Top 20 Places to Visit in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Salt Lake City has a great cultural scene, outdoor recreation galore, and sustainability initiatives, making it a unique and must-visit destination for both residents and tourists.From this article, you’d be enlightened on the top 20 tourist attractions in Salt Lake City, Utah so you can make an informed decision on where to visit.

Salt Lake City, Utah, is one great city, and although there are many things that make the city great, one thing that gives it bragging rights is its tourism industry.

There are a ton of places to visit in Salt Lake City, regardless of what you’re into.

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Salt Lake City intelligently blends urban conveniences with natural splendor. Being nested against the picturesque Wasatch Mountains and near the vast Great Salt Lake, the city offers a unique setting. 

It’s renowned for its clean, well-planned streets and features the iconic Temple Square.

Often referred to as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of the West,” it goes beyond its natural beauty. 

It has a great cultural scene, outdoor recreation galore, and sustainability initiatives, making it a unique and must-visit destination for residents and tourists.

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From this article, you’ll be enlightened on the top tourist attractions in Salt Lake City, Utah, so you can decide where to visit.

What Is Special About Salt Lake City, Utah, USA?

  • Natural Wonders: As mentioned earlier, Salt Lake City isn’t just great for its urban amenities but for the natural attractions and how they seamlessly blend together.
  • Cultural Significance: The cultural and historical significance of many structures here has been preserved in the hearts and minds of the indigenes. 
  • Getting to understand this significance and feel what they feel is just grandeur.
  • Outdoor Adventures: The city also has the landscape and facilities to support outdoor play and other activities.

1. Temple Square

Places to Visit in Salt Lake City, Utah, USAA white house with bright lights in a large city, surrounded by trees and other buildings, over sunset.
Source: The Rise to Reign

Temple Square is the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is a significant religious and historical site. 

It’s of strong reference in their culture, and its architecture makes it a must-see.

The tabernacle, assembly hall, and beautiful gardens all play their parts in making it a great place to visit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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2. Snowbird Ski Resort

A vast expansion of snow-covered mountains with tiny roads at the base of the mountains.
Source: Activities

Snowbird Ski Resort has something for everyone as long as you have any interest in outdoor activities.

Whether skiing, mountain biking, or hiking, there’s something designed for every skill level. 

The alpine coaster and cliff spa experiences also add to earning it a spot on a list as a great place to visit in Salt Lake City.

3. Gilgal Gardens

A huge sculpture of a man's head, with trees and pieces of rocks in the background
Source: USA

Gilgal Gardens being an open-air museum, is definitely worthy of a top mention because of its greatness. 

The sculptures in the midst of a garden that blends religious and cultural symbolisms provide an insight into the creativity of its time.

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This is one place that will keep you taking photos as you walk around.

4. Utah State Capitol 

A large white-painted government house with trails at the entrance and flags of the USA hung at the top and in front of the building
Source: Utah

The Utah State Capitol is notable for its architectural grandeur, historic significance, and the panoramic view it offers due to its strategic location. 

It also has an informative visitor center that highlights Utah’s history, culture, and government.

If you visit Salt Lake City and miss this area, you’d better prepare for a second trip.

5. Red Butte Garden and Arboretum 

A large garden filled with green flowers and surrounded by short trees.
Source: Arboretum

Red Butte Garden and Arboretum holds its own for its variety of plants and natural beauty from spring blooms and fall foliage. 

There’s also room for education for plant conservation and botanical research & sustainability programs.

It also has an amphitheater that hosts summer concerts that put it on the map as one of the top places to visit in Salt Lake City.

6. Hogle Zoo

A scenic photo of three Zebras trying to eat the leaves from a tree branch.
Source: Hogle Zoo

Animal lovers will love this place for its animal diversity & conservative efforts, beautiful surroundings, and interactive exhibits with education and outreach programs. 

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Hogle Zoo is also known for being family-friendly, so it’s a great place to visit in Salt Lake City.

7. Great Salt Lake

A large area of brown dunes surrounded by water
Source: Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Salt Lake City, Utah. Being one of the largest saltwater lakes in the Western Hemisphere, it sure draws in a lot of people. 

The unique ecosystem with the antelope island within the lake offers hiking, beaches, and wildlife viewing.  The view of the sunset here is something to yearn for.

8. Bonneville Salt Flats

A beautiful purple and orange cloud over hard-dried ground and a few buroed logs of wood.
Source: Bonneville

The Bonneville Salt Flats lives up to its name by being a vast salt desert which is a result of the drying up of the ancient Lake Bonneville; just 30,000 acres of salt crust resembling an alien landscape. 

Host to multiple high-speed racing events and home to the Bonneville speedway.

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A lot of salt extraction & harvesting, and photography happen here.

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9. Natural History Museum of Utah

A large brown painted museum located in a large land area
Source: Museums

The Natural History Museum of Utah is notable for some interesting things other than its scenic location. 

From the fascinating fossil exhibits to the collection of Native American cultural artifacts and natural history, there’s enough wonder to go around.

The museum is also involved in scientific research and education.

10. Big Cottonwood Canyon

A scenic view of mountains, green trees, and grasses, a lake in the middle, over a clear blue sky.
Source: Witness

Big Cottonwood Canyon derives relevance from not just its natural beauty but the outdoor activities it supports. 

It’s home to Silver Lake, Brighton, and Solitude Ski Resorts, all with great wildlife viewing opportunities.

