Valley area are home to several freebies. All of BYU’s museums are free, as is touring the campus. Other free things include visiting the Provo Pioneer Village, South Fork Park, Bridal Veil Falls, the Provo River Trail, and hiking the Y Mountain.
Are there any historic sites or museums to visit in Provo, Utah?
Speaking of museums, Provo is home to a few top-notch venues. The Brigham Young University Museum of Art, the Bean Life Science Museum, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, and the Provo Pioneer Village.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a seasoned traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers find their next adventure, whether it’s exploring new places or revisiting old favorites.
He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wonderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). He loves listening to people’s stories from around the world as well as sharing his own experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.