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25 Fun & Best Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

25 Fun & Best Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City is located in Salt Lake County, Utah and is named after the Great Salt Lake which borders the city. Prior to settlement by early pioneers, the area was inhabited by the Shoshone, Weber Ute, and Paiute Indian tribes.

Though several expeditions came through Utah as they surveyed the land, the Salt Lake area was not permanently settled until July of 1847. At that time, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints entered the valley in search of refuge from the religious persecution they had suffered in the United States.

The Prophet of the church at that time, Brigham Young, declared the area to be the right place for the pioneers to settle as it was secluded and not yet a part of the United States. Much of Salt Lake City’s history is connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church or the LDS Church) since they were the first group of settlers to begin building in the valley.

Many of the buildings in Downtown Salt Lake were constructed during the mid to late 1800s and have been restored to their original beauty. The Salt Lake City Temple, built in 1893, is still in use today and continues to be owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Visitors are welcome to view the structure and learn about what’s inside at the Visitor Center on Temple Square. Today, Salt Lake City is home to a professional soccer team, a zoo, several museums, and countless historical sites.

It is surrounded by the Wasatch Mountain Range and acres of beautiful landscapes, ski resorts, and miles of outdoor trails. The city is also home to Capitol Hill and the Utah State Capitol Building. The proximity to countless outdoor recreation experiences, excellent shopping opportunities, world-class cuisine, and a multitude of educational and historical sites make Salt Lake City a must-see destination.

TLDR

  • Most significant landmark – Salt Lake City Temple
  • Best park – Liberty Park
  • Best free activity – Family History Library
  • Best activity for kids – This Is The Place Heritage Park
  • Best activity for adultsSalt Lake Trolley Tours
  • Best food – The Nauvoo
  • Best nightlife – City Creek Center
  • Best all-around accommodationThe Washington School House in Park City

Fun and Best Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

1. Salt Lake City Temple

Salt Lake City Temple

Address: 50 North West Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Construction of the Salt Lake City Temple was completed in 1893 with the temple opening in April of that year. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints both past and present use the temple to make sacred covenants with God.

Those covenants relate to maintaining respect for God, serving others, and promising to keep the biblical commandments. The temple is currently closed through 2025 due to the monumental Temple seismic renovation project.

Though a Temple Recommend issued by leaders of the church is required to enter the temple itself, the Visitor Center across from the temple is open to all and will remain open throughout the renovation.

There, visitors can learn more about what goes on inside the temple as well as view displays that cover Salt Lake City’s early pioneer days as well as the history of the Salt Lake Valley. The Visitor Center at Temple Square is open 7 days a week. More can be learned about the Salt Lake Temple and its uses on this website.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Orem, Utah

2. Temple Square

Temple Square Utah

Address: 50 North West Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Temple Square in Downtown Salt Lake City is not only home to the Salt Lake Temple and Visitor Center, but a number of other buildings operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well.

Temple Square takes up five city blocks and includes the Conference Center, the Historic Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, the Church History Library, the Church History Museum, the Beehive House, and the Lion House, as well as other buildings, parks, and facilities.

Tours of Temple Square can be taken by starting at the Visitor Center. Missionaries from the LDS Church are always on hand to lead tours or answer questions and speak dozens of languages from around the world.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit

3. Conference Center

Conference center Utah
Image by Maciej Bledowski / Shutterstock.com

Address: 60 North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

The LDS Conference Center is directly across the street from the Salt Lake Temple and is where the semiannual worldwide broadcast of the church’s general conference takes place. The Conference Center also hosts concerts and performances throughout the year, featuring artists of every nationality and denomination.

The main auditorium of the center is one of the largest in the world and contains 21,000 seats. The space is so large, in fact, that it could easily fit a Boeing 747 airplane inside. It also houses the massive Schoenstein organ with its 7,000 pipes. Lucky visitors get to hear the organ in use during practice sessions for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

The LDS Conference Center also has a number of displays showing the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, religious-themed artwork, original artifacts, and bronze sculptures. This amazing building also features a rooftop garden filled with the trees, grasses, and flowers that are native to the Utah meadowlands.

It also provides a stunning view of the temple across the street. Guided tours of the center are available every day and can generally be taken without making reservations in advance.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Hurricane, Utah

4. Family History Library

Family History Library at Temple Square in Salt Lake City
Image by Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Address: 35 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

As one of the largest genealogical libraries in the world, the Family History Library of the LDS Church sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Utah.

