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Utah, also known as the “Beehive State”, has quickly become a favorite travel destination for many! From the beautiful national parks in Southern Utah, to the incredible skiing in Park City, there is something to do for everyone!
And Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City, has no shortage of interesting things to do during your visit. After you’ve seen the Salt Lake Temple and heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir your trip is just getting started!
Here are 8 things I recommend not missing during your visit to Salt Lake City.
8 Places You Need to See When Visiting Salt Lake City
1. Red Iguana, Downtown Salt Lake City
The Red Iguana Restaurant is by far the BEST meal in Salt Lake City. And it is fairly affordable!
It was founded in 1985 by a married couple who wanted to share their love for traditional Mexican dishes. However, they are most famous for their mole. Be sure to ask for their sample mole plate so you can find your favorite one! And to top it off, this is one of Guy Fieri’s all-time favorite restaurants & has been featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.
Their tag line is “Killer Mexican food that’s worth the wait!” I’ve waited anywhere from 5 minutes to 2.5 hours to be seated. So be sure to call ahead.
One last tip, there are 2 locations. The location on North Temple is the original location, but significantly smaller. The location on South Temple is much bigger, and you will have a better chance of sitting down quicker.
As for meal recommendations, stick to the Red Iguana Classics. My favorite is the Puntas de Filete a la Nortena! You can check out their website here.
2. Take Trip to Park City, Utah
Located ~35 minutes east of Downtown Salt Lake City is Park City, Utah. This small, boutique town is home to some of the world’s best skiing and lodging. However, I am not the biggest fan of skiing. So I’ll give a few recommendations that are more “shorts and tank top” friendly.
Before 2002, Utah was most famous for being the “Mormon capital of the world.” But the 2002 Winter Olympics put Utah on the map for its growth into a much more diverse place. And at the Utah Olympic Park, there are many things to do and see!
There is the museum of USA Winter Olympic sports, which details the entire list of accomplishments of American athletes. A great activity for the family, especially for sports fans.
For those that are more adventurous, there are attractions such as bobsledding, zip lining, extreme tubing, airbag jumps, and more!
If you are in Park City on a Sunday, make sure to visit Park Silly Sunday Market on Main Street. And when you get hungry I recommend stopping by one of my 2 favorite restaurants, Billy Blanco’s and tupelo.
3. Soak in a Hot Spring
If you love a relaxing hot tub soak, you will be happy with the selection of hot springs across the state! Here are some of my favorites.
Mystic Hot Springs – Monroe, Utah
Travel ~2 hours south of Salt Lake City to find some of the most unique hot springs you will ever see! The property and vibes are a bit “hippy-dippy”, so it is an interesting experience to say the least. There is a small campground next door with the most unique Airbnb’s I’ve ever seen.
Diamond Fork Hot Springs – Springville, Utah
Located ~1 hour south of Salt Lake City, these hot springs come with an adventure! To get there you’ll need to take a ~5 mile round-trip hike. However, it sounds more daunting than it is. The hike is more like a hard walk than anything.
Meadow Hot Springs – Meadow, Utah
Also known as the “Fillmore Hot Springs”, these hot springs are extremely random, but do not lack in beauty. It is located on private property, but the owner has been made it publicly available. Many people even bring their scuba gear here as it is fairly deep!
Crystal Hot Springs – Honeyville, Utah
Drive 1.5 hours north of Salt Lake City to get to Crystal Hot Springs. These hot springs may seem less “natural” but they are just as relaxing! While they may look like a large backyard pool, they are fed by natural hot springs. No hike or searching needed as this is easily accessible and open to the public.
Homestead Crater – Midway, Utah
Located an hour southeast of Salt Lake City is the largest and most unique hot spring in the state, the Homestead Crater. The Crater is the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental US. It is hidden inside a 55 foot tall, beehive-shaped limestone rock – it is a must see!
A small tip before you book a reservation or buy your tickets, check Groupon! From time to time, discounts are offered.
Take a look at some YouTube videos to get a sense of what this really looks like!
4. Enjoy Water Sports at a Reservoir
So breaking news, Utah is landlocked. When I moved here from California, it was hard to know I would be away from beaches. However, there are some nice reservoirs that can help suite your water activities.
Blackridge Reservoir – Herriman, Utah
This is a small man-made lake about 45 minutes southwest from Salt Lake City. It’s a neighborhood lake that is a great place to stand up paddleboard, tan, swim, or go for a run around. On a clear day, you can see all of Salt Lake County!
Pineview Reservoir – Huntsville, Utah
A short 1-hour drive north of Salt Lake City, is an extremely picturesque reservoir that is great for all water activities! There are rental homes available around the lake. And plenty of good fishing!
5. Go on a Brewery Tour!
Winter Solstice. Celebrate the longest night of the year with this black beauty. Furlong is our bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout. This is a very limited barrel to bottle beer that will sell out. Available to drink at all three pubs this Thursday, December 21st to celebrate Solstice. Take some home from the beer store on Saturday the 30th, just in time to celebrate the New Year. Beer store opens at 11 am.
While Utah is known to have some of the strictest alcohol laws in the country it is also home to some of the best breweries! Here are a few of the local favorites in Salt Lake City that I think you should check out.
- Uinta Brewery – My all time favorite beer is the Uinta Lime Pilsner
- Red Rock Brewery – The Mac-N-Cheese is SO GOOD!
- Wasatch Brewery – Incredible food!
6. Take Legendary Instagram Photos at the Bonneville Salt Flats
So the name “Salt Lake City” actually comes from the fact that there is lots of salt. Shocker, I know.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are home to many speed records. While this may seem dull and boring, this is a great place to come if you are into photography.
7. Stop By the Lake the City Is Named for
The Salt Lake covers nearly 21,000 square miles, so there is plenty to see! While I wouldn’t recommend swimming in it, it is a must-see!
The best way to see it is taking a drive around the Antelope Island State Park. Filled with beautiful views and wildlife, it is an enjoyable 2 to 3 hour activity.
8. Visit Famous Hollywood Landmarks
While Salt Lake City is about a 10 hour drive from Hollywood, there have been a few hits that have their roots in Utah.
The famous baseball movie, The Sandlot, was filmed primarily in the Salt Lake City area. Here are all the locations of the incredibly quotable movie!
Also, the Disney hit Up left its mark here in Utah. There is a home that is identical to the main characters home in the movie! If you’re a Disney fan, this is a real treat!
Utah has entertainment for everyone, regardless of your interests or age. While in the Beehive state, don’t miss the natural beauty you’ll find in the outdoors!
I’d love to hear if you visited any of these attractions in Salt Lake City, and what you thought of each one!
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