Are you looking for a place where you can pay a man to run you a bath? Where the water is so salty that Arnold Schwarzenegger floats? Where the snow is precisely 8.5% moisture?

Aren’t we all. BUT…

“This is the place!!”

Because Salt Lake City will take your breath away, literally, figuratively, and spiritually. From the majesty of the Bonneville Salt Flats to the underwhelming satisfaction of a Salt Lake Trolley Tour, this is a town not to be missed.

So welcome to my LEGENDARY guide to the best things to do in Salt Lake City! Packed full of top attractions, scintillating activities, and occasional half-amusing comments, I’ll bring you safely through all that the Utah State’s Capital has to offer…

Let’s dive in!

Okay, good start…

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    Top Things to Do in Salt Lake City

    There’s an unnaturally wide variety of things to do in Salt Lake City. If you’re visiting Utah for the first time, you’re going to need a hand. Voila the hand…

    1. Dip a Toe in the Great Salt Lake

    Is it slightly ironic that the Mormons settled somewhere where it would be superficially easy to walk on water?

    It is pretty essential Salt Lake City courtesy to visit the Great Salt Lake. If you’re visiting the USA, it is right up there with the amazing Utah national parks! The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake west of the Mississippi River, measuring a gigantic 1700 square miles. You can bob in it. If you wanna.

    • Rating: All ages
    • Cost: Free to $$
    • My Personal Opinion: This is one of the most bizarre spectacles ever. Worth seeing for sure. 8/8 would rate.

    The evaporation of water leaves behind chunky salt deposits, since the water has roughly 10 times as much salt as the Ocean. The lake is a favourite with locals as it offers prime fishing, hiking, and picnicking spots. The Great Salt Lake is unmissable and is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Salt Lake City.

    2. Explore the Mormon Sensationalism of Temple Square

    Temple Square can take up a fair swathe, and it’s worth it!

    Encompassing a startling 35-acre plaza, the term “Temple Square” designates the frank plethora of attractions which are connected to the Mormons. Including the surprisingly lavish Salt Lake Temple, Assembly Hall and Tabernacle, this square offers free tours to travellers, which even offer interest to persons of non or alternative religion.

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: This is a must-do! Temple Square includes a large portion of the city’s top attractions!

    Temple Square has its own website, and they often put on various musical events (including by the famous Tabernacle Choir). As it’s in the city centre, you can easily refresh yourself, and it is pleasant to pass a good portion of the day here. There are a great number of awesome places to stay nearby too!

    3. Discover the Mormom Birthplace at the “This is the Place Monument”

    Visit the This is the Place Monument in Salt Lake City.
    This world-famous monument was erected in 1947.

    The “This is the Place Monument” is where to visit if you want to learn about the history of the Mormon faith and its charismatic founder Brigham Young. It might even be the most important landmark in all of Salt Lake Valley.

    He trekked across the desert with his 1300 followers, until he recognized this valley from his vision. “This is the place!” he exclaimed. There’s now a monument on the exact spot.

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: The birthplace of the Mormons!! Outstanding if you’re into the frankly balmy history of the Mormons…

    Nearby the monument is the Old Desert Village which replicates the lifestyle of those early Mormons. There are streets, houses, an inn, and a farmhouse that is populated by actors who bring history to life.

    4. Stroll through Red Butte Botanical Garden

    Stroll arond the Red Butt Botanical Garden in Salt Lake City.
    Home to 21 acres of display gardens and over five miles of hiking trails.

    Red Butte Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to see in Salt Lake City. It’s on the grounds of the University of Utah and is a great place to relax.

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: $$
    • My Personal Opinion: These gardens are sensationally pretty, and stretch for miles! If you’re looking for an easy day, don’t hesitate. Kids may get a little bored if otherwise unoccupied.

    There are gorgeous landscaped gardens with marble fountains and tranquil walking paths. The Red Butte Garden has various sections dedicated to different ecosystems and regularly hosts concerts.

    5. Listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

    Visit the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City and listen to the choir.
    An iconic drone shot of the famous Tabernacle.

    The Mormon Tabernacle is one of the most striking Salt Lake City points of interest, thanks to its massive silver dome! It’s also the home of the world-famous Tabernacle Choir, the perfect SLC date!

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: Again, Mormon stuff. The choir is worth seeing, so plan your trip accordingly if that’s something you fancy seeing!

