27 Best Places and Things To Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, is a vibrant city nestled amidst breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, art lover, or foodie, Salt Lake City offers a plethora of attractions and activities to suit all interests. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Salt Lake City.

1. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum

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Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty of Red Butte Garden, a botanical garden and arboretum situated at the base of the Wasatch Mountains. Explore the diverse gardens, enjoy concerts during the summer months, and take in the panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains.

2. Gilgal Gardens

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For a truly unique experience, visit Gilgal Gardens, a hidden gem in Salt Lake City. This sculpture garden features over 70 intriguing and thought-provoking sculptures, including the famous Sphinx with Joseph Smith’s face. Explore the serene gardens and unravel the symbolism behind each artwork.

3. Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

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Immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA). This dynamic museum showcases innovative and thought-provoking works by local, national, and international artists. Explore the ever-changing exhibitions, attend artist talks, and participate in engaging workshops.

4. Temple Square

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The most prominent feature of Temple Square is the magnificent Salt Lake Temple. This iconic temple took 40 years to complete and is considered one of the most sacred sites for members of the LDS Church. While the temple itself is not open to the public, its exterior and meticulously manicured grounds are a sight to behold.

5. Natural History Museum of Utah

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The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, including paleontology, archaeology, anthropology, geology, and biology. Explore the engaging and interactive displays that bring Utah’s natural world to life. From dinosaur fossils to ancient Native American artifacts, the exhibits offer a comprehensive understanding of the region’s geological and cultural past.

6. This is the Place Heritage Park

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The park’s main feature is its meticulously reconstructed historic village, designed to resemble a 19th-century pioneer settlement. Explore over 50 buildings, including log cabins, homes, and shops, which provide a fascinating insight into the challenges and triumphs of pioneer life. Costumed interpreters bring the village to life, offering demonstrations and sharing stories about the pioneers’ daily routines, craftsmanship, and traditions.

7. Cathedral of the Madeleine

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The cathedral’s architectural style is primarily French Gothic, inspired by the great cathedrals of Europe. Its grandeur and intricate details make it a visual masterpiece. Admire the soaring spires, ornate stained glass windows, and the intricate stonework that adorn the exterior and interior of the cathedral.

8. Ensign Peak Park

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The park features a short but rewarding hiking trail that leads to the summit of Ensign Peak. The trail is approximately a 1-mile round trip and offers a moderate uphill climb. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and enjoy glimpses of the stunning vistas that await you at the top.

9. Utah’s Hogle Zoo

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The zoo features a wide variety of animal exhibits that provide opportunities to observe and learn about different species. From majestic big cats and playful primates to exotic birds and aquatic creatures, you’ll have the chance to see animals from all corners of the globe. The zoo is dedicated to conservation and works actively to provide natural and stimulating environments for the animals.

10. Great Salt Lake

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The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. It covers an area of approximately 1,700 square miles (4,400 square kilometers) and has a maximum depth of about 33 feet (10 meters). It is a terminal lake, meaning it has no outlet and its water has a higher salt concentration than the ocean.

11. Church History Museum

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The museum features a range of exhibitions that highlight the history, teachings, and culture of the LDS Church. The exhibits include artifacts, artwork, photographs, and multimedia presentations that provide insights into the early beginnings of the church, the pioneers’ journey to Utah, the global growth of the church, and the impact of its teachings on individuals and communities.

12. Land Cruiser Heritage Museum

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The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum houses what is believed to be the world’s most diverse collection of Land Cruisers. Models range from a beautifully patina’d 1953 Toyota Jeep BJT to a pristine 2021 Heritage Edition 200 series.

13. Mill Creek Canyon

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Mill Creek Canyon is renowned for its breathtaking beauty. The canyon is lined with towering pine and fir trees, and the rushing waters of Mill Creek flow alongside the road. As you drive or hike through the canyon, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains, rocky cliffs, and lush vegetation. The canyon is particularly picturesque during the fall when the leaves change color, creating a vibrant and colorful landscape.

14. Memory Grove Park

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Nestled at the mouth of City Creek Canyon, Memory Grove Park is renowned for its scenic beauty. The park is adorned with lush greenery, tall trees, and vibrant flowers, creating a serene and picturesque environment. The natural surroundings provide a peaceful retreat and a perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls or moments of quiet reflection.

