Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah, is bordered by the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The four-season city offers outdoor activities that range from sunny water park fun to snowy tubing thrills. Salt Lake City, founded in 1847, also has an abundance of historical and cultural attractions. Places to visit in Salt Lake City include Hogle Zoo, Eccles Theater, The Wairhouse Trampoline Park, Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Chase Home Museum, Clark Planetarium, Fort Douglas Military Museum and the following attractions.
Natural History Museum of Utah
The Natural History Museum of Utah, located on the campus of the University of Utah, contains over one million objects. The museum is housed in the Rio Tinto Center, notable for the standing seam copper that wraps the exterior of the building. The three-story high Canyon, the main lobby area, features a collections wall that displays more than 500 objects. From the Canyon, you can view the Salt Lake Valley or find ways to explore the museum with its mobile guide, Trailhead to Utah.
Great Salt Lake State Park
Great Salt Lake State Park provides boat slips and interpretive exhibits in addition to panoramic public viewpoints of the Great Salt Lake. Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours, located adjacent to the Visitors Center, rents stand up paddle boards, peddle boats and kayaks. The venue offers Sunset Dinner Cruises and Jet Boat Tours. Bird watching is a popular pastime in the park since the lake is a stop for millions of migratory birds. A park restaurant offers a breakfast and lunch menu.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts displays culture and visual arts on a rotating basis. The museum’s permanent collection includes about 20,000 objects. Figurines, oil paintings, woodblocks, tapestries, jewelry, amulets and etchings are some of the objects in the collection. Things like “Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art” and “Spencer Finch” are temporary exhibitions. Docent-guided tours are offered, and talks and lectures are presented on a regular basis. The Museum Café offers a lunch and beverage menu.
Big Cottonwood Canyon
Big Cottonwood Canyon is a must see when you visit Salt Lake City, regardless of the season. Steep canyon walls open up to reveal magnificent views. The 15-mile-long ancient canyon, located in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains, is a great place to picnic, rock-climb, hike, bike, camp and fish.
Two ski resorts are popular destinations in the winter. Hiking to Donut Falls, with its easy, wide trail and little elevation gain, is fun for all family members. Choose from four picture-perfect picnic areas.
Downtown Salt Lake City
Temple Square, including the castle-like Salt Lake Temple, is the focal point of Downtown Salt Lake City. There are other attractions in the area. The Gateway is an open-air destination for entertainment, dining, shopping and work.
The Leonardo is a science and art museum, and the Capitol Theatre stages ballet, opera and Broadway shows. Gallivan Center hosts events and festivals all season while the City Library often provides festival space in its landmark building. Shopping and dining spots are numerous.
Red Butte Garden
Red Butte Garden includes a botanical garden, arboretum and amphitheater. The Daffodil Display, located in the Four Seasons Garden, blooms each spring while the Rose Collection features 150 distinct species of roses. The Ornamental Grass Collection, Conifer Collection and Penstemon Collection are interesting habitats. Three Terrace Gardens, the Medicinal Garden, Fragrance Garden and Herb Garden are popular spots. Red Butte Garden Natural Area features a trail, stream, ponds and a waterfall.
There’s lots to do on Salt Lake City’s Capitol Hill. You can tour the Capitol, which houses the chambers of Utah’s three branches of government, and learn about its history and view the magnificent artwork. The Capitol grounds are a great place to have a picnic or take a hike on the trails. You can also walk through Memory Grove Park, where you’ll find a river, monuments and picnic tables as well as trails. Check out the artifacts at Pioneer Memorial Museum, then head to historic Council Hall.