Best Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Best Things To Do In Salt Lake City

If you’re looking for something to do in Salt Lake City, you’ve come to the right place. With many unique restaurants, events, and other activities found in Salt Lake, there’s a seemingly endless list of things to do, see, and explore.

Within its tall buildings and busy streets, you’ll fall in love with all the different treasures you’ll find. From that hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop you’ll visit again and again to the peaceful and beautiful grounds of Temple Square, there’s a reason people visit and even live in this charming city. 

We put together a list of 12 things you have to do the next time you find yourself in Salt Lake City. Feel free to explore this lively city and add to this list as well! But first things first, here are a few facts about this wonderful city.

Where Is Salt Lake City?

Salt Lake City is the capital and most populated city in the state of Utah. It was founded by early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon pioneers) in the mid-1800s and has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Utah. Close to the beautiful Wasatch Mountain range and the unique Great Salt Lake, Salt Lake City provides both the exciting city life and the peaceful mountain escape you are looking for.

Salt Lake City also has its own international airport, which has made it a great city for tourists from all over the world to visit, as well as for major businesses and corporations to call home and grow. With its rich history and established communities, Salt Lake City is not only a great place to visit, it’s also a great place to raise your family. 

How Did Salt Lake City Get Its Name?

Salt Lake City may sound like a funny place to visit, but there’s a reason for its unique name. Next to this thriving city rests one of only a few dozen saltwater lakes around the world. This lake was appropriately named the Great Salt Lake by the settlers of Utah due to its size and salt content. 

The lake offered opportunities for people to mine and extract salt and helped to bring more jobs and more people to Utah. Along with the mineral-rich mountains and other mining opportunities found in Utah, Salt Lake City quickly became a thriving place of business and growth.

Salt Lake City was originally called the City of Great Salt Lake until its permanent name change just a few years later. You can still visit the Great Salt Lake today and experience its beautiful salt flats and wildlife. 

Why Is Salt Lake City a Great Place to Visit?

Salt Lake City offers a taste of what it’s like to live in a big city without being as busy as other cities like New York or Dallas. Since it's also minutes away from the mountains and the lake, the surrounding nature of Salt Lake City provides the perfect escape when you need to get away from all the cars and tall buildings. 

Salt Lake City also offers an almost endless list of places to see and things to do. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you may experience exciting outdoor concerts and plays, gorgeous displays of holiday lights, and so much more.

To help you get started on your own Salt Lake adventures, we created these 12 things to do in Salt Lake City to truly experience what this place has to offer. From the best places to eat to indoor and outdoor places you and your family will love to visit over and over again, check out the list for yourself, then start planning your next trip!

Best Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Starting with our top six things to do in Salt Lake City, you’ll find something for everyone. Salt Lake City offers many family-friendly activities, as well as perfect getaway experiences for you and your significant other. Whether you’re looking for your next family summer trip or a romantic getaway for an anniversary, Salt Lake City has it all!

Hogle Zoo

Hogle Zoo Salt Lake City Zebra

The Hogle Zoo is home to some of the best animal exhibits you’ll find in Utah. Your little ones will love feeding the giraffes and watching the polar bears take a swim. With plenty of other animals to see and fall in love with, the Hogle Zoo makes for a great day activity your family will enjoy.

You and your family can participate in scheduled animal shows throughout the day, as well. Everything from lizards and birds to elephants and zebras creates a special time and experience all day long.

The Hogle Zoo also has a fun train you and your family can ride to take in all the zoo has to offer. And if you ever need a break or some food, stop by one of many restaurants or food carts throughout the zoo. 

Although the Hogle Zoo is open year-round, we recommend visiting in the Summer to see all the animals. Some of the animals hibernate or are kept indoors and out of sight during the winter.

You can find the address and contact information for the Hogle Zoo below.

Hogle Zoo

2600 Sunnyside Avenue

South Salt Lake City, UT 84108

(801) 584-1700

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake

If you’ve never experienced effortlessly floating in a saltwater lake before, then you’re missing out! The Great Salt Lake is a unique and fun place to visit. You’ll be in awe over the vast and beautiful salt flats. You’ll also love watching the wildlife. From the elegant cranes walking along the lakeshore to the fun brine shrimp swimming in the salty water, the beauty of this lake never gets old.

Like we previously mentioned, you can also experience what it’s like to float without trying on the Great Salt Lake’s water. Because of all of the salt in the water, the water is much more buoyant to allow people to float with ease. Even showers are provided to wash off the salt after you finish floating on the lake.

