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Salt Lake City is the state capital of Utah that was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young. He moved here from Illinois to set up a religious community. As a result, the Mormon faith became a part of the local culture, so most architectural constructions in the city are associated with its illustrious history. Apart from religious monuments, you can also enjoy other attractions like theaters, museums, galleries, and planetariums. Being located in a valley that stands high above the majestic Jordan River, Salt Lake City is well-known for its scenic location.
As you can see, there are more than enough reasons to add Salt Lake City to your travel bucket list. Here are the best things you should definitely try during your visit to this marvelous metropolis city.
- The best thing to do 1: Visiting Utah Museum of Fine Arts
- The best thing to do 2: Visiting Temple Square
- The best thing to do 3: Watch a movie under the stars at Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre
- The best thing to do 4: Enjoy nature in Red Butte Garden
- The best thing to do 5: Check some unique book collections at Family History Library
- The best thing to do 6: Take some nice photos in Great Salt Lake Marina
- The best thing to do 7: See charming landscapes in Bonneville Salt Flats
- The best thing to do 8: Join the Timpanogos Cave Tour
- The best thing to do 9: Enjoy Gallery Stroll
- The best thing to do 10: Feel the height by reaching Grandeur Peak
- The best thing to do 11: Do different kinds of winter sports in Sundance Mountain Resort
- The best thing to do 12: Try the variety of wine tastes by joining Utah Wine Tour
- The best thing to do 13: Enjoy an underground atmosphere at Bodega and the Rest
- The best thing to do 14: Stroll around traditional streets of Old Deseret Village
If you are fond of culture and visual arts then the Utah Museum of Fine Arts is the first place to visit in Salt Lake City. The building is situated on the territory of the University of Utah where it was first opened in the 1950s. Today, the museum involves around 20 different galleries featuring both static and rotating exhibits. All pieces of work are represented in Asian, European, and American art. There are also classical as well as modern pieces, whatever your preferences are.
Interesting: Of the permanent collections, you will find more than 17,000 objects on display, coming from all over the world.
It wouldn’t be exaggerated to say that Temple Square is a holy location for Mormons. The square is full of trees and flowers, while the Mormon Temple, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and the Assembly Hall look out over it. Temple Square also provides residents and tourists with free walking tours of the Temple grounds available in forty languages. You can also enjoy a few collections of genealogical records and some performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Being the center of the LDS Church, Temple Square invites all visitors to see the exquisite architecture and find out more about the Mormon religion, history, and outreach programs. Other buildings located within the square involve popular destinations such as expansive museums and the Tabernacle. The dome-shaped auditorium is well-known for its acoustic qualities. Thus, visitors are welcomed to visit multiple musical events and enjoy the Choir performance.
Interesting: By attracting around 5 million visitors a year, Temple Square has become the most popular tourist attraction in Utah State.
Drive-in movie theaters were one of the major trends in the 1950s. In the age of Netflix, you can hardly find the place to enjoy the retro atmosphere. Only 15 states have drive-in movie theaters. Luckily, Utah is one of them. Since 1948, Redwood Drive-In Theatre in Salt Lake City has been offering double features. In the modern age of the Internet and technology, Redwood Drive-In Theatre still has a loyal customer base. Thus, you’d better plan your visit in advance to pick the best parking space. Watching a movie under the stars is the best possible experience for a warm family evening or a romantic date.
Interesting: The prices of Redwood Drive-In Theatre are quire democratic. For just $9 per person, you can watch two movies.
Red Butte Garden is the major botanical garden in Salt Lake City. Covering the area of more than 21 acres of developed gardens and five miles of walking and hiking trails, it is known for its plant collections, colorful gardens, sculpture installations, as well as special events. Red Butte Garden organizes some educational programs such as horticulture classes, bird observation, summer camps, art exhibits and family nights with live performances. It also conducts a series of summer music concerts conducted within the amphitheater. What is good is that the Garden is open around the year.
Interesting: Red Butte Garden has around 200,000 annual visitors, more than 10,000 regular members, and over 300 active volunteers.
The Family History Library is a public research facility that features the largest collection of genealogical data in the world. It can be found in the downtown of Salt Lake City. Since 1894, the facility has been run FamilySearch, the LDS (Mormon) Church. At the same time, you don’t have to be a member of the Mormon Church to use their genealogical resources, as the facility is open to everyone. Thus, you can access a wide range of microfilms, books, research studies, newspapers, periodicals, and electronic resources in order to discover your family’s history. The library’s databases are so big that millions of people around the world are using it to research their ancestry. Moreover, the official site assistance is available in more than 30 languages.
Interesting: The Family History Library is open to the public and can be accessed free of charge.
The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the area of Western Hemisphere. It’s slightly less salty compared to the Dead Sea! Kayaking, pedal boating and sailing are only some of the options to enjoy the peaceful sunsets on the lake. At the Great Salt Lake Marina, you can rent pedal boats and have dinner cruises with Gonzo Boat Rentals. On your way to or from the marina, it’s totally worth to take some photos at Saltair, namely the historic building that operates as a concert venue.
