Salt Lake City, Utah’s highest elevation capital, is well known for its Great Salt Lake and the snow-covered picks of the Wasatch Mountains Range. Must see the most visited Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon Church, is home to the majestic 19th-century Salt Lake Temple. You could even consider visiting Temple Square if you have a layover of two hours or more at the Salt Lake International Airport. This attraction is only 8 miles from the airport, and with the light traffic of SLC, it won’t take more than 12 minutes to get there. The tour is free to stop by at information desk for the shuttle schedule. It is also the gateway to the most famous national parks, such as Arches, Zion, and Bryce National Park, to name a few.

Helpful Information

Best Time To Visit

Salt Lake City is a perfect city to visit throughout the year, depending on your interest. For hiking and exploring National parks, visit during the summer. For sky lovers, winter is the excellent season, as the temperature during December, January, and February average lows below freezing with regular snow. On the other hand, spring and fall are in between to escape from cold and hot seasons.


Salt Lake City is perfect for winter sports, especially for skiers. If you are flying to the international airport, most of the ski slopes and resorts are within an hour or two. The most famous is Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Brighton, Solitude Mountain Resort, and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Besides skying, other popular winter sports attract visitors for snowshoeing and tubing. 


Summer in Salt Lake City is hot; the temperature stays in the 90s and sometimes even hits the 100s during the day. Hiking in the city, canyons, or national parks is a popular event in the summer months.


Spring is a beautiful time to visit Utah for skiers, nature lovers, and hikers; although there is occasional snow, the average temperature is pleasant and enjoyable.

Getting Around in Salt Lake City

Light Rail (TRAX)

Salt Lake City has a robust public transportation system. Utah’s TRAX light rail stretches 45 miles with 50 stations serving Salt Lake County. A monthly unlimited pass for TRAX and local buses is $83.75 for adults, $62.75 for youth, and $41.75 for seniors.

Rental Car

Renting a car from the airport is the easiest way to drive around Salt Lake City and day trip locations in Utah—no worries about getting lost as long as you got a working GPS/Smartphone. By renting a car, you can ensure you get to see all the major attractions at your leisure. It also means you can afford to be more relaxed about your holiday planning.


If you are not driving, then probably Uber is one of the safest and easiest ways to get around in Salt Lake City. There is no need to pay cash as the ride is shared with your credit card, and fares are affordable. 

On foot

Whether you have a rental car in Salt Lake City or get around in a taxi or by Uber, it is absolutely fun to walk around the city, especially in the city center and around Temple Square. 

How To Get There

Salt Lake City is conveniently located; getting there by air is the perfect way to discover the historical city and nearby ski resorts in winter. Furthermore, salt Lake City is close to a few of the best national parks in the country. In addition, the international airport is less than 10 miles from the city center. Most of the hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport.

Getting From The Airport to Downtown SLC

It is easy to get from the airport to downtown SLC on the TRAX Green line for only $2.50. Train leaves every 15 minutes from Terminal 1. 

Salt Lake City is a vast spread-out city with multiple small cities around; therefore, finding a suitable area to stay in requires prior experience or expert recommendation. Search your hotel options here:

Search Hotels in Salt Lake City

Day 1 – Arrival in Salt Lake City

Our flight arrives at Salt Lake City Airport (SLC) at 11:59 PM. It should be too late to pick up the rental car from the airport, so better off schedule a hotel complementary 24-hour airport shuttle. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is not far away from the airport, so call the hotel directly at Tel: 1 (801) 539-1515 to make arrangements. 

City Public Transportation in SLC
City Public Transportation in SLC
A view of the capital from the top

Day 2 – Sightseeing in Salt Lake City

Wake up early in the morning, take the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to the airport, and pick up Rental Car. Unfortunately, today is Thanksgiving day, so we must plan accordingly, as many places may close or close early. Arches National Park is open on Thanksgiving, so plan to drive down there. The distance from the Utah hotel to Arches National Park is about 3 hours, approximately 150 miles. Before heading down to Arches National Park, visit Temple Square in SLC. 

