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10 Interesting Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Updated on November 10, 2014
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1. Take a Guided Tour

If you aren't familiar with Salt Lake City, one of the best ways to get acquainted is taking part in a guided tour of the city. Luckily, there are many options available for tourists and residents alike. AAA Salt Lake City Guided Tours picks tourists up right from their hotels and offers to take them to specific locations in the city, if desired. City Sights Tours offers big-window buses and has a variety of tour options to choose from, varying in length and intensity. If buses aren't thing, Good Day Bicycles offer a truly different experience by taking tourists sight-seeing throughout the city using electric-powered bicycles. And finally, for the more macabre at heart, Salt Lake City also offers Grimm Ghost Tours, a year-round activity which shows tourists around to some of the most allegedly haunted places in the city.

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2. Visit the Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is an educational, architectural spectacle located on the University of Utah campus. Open seven days a week, it's a great option no matter how long you'll be in Salt Lake City. Exploring the museum is like going on an adventure, finding out new things to learn about, from dinosaurs and ancient people, to the land of Utah as it stands today. The museum is extremely interactive, and great for all ages. Like most museums, there's an admission price, but if you're 24 years old or under, you get a discounted price. The museum also has senior discounts and military discounts for guests. And, even better, the museum features different "main attractions" every few months, which is included in admission price, and makes every visit to the museum a little bit different each time.

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3. Take a Tour of the Governor's Mansion

The Governor's Mansion, formerly the Kearns Mansion, is over a hundred years old and was originally built by early mining executive Thomas Kearns for himself and his family. Full of a rich and colorful history, the mansion is now home to the state's governor, but free tours are offered every Tuesday and Thursday in June, July, and August, and every Tuesday and Thursday from December 2nd until December 18th. Being offered at 2pm and 4pm, it's a great afternoon activity if you happen to be in Salt Lake City during the summer or around Christmas time!

4. Hike Up to Ensign Peak

Located in the foothills near the downtown area of Salt Lake City, Ensign Peak is a fairly easy half-mile trail for any hiker, and ends with a spectacular view of the Salt Lake valley. The area hold particular significance to members of the Mormon faith, since it is the hill which Brigham Young first surveyed the Salt Lake valley two days after the pioneers arrived in the area. A small monument sits at the top of the hill in order to commemorate the event. If anything, the hike is the perfect way to get out into the open for a while and see the city from a new perspective.

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5. Go Shopping at City Creek Center

City Creek is an open-air shopping mall in the heart of Salt Lake City, which opened in 2012. With an actual creek running through the middle of it and several fountain spectacles, it's a relaxing place to get away and, even if you don't end up buying anything, the beauty of the area is enough to warrant a visit. A warning in advance, though: the mall is closed on Sundays!

Temple Sqaure at Christmas time.
Temple Sqaure at Christmas time. | Source

6. Visit Temple Square

While Salt Lake City today is perhaps one of the least-Mormon areas in Utah, it is still home to some of the most iconic places related to the LDS faith. And, for anybody finding themselves in Salt Lake City, the historic Temple Square is a must-see. The 10-acre plot of land surrounding the Salt Lake Temple is home to several interesting activities, such as free concerts given most weekends in the Assembly Hall, several historic buildings, and various museums. Free tours are given of Temple Sqaure every few minutes daily, meeting at the flagpole. And, if you happen to be in the area around Christmas time, the lights at Temple Square are always a must-see!

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7. Research Your Family History

If you've ever wondered where you came from, Salt Lake City is one of the best places to find out! Located at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building at Temple Square, the FamilySearch Center is a good place to grasp the basics of family history research. Best of all, its completely free! If you're completely lost, friendly staff members with passions for genealogy are available to help, or visitors are free to use the computers and trace their family lineage on their own. Millions of records are available, and finding out something you didn't know before is only a click away.

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8. Go to the Farmer's Market

Every Saturday during the summer from 8am to 2pm, the Pioneer Park Farmer's Market is in full swing. Not only is it a good place to find fresh and local food and produce, but there are also plenty of varieties of local art to view and buy, and live music to listen to. There's something at the farmer's market for everybody, and it's a good way to relax and support local vendors on a nice summer day. Not in Salt Lake City during the summer? No problem! The farmer's market is also running every Tuesday during the fall, from 4pm until dusk, and every Saturday during the winter from 10am until 2pm.

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9. Take a Walk Through the Salt Lake City Cemetery

While visiting a cemetery may not be at the top of everybody's bucket list, the Salt Lake City Cemetery is a must-see for those interested in history. First created in 1848, this place of rest is the largest city-operated cemetery in the United States and is home to over 120,000 burials. Some notable grave sites include several prominent LDS church leaders, United States politicians, and famous outlaws. A self-guided tour itinerary of the cemetery can be found here. Above all, it's a peaceful place to view interesting headstone monuments, and see the rich history of Salt Lake City first-hand.

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10. Visit the International Peace Gardens

Colorful flowers and statues and displays representing nearly thirty countries are what make up this beautiful park, which has been in operation since 1947. It's a relaxing and educational place to wander and reflect on one's own place in the world, while enjoying the sights and smells of thousands of blooming flowers and foliage. The gardens are open from May until September, from dawn until dusk.

Salt Lake City: so much to do, so little time!

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