10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Utah is well known for its varied terrain – from stark deserts to pine covered mountains. It has vast national parks, and ever since the 2002 Winter Olympics, has been the winter destination for many skiing enthusiasts.

I wish I could say I’m a great skier, but the thuth is I haven’t been able to master those skills yet. I’m sure I’m the only one who is in this boat, probably half of our guests at our Vacation Rentals in Salt Lake City seem to have the same problem. So trying to plan a vacation with a group of people who may include some who are not so interested in skiing can be a bit of a challenge! So then I decided to get this article together to help travelers plan a vacation that includes skiers and non skiers.


10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Here’s my pick of 10 activities (other than skiing) to do in Salt Lake City that will please everyone and is sure to make your next trip to Utah a memorable one!

1.- A Visit to Temple Square

Whether you’re a Mormon or not, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Temple Square. This is easily the most recommended tour to take when you visit Salt Lake City. Temple Square is spread over an area of 35 acres with fifteen beautiful, tranquil buildings prettily surrounded by gorgeous gardens, enchanting architecture, riveting history and mesmerizing music. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s concert – Music and the Spoken Word – has been the longest running broadcast since 1929. This is part of the Deluxe City Tour, and if you love music, this tour is for you.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, besides skiing

Christmas at Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah.

2.- The Utah State Capitol – a visit you just cannot miss

Why do I recommend you add this to your visit list? Because it is a century old, historical landmark, representative of the State of Utah. This wonderful old complex recently underwent a four year period of detailed renovation that restored it to its spectacular beauty. The grounds are liberally sprinkled with historical monuments and sculptures. The fourth floor was restored to the original plan and now holds a gallery that showcases original art that brings Utah’s history and heritage alive.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Guided tours of the Capitol are given hourly from 9am – 4pm on weekdays.

3.- Captivating opera at the Capitol Theater

Whether you are an opera buff or not, you must take in at least one Utah Opera show at the Capitol Theater. A night at the opera is bound to be an unforgettable experience, one that you may want to repeat! Started in 1978, the Utah Opera kicked off with La Boheme, and over the years has top notch productions of both classic and modern opera. Conventionally it is usual to dress up to the nines to take in an opera, but here, it is quite acceptable to turn up in whatever makes you feel comfortable. To know a little bit more about what’s showing and to familiarize yourself with the story, do visit their website.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Turandot’s Characters and Story. Photo viat: Utah Opera

4.- Take a hike at the Big Cottonwood Canyon

Not too far from SLC is the Big Cottonwood Canyon. This is where you find some of the best trails in the world. It is a world worth exploring, with little trails for little hikes, if that is what you are looking for. On the other hand there are longer trails that can thrill the heart of many a hard core hiker. This V shaped canyon has extraordinary rock formations and numerous mountain lakes. So really, an ideal place for any sort of outdoor activity – biking, fishing, rock climbing, or….just a wonderful, relaxing picnic when the weather is pleasantly warm, in spectacular surrounds!

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Big Cottonwood Canyon is Located 25 miles SE of SLC. Photo via: Utah Wild Flowers

5.- Head to the bizarre Bonneville Salt Flats

The strange and bizarre Bonneville Salt Flats make for an other worldly experience. There is nothing else like it in the world. A vast, flat, crusty, salted landscape that stretches for endless miles and is too salty for any vegetation to grow. You will, however, find the famous speedway strip located in the west of the flats. This is where land speed records have been set and challenged, where attempts are made to break the sound barrier through unimaginably high speed motor vehicles. If this sounds intriguing to you, do plan a visit!

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

The Boneville Salt Flats covered by water. Photo Credit: Tony Gambino

6.- Up, up away…in a hot air balloon!

I can’t think of anything more exhilarating than being up in the sky, feeling the breeze in your hair and floating over scenic landscapes. Park City, Utah is only 30 minutes from Salt Lake City and where you sign up for a hot air balloon ride – all year round! There are sunrise flights every day of the year (except when the weather plays truant). An hour up in the air drinking in the scenery is the perfect way to begin your day..and on landing drink to that memorable trip with a glass of champagne or cider.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Hot air balloon over Park City, Utah. Photo via Morning Star Balloons

7.- Be entertained at Desert Star Theater

Now this has appeal for the whole family. For decades the Desert Star has been producing some hilarious comedy – absolutely original musicals, and a lot of which are parodies on famous films, TV and Broadway shows. And, to make an absolute evening of it, you can just sit in on the entertainment over dinner. How about that? Yes, you can sit at your table and order your dinner in! You will need to check in with their website to see what’s showing.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Scenes from Star Wards. Photo via Desert Star Theather

8. – Rock climbing in Little Cottonwood Canyon

The earliest known rock climbing activity in SLC was in the 1930s. This ‘U’ shaped canyon was formed by a glacier during the Ice Age about 25,000 years ago. It is home to a variety of rare plants, and for those interested in these wild flowers, The Utah Native Plant Society organizes walks in various locations of the canyon. However, this is where rock climbing enthusiasts head.The lower part of the canyon is made of quartz monzonite outcroppings (usually referred to as granite) and makes for a challenging and satisfying climb. The winter months make it an ice climbing destination.

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Little Cottonwood Canyon. Photo via: Rakkup.com

9.- So much to do on the Great Salt Lake

Well, you can’t be in Salt Lake City without taking in the Great Salt Lake, can you?  This is the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere. Salt Lake offers you intensely spectacular sunsets, sailing, kayaking, and then there’s Antelope Island which gives you the best lake view! If you’re visiting in summer, spring or fall, there’s a dinner cruise you can take for that romantic night out on the lake. You won’t find fish or any other living creature in this densely salty water. It is too dense to swim in either, however, you can float with a beer can in your hand 🙂 

sailing on the great salt lake

Some of the most beautiful sunsets in Utah can be experience at the Great Salt Lake and it gets even better if you do it sailing.Photo Credit: Francisco Kjolseth

10.- The best for last – Ballet West

Now this is a classic must do when you visit Salt Lake City. Established in 1963, you will find American ballet at its best, and of course it is, as it features among the top five ballet companies in America! Ballet West has toured the world to showcase the best of American ballet. The Nutcracker Suite is one of the favorites to watch (if it coincides with the time you are there). However, whatever the production is showing in the season of your visit, it is worth a couple of hours of your time!

10 things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah besides skiing

Ballet West Nutcracker at the Capitol Theater


Well, I hope I have given you ten more reasons to visit Salt Lake City and make it your vacation destination of choice! And if you are looking for an alternative to a hotel stay in Salt Lake City, Utah, check out Red Maple Vacation Rentals for staying options of 1 bedroom apartments to an 6 bedroom duplex.




Carmen Anderson
Hi! I'm Carmen and I'm obsessed with boutique hotels, scuba diving and yoga. When I'm not writing about my travel experiences, I hang out on social media....a little, oh, alright, a LOT! Connect with me if you like traveling, yoga or scuba diving.

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