Check out this list of all the free things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Planning a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah? You will not be disappointed by all this beautiful city has to offer. Nestled right below the mountains is the beautiful metropolis of Salt Lake City with tons of free fun. From outdoor activities to nightlife to tons of family friendly activities you will find something for everyone. Check out my list of 26 free things to do in Salt Lake City.
Utah is full of rich history. It was settled by LDS pioneers in a search for religious freedom. Many of their original buildings have been preserved for tours and are open to the public.
1. Historic Temple Square
Salt Lake City’s most popular attraction is the Historic Temple Square. This is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and sits on 10 acres of ground and includes two visitor centers, a history museum, historic buildings and beautiful gardens.
All of the attractions are free and most are open to the public. There are free tours available throughout the day, but you are also welcome to walk through the grounds and tour them yourself. The buildings and gardens are all beautiful. During the winter months temple square is decked out in beautiful Christmas lights making for a fun evening out.
2. Utah State Capitol
Another beautiful historical building to visit is the Utah State Capitol. It sits up in the hills overlooking the city. The Utah State Capitol was built in 1916 out of beautiful granite and marble. If you enjoy historical buildings, this is a don’t miss! Enjoy a free self guided tour seven days a week using one of these free brochures.
3. Beehive House
One of my favorite historical building to tour in Salt Lake City is the Beehive House. This was the home of Brigham Young, who was the first governor of the Utah Territory, and was built in 1854. The home is well restored with artifacts, beautiful wood work and history. Free tours of the Beehive House are available Monday through Friday.
4. Governors Mansion
If you enjoy historical buildings you will love touring the Governors Mansion. This home was built in 1903 and is absolutely stunning. Free self guided tours are available through the Preservation Utah website.
5. Joseph Smith Memorial Building
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building was originally built in 1911 as a luxury hotel. It has since been converted to office and event space. Anyone is welcome to come walk through this beautiful historic building and enjoy the marble columns, grand staircase, and beautiful rooms.
6. Cathedral Of The Madeleine
Another must stop while in Salt Lake City is the Cathedral of the Madeleine. This incredible cathedral was built in 1909 and boasts a gothic interior, complete with gargoyles and murals. It truly is a beautiful sight!
7. Benson Grist Mill
The Benson Grist Mill is an impressive mill that was built in 1854 and later restored. A visit to the mill will give insight into how the early pioneers made their flour. In addition to the mill you will find other pioneer buildings and homes for a peek into pioneer life. It is located about 30 minutes west of Salt Lake City and tours are free.
You can find a big selection of free museums available in the Salt Lake City area. There is something for everyone, you will find museums about history, art, science and more. They make for a great educational and fun afternoon for the whole family.
8. Clark Planetarium
Clark Planetarium is a must stop in Salt Lake City if you have kids. We spent hours here the last time we went and I couldn’t believe it was all FREE! This museum hosts many interactive exhibits teaching about earth and space. It is kid friendly and so much fun for all ages.
9. Pioneer Memorial Museum
After enjoying the state capitol building head over to the Pioneer Memorial Museum just across the street. Here you will be treated to hundreds of pioneer artifacts that were brought across the country when settling Utah. Entry into the museum is completely free.
10. Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
If you are an art lover you must stop by the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Located in downtown Salt Lake, the Utah MOCA houses contemporary art with pieces and exhibit that rotate throughout the year. It’s completely free to enter and a great visit!
11. Hill Aerospace Museum
The Hill Aerospace Museum is located 30 minutes north of Salt Lake City, but is worth the drive if you enjoy military equipment. This museum houses more than 90 exhibits featuring military aircraft and vehicles.
12. Bean Museum
If you travel 45 minutes south of Salt Lake City you will find the campus of BYU in Provo, Utah. BYU offers a few free museums to enjoy. The Bean Museum is one of our favorites.
This national history museum displays life like exhibits of both plants and animals. This is a great educational experience for kids and adults.
13. BYU Museum of Paleontology
After enjoying the bean museum, head over to the BYU Museum of Paleontology. Here you will find numerous dinosaur fossils and exhibits, we especially enjoyed the triceratops head. Our favorite part of this museum was the window where we could watch real paleontologists dusting off fossils. It was really fun to see the actual work being done to bring these fossils to life.
