Seven fun things to do up the hill from Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City sits in a valley surrounded by mountains. There are plenty of things to do in the valley. But sometimes in the summer when it gets hot, all you want to do is head for cooler air up the hill from Salt Lake. Here are our top 7 things to do “up the hill.”

1.  Head up the hill from Salt Lake and go climbing

Salt Lake City is surrounded by 7 canyons: City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parley’s, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood.  And in those 7 canyons? Over 2,000 established climbing routes of all level.  Which makes it a climber’s mecca.  There are plenty of places just off the road in the canyons to get in a good climb or some top notch bouldering. The best part?  Most of the canyons have creeks that run through them year round.  That means cool the air during the heat of the day. For a list of climbing routes in the various canyons around Salt Lake City and beyond click HERE.

 

 

2.  Go to an open air concert at one of the ski resorts

Most of the Utah ski resorts just up the hill from Salt Lake have summer concert series.  The great thing about a concert under the stars in the mountains, is that since there are no lights for the city, you can actually SEE the stars!  Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Sundance, Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Snowbasin all have concert series.  Some of them are free – others you’ll need tickets for.

Our biggest tip?  Layer up and bring a blanket.  It can go from warm to really cold in the mountains after the sun goes down!

Oh, and check out our guide to the best spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City HERE.

3.  Catch a movie

A lot of parks in town show free movies during the summer.  But a movie + a cool mountain view is another reason to head up the hill from Salt Lake.

The Sundance Institute (you know, of the famed Sundance Film Festival) puts on a summer movie series every year.  Most show in the City Park in Park City AND at Red Butte Garden! You can find out more HERE.

You can also find free movies at several of the ski resorts and mountain town parks.  It is well worth a google search!

 

4.  Play a round of disk golf

What exactly IS disk golf?  Well… it is a lot like regular golf – but instead of clubs and balls you play with disks (that are very similar to frisbees). Instead of aiming for a hole, you aim for a basket with chains that is up on a pole off the ground.  Each “hole” has a par and the goal is to get the lowest cumulative score on the course.

There are quite a few disk golf courses around Salt Lake City.  However, there are some fun and challenging courses played on rugged mountain terrain just up the hill from Salt Lake.  Some of the best courses are at: Trailside Park in Park City, The Canyons Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Brighton Resort.  To get a list of all the Utah disk golf courses (with a letter grade on the quality of the course) click HERE.

5.  Hiking

There are countless hiking trails in the mountains around Salt Lake City.  You can find a hike that is more of a stroll or go for a days-long backpacking trip. Our favorites are hikes up to some of the mountain lakes.  Most hikes are 3-5 miles which means, you can start out early after breakfast; then take your time on a leisurely hike and then eat lunch around the lake.

There are some great guides, books, and websites for figuring out where to go but HERE is a great top 10 list to get you started!

6.  Visit a Park City Festival

There are all kinds of Park City festivals and events just up the hill from Salt Lake.  Some of the best ones during the summer are:

  • Park Silly Sunday Market.  A combination of an arts & crafts market and a farmers market. Every Sunday during the summer
  • Savor the Summit.  Imagine closing down Main Street.  Then putting a big, long, main-street-length-table down the center of the road.  Then throwing a giant dinner party for hundreds of people. That’s Savor the Summit!
  • Kimball Arts Festival. A mix of visual arts, live music and culinary arts – this art festival has a special mountain flavor that is unique to Park City.

7.  Downhill mountain biking

The hard part about mountain biking?  Going up a big hill.  The fun part about mountain biking? Going down a big hill really fast.  Now you can avoid the uphill part and enjoy the downhill part.  Just get yourself and your bike to one of the ski resorts that allow you to take your bike on the ski lifts in the summer.  You ride to the top and then cruise down. All the fun – without the uphill part.

The Canyons for example has both a skills park and lift-supported biking with three different skill levels.  Deer Valley and Snowbasin offer 60 and 30 miles of biking trails respectively. At Solitude you not only get 20 miles of single track trails – you can also buy a bike there.  The best way to get more details?  Head to your favorite resort’s summer page and see what they offer!

 

The BEST places to see a concert in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has really grown up in the past 10 years in becoming an actual destination for bands and musicians on tour.  There are some great places to see a concert in Salt Lake City – the kind of concert that feels intimate, casual, and unique.  Not only that – there are some great outdoor summer concert series around town that combine great music and great atmosphere!

The BEST indoor spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City

 

Salt Lake City has some great places to see some HUGE stadium shows.  But that isn’t the type of concert we’re talking about here.  We’re talking about the intimate, smaller venues with great sound where you can see an awesome show while still feeling like you’re a part of the music.  These are year-round venues with a great line up of national and local musicians and bands.

