The Best Fun Things to Do in Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City and its surrounding area offer plenty of fun and unique activities
Salt Lake City and its surrounding area offer plenty of fun and unique activities | © Andriy Kravchenko / Alamy Stock Photo
Amy Blyth

Salt Lake City is famed for its Mormon heritage, but there’s more to Utah’s capital than the religious wonders of Temple Square. Discover the best fun things to do in Salt Lake City, including picnicking in the park, lakeside swims and day trips to some of the northwest’s top national parks for hiking, rafting and canyoning.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Spend a day at Arches National Park


Head a few hours south of Salt Lake City to see over 2,000 natural sandstone structures at Arches National Park. Covering over 76,500 acres (31,000ha), the park is home to huge rocks and orange-hued bridges, fins and pinnacles. Hike or drive through this other-worldly landscape, formed over 65 million years ago, to see highlights like the Landscape Arch, Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. If you’re short on time, the Windows Section of the park has some of the most staggering formations.

City Creek Canyon

Natural Feature, Hiking Trail

© Joe Vogan / Alamy Stock Photo

Hop on a bike to uncover Salt Lake City’s green spaces. Start downtown at the Gilgal Garden, where Mormon Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. carved a collection of surreal sculptures. The most famous features the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith, portrayed as a sphinx. Cycle on to City Creek Canyon, a Protected Watershed and Nature Reserve. The peaceful trail follows the river and is popular with hikers, bikers and dog walkers.

Go hiking and canyoneering around Zion National Park


© Rowan Romeyn / Alamy Stock Photo

Around 80 percent of Zion National Park is a designated wilderness, perfect for hiking. Picture a vast landscape of red cliffs, high-altitude forests, plunging canyons and the gushing Virgin River. Famous trails include the Zion Narrows wading hike, Observation Point and the Emerald Pools. Zion is also known to have some of the best canyoneering in the country and is famous for its deep slot canyons. Spend a day swimming, rappelling and scrambling through this rocky wonderland.

Go rafting on the Snake River, Grand Teton National Park

Natural Feature

© Sébastien Lecocq / Alamy Stock Photo

Escape a few hours north to Grand Teton National Park, a mass of lakes and alpine terrain bisected by the winding Snake River. This torrid waterway offers whitewater rafting complete with gnarly class II and III rapids, including the nail-biting Big Kahuna. If you’re after something less adrenaline-pumping, take a guided, scenic boat trip along a quiet stretch of the river instead. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by Teton peaks, lush flora and wildlife such as moose and bald eagles.

Swim at the Great Salt Lake

Natural Feature

© Steve Greenwood / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re keen to cool off on a hot Utah day, drive 20 minutes west to the Great Salt Lake. Part of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, it’s the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The best place for swimming is Antelope Island State Park with its soft-sand beaches, showers and direct water access. Spend some time simply floating in the water, buoyed by its high salt content, which can top 27 percent.

Visit Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring and Yellowstone Caldera at Yellowstone National Park


© Martina Sliger / Alamy Stock Photo

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone, is a land of volcanic wonders. Since the park covers over 2.2 million acres (890,300ha) across three states, it’s best to focus on the highlights. Start with Yellowstone Caldera, site of a super volcano that erupted over 640,000 years ago. Its magmatic energy continues to power geothermal wonders like the famous cone geyser, Old Faithful. Then there’s Grand Prismatic spring, Yellowstone’s most photographed feature, with its steaming aqua pool encircled by bands of yellow, orange and green.

Picnic and play tennis at Liberty Park

Natural Feature

© Steve Greenwood / Alamy Stock Photo

Spend an afternoon in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park, where you can enjoy a slice of local life. This green haven is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and covers 80 acres (32ha) of land home to indigenous flowers and ancient trees. People come to picnic on the lawns, stroll and enjoy a game of tennis, basketball or volleyball on one of the courts. There’s even a swimming pool for cooling off, and harmonious drum circles on Sundays.

Tour Salt Lake City’s historic Mormon sites

Architectural Landmark

© Nick Higham / Alamy Stock Photo

Salt Lake City is steeped in Mormon heritage, most of which revolves around the holy Temple Square. This walled neighborhood is the official headquarters of the Mormon Church and home to 20 religious sites. Catch choirs singing at the domed Mormon Tabernacle and marvel at Salt Lake Temple with its towers and gilt angel statues. Don’t miss the Beehive House, former home of Salt Lake City’s Mormon founder Brigham Young, or the Joseph Smith Building.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article