Utah is just the greatest. Known for the best skiing in the country, but there is so much more to do than ski! ALWAYS something to do in Utah, no matter the weather or season you can be easily entertained. And it is very family friendly. You can be in the mountains within 20 minutes from most anywhere. Unique shopping. LOTS of cookie and soda shops. Flying into Utah is really easy, the airport is one of the nicest airports. Downtown Salt Lake City is about 10 minute drive from the airport. I am sharing all my favorite things to do in Utah, places to eat in Utah and places to shop that are close to Salt Lake City.
I actually don’t think I realized how awesome Utah was until we moved away and lived in Connecticut for 7 years. Don’t get me wrong, Connecticut was a nice place to live. But Utah has my heart. The mountains never get old, they are breathtaking.
I used to travel for work to High-Point Furniture Market. I would often travel with a furniture rep, Freddie, and because of his job, he was a recent transplant to Utah. When we would be at the Furniture Market or dinners, being the salesperson he was, he could start a conversation with anyone. He was SO good at “selling Utah as one of the best places to live.” I loved listening to him proudly talk about this state I called home. I learned a lot from him about starting conversations with strangers.
So in honor of Freddie, I have to tell you the first thing he would tell people about Utah. The Kenncott Copper Mine. He would say, “Utah has a copper mine that is 1 mile deep and 3 miles wide, you can see it from space!” It IS one of the top performing mines in the WORLD and has provided more wealth for the state of Utah than any other company. Even tho Freddie, LOVES fly fishing and skiing in Utah, he thought that the Mine was a neat talking point. And it is!
Hope this blog post does Utah justice and makes you want to visit Utah!
Places to Stay in Utah- near Salt Lake City
Wish I had an Airbnb you could stay at when you visit Utah, hopefully one day!
- Grand America– gorgeous hotel, we love to stay the night for a “staycation” total experience in Salt Lake City
- Little America– nice and more budget friendly, sister hotel to the Grand
- Hotel Monaco– we stayed here for our honeymoon, Salt Lake City
- Waldorf Astoria– we always stay here when we go to Park City
Activities to do in Utah
- Temple Square walk around the Salt Lake Temple built in the 1800’s
- Olympic Park in Park City we loved the extreme tubing
- Park City Mountain– fun summer activities- we like the Alpine Slide, but even more than that love the Mountain Coaster
- Tibble Fork we take kayaks, paddle boards, floats and hang out all day!
- Homestead Crater in Midway– reserve a spot to swim in the crater! Warm water and neat experience
- Antelope Island you can see the bison herd, which is one of the oldest and largest in the United States. The park is also has lots of other animals. Great way to see the Great Salt Lake. You can drive through or hike or they do guided bike tours and things in the winter
- Lagoon Amusement Park– built in 1899, with a lot of new rides, they have a waterpark area too. My kids LOVE going.
- Park City Historic Main Street– cute bookstores, restaurants, ice cream at Java Cow and more
- Hogle Zoo– we have been to a lot of zoo’s and we think the Utah Zoo is a great, clean zoo! Lot’s of animals and it is newly renovated
- Ski Resorts- if you come in the winter, best snow! Or fun to hike around really any of them
- Sundance– most famous for the Sundance Film Festival during late January. This is also a great place to visit to walk around, hike, ride the ski lift and eat. We like to hike Stewart Falls here.
- Kennecott Copper Mine– You can take shuttles to the top of the mine to get a close up look, fun and educational
The best Hiking in Utah (family friendly)-
We LOVE to hike. All of the hikes below our kids have done, including 5 year old Finn. Nothing too hard and all beautiful and close to Salt Lake City.
- Ensign Peak gorgeous view of Salt Lake City and short hike
- Donut Falls one of my favorite hikes. We park in the donut falls parking area, making the hike about 1.5 miles. You can park right off the main road and that is about a 3.5 mile hike. There are some ares your feet get wet. You can hike up to the waterfall and see the water come through the “donut”.
- Silver Lake easiest hike, I pushed kids in an all-terrain strollers before around the lake. We have seen a moose several times here
- Bell’s Canyon Reservoir– another favorite 3 mile hike that ends at a reservoir, no swimming, but gorgeous to sit around and pack lunch or dinner
- Cecret Lake– about a 2 mile round trip hike, see lots of wildflowers and end art a pretty lake you can make around. There is a camp ground before the hike if you want to bring dinner or lunch up.