Here are our favorite intimate, indoor spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City:

 

  • The State Room – The State Room feels like a small black box theater because in a former life it was a black box children’s theater! With a mix of stadium seating and standing room in front of the stage, it only fits 299 people – so no matter where you sit/stand you’ll have a guaranteed great view of the state and performers.  This is a 21+ venue with 10+ shows a month.
  • The Commonwealth Room – this new venue is sister to The State Room.  Even though she is newer, she is most decidedly the bigger sister.  The Commonwealth Room blends a bigger warehouse style venue, The State Room’s professional team with a setting that still manages to feel close-knit.
  • Urban Lounge – With a show almost every single night of the week, this small venue is probably the most intimate. (The stage is only 2.5 feet off the floor).  Urban Lounge brings in performers that you can’t see anywhere else – and from all over the world.  They also feature Utah bands and musicians in support of the local music scene.  This is a 21+ / standing room only venue located right in-between Downtown Salt Lake City and the University of Utah with great bars and restaurants all around if you want to make a night of it!
  • The Depot – truly a unique venue to see a concert in Salt Lake City, The Depot is in an old Union Pacific train station (that may or may not be haunted).  This is the biggest venue on this list, but it still feels intimate with a capacity of only 1200, there are 4 stories.  Most shows here are all ages shows.

The BEST outdoor spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City & beyond

 

Picture this: sitting outside in a beautiful concert venue where you can bring a picnic and some wine, spread out a blanket and sit back and enjoy…  Sound perfect?  Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas have some really great outdoor concert series during the summer. These warm weather venues always have a line up to look forward to every year.  Some are in the heart of the city and some are a little further afield – but well worth the trip.

 

Here are our favorite intimate, outdoor spots to see a concert in Salt Lake City:

 

  • Red Butte Garden Concert Series – Up on the mountain at the stunning Red Butte Garden, this is the concert series that everyone in Salt Lake looks forward to every year.  Garden members get first priority for ticket sales – and they sell out fast.  With a great line up, this all ages venue allows you to bring in food, drinks, and alcohol.  Seating tops out at around 3,000 and is mostly open seating – which means you need to get in line early to get into the venue.  But really, there isn’t a bad seat.  You’ll find artists like Sheryl Crow and Billy Idol and Brandie Carlile playing in a much more intimate setting.
  • The Salt Lake Twilight Concert Series – taking place on Thursday nights in Downtown Salt Lake City during the summer, The Twilight Concert Series has been taking place for 30 years! These concerts are super affordable – in the $10 range and open to all ages.  Food is available from various food trucks!
  • The Salt Lake Twilight Concert Series – taking place on Thursday nights in Downtown Salt Lake City during the summer, The Twilight Concert Series has been taking place for 30 years! These concerts are super affordable – in the $10 range and open to all ages.  Food is available from various food trucks.

 

  • The Ogden Twilight Concert Series – Ogden is the new kid on the block when it comes to hosting a large-scale concert series.  They’ve only been at it for a couple of years, but their line up keeps getting better and better.  Shows are all ages with no outside food or drink.
  • Deer Valley Concert Series & Deer Valley Music Festival – up at the famed Deer Valley, the Snow Peak Outdoor amphitheater hosts a series of several shows every summer.  The concert series features live bands and the music festival features the Utah Symphony & guests.  It is up at a high altitude – so be prepared to bundle up once the sun goes down.  You can pre-order picnic bags – so you don’t have to worry about packing your own.

Other unorthodox places to see live music or a concert in Salt Lake City

There are a few other great spots to catch a great performance in Utah! Here are a few that you might not thing of automatically:

 

  • Utah Symphony – Utah has an award winning symphony & opera – with all kinds of guest conductors, performers and special shows. Bet you didn’t know that!
  • Utah Arts Festival – The Utah Arts festival celebrates all kinds of art – including musical.  With multiple stages this four day festival is as much for music lovers as anything.
  • Salt Lake City Jazz Festival – our basketball team isn’t the only jazz you’ll find in town… the Jazz festival is a great place to see a concert in Salt Lake City! It’s been a thing for well over 15 years and is going strong.
  • Utah Blues Fest – With the stated goal of “keepin’ the blues alive” the Utah blues fest brings in performers from all over the United States and is a fundraiser for the Utah Blues Society.

8 Affordable Things To Do in Salt Lake City in the Spring & Summer

8 affordable things to do in Salt Lake City – some of them are even FREE

This is a list of our favorite affordable things to do in Salt Lake City – some are right in the heart of the city and some are a little further out.  PLUS we asked some of you what your top affordable things to do around town and got some great suggestions! So, if you are new in town, just relocating to the Salt Lake City area or are a local and just need some inspiration to get out, here you go:

1.  Visit one of Salt Lake’s public parks

We have some amazing public parks in Salt Lake City – they offer everything from running trails, scenic spots to sit and read or picnic, playgrounds and splash pads for kids, and so much more!