Interesting: The northwest part of the lake is the location for Spiral Jetty that is only visible when the level of Great Salt Lake decreases to 1,280.2 m above sea level.
The Bonneville Salt Flats represent the most unique landscapes in the world. No wonder so many movies and car commercials are shot there. The Salt Flats are based on hard, white salt crust covering almost one hundred cubic yards of it. Operated by the Bureau of Land Management, it was organized as an area of Critical Environmental Concern in the 1980s for its unusual geology. Generally, it is considered to be one of the best salt pans in the world and the only one on the territory of the United States.
Interesting: The Bonneville Salt Flats has been the place for motorcar racing since 1914. There are five major land speed events involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Timpanogos Cave is a national monument situated in American Fork Canyon. It is well-known for its colorful caverns, including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and anthodites. The Hansen, Middle and Timpanogos caverns build up the cave network that is connected by a strenuous 1.5-mile paved tunnel. On your ranger-guided tour, you’ll find out more about these delicate formations by passing the natural passageways.
Interesting: Before joining the standard tour through the cave system, you will have to check an Introduction to Caving tour teaching the basis of Leave No Trace caving.
Since 1983, the Salt Lake City Gallery Stroll has been organized into a small group of local galleries. On the third Friday of every month, the local galleries open their doors for the public to check their art collections, listen to live music, and enjoy treats within several reasons. Thus, the Gallery Stroll has become a social gathering for Salt Lake City’s residents and tourists. Currently, the network involves over 40 galleries that are involved into a self-guided tour. By the way, there are no tickets required, as this social initiative is available free of charge. Also, you can check the Gallery Guide Maps before joining the tour.
Interesting: The Salt Lake Gallery Stroll aims to promote the expression, realization, and understanding of the visual arts, as well as increase the reputation of artists and art organizations at the domestic and international level.
Grandeur Peak is an 8299-foot summit located on the east side of Salt Lake Valley. It’s one of Utah’s quickest mountains for climbing. At the top, you’ll get amazing views of the Salt Lake Valley and the peaks of surrounding mountains. If you decide to conquer the mountain, you should start at the Church Fork Trailhead in Millcreek Canyon and pass about three miles to the summit. After passing more than 6 miles, the trail will become steep following a small stream north into the forest. The trail is easily observed featuring an elevation gain of 2,650 feet.
Interesting: If you are looking for a shorter way, you can summit Grandeur from the West Ridge Trailhead at the top of Wasatch Boulevard. But this way will be steeper and more complicated.
Sundance Mountain Resort is a family-oriented destination located in the foothills of Mount Timpanogos. Thanks to marvelous landscapes and various entertainment options, the resort has gained a reputation of a great year-round destination for people of different age. The resort, owned by Robert Redford, offers great skiing as well as other fun winter activities. During the summer season, you can enjoy such summer activities as hiking, biking, fishing, owling, horseback riding, art classes, and many others. Generally, the major aim of Sundance Resort is to combine art, nature, and community.
Interesting: Despite its popularity, Sundance is known for its democratic prices. Thus, a lift ticket for the whole day costs around $100.
The tour around Salt Lake City’s best wineries, breweries and distilleries can be great forms of entertainment if you like wine and everything associated with it. There are private and group tours of two to six people, including Wine Tasting Wednesday, Wine Tasting Plus, and Wine, Beer, and Spirits. Depending on the program you make up your mind for, you will be able to choose from wine, wine and beer, beer and hard spirits, or distillery tastings. The tour lasts about five hours.
Interesting: The average price for a tour is $169. Also, you can have lunch by paying an additional $30.
While you are in Salt Lake City, you should visit a speakeasy-style underground bar and restaurant. While Bodega looks like a pretty inconspicuous place, you will get access to the Rest by making a reservation. There is a great variety of cocktails, greasy-diner-styled food, and limited space. The facility is open daily for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is located in the shadows of the Wasatch Mountain Range at the bottom of the Big Cottonwood Canyon. Its location in the suburbs next to the popular outdoor recreational area is perfect. In fact, it appeals to tourists, families, and outdoors fans.
The atmosphere at Bodega and the Rest is warm and welcoming, encouraging the feel of a ski lodge and relaxing decor. The menu involves classic American fare and varies throughout the day.
Interesting: Even though walk-ins are always welcome, seating is not guaranteed. That’s why you’d better make a reservation in advance.
The Old Deseret Village in Salt Lake City is a model of a traditional village commemorating the Mormon arrival in Utah State. Here you can find a collection of different homes and period buildings, reflecting on the local history. Special actors will help you get into the mood of the time as you walk around. Considering the fact that the village covers the territory of almost 440 acres, you will be able to stroll around traditional streets throughout the day.
Interesting: Some attractions of the Old Deseret Village include a standard inn and a heritage replica of a farmhouse where you can find out more about a Mormon village.