    You can always pop into the Tabernacle to explore but it’s better if you come for a concert. There are concerts on Sunday mornings and free rehearsals on Thursday evenings. The grand organ is also featured in a recital on Saturdays!

    6. Enjoy the sensational sunsets of Ensign Peak Nature Park

    Nice to get out of the city for a minute too!

    Following the Ensign Peak Trail is a top way to get some exercise, and brilliant city views over the Salt Lake Valley! This path also links up with the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (for those of a hiking persuasion). It’s pretty sensational that panoramic views are so close to downtown Salt Lake City.

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: Why not go at sunset to capture that Instagrammable shot? The trail is only a mile in either direction…

    Pack your best hiking boots and embark on a hiking trail that is simultaneously part of an urban surrounding, and part of some of the most natural nature you can encounter. Lots of animals and birds can be spotted on the trail, so don’t be surprised if you catch some phantom sounds!

    7. Transformational Breath & Ice Bath Workshop

    These people look pretty happy right?!?

    Do you fancy connecting with your true self whilst on holiday? Then you will want to cease that deliciously warm shower and climb into a bathtub filled with ice cubes. Yes. That and a load of genuinely nice feeling breathing exercises. What better way to spend your time in Salt Lake City than in the bath?

    • Rating: 16+
    • Cost: $$$
    • My Personal Opinion: If you want a unique experience, there is no experience more refreshing…

    Definitely a top thing to do in Salt Lake City. The host is experienced, and you might find a deep part of you does connect with what he’s saying. Anyway, it’ll be relaxing, enjoyable, and entirely new! Great welcome gift maybe?

    8. Glide the Unreal Bonneville Salt Flats

    girl standing on salt flats at sunset in utah
    The largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake.

    One of the most unusual things to do in Salt Lake City today is to take a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. This is a unique natural formation that spans 30,000 acres! Bonneville Speedway has so much salt it looks like a frozen lake layered with snow!

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: Along the same lines as the great lake, if you want to see something big, do it!

    Once a year, there’s even a vehicle race along this slippery terrain that draws thrill-seekers from all over. If that’s not for you, then visit the rest stop. This area offers spectacular views of the salt flats and you can walk on the salt, a strange experience in itself!

    9. Marvel at Salt Lake Temple

    Flagship temple of Mormons in Salt Lake City.
    The reflection is even more stunning in person!

    Salt Lake Temple is the flagship place of worship for Mormons around the world and is certainly one of the most interesting cultural things to see in Utah.

    • Rating: All Ages
    • Cost: Free
    • My Personal Opinion: This is the centre of Mormon culture. If you haven’t been here, have you been to Salt Lake City?

    The temple was opened in 1893 and is considered to be sacred. Therefore, only congregation members are allowed to enter the church, though visitors can still tour the gorgeous grounds and admire the impressive facade.

    Look out for the All-Seeing Eye of God on the central tower, as well as the Gilded Angel Statue!

    10. Kick up Powder at Brighton Resort

    Is just getting on the mountains enough? Absolutely not…

    Less than 2 hours away from Downtown Salt Lake City you can throw on a snow jacket and send it down some outrageously steep slopes. Whether you’re learning to ski or have it in the back pocket, one of Salt Lake City’s best features is its proximity to professional-grade slopes, so make the most of it!

    • Rating: All Ages (maybe 3+?)
    • Cost: $$$
    • My Personal Opinion: I love skiing. You could not keep me away.

    The slopes are an excellent active thing to do, so if the kids are really rubbing you up the wrong way, just send them down an ice hill. It’ll cheer them up. I believe skiing is good for the soul, and realistically this should be the top attraction in Salt Lake City. The Brighton Resort is the cheapest slope (for your budget needs…), if you want quality, head to the Solitude Mountain Resort.

    Bonus Activities in Salt Lake City, Utah

    What’s that? Your appetite is insatiable and you can’t get enough? No worries. I will quickly sort that out with these super legendary bonus things to do in Salt Lake City…

    Picnic in Liberty Park

    Walk around and have a picnic at the Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.
    Liberty Park is the perfect place to chill on a sunny day.

    With 80 acres of green land, Liberty Park is the second-largest park in Salt Lake City! This lush oasis is also the perfect spot for a picnic date.

    Many of the trees are hundreds of years old and have grown enormous, providing shade and backrests for a comfortable afternoon. Try to find a spot near the lake where you can watch the ducks go about their family lives. The park is also a great spot for walking.