Quick Stop At State Capital Building

The State Capitol has been one of Utah’s most prominent landmarks for nearly a century. Designed by local architect Richard K. A. Kletting, the Capitol has been home to state government since its opening in 1916. 

State Capital building
State Capital building

Visit The Temple Square

The huge Temple Square complex is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the center of Salt Lake City. This Salt Lake City’s top attraction should be a must-see place for out-of-town visitors. From the immaculate buildings to the beautiful environment, Temple Square is the most historically significant attraction in Salt Lake City, providing some of the state’s best photo spots. They offer a free guided tour of Temple Square year-round, walk-ins are always welcome, but you could also schedule a tour online

A view of Temple Square, SLC, Utah
A view of Temple Square, SLC, Utah

Visit The Church Observation Deck

From the observation deck on the tallest building in Salt Lake City, you have clear, picturesque bird’s-eye views of the Salt Lake Valley, Wasatch Mountains Range, Oquirrh Mountains, Utah State Capitol building, and downtown Salt Lake City, including Temple Square. The observation deck, located on the 26th floor, is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between October and March; the best time to be there for good pictures is in the afternoon for the best views of Salt Lake City and Wasatch Mountains be in the east side of the deck. If you visit there in the morning, get to the west side for the best view of Temple Square.

Church Office Building
Church Office Building in Temple Square, Utah
Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square
Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square

Visit Salt Lake Tabernacle in Temple Square

The Salt Lake Tabernacle, also known as the Mormon Tabernacle, is located on Temple Square in SLC, Utah. Free tours of the thirty-five-acre historic Temple Square are a must-do on your visit to SLC. Missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and volunteer guides are available for tours and information about Utah’s number one tourist attraction. Tours start on the hour from 9 am to 8 pm at the flagpole west of the Salt Lake Temple, or for your convenience, you can book your free Temple Square tour online. Your free 45-minute guided tour of Temple Square will begin at the North Visitors’ Center and includes why it took 40 years to build the Salt Lake Temple; the wonder of the Tabernacle, home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; the Faith and Fortitude of the Mormon Pioneers; and the 11-foot marble Christus statue.

Photo Opportunity at The Reflection Pool by the Temple

Picture-Perfect Qualities: The pool is located right in front of the Salt Lake Temple (on the east side), and with some creativity, you can get a fun shot for your Instagram feed or Facebook photo album. This spot also allows for various shots, i.e., the temple and its reflection in the water.

Visit Conference Center Rooftop Gardens

Picture-Perfect Qualities: It’s located across from Temple Square so that you can see stunning views of it and downtown Salt Lake City. Unlike other city rooftops, this one is covered in plants and colors like the mountains. Some have even compared the rooftop gardens to a park, and for many who visit the Conference Center, enjoying the breathtaking scenery while exploring the rooftop is their favorite part.

Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ
Conference Center for the Church of Jesus Christ

Next Visit Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Picture-Perfect Qualities: The 10th or of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building is another great bird’s-eye view of Temple Square, except you’re inside, so you stay warm when it’s cold outside and cool during the summer heat. In addition, this location is a well-known sel e spot where you can capture the entire Salt Lake Temple in the background from one of the floor’s windows.

Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT
Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Temple Square

Road Trip to Moab, from Salt Lake City

3 Days is not enough to cover the below-recommended attractions, so we may need to skip one or two stops based on priorities:

Salt Lake City –> Arches National Park –> Bryce Canyon National Park –> Antelope Canyon in Northern Arizona –> Back to Salt Lake City

Late Afternoon Arrival at Moab

About 3 hour’s drive to Moab from Salt Lake City, the best location to stay overnight, is close to Arches National Park; the park entrance is only 5 miles from the town.

Dinner at The Sunset Grill, Moab

Traditional steak & seafood spot with panoramic mountaintop views.

Day 3 – Arches National Park

Right after breakfast, check out from Moab Hotel very early in the morning and head towards Arches National Park.