15. Sugar House Park

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The park features a picturesque pond known as Sugar House Lake. The tranquil water and surrounding pathways create a peaceful ambiance for leisurely walks or jogging. The walking trails wind around the lake, offering scenic views and opportunities for birdwatching. It’s a great place to unwind and connect with nature.

16. Pioneer Memorial Museum

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The museum features a wide range of exhibits that provide insight into the lives and experiences of the early pioneers. The exhibits include artifacts, photographs, documents, and personal stories that depict the challenges, triumphs, and everyday life of the pioneers. You can learn about their journeys, their settlements, and the contributions they made to the development of Utah and the surrounding regions.

17. Utah Museum of Fine Arts

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The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 20,000 works of art spanning a wide range of styles, periods, and mediums. The collection includes ancient, European, American, and contemporary art, as well as art from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. You can explore paintings, sculptures, photography, prints, ceramics, textiles, and other artistic forms from various cultures and artistic movements.

18. International Peace Gardens at Jordan Park

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The park features 11 individual gardens, each representing a different country or culture. These gardens showcase unique landscapes, plants, and architectural elements that reflect the traditions and aesthetics of the respective countries. From the tranquil Japanese Garden to the vibrant Mexican Garden, each section offers a distinct ambiance and serves as a tribute to different parts of the world.

19. Fort Douglas Military Museum

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The museum showcases the rich military history of Fort Douglas and its impact on the region. It provides insight into the role of the fort during various periods, including the Indian Wars, World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. Exhibits highlight the experiences of soldiers stationed at the fort and their contributions to military operations and local communities.

20. National Pony Express Monument

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The monument pays homage to the Pony Express, a remarkable mail delivery system that operated from April 1860 to October 1861. It was a critical communication link during the early days of the American West, connecting the eastern United States with California. The monument serves as a reminder of the brave riders who carried the mail across vast distances and challenging terrain.

21. Olympic Cauldron Park

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The centerpiece of the park is the Olympic Cauldron, which served as the symbolic flame during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The cauldron was lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Games and remained a powerful symbol throughout the event. It stands tall and prominently, reminding visitors of the spirit of the Olympics and the city’s proud Olympic legacy.

22. Brigham Young Historic Park

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The park features beautifully landscaped gardens with lush greenery, colorful flowers, and serene pathways. It offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city, providing a place for quiet reflection and relaxation. The well-maintained gardens create a tranquil atmosphere that invites visitors to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty.

23. City Creek Park

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Park is one of the city’s largest and most popular parks, spanning over 80 acres. It features a large pond, walking paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, and sports fields. The park also houses the Tracy Aviary, which is home to a diverse collection of birds from around the world.

24. Mormon Battalion Monument

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The centerpiece of the Mormon Battalion Monument is a striking bronze sculpture that depicts several soldiers from the Mormon Battalion. The sculpture captures the spirit and determination of the battalion members as they march forward. The monument stands as a tribute to their courage, sacrifice, and commitment to their faith and country.

25. The Cathedral Church of Saint Mark

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The Cathedral Church of Saint Mark boasts stunning architectural features that make it a notable sight in Salt Lake City. The building’s design reflects Gothic Revival style, characterized by pointed arches, intricate stone carvings, and stained glass windows. The grandeur of the cathedral’s exterior and interior architecture is sure to leave a lasting impression.

26. The Salt Lake Masonic Temple

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The Salt Lake Masonic Temple is renowned for its stunning architecture. The building showcases a blend of various architectural styles, including Classical Revival and Renaissance Revival influences. It features intricate detailing, grand columns, and a majestic façade that commands attention. The temple’s exterior and interior design are a testament to the craftsmanship and attention to detail of the era in which it was built.

27. Seven Peaks Waterpark Salt Lake City

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The water park features a variety of thrilling water slides, offering excitement for visitors of all ages. From high-speed slides to tube rides, there are options for both adrenaline seekers and those looking for a more relaxed experience. Some notable attractions include the Bombora Flowrider, the Half Pipe, the Royal Flush, and the Tidal Wave.

From its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural offerings, Salt Lake City has something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring its historic sites, enjoying outdoor adventures, or immersing yourself in art and culture, the “Crossroads of the West” promises a memorable and fulfilling experience.