    Trace your Family History at the Family History Library

    Trace your genes at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
    This is definitely one of the most interesting things to do in Salt Lake City!
    Photo: Brandon Baird (WikiCommons)

    The Family History Library is home to millions of genealogical records for around three billion people. This makes it the largest such facility in the world and one of the most mind-blowing places to visit in Salt Lake City — for free!

    The library encourages you to trace your own family history and the staff is friendly and eager to help you do so. If you have written records of your family ancestors, bring them along to help speed up the process.

    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

    Wander Around the Utah State Capitol Building

    Stroll around the State Capitol in Salt Lake City.
    The house of Government for the U.S. State of Utah.

    The splendid building you can see on Capitol Hill is, of course, the Utah State Capitol. The governor of Utah’s official residence is a grand monument that is open to the public!

    The building is a typical example of neo-classical architecture and boasts an impressive dome on the roof. Inside, the rooms are finished with white marble and gilded furnishings, and there are also a number of art exhibitions to discover.

    It’s a beautiful, peaceful attraction to stroll around in SLC!

    Explore Temple Square

    Explore the Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
    The headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons).

    Temple Square is one of the most imposing things to see in Salt Lake City. This three-block, 35-acre plaza is the location of around 20 attractions related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    Some of the Salt Lake City attractions on the square include a gothic-style assembly hall, a massive tabernacle, and the Pioneer Memorial Museum. Members of the church offer visitors free tours around the square which will really help to enhance your experience.

    Temple Square is also incredibly close to the City Creek Center, so you can swing by for some food and shopping after if you’d like!

    Discover Kennecott Copper Mine

    Visit the world’s largest man-made whole in Salt Lake City.
    The pit is over half a mile deep, 2.5 miles wide, and covers 1,900 acres!

    Kennecott Copper Mine is the world’s largest man-made hole! This awesome landmark is one of the greatest and most unique Northern Utah attractions.

    This mine still operates today and is one of the most productive mines in the world. There’s a visitor’s centre at the mine where you can learn about how the mine operates and its history. There is also a shuttle that takes visitors to the site itself!

    Visit the Deuel Pioneer Log Home

    Visit the Deuel Pioneer Log Home
    This log cabin is one of only two existing pioneer homes built in 1847
    Photo: Ben P L (Flickr)

    Deuel Pioneer Log Home is one of the most interesting places to see in Salt Lake City! It was the home of Osmyn and Wilian Deuel, both early converts to the Mormon Church, and brings 19th-century living to life!

    The Deuel family lived in the log house from 1847 to 1848, making it one of the oldest intact structures remaining in Salt Lake City. It still houses the original pioneer interior, including a cast-iron stove. Budget backpackers will also love that this attraction is free!

    Taste Salt Lake City’s Beers

    Salt Lake City is home to a growing brewery industry.
    Beers always go well with the mountains!

    Salt Lake City is home to a growing brewery industry and plenty of trendy bars. Discovering the best drinks is one of the most fun things to do in Salt Lake City for adults!

    You’ll find Utah’s best craft beers at Squatters, one of the oldest breweries in the state that has produced award-winning brews! You can also pop by Epic if you can handle high-alcohol, full-format beer! For a variety of beers and a down-to-earth local vibe, try Beer Bar, which offers over 140 national and international beers!

    Hunt for Ghosts

    Hunt for Ghosts
    SLC’s spooky side isn’t for the faint of heart.
    Photo: Paul Sableman (Flickr)

    Ghosthunting probably isn’t what you expect from downtown Salt Lake City sightseeing but it is lots of fun (and just a bit spooky)!

    Rio Grande Train Depot is supposedly one of the most haunted spots in town, and it’s home to “The Purple Lady” who you can spot near the cafe. Legend has it that she was killed trying to retrieve her engagement ring from the train tracks.

    You can also encounter ghosts at Brigham Young Farmhouse, Shilo Inn, and Capitol Theater. You may want to book a professional guide to get the use of their special ghost hunting equipment.

    Explore the Night Skies

    Clark Planetarium Salt Lake City
    Do check out the planetarium’s iconic featured films too!
    Photo: An Errant Knight (WikiCommons)

    Clark Planetarium is undoubtedly the best place to visit in Salt Lake City with kids! It will also interest adults, meaning the whole family can come and enjoy.

    The planetarium hosts exhibits on Earth and Space and really takes interaction to the next level. Visitors can step inside a tornado, make their own volcanoes or admire one of the biggest moon rocks in the world on display!