The five-floor library includes more than 1.3 million rolls of microfilm, 190,000 microfiche, more than 300,000 books and other texts, and 125,500 periodicals. The library also contains an astounding 8 billion names of deceased individuals from more than 100 countries.

The staff of the Family History Library are expert at helping visitors discover their genealogical history, finding missing links in their family line, and uncovering family records from around the world. The library has the equipment to digitally save any photos, letters, or other memorabilia that visitors may bring, ensuring they will be accessible to future generations of the family.

There are also recording booths, where individuals can record stories from themselves or loved ones to digitally preserve. The LDS Family History Library is open to everyone and is free to visit. It is also free to have the staff assist you with any genealogy questions or family history research.

See Related: Best Restaurants in St. George, Utah

5. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Image by Maciej Bledowski / Shutterstock.com

Address: 15 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Originally the Hotel Utah, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building is now owned by the LDS Church and serves as office space, a meeting house for Sunday services, and as an event hall. It was named in memory of the first Prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith.

The 10-story building features a popular lunch spot called The Nauvoo, beautiful architecture, stained-glass windows, and open staircases. It also houses a 500-seat theater where church-produced films can be viewed.

Throughout most of the day, volunteer musicians play the grand piano in the lobby while visitors enjoy eating, visiting, or just relaxing in one of the comfortable chairs. The top floor of the building provides sweeping views of the Salt Lake Temple, the downtown area, and the mountains beyond.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Park City, Utah

6. The Beehive House

The Beehive House
Image by Maciej Bledowski / Shutterstock.com

Address: 67 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Once the Primary Residence of Brigham Young, (the second Prophet of the LDS Church), the Beehive House is now owned by the church and functions as a museum, a historical landmark, and as a way to experience what life was like in the 19th-century Salt Lake Valley.

It received its name due to the strong work ethic of Brigham Young and his family, the inhabitants of the house seeming to be as industrious as bees in a beehive.

The lovely home not only served as the residence of the Young Family, but also as a private office for the Prophet where much of the business of the LDS Church took place. Visitors and church leaders frequently came by to see President Young, and today, the house’s interior looks very much as it did to guests who would have stepped through the doors in the mid-1800s.

Guided tours of the Beehive House are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. The tour follows a route through the house, providing a look at its stunning architecture, beautiful rooms, and 19th-century furnishings. Just a short walk from the temple, the Beehive House is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours in Salt Lake City, Utah.

7. The Natural History Museum of Utah

Natural History Museum of Utah
Image by Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com

Address: 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Located on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, the Natural History Museum of Utah is home to hundreds of displays, exhibits, artifacts, hands-on activities, and art. It features dozens of dinosaur skeletons, plant and animal fossils, and the world’s largest collection of horned dinosaur skulls.

The museum also houses a beautiful collection of gemstones and minerals, a gallery devoted to climate, weather, and astronomy, and exhibits detailing the prehistoric cultures that originally lived in the Great Basin area.

The Natural History Museum of Utah also has many displays designed to engage young learners. These include an exhibit with some of the live insects and organisms that can be found in Utah’s backyard, taking part in a miniature dinosaur dig, and experiencing the hands-on, interactive displays that offer the sites, smells, and sounds of the Great Salt Lake.

Visitors are encouraged to make reservations and purchase tickets online at least one day in advance due to limited availability. The museum is open 7-days a week.

See Related: Best Parks in Utah to Visit

8. City Creek Center

City Center Creek Utah
Image by melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Address: 50 South Main St., Salt Lake City, UT 84101

City Creek Center is an up-scale shopping center just a couple of blocks down from Temple Square. It is the only shopping center in the U.S. that has a fully retractable glass roof, an excellent feature considering the area’s seasonal changes in weather.

City Creek Center also has an actual creek running through it along with a fish pond, waterfalls, and fountain. A sky bridge that passes over Main Street makes both sides of the mall easily accessible without ever having to go back out to the street.

Some of the stores at City Creek Center include Lululemon, Coach, Kendra Scott, Louis Vuitton, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Restaurants range from local favorites, such as Café Rio and Costa Vida, to the fine dining experiences offered by The Capital Grille and Flemings Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. The shopping center is open Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday.

Nightlife options can be found across the street, including Why Kiki bar, and Ivy & Varley, a pair of modern restaurants/bars. Why Kiki is closed on Mondays and is open until 12 am on Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 1 am on Sunday.