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Liberty Park – with the Tracy Aviary, multiple playgrounds, volley ball courts, pavilions with tables and a beautiful lake.
  • Memory Grove – one of the most scenic parks in Salt Lake City, this park has a meditation chapel, all kinds of trails, City Creek running through the center and a trail up into the hills that connects with the Bonneville Shoreline trail.
  • Sugar House Park – this park also has a creek and a pond right in the center of the park.  There are several playgrounds, some wide open fields, a rose garden, a connection to the Parley’s trail, and one of the best protected jogging paths in the city.

2.  Visit the main downtown library

We have an award winning library in downtown Salt Lake.  Really.  It won the 2006 library of the year award for its stunning architecture and design.  That’s why it is on our list of affordable things to do in Salt Lake City!

Check out a book, attend a free class or lecture.  Check out a movie screening.  Grab a coffee and play with your kids in the children’s section.  Visit the art galleries or just hang out on the plaza outside.

3. Go camping

There are some great campsites within a very short drive of Salt Lake City.  Some that less than an hour and you’ll feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  OR if you are willing to drive a bit further you can find some great spots in Central and Southern Utah and in the National & State parks.

Camping is one of the best affordable things to do in Salt Lake City – but in the springtime, always be sure to check the weather before you go.  It is less affordable if you have to pack up in the middle of the night during a major rainstorm and then get a hotel (speaking from personal experience).

 

Here are some good resources for campers:

4.  Visit a food truck

Salt Lake City is known for its food scene.  BUT eating out isn’t always affordable.  So our version of keeping things on a budget is to visit one of Salt Lake City’s numerous food trucks.

There are so many great choices and (sadly) no one complete list of food trucks in Utah, but here are a couple of places to start:

BONUS: Here are our top places to eat out in Sugar House.  Just in case you need a little night out on the town.

5.  Go for a bike ride

Another one of our affordable things to do in Salt Lake City is to take your bike out for a ride.  Don’t have a bike?  No problem! Salt Lake City has a bike share program in the downtown area.  There are quite a lot of protected bike lanes in Salt Lake City and lots of urban trails that lead to mountain or canyon trails and Salt Lake is a destination for road cyclists as well.

Here are some of the top bike trails around Salt Lake City:

  • Bonneville Shoreline Trail – this mountain bike trail that runs along the Wasatch Front where the ancient Lake Bonneville used to lap against the mountains.  You will find trail runners and even horseback riders on this trail.
  • Jordan River Parkway Trail – paved, flat, easy and running almost the entire length of the Salt Lake Valley, this trail runs along the river with lots of parks and protected wetlands to see along the way.  This is a great trail for families.
  • Antelope Island – road cyclists love biking across the 7 mile causeway to Antelope Island (pictured here from the air) in the middle of the Great Salt Lake.  Yes, there are antelope there.  And bison.  If you’re lucky, you might even spot a bald eagle or two.  There are also great mountain biking trails on the island.  Wear sunscreen and bring bug spray.

6. See some art

Salt Lake City is full of art museums, galleries and studios.  Plus there are some great (FREE) events that are focused on artists and creators.

Two of our favorites:

  • Salt Lake Gallery Stroll – taking place the 3rd Friday of every month.  Gallery Stroll connects artists, galleries, and the community in a downtown-wide art event.
  • Sugar House Art Walk – taking place once a quarter, this walk covers locations all throughout the heart of the Sugar House business district (including the Market Source Real Estate offices).

7.  Go for a hike

A hike is one of the best affordable things to do in Salt Lake City… it’s always free! There are numerous hiking trails around Salt Lake – and for every skill level.  From basic strolls that you can take with the youngest kids to strenuous all day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips.

Always pack plenty of snacks, lots of water, sunscreen, a small first aid kit and sunscreen when you go hiking in Utah.  Also be aware of weather conditions and wildlife.

 

Here are a few handy hiking guides:

8.  Go swimming

Swimming (inside or out) is nearly always affordable.  It’s fun, relaxing and a great family activity.

We have some really great choices here in Utah for both:

  • The Faimont Aquatic Center – Right in the heart of Sugar House.  This indoor pool offers swim lessons, classes, a lap pool and a leisure pool with a 2 story slide and a beach entry.  It is also right in a park – so you can go swimming and then visit the park as well.
  • Liberty Park Pool – open only in the summer, this outdoor pool in the one of our favorite parks!
  • Some swimming holes in Northern Utah – if you want to really have some fun in the great outdoors.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our list of affordable things to do in Salt Lake City! Have anything to add?  Let us know!