North America,  Travel

Top 10 Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has numerous things to do, most of them outside. Even if you do not like going outdoors, there are many things you can do during your visit. Instead of stopping by the main sites, this list will share other options for your visit. Here are 10 things to do in Salt Lake City that you may not find on your average trip list:

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1. Explore Salt Lake City’s Immersive Art Exhibit

Salt Lake City’s first environmentally sustainable art exhibit is known as Dreamscapes. This idea was created by the Utah Arts Alliance with help from local artists & builders. They have numerous art installations throughout the exhibit space. Support local art and explore your dreams in downtown Salt Lake City.

2. Inspire Creativity in Yourself at the Leonardo

The Leonardo is downtown Salt Lake City’s art & science museum. Inspired by Leonardo de Vinci, this museum houses hands-on workshops, interactive installations, and exhibits connected to da Vinci’s work. Late night and brunch events exist for the 21+ crowd, so check their website for up-to-date information. Do not miss the British call box, Whovians!

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Exhibit at the Leonardo in Salt Lake City
Art piece at Dreamscapes

3. Take in the View at Ensign Peak

This short hike to Ensign Peak will grant you sweeping views of Salt Lake City. From this vantage point, you can view the Great Salt Lake, City Hall, the University of Utah, the Wasatch Front and the Oquirrh Mountains. Trail runners and mountain bikers frequent these trails, so be prepared for crowds. When you get to the top, enjoy the view, but do not get it twisted, the plaque at the top needs some work on the true history of the area. Consider educating yourself on the history of the Ute and Shoshone people, read books by Indigenous authors, respectfully visiting a cultural center, and learn how to be a better ally overall.   

Visiting Utah this year? Consider sending in a donation to the Ute Last Trust, which aims to reconnect the people of the Ute Indian Tribe to their ancestral lands in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

4. Support the Snowy Owl at Devereaux House

Devereaux House is Salt Lake City’s first mansion. Restored by the state legislature in 1984, the Devereaux House is known for hosting presidents and other prestigious visitors. To others, it is known as the Snowy Owl benefit scene from Dumb and Dumber (and no, the current owners do not actually support snow owls). Deveraux House is now an event center, so you may only be able to take a picture outside the building.

5. Attend an Event at Gallivan Center

Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Gallivan Center hosts multiple events year-round. In the summer months, you can enjoy SLC’s Twilight Concert Series while supporting the arts. In the winter, you can enjoy outdoor ice skating. Check their website for updated events.

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Liberty Park Salt Lake City

6. Enjoy a Picnic and Relax at Liberty Park

Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park is a great location to stop and enjoy nature without straying too far from the city. At 110 acres, this is Salt Lake City’s oldest park. It even has the local Tracy Aviary, which is something any bird lover will enjoy. Grab some take-out and enjoy a picnic at this beautiful park.

7. Watch a Ballet Performance at Capitol Theatre

Salt Lake City is fortunate enough to have one of the top professional ballet companies in the U.S.A. call Capitol Theatre home. Yearly performances include the holiday tradition of The Nutcracker, which is a must if you visit during the holidays. Additional performances are available throughout the year and are a perfect way to enjoy a night out in Salt Lake City.

8. Challenge Your Utah Stereotypes at Salt Lake City’s Former Red Light District 

Contrary to popular belief, Salt Lake City was not the pious city many make it out to be. Located at what is now known as Regent Street, the red light district housed female boarders on the second stories. This was Salt Lake City’s attempt to control the oldest profession by creating this district. The Leader Cigar Factory Building is the last remaining building from this era, which is now comprised mostly of local restaurants.

9. Make It Easy and Explore Salt Lake City on a Guided Tour

Tour Salt Lake City the best way tourists can, with a tour! The open-air trolley is only available in the summer, but additional tours exist year-round. These local tours will drive you around the city and help you visit all the tourist stops in a short amount of time. From open-air trolleys to haunted sights, there are many ways to see Salt Lake City.

10. Catch a Glimpse of 19th Century Utah at the Beehive House

Formerly the house of Utah’s famed Brigham Young, the Beehive house holds a special place in the hearts of Utah’s LDS community. Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Beehive House was built as the first Governor’s mansion so Utah could house important guests. You will spot this house on South Temple by finding the beehive located on top of the building (the cupola). While there, grab some famous rolls from Lion House next door.

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I hope this list was helpful for your next trip to Salt Lake City! Utah has so many options, it can be hard to pick just ten. Let me know what you like to do in the comments below. Which location is your favorite? Is there an activity not on this list that you love to do instead?

Up Next: 5 Surprising Must Eats in Utah >

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