When you plan a getaway at Salt Lake City, Utah, you can look forward to exciting landmarks and activities. After settling into your cozy vacation rental in Salt Lake City, head out to explore some of the most awe-inspiring attractions in the country. Nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, this city features an extensive variety of summer and winter activities. Climb on the big, red trolley in downtown and start your visit with a tour of significant buildings and monuments. The tour highlights Temple Square, the Utah State Capitol, and the historic district, then cruises along a scenic route with fantastic views of the mountains, the Great Salt Lake, and the valley. Check out the most prominent points of attraction in Salt Lake City.
1. Utah’s Hogle Zoo
Feed the giraffes at the African Savannah exhibit which also features stately lions, well-dressed zebras, and awkward ostriches. Each of the zoo’s exhibits illustrates a unique ecosystem, and one of the favorites is the elephant encounter that showcases white rhinoceros and African elephants. Along with the snow leopards and tigers, you can enjoy a glimpse of seals and sea lions in their watery habitat.
2. Clark Planetarium
Relax as you immerse yourself in 360-degree screenings that explore the mystery of black holes, space travel, and astronauts, then head over to enjoy a music coordinated light show. The Planetarium also has an IMAX theater with a rotating selection of feature films for the entire family.
3. Natural History Museum of Utah
Utah has a unique geography, history, and native customs that make a trip to this natural history museum worthwhile. Through interpretive and interactive experiences, you can enjoy some beautiful exhibits such as the Past Worlds of Utah that depicts the area’s progression over the millennia including the opportunity to touch, smell, and taste the waters of the Great Salt Lake.
4. Red Butte Garden
Walk, run, or bike along several paths that meander through this lovely outdoor space that includes a botanical garden, arboretum, and amphitheater. The park’s exhibits and attractions rotate on a seasonal basis, so you always see native vegetation at its best.
5. Tracy Aviary
Located in Liberty Park, this special aviary is home to 400 individuals birds from over 135 species, many of them considered endangered or rare. You can meet and greet Chilean flamingos, macaws, and king vultures in their natural habitat, along with more familiar breeds that include trumpeter swans, North American eagles, and pelicans.
6. Sugar House Park
Get some exercise and enjoy majestic views of the Wasatch mountains as you jog, bike, or walk on nearly two miles of pathways through this neighborhood urban park. Bring a picnic and let the kids expend excess energy at the playground. During the winter months, the park is open for snowshoeing, sledding, and cross-country skiing.
7. Temple Square
Temple Square is the heart and soul of the LDS Church and contains not only the world-renowned Tabernacle, but numerous museums where you can learn more about the Mormon religion and its history. You are welcome to attend regular concerts in the acoustically awesome Tabernacle or sit in on choir practice.
8. Penny Ann’s Cafe
This popular eatery greets locals and visitors alike with a warm welcome and delicious home-cooked comfort food. It’s not unusual to find a family member serving a breakfast of Heavenly Hot Cakes or a juicy burger with a side hot and salty sweet potato fries for lunch.
9. Wheeler Historic Farm
Experience life in Utah during the 1900s at this living history museum. Get your hands busy as you help with chores such as apple and pumpkin picking, harvesting and canning, and planting and tending fields in the spring. There are plenty of animals on hand, and it’s a blast to climb aboard a hay wagon in summer or sleigh in winter for a jaunt around the farm.
10. Pioneer Memorial Museum
Paying homage to the first white settlers in the Salt Lake region, this museum has an extensive collection of artifacts from that period until the introduction of railroads in the city. Memorabilia includes photographs and written journals as well as methods of transportation and farming equipment.
11. Ensign Peak
Take the simple one-mile round-trip trek to Ensign Peak to experience breathtaking views of the city, the valley, and the lake. Although quite stunning by day, locals recommend a twilight visit for spectacular sunset vistas.
12. Pony Express National Historic Trail
Salt Lake City was an important location for the Pony Express route that spanned eight states. Follow the interpretive signs to explore this Utah trail, then visit the museum to view transport letters, messages, and other communications that traveled from Missouri to California.
13. Big Cottonwood Canyon and Lake Blanche
Big Cottonwood Canyon, 15-miles long and situated at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, has an abundance of walking, biking, and hiking trails that guide you through the beautiful natural scenery and past several lakes, including Lake Blanche and Lake Mary. There are plenty of places to picnic and rest along the trails with fishing in the summer and cross-country skiing in colder months.
14. The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River. There are a great number of places to picnic, take a swim, hike, or catch some fish from the prow of your boat. Keep your eyes open for wildlife in the area including bison. One of the most popular access points to the lake is from Antelope Island, a state park 60 miles northwest of Salt Lake City.
15. Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
This popular attraction is 28 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and offers a variety of summer and winter activities. In the winter, strap on your skis and enjoy an immense span of well-manicured slopes with a 3,240-foot vertical drop, and there are 169 runs that suit both beginners and advanced athletes. During the summer, enjoy spectacular views as you zipline over the treetops, throw a fishing line in a stream, or hike in the mountainous terrain.
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