Arches National Park

I have visited many National Parks in the USA; above all, I found Arches National Park one of the most beautiful ones I have seen. It is located at an average elevation of 4868 feet (1484 m) and is home to natural sandstone arches, rocks, and salt domes. A park with the highest density of natural arches in the world formed 100 million years of erosion.

Arches National Park, Utah
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, UT

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a mesmerizing destination with towering red rock spires, cliffs, and stunning hoodoos. Hike the trails, witness breathtaking views, and experience the enchanting beauty of this natural wonder. Stargazing is a must. Unforgettable memories await.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Day 4 – Visit Olympic Park

Visit Utah Olympic Park

The Utah Olympic Park was built for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it is located near Park City, just 25 miles east of Salt Lake City. You will find year-round adventure in the olympic park. From museum to explore Olympic history to activities like Zip, climb, slide, hike and many more. Not a bad idea to get a picture taken with the Olympic torches from the 2002 Winter Games.

Olympic Park
Olympic Park in SLC, Utah

Visit Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island State Park is a Utah state park on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. The Park is located approximately 41 miles north of Salt Lake City. So if time permits this is a good place to visit. 

The Gateway District Plaza for Shopping

The Gateway is Salt Lake City’s only open-air contemporary destination that delivers the ultimate in shopping, dining, and entertainment. Shop and dine at over 100 stores and restaurants. Visit the beautifully restored 1908 Union Pacific Depot featuring early French Renaissance architecture and original artwork. Also, enjoy the Olympic Legacy Plaza featuring the “dancing waters” of the Olympic Snowflake Fountain that is overlooked by a classic clock tower.

Lunch at Pago Restaurant, SLC

For great Lunch/dinning experience pay a visit to Pago an intimate, farm-to-table restaurant in Salt Lake City, serving elevated American cuisine in a casual fine-dining environment.  They also have an extensive wine list, featuring unique and exceptional wines from around the world. As they are very famous and the space fills up quickly so must make a reservations online or by calling at Tel: 801.532.0777

Pago Restaurant
Pago Restaurant
Dinner at Pago

Return Rental Car and Fly to San Francisco

Need to get on the 5:35 pm flight to San Francisco with a stop (change plane) at Los Angeles. Finally arriving at San Francisco is 9:45 pm. 

Restaurants Worth Trying

Salt Lake City is well known for its vibrant culinary scene. Whether you spice up your chicken thighs in a Thai curry or sitting in a sushi joint or feel like a tapas bar, the choices are endless. The city being in a crossroads of cultures for centuries, as a result you will find many local receipies reflects global influence.  When you crave a good beer get something locally brewed. In fact many bars and restaurants do a good job of supporting local breweries. There are many to choose from.

Local Beer
Delicious Chicken dish
Delicious Chicken dish

For Best Burger in Town

Visit Lucky 13 Bar & Grill, for delicious burger in town. Voted the Best Burger in Utah. 

    Pictures from the Trip:

    Where to stay in Salt Lake City, Utah

    Doubletree Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City

    Located in Salt Lake City, 1.1 mi from The Tabernacle, Doubletree Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City features a fitness center and ski storage space. It is located in the city center, close to public transportation. In addition, guests can take a swim in the indoor pool. Salt Palace is 0.7 mi from DoubleTree Salt Lake City, while Temple Square is 0.9 mi away. In addition, salt Lake City International Airport is 5 mi from the property.

    Hilton Garden Inn Salt Lake City Downtown

    Set in Salt Lake City, 1.1 mi from The Tabernacle, Hilton Garden Inn Salt Lake City Downtown features a hot tub and ski storage space. In addition, guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant and an indoor pool. You will find a free shuttle service at the property and a fitness center; guests can enjoy a meal at the Great American Grill. Salt Palace is 0.7 mi from Hilton Garden Salt Lake City, while Temple Square is 1 mi away. Salt Lake City International Airport is 5 mi from the property.

    My Opinion and Last Word

    Have you been to Salt Lake City, Utah? Any cool tips to share?

    I loved being in Salt Lake City, Utah, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Utah.

    Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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    Hasan Mahmud

    Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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