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, volleyball 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:
- 21 of the Best SLC Food Trucks
- Food Truck League – puts on regular food truck events with multiple trucks in the same location so you can try more than one
- Yelp’s list of food trucks in SLC
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 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!
Please Note: We’re continuing to post about local businesses, events, and area attractions; however, things often change due to COVID-19 restrictions. So please, double-check before you visit any of our recommended spots to confirm availability, accessibility, or any restrictions. Stay safe. Be well. And support Local! Thank you.