I have a lot of opinions about what to do in Salt Lake City. When you look at guides on the Internet, they only mention a few of the wonderful things that you can do in this town. So I thought I’d make my own list for visitors.
(1) Temple Square – Salt Lake City, UT
Temple Square is the headquarters of the Mormon Church. These buildings are breathtakingly beautiful. You can see some of the buildings here and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building here. You can’t go into the church unless you’re a Mormon and you have special permission, but the outside is beautiful. They also have a statue dedicated to California Gulls. If you plan ahead, you might also be able to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform. For lunch, you can eat at The Garden in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which is on the tenth floor and provides a fantastic view of the city.
(2) Antelope Island – Syracuse, UT
Antelope Island is great for birding but it’s also fantastic for the scenery. Antelope Island is an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake that was reseeded with buffalo after the original population deteriorated. You can also see deer, antelope, coyotes and, if you’re lucky, sheep.
(3) Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management – Farmington, UT
Farmington Bay is a great place to see birds. There are always birds around. In February, hundreds of eagles come to eat carp. In the summer you can babies and juveniles including three different kinds of grebes. And you can even see a surprise owl.
(4) Red Butte Botanical Garden – Salt Lake City, UT
Red Butte Botanical Garden is part of the University of Utah. They have a wonderful diversity of plants and a nice area to walk. There is a small pond where the mallards like to hang out. This area is particularly popular with little kids because they have a vending machine with fish food so you can feed their beautiful orange fish. As you get deeper into the gardens, there is a river and trails that feed into the mountains. If you’re willing to hike a little, you can find a fantastic view of Salt Lake City.
(5) Natural History Museum – Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah built a new Natural History Museum next to Red Butte Garden and it’s so beautiful. The inside is also pretty fantastic because they have an extensive collection of dinosaurs. There is an entire wall of dinosaurs with horns on their head (ceratopsidae). My favorite is a description of the Great Salt Lake that has a tube full of brine shrimp with a magnifying glass so you can see them swimming around.
(6) Dinosaur Museum – Thanksgiving Point, UT
Because of Utah’s dry climate, the state is a rich source of fossils. The Dinosaur Museum has a fantastic collection of fossils and dinosaur models. When you arrive, the place looks very kid oriented but I went with a bunch of adults and we had a great time.
(7) Tracy Aviary
I might be extra partial to Tracy Aviary since I got married there, but it’s amazing and they improve on it every year. There is a cage where you can feed Sun Conures, there are peacocks walking around and birds from all over the world.
(8) The Arts
Depending upon when you visit, Salt Lake City has an excellent symphony and ballet. We also have a fantastic theater, called the Pioneer Theater. They do a lot of classic plays, like Shakespeare, but I enjoy their more modern plays.
(9) The Mountains
We have lots of mountains. The Uintas are my favorite, but the top of any mountain range provides gorgeous views. All the skiing trails make for great hiking trails in the summer, but if you go before July 4th you might encounter a lot of snow.
(10) Provo River Valley
If you like birds and especially if you like fly fishing, you should hang out on the Provo River Valley. And if you’re hungry afterwards, Granny’s Drive In has delicious shakes and they even have veggie burgers.
(11) Vegan and Vegetarian Eats
I know this sounds like crazy talk, but Salt Lake City is awesome for vegan and vegetarian food. Here’s a list in descending order of my favorites:
Sage’s Cafe – 100% vegan and they have a special place in my heart because they catered my wedding.
Eva’s Bakery – many vegetarian options. The desserts are soooo good.
Oasis Cafe – many vegetarian options with tempe.
Cafe Niche – many vegetarian options for lunch and dinner. Try their Sunday brunch.
Grilla Bites – many vegan and vegetarian options including delicious smoothies.
Vertical Diner – 100% vegan, same owner as Sage’s cafe. Great for pancakes and “chicken” fingers.