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Your guide to Salt Lake City
All About Salt Lake City
Sitting at the foot of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is framed by dramatic snow-capped peaks, and the city lures visitors with its blend of urbane and outdoor activities. At the heart of downtown is Temple Square, home to important buildings like the Salt Lake Temple and Assembly Hall, as well as many restaurants and cafes. Central City, to the south and east of the square, is SLC’s arts hub, packed with galleries, live music venues, fashion boutiques, and the popular Gilgal Sculpture Garden. Capitol Hill is dominated by the impressive Utah State Capitol building, which contains a replica of the Liberty Bell. You can tour the building and see art exhibits offering insight into Utah’s history.
Salt Lake City also offers some of the country’s best ski resorts and national parks.
Winter brings a blast of energy to town, as there are 11 ski resorts in the surrounding mountains, including some of the nation’s best. You can go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the resort trails in winter, and during summer, the ski runs turn into hiking and biking paths. At Bryce Canyon, four hours south, you’ll see incredible red rock hoodoos and sandstone spires. Arches National Park, three hours to the southeast, is a natural wonder of eroded sandstone towers and balanced rocks.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Salt Lake City
Thanks to its high elevation and dry climate, Salt Lake City’s climate tends toward the dramatically beautiful, with sunny, clear summers and snow-covered winters.
Summer brings arid heat, so make sure to take water everywhere with you and have sun protection. In August, the Salt Lake City Hot Air Balloon Festival is a breathtaking sight, with balloons rising above the Wasatch Mountains.
Fall is a lovely time in the city, as temperatures cool but are still mild enough to enjoy the outdoors. In September, the Utah State Fair brings concerts, carnival rides, and competitions to the fairpark. Temperatures fall below freezing during winter, and the city gets plenty of snow — the mountains and resorts, of course, see even more. In November and December, Luminaria showcases millions of lightbulbs at Thanksgiving Point, creating stunning lighting displays. In spring, temperatures begin to climb, but snow often still falls in the mountains and trails will be muddy, so it’s a good idea to bring your layers and a good pair of boots.
Top things to do in Salt Lake City
The Great Salt Lake
Just outside town, you’ll find the lake that gave the city its name. The largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, it has been dubbed America’s Dead Sea, and salt has turned the beach stark white. The clean water is great for swimming and watersports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and pedal boating, with rental equipment available nearby. You can even enjoy a dinner cruise and catch a magical sunset with views of the mountains on all sides.
Bonneville Salt Flats
Less than two hours west of Salt Lake City are the Bonneville Salt Flats, a 30,000-acre expanse of salty white crust that formed when the ancient Bonneville Lake dried up. In many places the soil is so salty that vegetation cannot grow, and, devoid of plant and animal life, the area looks like the surface of the moon. You’ll need to stay in designated areas for your visit, as the environment is fragile and only some paths are safe to drive on with your vehicle.
Natural History Museum of Utah
Spend some time exploring one of Utah’s best museums, which offers a fascinating insight into the state’s origins — from its remarkable landscapes and geology, to the background of its native peoples. There are 10 permanent interactive exhibits to browse here, and you’ll learn all about the Great Salt Lake and how it formed over 500 million years ago.