What to See and Do in Salt Lake City, Utah
What to See & Do in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City has grown and changed over the past several decades. Known for its Mormon heritage and nestled along Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the state capital has five national parks and is the third-best spot for skiing in the U.S. The city itself has a thriving theatre and restaurant scene in addition to museums, aquariums, and multiple sports teams.
The city lies in a mountain valley and has the Wasatch Mountains to its east and its north. The Oquirrh mountains, which are pronounced like “oaker,” lie to the western edge of the valley. The eastern and northern parts of the city are located on former beaches, which locals call “the benches.”
- Population: 2,325,531
- Average high/low temperatures: 63.8° / 41.6°
- Median age: 29.8
Check out the Salt Lake Temple at Temple Square
The five-block walled neighborhood has nearly 20 attractions related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Salt Lake Temple houses the Tabernacle and Gothic-style Assembly Hall. The largest genealogy library in the world, the Family History Library, is also there. You can take a free, guided tour of the square. Continue exploring and you’re sure to end up in a scenic garden or near a beautiful fountain.
See the City’s Namesake – The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi. It’s 1,700 square miles has salty mineral deposits, which gives it its name. There are hiking trails and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy. You can take a swim or look out for bison while on the way to the park.
Enjoy Liberty Park
Want to escape to nature without leaving the city? Check out all 80 acres of Liberty Park where you can enjoy the pond, biking, tennis, volleyball and fresh mountain air. There’s a greenhouse and an aviary where you can connect with nature. Located in the center of Salt Lake, Liberty Park is open from dawn to dusk at no charge. Keep in mind that some sporting activities may require a fee.
Take a Trip Underwater at The Living Planet Aquarium
There are plenty of exhibits at the aquarium, including the mammoth electric eel, stingrays, free-flying birds, reptiles, and the river giants. You can also pay an additional fee to meet penguins up close and there’s a 40-foot-long shark tunnel that’s sure to amaze. The aquarium is currently finishing up a section for their South American toucans in order to successfully breed them as part of the conservation efforts of the center. Tickets are from $16.95 – $28.95 for adults.
Experience a Utah Jazz or Utah Starzz Basketball Game
If you’re into basketball, you’re in for a treat. The Vivint Smart Home Arena is located in downtown Salt Lake City. Home to the NBA’s Utah Jazz and the WNBA’s Utah Starzz, the arena seats over 19,000 guests. The Utah Jazz compete in the NBA as a member club of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division.
Absorb Arts and Culture at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Wander through the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah and peruse nearly 20,000 artifacts from around the world, including pieces from ancient Greece and Egypt and paintings from the Italian Renaissance. Open from 10 am to 5 pm on Friday, and closing as late as 8 pm on Wednesdays, admission is generally $17.95 for adults.
Explore the Bustling Downtown Scene
Downtown is a hub for arts, entertainment, dining and nightlife and is experiencing an influx of young professionals. Lest you forget you’re in Utah, you’ll almost always be able to see the Wasatch Mountains from every spot.
Some local favorites include Takashi, which is reportedly the city’s best sushi bar. If you’re in the mood for a speakeasy-style bar, visit The Rest, which has classic cocktails and yummy small plates.
The city has much more to offer than this brief list can fit, but hopefully you have some ideas on where to get started when you head there for your travel nursing assignment. It’s a happening city that is growing and changing, so get out there and explore!