It also houses Mill Creek Canyon Road and offers a scenic drive. 

If this doesn’t make it one of the best tourist attractions in Salt Lake City, Utah, then keep reading.

11. Wheeler Historic Farm

A large entrance to a wooden house with a fence surrounded by trees.
SOURCE: Farms

This is living history! Wheeler Historical Farm is popular not just for its farmers market or its scenic surroundings in a picturesque valley with a great view of the Wasatch mountain but for its family-friendly activities and agricultural heritage.

It also provides hands-on experience to visitors. 

There’s only one place to visit in Salt Lake City; it’s here.

12. Clark Planetarium

A large, dark room with multiple colored displays, and some planetary bodies hung from the roof.
Source: Clark Planetarium

The Clark Planetarium, located in the heart of the city, is a great place for space exploration without leaving Earth. 

The Hansen Dome Theatre features stunning full-dome shows on space, science, and more with interactive exhibits.

The public telescope viewing offers the public the chance to feel like scientists. It also hosts educational programs and workshops for schools and families.

13. Trolley Square 

A night scene with buildings having bright lights, cars parked at the entrance, and a tall, illuminated doom-like billboard outside
Source: Trolley Square 

If you need to spend your money on shopping, Trolley Square has got you covered. 

Aside from its historic trolley car barn from the late 19th century, it offers shopping & dining outlets to all and plays host to multiple cultural events.

The architecture is also exquisite, and there’s an outdoor courtyard that is great for relaxing.

14. Tracy Aviary

A large brown-painted building with a large inscription of "Tracy Aviary Visitors Center." surrounded by trees
Source: The Centers

Tracy Aviary is recognized for its bird diversity, beautiful gardens, historical significance, and conservative efforts toward the protection of birds.

It also offers family-friendly educational programs and activities. 

This is one place to visit in Salt Lake City if you wish to see nature in its glory.

15. Olympic Cauldron Park

A huge stadium-like building with tourists at the entrance

The Olympic Cauldron Park tells a tale of the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City and still features the cauldron used during the opening and closing ceremonies which hold cultural significance.

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The scenic location makes room for family-friendly activities like picnics.

16. Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area

a waterfall from rocks surrounded by different flowers and tress
Source: Areas and Trees

The Red Butte Canyon Research Natural Area has a pristine wilderness that doubles as a living laboratory for ecological environmental studies. 

The botanical diversity is great, and while it offers educational opportunities and outdoor activities, its beauty isn’t diminished one bit.

17. Mill Creek Canyon

Tourists bathing in a stream and a female tourist about to jump from a waterfall into the stream
Source: Mll Creeek

Mill Creek Canyon is one place where nature chose to show off; I won’t say it’s comparable to the Icelandic canyons, but it’s great. 

The beauty isn’t just about the forest, the creeks, and the mountain, but the spectacular fall foliage.

Entry isn’t free. There’s a small vehicle fee which helps maintain the pristine environment with very limited development. 

The place is also dog-friendly, so it’s become a spot for dog owners.

18. The Leonardo Museum

A multi coloured illuminated building
Source: The Art of Works

The Leonardo Museum is a place where art meets science. 

The exhibits here always rotate to cover a wide range of topics with interactive displays that make for great education. 

The design is quite unique and compels visitors to think critically.

19. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum

Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum tries its best to inspire the next generation of scientists with its STEM focus. 

Everything is designed to be age-appropriate while inspiring creativity and imagination.

The play-to-learn programs are family-friendly, and they offer interactive exhibits.

20. Sugarhouse Park

A playground park surrounded by tress with kids playing and having fun with different equipments
Source: Parks

Sugarhouse Park is notable for its outdoor activities, playground & splash pad, and seasonal events, all while preserving its scenic beauty and historical significance.

Being dog-friendly, it’s another hotspot for dog owners.

Tips for Exploring Utah from Salt Lake City

  • If you’re one given to moving about, it’s best you consider renting a car for more flexibility, but if that’s not possible, use public transit in urban areas and only rent for out-of-town trips.
  • A bunch of clothes will be very necessary; the weather can play around sometimes, so it’s best to prepare for everything and always check the weather forecast. 
  • Dress modestly when going to religious sites; you don’t want to be the problem to your solution.
  • Tipping is customary in restaurants and always ensures you obey local customs and traditions. 
  • Connecting with locals and attending cultural events does help.
  • In cases where you wish to indulge in sightseeing, always arrive early to beat the crowd and ensure you follow safety guidelines, stay on marked trails, and practice Leave No Trace principles. 
  • With all that’s been said, it’s not out of place to assume your appetite has been wet. 
  • But if it hasn’t, then it’s suggested that you visit because there’s no one who’s ever regretted any advice to let loose a bit.

Enjoy your stay in Salt Lake City, Utah!

FAQs

What is famous in Salt Lake City?

There are a lot of options to choose from depending on your interest. It could be the Temple Square, Great Salt Lake, Clark Planetarium, or Big Cottonwood Canyon.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Salt Lake, Utah?

It’s a difficult one to answer, but Bonneville Salt Flats does stand out.

What can we do in Salt Lake City?

You can learn about science from Clark Planetarium or Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, relax in Gilgal Gardens, or hike Mill Creek Canyon.

Why is Salt Lake City a good place to visit?

It is a good place to visit because of its beauty, learning opportunities, and outdoor activities.

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