Ivy has varied hours for brunch, lunch and dinner, while its sister bar, Varley, is open Monday through Sunday until 1 am.

9. Utah State Capitol Building

Utah State Capitol Building

Address: 350 State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Originally completed in 1916 and later renovated in 2008, the Capitol Building with its grand rotunda is the second most recognizable structure in Downtown Salt Lake City (the LDS Temple with its six spires is arguably the first).

The Capitol houses a beautiful art collection in its 4th Floor Gallery that includes sculptures, paintings, and even historical artifacts. It features both permanent and rotating exhibits that portray individuals, landscapes, and scenes relevant to Utah’s past and present.

The Utah State Capitol Building offers both docent-led and self-guided tours. Docent-led tours take place Monday through Friday every hour between 10:00 and 3:00 and are about 45 minutes long.

Those wishing to take a self-guided tour are welcome to do so anytime during the Capitol’s business hours. Reservations are generally not required for either type of tour.

See Related: Best Hot Springs in Utah & Resorts to Visit

10. Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Utah Hogle Zoo
Image by M Outdoors/ Shutterstock.com

Address: 2600 Sunnyside Ave S, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Utah’s Hogle Zoo is about a 20-minute drive from Downtown Salt Lake City and features amazing animals, zoo adventures, and wildlife experiences that will make the whole family happy! The African Savannah Exhibit is home to visitor favorites such as the African lions, giraffes, and mountain zebras.

The Asian Highlands Exhibit is filled with big cats! The Amur leopard, Amur tiger, snow leopard, and Siberian lynx are all found here. A couple of red pandas have also managed to sneak into this amazing exhibit!

Other favorite attractions at the zoo include the Elephant Encounter with its giant African elephants and white rhinos, and the Rocky Shores Exhibit with beautiful polar bears, river otters, and a bald eagle.

In addition to these exhibits, Utah’s Hogle Zoo also has daily wildlife shows and interactions, plenty of zoo-themed restaurants, a gift store, and special tours that can be booked in advance.

11. Clark Planetarium

Clark Planetarium
Image by Mike Murray used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Address: 110 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Situated in Downtown Salt Lake City, the Clark Planetarium provides visitors with an amazing glimpse of the cosmos through a mix of interactive exhibits, displays, and two different theaters. Visitors can explore the effects of a meteor impact, view real moon rocks, learn about black holes in a room painted in Vantablack, and walk through alien landscapes as they learn about the Earth, solar system, and beyond.

The planetarium also contains the Northrop Grumman IMAX theater and the Hansen Dome Theater. The IMAX Theater can fit 250 guests and shows educational films on its massive 70-foot by 50-foot screen. The Dome Theater provides a 360-degree viewing experience on its 55-foot diameter screen.

This makes it ideal for accurately displaying starfields, deep space objects, and even for portraying space travel. While admission to the Clark Planetarium is free, tickets to shows in either of the theaters must be purchased.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah

12. Salt Lake Trolley Tours

Salt lake Trolley tour
Image by RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com

Address: 215 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

This 90-minute loop around Salt Lake City takes place on a replica of a classic trolley and takes guests to many favorite tourist spots in the area. Tours are led by professional entertainers that specialize in theatrical storytelling to help bring the history of Salt Lake to life.

The fun, old-fashioned trolley makes stops at Temple Square, Capitol Hill, and a variety of other historic sites such as the governor’s mansion and the Brigham Young estate.

This lively tour is popular and tickets quickly sell out, so reservations are required. Two different tour times are available at 10:30 and at 1:30. Reservations for the Salt Lake Trolley Tours can be made online.

13. The Pioneer Memorial Museum

Pioneer Memorial Museum
Image by Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com

Address: 300 N Main St, Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Maintained by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, the Pioneer Memorial Museum has one of the largest collections of pioneer artifacts in the world. Through countless displays, exhibits, and historical personal items, the museum tells the story of the LDS pioneers that left Nauvoo, Illinois to make a new life in the Salt Lake Valley.

Though the individuals and families that came to Utah seeking religious freedom did so on foot or by covered wagon, they still managed to bring a few of their most precious possessions with them.

Some brought small and delicate objects like crystal salters while others found a way to bring an entire piano more than 2,000 miles across the plains. The collection at the museum brings the pioneers to life by telling their stories through words and artifacts.

