Mountain view in Salt Lake City, Utah

City Guide / Salt Lake City

What to Do in Salt Lake City

By Savana | Dec 15, 2020

One of the best parts about moving to a new city is checking out everything it has to offer. This is especially true when you move to Salt Lake City. As you unpack and start to get settled in this growing city, you probably can’t wait to discover all the fun activities, delicious restaurants and amazing outdoor spaces. As a place that offers the ideal combination of a big city and natural wilderness, Salt Lake City has no shortage of fun and exciting things to do. To help you decide what to do in Salt Lake City, Landing has created a list of five types of local activities to try. If you’re considering a move to the city, read on, and then discover the pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City

1. Enjoy the surrounding mountains and national parks

Salt Lake City is famous for being surrounded by the incredible Wasatch Mountains, providing a breathtaking view for residents and visitors to enjoy every day. However, you don’t have to be content to view the mountains from afar. You can join the countless people who hike and go mountain biking on the mountains’ trails. The Wasatch Mountains are a mountain range that runs from the Utah-Idaho border to Central Utah. This 160-mile range is the western edge of the Greater Rocky Mountains, and it contains several prominent mountains, including Ben Lomond, Mt. Olympus and Twin Peaks (Board Fork). The mountain peaks in this range are between about 9,000 feet and nearly 12,000 feet, which can be quite a hike for many people. For those who would instead explore nature at a slightly lower altitude, Salt Lake City has plenty of other parks to enjoy.

  • Bonneville Shoreline Trail: You can take this 9.1-mile trail from Emigration Canyon Road to City Creek. Because it’s one of the city’s most popular trails, it’s also heavily trafficked and great for all skill levels. Best of all, you can bring your dog with you.
  • Memory Grove Park: This park contains a replica Liberty Bell and memorials that honor Utah’s veterans. You can also find City Creek Canyon road here, which offers a route for walking, jogging and biking into the mountains.
  • International Peace Gardens: You can find this botanical garden in Jordan Park. At present, the garden contains 28 gardens that celebrate different cultures. It’s a great place to wander through different plants and check out various garden statues.
  • Sugar House Park: As you might have guessed by the name, this 110-acre park sits in the heart of the desirable Sugar House neighborhood. Locals love visiting this park in the winter to go sledding.

If you’re willing to drive a little bit, you’ll discover that Salt Lake City is within a five-hour drive of five amazing national parks in Utah.

  • Arches National Park: This “red-rock wonderland” is home to more than 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of other incredible rock formations, as well as hiking trails.
  • Bryce Canyon National Park: As you make your way through this park, you’ll see the world’s largest concentration of hoodoos, or irregular columns of rock.
  • Canyonlands National Park: This park contains countless canyons and buttes in a distinct desert environment.
  • Capitol Reef National Park: People call this park a geologic wrinkle on the earth. It comes complete with cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges to hike and explore.
  • Zion National Park: This is Utah’s first national park, and it allows you to walk the paths that ancient people and pioneers once walked.

There’s no shortage of places to explore between Utah’s national parks and Salt Lake City’s city parks in the great outdoors.

2. Take part in winter sports

When you’re thinking about what to do in Salt Lake City, you should consider grabbing a snowboard or a pair of skis. Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics for a good reason. The Wasatch Mountains is known for having the “Greatest Snow on Earth,” and Salt Lake City is known as the “Ski City.” If you’re ready to hit the slopes, several world-famous ski resorts are close to Salt Lake City.

  • Alta: There aren’t many places in the world quite like Alta. The resort is one of the oldest in America and contains steep and challenging terrain, leading people to say, “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere.”
  • Brighton: This is known as the most-laidback ski hill in Salt Lake City. It attracts a friendly and younger crowd, many of whom are snowboarders.
  • Snowbird: You can think of Snowbird as the future of skiing, with its high-speed chairs and Aerial Tram. The resort is a great place for skiers who like fast and steep slopes.
  • Solitude: This resort gets an average of 500 inches of snow each year and contains 1,200 acres of terrain with green, blue and black runs.