There are also places to camp by the lake if you and your family want to spend several days enjoying all that the Great Salt Lake has to offer. 

You can find the address and contact information for the Great Salt Lake State Park and Visitor Center below.

Great Salt Lake State Park

13312 West 1075 South

Magna, UT 84044

(801) 828-0787

Temple Square

Temple Square

A major reason people come to visit Salt Lake City is due to the Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square. It took the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints over 40 years to build this beautiful building. With its gorgeous spires and impressive detail, along with the well-kept and peaceful grounds surrounding it, the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square are quite a sight to behold.

Temple Square offers tours through various buildings owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including the impressive tabernacle and conference center. During Christmas time, Temple Square lights up Salt Lake City with colorful holiday lights and decorations.

Visitors are welcome and there is no cost to enter. As long as the gates are open to the square, you are able to enjoy your time inside. There are also many missionaries and volunteers throughout Temple Square that can give you personal tours and answer questions.

Details for how to get to Temple Square can be found below.

Temple Square

50 North Temple

Salt Lake City, UT 84150

(801) 531-1000

Utah Jazz

Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz is the state’s very own basketball team that is part of the National Basketball Association. The Utah Jazz gets its name from the jazz music popularized in New Orleans where the team officially began in 1974. Later, in 1979, the New Orleans Jazz relocated to Utah and kept its name.

For home games, the Utah Jazz play at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. This building seats over 18,000 people, including 56 box suites and 668 club seats. During the season, the Jazz plays several games each week. Tickets for games can range anywhere from under $10 a ticket to over $1,000 a ticket or more if you choose to get season tickets.

Just like all professional sports arenas, you’ll have access to food and drinks, as well as merchandise ranging from hats, shirts, sweaters, and more. And since the arena’s located right in Salt Lake City, you could walk there in a few short minutes.

Find the address and contact info for the Vivint Smart Home Arena below.

Vivint Smart Home Arena

301 South Temple

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

(801) 325-2000

Natural History Museum of Utah

History Museum of Utah

You and your children will love the Natural History Museum of Utah! This museum offers a variety of ever-changing exhibits and tours for you to learn all about Utah’s history, the earth, and other scientific topics. The bread and butter of this Museum is its fossil exhibit, where you’ll see dinosaur and plant fossils native to Utah and elsewhere. 

The Natural History Museum of Utah also has exhibits of ancient people and civilizations who once lived in Utah. From pottery, tools, and even pieces of ancient buildings, this exhibit provides a great look at how people long ago used to live. 

Along with both guided and audio tours, the Museum has a cafe for when you get hungry and a gift shop to take a little piece of Utah home with you. Also, although you do not need a reservation to visit the Natural History Museum of Utah, they recommend making one to assure you have an enjoyable experience.

The address and contact information for the museum are below.

Natural History Museum of Utah

301 Wakara Way

Salt Lake City, UT 84108

(801) 581-6927

Clark Planetarium

One thing you’ll want to do over and over again while in Salt Lake City is to go to the Clark Planetarium. This exciting building makes learning about space and science a hands-on and engaging experience. 

The Planetarium has three exhibits your family will enjoy. The first is an Earth exhibit, which will go into the exciting science behind where we call our home. The second is the Near Earth exhibit where you and your family will learn about the planets and stars in our solar system, the Moon, and even space weather! And last but not least, the Beyond exhibit makes learning about the universe and black holes a unique and fun time with your family.

The Clark Planetarium also has two theaters, an IMAX and a dome theater for even more space exploration and learning. And don’t forget about their gift shop—the best science gift store in all of northern Utah!

Get all the details below.

Clark Planetarium

110 South 400 West

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

(385) 468-7827

Best Places to Eat in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City View

If all the fun activities mentioned haven’t made you hungry yet, just wait until you check out a few of these restaurants and other places to eat. We picked a few of our favorite places that are either unique to Salt Lake City, or that many people eat at while visiting. 

From family-friendly options, like The Pie Pizzeria, to more romantic and intimate options, like The Melting Pot, whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll find in Salt Lake City. And if you’re looking for other things to do or places to eat in Salt Lake, go explore! There’s bound to be a place you’ll enjoy,

For now, check out these six places to eat in Salt Lake City, and know you’ll get good food no matter which place you choose.