The Pioneer Memorial Museum also houses a history department that specializes in finding records regarding their visitors’ pioneer ancestors. There is no charge for the museum and reservations are not required. It is open Monday through Friday between 9:00 and 4:30 with the history department closing at 4:00 pm.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Kanab, Utah

14. This Is The Place Heritage Park

The Place Heritage Park

Address: 2601 Sunnyside Ave S, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

This Is The Place Heritage Park is a non-denominational State Park that features fun, food, and Utah history. The location received part of its name, “This Is The Place,” in remembrance of President Brigham Young, second prophet of the LDS Church.

When he and some of the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, President Young was quoted as saying “This is the right place,” meaning it was the right place for members of the LDS church to at last practice their religion without persecution.

Today, a monument stands at the park to mark the spot where Brigham Young first looked out over the valley. The park has grown over several decades to include Heritage Village, a reproduction of an authentic early pioneer village that features more than 50 historic homes and buildings.

A real tinsmith, blacksmith, and saddle maker are also part of the village and provide demonstrations and hands-on activities for guests of all ages. The park also features a bakery, ice cream shop, restaurant, horseback riding, train rides, and a Native American Village.

The Gift Shop at the Visitor Center in Heritage Park is considered the “best little gift” west of the Mississippi River and is frequented by both tourists and locals due to its unique selection and quality of its products.

If you’re looking for someplace to stay that’s close to both This Is The Place Heritage Park and the Hogel Zoo, consider this Cute Sugarhouse Bungalow Rental.

15. Park City

Park City

Located about 40 minutes from Salt Lake is world-famous Park City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Though the area received global recognition due to the Olympics, it has long been known to locals and winter sports enthusiasts as an amazing place to enjoy snow-related activities.

There are several different resorts where visitors can ski, snowboard, or go tubing. For an extra thrill, visitors can also go bobsledding down the Olympic track found at the Utah Olympic Park, go snowmobiling, or even dog sledding.

An ice arena provides opportunities for ice skating or ice hockey and horse-drawn sleigh rides take visitors to enjoy a Viking-style dinner in the mountains. During the spring and summer months, the ski lifts at some resorts can still be taken to the top of the mountains for a picnic or hike.

Park City is also home to year-round activities such as horseback riding, biking, swimming, camping, and hiking along one of the many hiking trails in the area. Plenty of unique shops, stores, and restaurants are found along Historic Main Street to provide hours of fun and distraction.

Art galleries, antique stores, and top-of-the-line jewelers can also be found in the historic downtown area, as can specialty food and wine shops. In addition, the city features ghost tours, mining tours, and the Park City Museum.

Though Park City is home to some truly amazing hotels, lodges, and vacation rentals, one of the most unique options is the Washington School House. This boutique hotel is located within an original schoolhouse and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in St. George, Utah

16. Wheeler Historic Farm

Wheeler Historic Farm

Address: 6351 South 900 East, Murray, UT 84121

Wheeler Historic Farm is a 75-acre regional park located about 20 minutes from Salt Lake City. It is considered a working farm and offers milking demonstrations with either a cow or a goat, tractor-pulled wagon rides through 40-acres of the farm’s natural landscape, and miles of walking and hiking trails.

The farm also features an original Victorian home that was built in 1896. It contains over 6,000 artifacts from the 1890s through the 1940s which can be viewed during one of the Farm House Tours. The Rosebud Country Store, also located on the site, offers gifts and souvenirs from local vendors that include Utah Folk Art, toys, games, farm-related items, and farm-made honey.

Wheeler Historic Farm also hosts a variety of local events including the Wheeler Holiday Market, Pumpkin Days, Cookies with Canines, and Storytime at the Farm. During certain times of the year, the farm holds camps, classes, and educational events related to farming, agriculture, and animal husbandry.

17. Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park

Address: Antelope Island State Park, 4528 W 1700 S, Syracuse, UT 84075

Antelope Island State Park is a unique location situated in the middle of the Great Salt Lake and is a favorite among nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. It is connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway and sits about 1.5 hours away from Salt Lake City.

The island features countless unique opportunities to engage with nature and take part in outdoor adventures. These include everything from horseback riding and boating to hiking and swimming. One of the most popular attractions on the island is the lake itself.

With the water being 9 times saltier than ocean water, it’s called the Great Salt Lake for a reason! Swimmers often find themselves floating on the water’s surface due to the extra buoyancy the salt provides.