14. BYU Museum of Art
The third museum I recommend visiting while in Provo is the free BYU Museum of Art. This isn’t a huge museum, but it is free and rotates exhibits throughout the year so there is always something new to see and enjoy.
15. Fort Douglas Military Museum
Another great military museum to visit is the Fort Douglas Military Museum. This fort was built in 1862 to house US soldiers that were sent to monitor what was happening in the Utah Territory.
This fort has been turned into a free museum and has displays of military memorabilia, tanks, helicopters and more.
Utah is known for their great outdoors. There are so many beautiful sights to see and experience in the Salt Lake City area.
16. City Creek
City Creek is a unique outdoor mall located right in downtown Salt Lake. You don’t even need to shop the high end retailers to enjoy this fun area. It has fountains, streams stocked with live fish, and beautiful architecture. City Creek is so fun to walk around, relax and people watch.
17. Gilgal Sculpture Garden
Hidden in a residential neighborhood you will find the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. This garden is open to the public and contains a 12 large sculptures and over 70 engraved stones all crafted by Thomas Battersby Child Jr. during the mid century. Not many people know about this garden and it is a fun hidden surprise.
18. International Peace Garden
Make sure your visit to Salt Lake City includes a stop at the International Peace Garden located on the Jordan River. It features different exhibits highlighting 29 different nations. When visiting this park you will be able to visit areas focused on Japan, Wales, Finland, and more.
19. Wheeler Farm
One of our favorite free things to do in Salt Lake City with kids is to visit Wheeler Farm. This is a working farm, but open to the public. It has animals to pet, a farm house, a wooded area with trails and many fun things to see, all on 75 acres of land. Wheeler Farm is a great way to spend an afternoon, pet the animals, and have a picnic.
It is completely free to visit the farm, but there are other activities available for a small fee, including a wagon ride and a tour of the farmhouse.
20. Ensign Peak
If you enjoy hiking you might love hiking Ensign Peak for great views of the Salt Lake Valley. This is a popular hike in Utah located near the state capitol building. The Ensign Peak hike is less than a mile long, but very steep. It’s doable for all hiking levels, but is definitely not easy.
21. Snowbird Observation Point Trail
If you are looking for an easier paved trail be sure check out the Snowbird Observation Point Trail. This family friendly trail is located from the third floor of the Snowbird Center. The trail is only a half mile long and ends with an incredible view.
22. Splash Pads
During the summer months you will find multiple free splash pads open around the city. These are the perfect way to cool down with the kids on a hot day.
Be sure to check out these fun splash pads: Ellison Park, Legacy Regional Park, Liberty Park, The Gateway, and Oquirrh Shadows Park.
23. Swim In The Great Salt Lake
Swimming in the Great Salt Lake can be such a fun experience, because of the huge amount of salt this is not like swimming in your typical lake.
If this is something you want to try for yourself, make sure to read Fly By The Seat Of Her Pants article here all about their swimming experience in the Great Salt Lake.
24. Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve
Another great outdoor excursion for families is to visit the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. This preserve has over 4 million birds visit each year, including 250 different species. It’s a great outing for bird lovers. Enjoy a walk along the 1.3 mile boardwalk loop while observing the wetlands and wildlife.
Other Fun Sites
You might also enjoy one of these other fun activities in SLC.
25. Salt Lake City Library
The Salt Lake City Library offers more than just books. It truly is a stunning architectural masterpiece and even has rooftop garden and secret staircase (let me know if you find it!).
26. Utah Olympic Park
Utah’s Olympic Park was built for the 2002 Olympic Games and is now used as an Olympic training facility. It is such a neat place to visit and get a taste of what the athletes experience when training for the Olympic games.
There are many things to do here, some cost money, but some are available for free! First, you can enjoy two free museums. One of them has memorabilia from the Utah Winter Olympics and the other museum has a lot of hands on activities teaching about skiing in Utah.
My favorite free activity at the Olympic Park is watching the athletes train. On many days you will be able to see both skeleton athletes and freestyle aerialists training. I especially oved watching the aerialists flip into the pool.
So Many Free Family Friendly Activities
There are so many free things to do and see while in Salt Lake City. Is there anything I forgot to add to my list? Let me know in the comments!