The Pie Pizzeria

The Pie Pizzeria actually has a few locations scattered throughout Utah, but the original can be found in Salt Lake City near the University of Utah. Known as the Pie Underground, this pizzeria sits below the University pharmacy and offers a fun ambiance and place to eat. You’ll find thousands of visitors’ names written on the walls (feel free to add to it!) and a friendly and inviting staff to serve you the best pizza in Utah.

The Pie also offers a great menu with many different and unique pizzas, delicious pasta, and fresh salad choices. You might just fall in love with the Bacon Berry pie—a pizza with bacon and strawberries on top. Or give the Vesuvius calzone a go with its generous helping of Italian spaghetti, mozzarella cheese, and meatballs inside.

Once your family visits The Pie once, you’ll want to come back and try something new again and again.

Get the address and more below.

The Pie Pizzeria

1320 East 200 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84120

(801) 582-5700

The Melting Pot

Although there are a number of The Melting Pot locations throughout the United States and Canada, you’ll only find one in Utah, and it’s in Salt Lake City. The Melting Pot is known as the original fondue restaurant and offers a dining experience you won’t find anywhere else.

For the best experience, we recommend their four-course meal for two. You’ll start with a light and refreshing salad and a delicious cheese fondue of your choice with fresh-cut vegetables and potatoes for dipping. The main course is a broth fondue complemented with several choices of meats. Then finish off your meal with a decadent chocolate fondue with dippable fruits and cake pieces.

The Melting Pot delivers an experience you’ll remember for a long time. Enjoy the classy atmosphere and great food. Be sure to call or schedule a reservation ahead of time, because this is a popular restaurant in Salt Lake City.

You can find the address and more for The Melting Pot below.

The Melting Pot

340 South Main Street

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

(801) 521-6358

Bombay House

If you’re looking for the best Indian cuisine in Utah, look no further than the Bombay House. From authentically made naan flatbread to aromatic and delicious main dishes and desserts, when you go to Bombay House, you’re in for a time full of flavor.

The restaurant itself transports you to a beautiful Indian town with vibrant paintings and intimate lighting. It’s the perfect place to take your family for an evening of great food and exciting culture. 

Bombay House is one of Utah’s top restaurants for a reason. For well over 25 years, this restaurant has been awarded top ethnic dining experience in Utah. Make sure to call ahead for availability, and enjoy a taste of India in Utah!

Look below for the address, phone number, and website.

Bombay House

2731 East Parleys Way

Salt Lake City, UT 84109

(801) 581-0222

Ruth’s Diner

For over 90 years, Ruth’s Diner has been a staple for great Utah food. From the best burgers you’ll ever have to even more comfort foods, Ruth’s Diner delivers on delicious meals you’ll come back to again and again.

The diner was made from an old trolley car that was transported up Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City. It’s family-friendly and cozy atmosphere makes it the perfect place to grab a meal after a long day at the Hogle Zoo or walking around Salt Lake. 

Come for the great food and stay for the mouth-watering homemade desserts. If you and your family are looking for the best thing to do in Salt Lake City, Ruth’s Diner provides the fun and food you need.

You can find all the information for Ruth’s Diner below.

Ruth’s Diner

4160 Emigration Canyon

Salt Lake City, UT 84108

(801) 582-5807

The Red Iguana

The best Mexican food place in all of Utah has to be The Red Iguana! We say that with confidence, too, because this place is ALWAYS busy. We highly recommend getting a reservation when you stop by to eat here. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you won’t get to eat there that day.

The Red Iguana opened in 1985 to a large amount of excitement and love. With many awards and even more recognition from local and online magazines, this restaurant delivers delicious plates and great times. 

Make reservations well ahead of time to make sure you get an opening you want. You and your family will love this place!

Find all the details to this Salt Lake favorite below.

The Red Iguana

736 West North Temple

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

(801) 322-1489

Bruges Belgian Bistro

This cute, little hole in the wall is the perfect European escape here in Salt Lake City. You won’t find a better Belgian waffle anywhere else! This fun waffle shop cooks up delicious and unique Belgian waffles, from sweet waffles to hearty, savory waffles your tastebuds will love.

Bruges also offers delicious frites, or fries, as well as tasty sandwiches to give you a little more food. We love their waffles, but their frites along with their homemade dipping sauces are just as delicious. 

It’s best to visit this little bistro during the warm months because there are only five seats inside. Many people choose to eat on the tables outside or even take their waffles to Pioneer Park across the street. Wherever you choose to eat your food from Bruges, we know you’ll love it.

Get their contact information below.

Bruges Belgian Bistro

336 West 300 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

(801) 363-4444

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