The park also features a stunning array of wildlife including bison, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, badgers, and numerous species of birds. Each fall, the annual bison roundup takes place where the island’s bison population is moved to the corrals where they will eventually be weighed, vaccinated, and given an overall health check.

Visitors are welcome to watch the process and learn more about the bison and their unique needs. Visitors wishing to enjoy the wildlife up-close can stay at one of the many year-round designated campsites on the island. There are both primitive and standard partial-hookup sites available.

A visitor center provides guests with an overview of the area’s history and biology and features a gift shop.

See Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Utah | Top Vacation Ideas

18. Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving point
Image by Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com

Address: 3003 North Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, UT 84043

Thanksgiving Point is located about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and is home to a variety of museums, nature experiences, and special events. At Ashton Gardens, nature lovers can see the largest manmade waterfall in the United States as they wander through 17 distinct garden “rooms.”

The 50-acre garden houses beautiful trees, vibrant flowers, flowing water features, hanging baskets, and lush vegetation all linked via garden walkways. An on-site cafe is also available and features lovely views of the garden scenery.

Thanksgiving Point is also home to Farm Country, a working farm that houses horses, cows, goats, ducks, peacocks, and more. Visitors can milk a cow, take a pony ride, or experience a horse-drawn wagon ride. At the Butterfly Biosphere, guests can walk through a beautiful botanical garden with hundreds of living butterflies that flit from plant to plant and even from visitor to visitor!

For visitors wanting to explore the wonders of Utah’s ancient history, there is the Museum of Ancient Life. This hands-on museum contains an extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons and many interactive exhibits that help guests learn more about the dinosaurs that once lived in Utah.

The Museum of Natural Curiosity is home to over 400 interactive exhibits that teach young visitors about nature, science, and the thrill of discovery. A Canopy Tour gives guests a view of the attractions from the top as they navigate the high-ropes course more than 40 feet above the museum.

With gift shops, restaurants, cafes, and quiet places to sit and relax, there is something for everyone at Thanksgiving Point!

19. Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Gilgal Sculpture Garden
Image by Intothewoods29 used under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 749 East 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84102

The Gilgal Sculpture Garden has been labeled by some as “bizarro defined.” With 12 original sculptures and more than 70 engraved stones featuring poems, literary excerpts, and scriptures, the sculpture garden is a truly unique experience.

As the only “visionary art environment” in Utah, the Gilgal Sculpture Park was designed and created by Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. in the mid-1900s.

Child used his art to express his beliefs and as a way to ponder what he called “the unsolved mysteries of life.” It was his hope that others who viewed his art would be inspired to find answers to the unsolved mysteries or unanswered questions in their own lives as they wandered through the garden.

In addition to the one-of-a-kind sculptures and engravings in the garden, Gilgal features lovely flowers, shrubs, and plants that add to its wonder and beauty. Though the garden is all but hidden behind houses and businesses, visitors still flock to view Child’s artistic interpretations of life and to find their own interpretations through discovering his sculptures.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in St. George, Utah

20. Big Cottonwood Canyon

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Location: Wasatch Mountain Range, UT

Big Cottonwood Canyon is located less than a half hour from Salt Lake and features some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Formed by both glacier erosion and stream erosion, the canyon is home to several lakes including Lake Mary, Lake Martha, and Lake Catherine.

These lovely lakes provide amazing views and a cooler temperature during summer hikes, but they are not for swimming. The canyon is set aside as a protected watershed area, so these reservoirs must be kept clean!

Big Cottonwood Canyon also contains both Solitude and Brighton ski resorts, which are open year-round. These provide even more opportunities for outdoor recreation including winter sports, nature walks, picnicking, rock climbing, fishing, and camping.

Several hiking trails take visitors to the lakes, while others lead past abandoned gold and silver mines. For those who would like to see even more of the canyon, a 15-mile scenic road winds through the area to showcase the amazing alpine scenery.

Visitors can easily spend a couple of days in the canyon enjoying the wildlife, scenic vistas, and incredible hikes.

21. Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Utah Museum of fine art
Image by Uladzik Kryhin / Shutterstock.com

Address: 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Located on the University of Utah Campus, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts houses a stunning collection of art by many different artists. It contains both permanent and temporary exhibits that are designed to inspire creativity, discussion, and introspection while also shedding light on how art impacts life.