- Gloria Falls– about a 2 mile hike, tricky to find the falls tho…you first come to a river that looks like you are done, but follow the trail up to towards Red Pine Lake. Once you cross the bridge take a left and wind your way towards the falls, following along the river.
- Timpanogos Cave super cool cave to tour, make sure to make reservations
- Wall Lake High Uintas– this is a busy hike, sometimes hard to even park and go, but worth it if you can! Easy hike that takes you past a couple smaller lakes to wall lake. Photo above shows us jumping in
- Provo Falls– not really a hike, more of scenic lookout. Gorgeous falls, stop when you go to Wall Lake!
Best Places to Eat in Utah-
- Red Iguana enormous menu with undoubtedly some of the best food in SLC)
- Takashi best sushi, hard to get into, but sooooo good! Kevin’s favorite place to go out to
- White Horse Spirits and Kitchen 21+ really cool inside and both Kevin and I loved everything we tried
- Pretty Bird Chicken hot fried chicken
- Porcupine Grill share the nachos and I get the half size house salad with salmon
- The Charleston the chef used to be the chef for the Prince of Dubai, fine dining, we like eating outside, amazing food
- Cafe Rio started in 1997 in St. George Utah and we couldn’t get enough! 1 restaurant turned 140! Really tasty Mexican, casual walk-up, the salads are so good…really all of it!
- Settebello Pizzeria I recommend the bacon wrapped dates with your meal!
- Taqueria 27 casual walk-up, yummy tacos
- Chile Tepin best new mexican restaurant, share a molcajete with someone!
- Copper Onion can’t go wrong and cute atmosphere
- R&R Barbecue started in 2009 in Utah and now has several restaurants in Utah. Winner of several awards.
- Lucky 13 Bar best hamburgers and fries
- The DODO when I go with girlfriends everyone gets the Turkey Sandwich
- Lola’s Street Kitchen if you are in Midway and go to the Crater!
- Sammy’s Bistro Express– we love to eat here when we are in Park City and close to the outlets and the olympic park
Best Places to Eat Breakfast in Utah-
- Ruth’s Diner open since 1930, best biscuits and up gorgeous emigration canyon
- Sweet Lake Biscuits– all the food is locally sourced, yummy lemonades and biscuits
- Silver Fork Lodge eat outside! on your way to Silver Lake Hike.
- The Park Cafe– charming restaurant right next to Liberty Park
- Bruges Waffles– delicious artisan made Belgian waffles and voted best fries since 2011
- Tulie Bakery– cutest bakery, croissants, pastries and also variety of breakfast items
- Protein Foundry protein shakes, gourmet toast, and açaí bowls. This is my favorite place. I stop here almost daily!
Best Dessert Places in Utah-
- Ruby Snaps my favorite cookies- get the Suzie- it is their best seller!
- Chips cookies, that at the closest thing to Levain Bakery in Utah
- Swig soda shop, there are LOTS of soda shops in Utah! I just get sparkling water with fresh fruit added or squeeze of lime
- Flake mini pies and poptarts
- Gourmandise pastries, lunch and breakfast spot
- Banbury Cross featured on Food Network- try the Raised Cinnamon Crumb Doughnut
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factorywe love the apple pie caramel apple
- Mirror Lake Station– IF you are in Kamas and happen to be their early get a warm, giant apple fritter, they sell out!
Best Place to Shop in Utah-
- Gardner Village lots of locally owned shops in the cutest setting– make sure to visit The Chocolate Covered Wagon for taffy, fudge and camels! CF Home, Down to Earth and Layer Bedding are my favorite decor shops there.
- The Black Goose Design where I used to work! High-end furniture and fun gift items in a neat 1900’s building
- Home Again Consignment consignment shop near Gardner Village and The Black Goose
- Oliver & Princess Natasha vintage home decor
- The Simple Nest new and in vintage home decor
- Nest Boutique cute clothes, gifts and furniture
- City Creek outdoor mall– stop in my favorite Utah clothing stores- Bohme, Albion, Piper and Scoot
State Gifts and Swag
- Retro Landmark Poster
- City Posters
- State Waterproof sticker
- Custom State or Area Code Hat
- Utah Sweatshirt
- Smokey Bear Tee
- State Tote Bag
- State Necklace
- Utah retro toddler shirt (same in adult here)
- National Parks Tapestry and State
Are you planning a trip to Utah?? I also have a blog post all about Bear Lake in Utah!