My family moved to the capital of Utah when I was five years old, and I’m glad we did because I really love it here. I know, I know — Salt Lake City isn’t the sexiest place in the world. But, believe it or not, it offers plenty to do for visitors and locals alike! With that in mind, here are just a few reasons that you might want to consider visiting Utah’s capital city.

Temple Square during the spring, Salt Lake City.
Photo by Whitney Brown
Temple Square in December, Salt Lake City.
Photo by Whitney Brown

Temple Square

When you hear the word “Utah,” you probably think of three things: national parks, ski resorts, and Mormons. You’ve got us there — Utah has its fair share of all of those, although you’d have to drive pretty far from Salt Lake City to get to the national parks. As far as ski resorts and Mormons go, though, both have left their mark on the state capital!

In downtown Salt Lake City, you’ll find Temple Square, a 35-acre plaza that’s home to a Mormon temple, two visitors’ centers, and a lot of incredible landscaping. In the spring, the blossoms and tulips are a sight for sore eyes (especially after Utah’s long, cold winter). Later in the year, summer and fall bring vibrant colors to Temple Square’s beautiful trees and flowerbeds, and during the holiday season, roughly 100,000 lights decorate the foliage, attracting thousands of visitors every night. So no matter what time of year you visit, a stroll through Temple Square is always a relaxing way to end your day.

Main Street in Park City, a beautiful town near Salt Lake.
Photo by Allie Geise

Park City

Every summer growing up, my mom would pick a day, pack my brothers and me into the car, and drive us 45 minutes east to Park City for a family outing. We loved exploring the town and riding down the mountain on the alpine slide, a luge-like track equipped with toboggans.

As an adult, I’ve spent plenty of weekends in Park City with my friends. We love making an annual day trip to the Sundance Film Festival, where we patrol the streets in search of celebrities, check out the booths set up by festival partners, and eat at fancy restaurants.

Outside Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Photo by Whitney Brown

Utah Jazz

It’s pretty easy to make friends with people from Salt Lake — all you have to do is bring up our NBA team, the Utah Jazz. Our 2018 season featured 11- and nine-game win streaks, two playoff rounds, and the brilliant performance of newcomer Donovan Mitchell (who had the entire state’s vote for Rookie of the Year), so it’s safe to say that Jazz fans are hyped. And, with five great starters and an impressive set of bench players, the team’s future looks pretty bright. So if you’re visiting during the NBA season, pick up some tickets, head to a game, and #TakeNote!

Silver Lake, a high-altitude lake near a ski resort outside Salt Lake City.
Photo by Ashley Payne

Silver Lake

Leave Salt Lake City to explore the nearby canyons, and you’re in for a treat. If there’s snow on the mountains, you can expect to find every resort crawling with skiers and snowboarders. Personally, however, I prefer hiking in those areas during the summer, when the mountains are lush and green, adding unrivaled beauty to the dozens of trails branching through the canyons. The wildflowers are unreal at high-altitude Albion Basin, so this easy summer hike makes for a great excursion up Little Cottonwood Canyon.

If you’re not visiting in August (when the wildflowers are in their prime), Silver Lake provides another option that winds past unbelievable scenery. A boardwalk encircles the lake, which is located at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon, so this outing is more of a walk than a full-on hike. It’s a perfect place for a picnic lunch, so be sure to bring some food — and don’t forget your camera!

Point of the Mountain Flight Park

The Salt Lake suburb where I grew up is extremely windy, much to my mom’s irritation. But the wind is a boon for the hang-gliders and paragliders who have set up a world-famous flight park just a couple of miles south of my childhood home.

On summer nights, there’s something inspiring about looking up at the mountains and seeing people flying high above the ground. And, since the flight park is technically a state recreation area, anyone can drive there for a closer look at the action. I highly recommend it!

A parrot at Liberty Park's Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake.
Photo by Tracy Aviary

Liberty Park

Of all of the parks in Utah, this one has to be my favorite. Here, you’ll find all of the typical amenities, such as a duck pond, tennis courts, grassy fields, and playgrounds — but you can also spend your time in the park’s aviary or small museum. It’s a fun place to pass an afternoon, at least for park-lovers like me, so I have lots of fond memories of summer days at Liberty Park.

Alternatively, if you’re visiting during the holiday season, you can head to Draper Park for another lovely display of Christmas lights, then warm up with a steaming hot chocolate.

The Utah State Capitol on an overcast spring day in Salt Lake.
Photo by Whitney Brown

Views from the Utah State Capitol

The Utah State Capitol is gorgeous. Perched high on a hilltop, it offers stunning views of Salt Lake City, and its green lawns provide yet another beautiful picnic spot. If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon, this is a nice option!

And, although Utah’s Capitol Hill is pretty different from Japan or Washington, D.C., the grounds have their own share of cherry blossoms during the spring. If you’re in the area at that time, it’s definitely worth trekking to the top of the hill!

See you in Salt Lake!