    Additionally, the Hansen Dome and IMAX theaters showcase fascinating shows on moon landings, volcanoes, and much more!

    Admire Art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

    Admire the art in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in Salt Lake City.
    Utah’s MFA is jam-packed with fabulous art.
    Photo: Tricia Simpson (WikiCommons)

    Learning about great art is one of the most relaxing things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah and the best place to do so is at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, which is yet another institution of the University of Utah.

    There are 20 galleries that showcase a selection of the museum’s 17,000 pieces of art! The art comes from all over the world and from various periods in history so there’s sure to be something that resonates with you.

    Visit the Natural History Museum of Utah

    Marvel at the collection of the Natural History Museum of Utah
    The Natural History Museum is one of the coolest things to see in SLC!

    The museum has amassed its collection since 1959 and now operates from the University of Utah. It now houses a collection of 1.6 million specimens and research objects so there is lots to discover.

    It focuses on the natural history of Utah, with exhibitions on how landmarks like the Great Salt Lake and the Middle Rocky Mountains were formed. There’s also a collection of archaeological artefacts used to bring the first peoples of the area to life!

    Dance like a Cowboy

    Dancing like a Cowboy, Salt Lake City
    This is one of those things you can ONLY do in this part of the US!
    Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg (Flickr)

    Put on your cowboy boots and head on down to Infinity Event Center or The Westerner where you can learn to swing dance!

    Both venues offer free swing and country line lessons so don’t be afraid to visit if you’re a beginner. Note that this is only open to adults. While Infinity Event Center doesn’t serve any alcohol, The Westerner has a full bar, a wooden dance floor, and even a mechanical bull!

    Visit the Big Cottonwood Canyon

    aerial view of lake blanche things to do in salt lake city
    Iconic views of Lake Blanche in autumn.

    Looking to take a day trip from Salt Lake City? Look no further than the Big Cottonwood Canyon. The canyon sits at the bottom of the Wasatch Mountain Range and is packed with outdoorsy things to do. While there you can see both Lake Mary and Lake Blanche, camp, picnic, or even ski depending on the season.

    Read in Salt Lake City Public Library

    Read books in the Salt Lake City Public Library.
    Check out those windows!
    Photo: Jonathan Grado (Flickr)

    Situated in downtown Salt Lake City, this public library is an architectural wonder and a book-lover’s paradise. It’s also free so there’s no excuse not to visit.

    The library has a sophisticated glass facade that won’t fail to impress you, and it houses more than 500,000 books in total. Apart from its indoor facilities, you can also take books up onto the rooftop garden.

    This terrace is also worth visiting for its epic views of the Wasatch Mountain Range!

    Day Trips from Salt Lake City

    Just when you thought you were done, can things get more exciting than a day trip from Salt Lake City? Never. Salt Lake City is right in the middle of a genuinely mental amount of gorgeous scenery…

    Antelope Island

    Yep, the views are next level. You might get to see some Bison too!

    So you’ve seen the Great Salt Lake, but have you seen it from Antelope Island? This patch of ground contains a multitude of wildlife species, including a 600-strong herd of American bison. There are coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, mule deer, and a sensational array of migratory birds (if you arrive at the right time). Enjoy a day of wildlife spotting, crazy landscapes, and a gorgeous sunset!

    Arches National Park

    How has that been made then?

    The Arches National Park is uniquely famous and is for sure on my bucket list. The combinations of geological formations here cannot be found almost anywhere else in the world, and if grab a guide he can talk you through all of the erosion processes! There are even some great examples of fossils and dino prints in the area, but don’t tell anyone or they’ll all be down…

    Don’t forget your travel insurance for Salt Lake City

    ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

    They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

    SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

    Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

    FAQs on Things to Do in Salt Lake City

    Here are some quick answers to common questions about what to do and see in Salt Lake City.

    Final Thoughts

    Salt Lake City is home to some of the best things to do in Utah! It’s a city full of history and is surrounded by some incredible natural landmarks. You’ll quickly realize you don’t want to leave this unique place and its alien-like landscapes.

    Luckily, there are enough things to do in Salt Lake City to keep a traveller busy for a while if need be! Enjoy the outdoors, learn some new things, and try some classic SLC restaurants. If nothing else, you’ll have immersed yourself in the unique culture of Utah, one of the very best places to visit in the USA.

    Gotta love a mountainous sunset!

    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!