Permanent exhibits include American and Regional Art, Chinese ceramic art, Japanese Art, and European Art that spans five centuries. Past temporary exhibits have included topics on racial and social issues, education, environmentalism, and politics.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts also features an on-site cafe, a museum store, an audio tour, and group tours. The museum is closed Mondays but open the remaining six days of the week. Be sure to check the museum website for current information regarding special exhibitions, museum closures, and hours of operation.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Nephi, Utah

22. Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats

Location: Tooele County, UT

The Bonneville Salt Flats are truly a geologic wonder with its many micro-environments, changes in landscape, and wet and dry seasons. Its unique characteristics come from its ancient past. Much of the Great Basin area was once a lake now known as Lake Bonneville. The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the vast body of water that was once the size of Lake Michigan.

As Lake Bonneville dried up, it left behind large salt deposits which give the Bonneville Salt Flats their properties. Every winter, the flats are flooded with a shallow layer of water that then evaporates during the following spring and summer. This evaporation combined with the constant winds turns the flats into a nearly perfect plain.

While the Bonneville Salt Flats are an archaeological and geological treasure, the area has also become famous for other reasons. In 1925, a racer named Ab Jenkins beat a train by ten minutes when he drove his Studebaker across the flats.

Since then, the area has been used for a multitude of racing events and multiple attempts at breaking the ever-increasing land speed record. Visitors are welcome to explore the flats while staying in designated areas. Though camping at Bonneville Salt Flats is not permitted, there are camping facilities located in nearby towns.

23. Liberty Park

Liberty Park

Address: 600 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Liberty Park is the oldest park in Salt Lake City and is also the second largest. Once home to the Isaac Chase grist mill and farm, the area now features a large green space, many different types of trees and flowers, playgrounds, and a swimming pool.

It also contains horseshoe courts, basketball courts, walking and jogging paths, picnic tables, volleyball courts, and aviaries. The Chase Mill still sits in its original location in the park and is the oldest commercial building still standing in the state of Utah. It is now part of the Tracy Aviary.

The Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden takes up one large corner of Liberty Park and his home to countless species of birds. Daily events feature interactions with some of the birds and include activities such as the Lorikeet Adventure, the Indoor Bird Show, Keeper Talks, Bird Walks, and more.

Private experiences including a Keeper Shadow Experience and a Meet the Tortoises Experience can also be scheduled for an additional fee. Visitors can easily spend a day at Liberty Park beginning with a morning visit to the aviary and ending with a park barbecue and picnic.

For more information on all the park amenities, please visit the website.

See Related: Best Girls Trip Destinations Around the World

24. Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
Image by ShawnTan / Shutterstock.com

Address: 20 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is dedicated to working with artists and communities to create a better world. The museum’s efforts can be seen in many of their exhibits and special events which include topics such as culture, identity, social issues, politics, heritage, history, and Native American interests.

Artists in Residence and special guests host presentations and lectures based on their art and the issues that impact their work. Multiple different galleries on different levels each display either permanent or temporary exhibits and can all be accessed via an elevator.

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art also contains an Art Shop for guests who would like to take home a unique memento of their visit.

25. Red Butte Garden

Red Butte Garden

Address: 300 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108

The Red Butte Garden is located on the eastern edge of the University of Utah campus and is recognized as the State Arboretum of Utah. It features over 100 acres of gardens, hiking trails, private event spaces, and thousands of plants, flowers, and blooming shrubs.

Many different display gardens make up the 21 acres of developed garden area and include the Medicinal Garden, Fragrance Garden, Children’s Garden, Herb Garden, and the Courtyard Garden.

The Red Butte Garden offers public classes, workshops, and camps for children, youth, and adults while also serving the faculty, staff, and students of the University of Utah. A summer concert series, special art exhibitions, and seasonal/holiday events are hosted at the gardens as well.

FAQ

What are some of the best outdoor things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah?

The Utah Olympic Park, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Antelope Island State Park, and the Red Butte Garden are all excellent outdoor activities in Salt Lake City.

What are some of the best Salt Lake City, Utah, activities for kids?

This Is The Place Heritage Park, the Hogle Zoo, the Natural History Museum, and the attractions at Thanksgiving Point are all kid-approved activities in SLC!

What are the best museums to see when visiting Salt Lake City, Utah?

The Clark Planetarium, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Ancient Life, and the Museum of Natural Curiosity are all excellent museums in Salt Lake.

What are the best historical sites in Salt Lake City, Utah?

Temple Square, the Pioneer Memorial Museum, the Family History Library, and This Is The Place Heritage Park are great historical places to visit in SLC!

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