Salt Lake City also offers ice rinks in town for fans of ice skating, including the Utah Olympic Oval in a 5-acre house. 

3. Check out the wealth of museums

Once you’ve spent some time on the slopes or in the great outdoors, you might be wondering what to do in Salt Lake City that’s indoors. Lucky for you, this city is home to several amazing museums.

  • Clark Planetarium: When you visit the Clark Planetarium, you can explore 10,000 square feet of free exhibits. You can also check out shows in the Northrop Grumman 3D IMAX Theatre or the Hansen Dome Theatre.
  • Natural History Museum of Utah: At this institution, you can learn more about Utah’s science and history. The exhibits cover everything from paleontology discoveries made in Utah to artifacts from the state’s prehistoric people.
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA): This museum displays global works that include everything from ancient objects to the latest works of art. The UMFA collection contains almost 20,000 original pieces, making it one of the best in the region.
  • Church History Museum: Visit the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and take a guided tour to learn more about the Mormon pioneers, who were members of the church, and Mormon faith. Fun fact: there are 24 mormon temples in Utah with over two million members.

In addition to the many museums, Salt Lake City is also home to Utah’s Hogle Zoo. You can see more than 800 animals of all shapes and sizes from around the world. Some of the animals who live at Utah’s Hogle Zoo include African elephants, Siberian tigers, Bornean orangutans, polar bears and white rhinos.

4. Explore one of the trendy neighborhoods

As you think about what to do in the city, you’ll want to check out some of the best neighborhoods in Salt Lake City. As more young professionals and college grads have moved into the area, many of the neighborhoods have grown to be trendier and livelier.

  • The Avenues: Not only is it easy to get around in The Avenues neighborhood, it’s also one of the artsiest and quirkiest areas in Salt Lake City. You can find amazing restaurants like Avenues Bistro on Third and Avenues Proper, popular yoga and Pilates studios like Avenues Yoga, and tons of unique shops in this historic neighborhood.
  • Capitol Hill: This area, specifically Marmalade, is one of the coolest neighborhoods. While you enjoy a great view of the entire Salt Lake City metro area, you can enjoy locally roasted organic brews and vegan pastries at Alchemy Coffee or snag a salad or a pizza from Diversion: A Social Eatery. The Marmalade District is also famous for its lively gay bars and thriving LGBTQ+ population.
  • Foothill: Due to its proximity to the University of Utah, the Foothill neighborhood has a great mix of a college and a professional vibe. You can find art museums, theaters, and popular restaurants like East West Connection and Honest Eatery Foothill.

These aren’t the only great neighborhoods in Salt Lake City. Many people also enjoy exploring Sugar House, Downtown, and 9th and 9th.

5. Attend a sporting event

Every major city should be home to a professional sports team, and Salt Lake City happens to have several of them. Fans of pro basketball can see the Utah Jazz play at Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City. Those who prefer major league soccer can get tickets to see the Real Salt Lake and the Utah Royals FC play at Rio Tinto Stadium. Fans of baseball can check out the Salt Lake Bees, a minor-league team, while hockey lovers can cheer for the Utah Grizzlies, who are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche. And those who enjoy college sports can root for the University of Utah, a Division I, Pac-12 school.

Explore the city and then return to your home base

When moving to Salt Lake City, you’ll never have to wonder what to do because there are so many options, from visiting a national park to museums to exploring trendy neighborhoods. The only problem you might have is selecting just one or two things to do for the day. After a long day of exploring the city, you want to have a comfortable space to come home to. You can count on Landing to take care of that. We offer beautiful, fully furnished apartments with all the basics you need for comfortable living, as well as a 24/7 concierge and flexible lease-terms. Getting settled in a new city has never been easier. Find a fully furnished apartment in Salt Lake City today.

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About the author

Savana