Sunday, August 1, 2021

Top things to do in Salt Lake City - Utah

Explorer Lens


Utah is known for one of the most dramatic landscapes in USA.

From majestic rocks to multi-colored hills, from beautiful arches to crimson colored hoodoos, from snow covered mountains to desert areas, Utah has it all.

You will be perplexed and amazed to see and experience such a wide variety of terrain changing drastically every few miles.

We recently planned for a 10 days road trip covering major attractions of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Our flight landed in Salt Lake City, the capital and one of the most populous cities of Utah.

Salt Lake City International airport is huge and also quite beautiful.
We had one entire day to cover major attractions in and around Salt Lake City and here is the list of things to do in this beautiful city :

Things to do in and around Salt Lake City

1) Ensign Peak
If you have just one day in Salt Lake City, start it with a jaw dropping view of the Salt Lake City and nearby mountains from Ensign Peak. It is a 0.8 mile out and back trail which features an overlook point.
The sunrise and sunset views from the top of the Ensign Peak is incredible.



2)  Temple Square
Temple Square is one of the top tourist attractions in Salt Lake City. It is 35-acre area which is known for its architecture and colorful gardens. The area includes a temple, conference center, assembly hall and visitor centers.

There are free tours available for conference center and historical residences.
Visitors are not allowed inside the temple as there is major construction work going on, but there are plenty of things to shoot and get clicked with.

3) Utah State Capitol
The next spot which is at a walkable distance from Temple Square is Utah State Capitol.
I would love to walk the way rather than drive, because the connecting route is very beautiful.
It comprises of historic buildings displaying dynamic work of architecture, lovely vibrant flowers which are planted on either side of the road, impressive residential area and amazing restaurants.

Utah State Capitol is one of the most prominent landmarks of Utah.
It is an architectural masterpiece which is used by the government of Utah.
It has well maintained lawns, trees and flowerbeds.
You can have a great view of the Salt Lake City and the nearby mountains from here.

There are also free tours available for Utah State Capitol.
Overall a great place to visit.

4) City Creek Center
It is the shopping and dining hub of Salt Lake City.
Located in the heart of the Salt Lake City, it is a great place to have lunch/dinner and shop from stores of world class brands. The architecture of the city center is marvelous and mostly made up of glass. The center also features water creek, pedestrian sky bridge, fish pond, waterfall and beautiful symmetric fountains.

5) Antelope Island State Park
The next place to visit is Antelope Island State Park.
It is roughly 1-hour drive from Salt Lake City and easily accessible.

Antelope Island State Park is the perfect place to get scenic views of the Great Salt Lake and also see some wildlife like Bison, Mule Deer and Pronghorn Antelope.

There are few hiking trails which provides jaw dropping view of Lake’s Great Basin and nearby mountains.
We were a bit short on time so we couldn’t explore it much, but if you don’t have that constraint, give it half a day.

There is a modest fee of $15 per vehicle to enter the park.

6)  Bonneville Salt Flats
One of the hidden gems of Utah and a natural wonder of USA, Bonneville Salt Flats is a place I haven’t seen anywhere else. Bonneville Salt Flats are densely packed salt pans that are pristine and makes you feel on an otherworldly terrain.

Sunset is the best time to visit this place, when the salt flats, nearby mountains and water stream creates stunning views which provide great photo opportunities.

Racing also takes place on these salt flats. You can also push the throttle while driving on these salt flats, but be aware that you will have to get a car wash the very next day, as the salt will be all over our car, specially tires.

Great news is, Bonneville Salt Flats is free of cost.

More details on my blogpost specially dedicated to Bonneville Salt Flats, where I will be disclosing a location here which is becoming quite viral among travelers.

If you have just one day in Salt Lake City, the above itinerary should be sufficient.
In case you have an extra day and are into hiking, I would suggest the below 3 hikes.

7) Mount Olympus Trail
Start your day with this adventure hike of Mount Olympus located near Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
As it is a 7.8 mile out and back moderate to difficult level trail, start in the early morning hours around
5-6 am.

The views from the summit are extraordinarily beautiful.
The trail is easy to follow, but darn steep. Make sure to carry atleast 3 liters of water per person, as there is little shed on this trail. 

8) Bell Canyon Trail to Lower Falls
Bell Canyon Trail to Lower Falls is a 4.6 mile out and back trail located near Sandy, Utah.
It features a reservoir, beautiful waterfall and grand views of the Salt Lake Valley.

The hike is rated as moderate and is a good way to start your day.

9) Living Room
End your day with a sunset hike.
Living Room Lookout Trail is a 2.3 mile out and back trail located in close vicinity of Salt Lake City.

The rocks at the summit are shaped like chairs and it feels like you are sitting in a living room while enjoying the incredible views of the valley.

10) Ski Resorts
You might be surprised, but Utah can also be a great ski destination and the epicenter of skiing is Salt Lake City. It is the gateway to some of the most amazing Ski Resorts in Utah.
So, if you are into skiing and are visiting Salt Lake City during Winters, a Ski Resort can be great fun.
Some of the popular ones located in vicinity of Salt Lake City are
- Park City
- Alta
- Snowbird
- Brighton
- Solitude
- Deer Valley

11) Take a ride on Electric Scooter
Exploring the city on an Electric Scooter is so much fun and a great experience.
So, I would suggest to do this as the rates are quite nominal. It is $30 per scooter/day and 10 cents per ride.

There are lot of museums and a beautiful botanical garden- Red Butte Gardens also in Salt Lake City to explore and experience, so as per your interest and time, you can visit them too.

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

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