One Day in Salt Lake City: Perfect Things to Do 

There are so many ways you can spend your one-day trip to Salt Lake City 

If you’re looking for a fun city break in Utah, Salt Lake City is the perfect destination. Here are my top recommendations for things to see during your one day in Salt Lake City.

With a population of just over 200,000 Salt Lake City is the largest in Utah, but not so big that those who avoid large cities might be scared off.

There are plenty of things to do without a car in this beautiful city, so be sure to check out Temple Square, the State Capitol Building, and more on your one-day trip to Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City is one of my to recommended things to see in Utah.

Plan your Salt Lake City one-day itinerary in a snap with this FREE travel planner.

Mormon temple in Salt Lake City
Your Salt Lake City itinerary should include a tour of Temple Square. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

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Temple Square

Anytime anyone goes to Salt Lake City for some sightseeing, I’m going to recommend they start their day at Temple Square. It’s essentially the historical and cultural heart of the city.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah. It is one of the largest religious complexes in the world and is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The square is also home to the Tabernacle Choir, the oldest continuously operating choir in America.

The vast Temple Square complex covers five city blocks and features ancient structures, gardens, administrative and office buildings, museums, monuments, libraries, auditoriums, pavilions, and restaurants.

When visiting Temple Square, you can expect to find a number of different attractions, including the following:

  • The Mormon Temple
  • The Salt Lake Assembly Hall
  • The Salt Lake Visitor’s Center
  • The Museum of Church History and Art
fountain in temple square in Salt Lake City, Utah
If you have one day in Salt Lake City, don’t miss Temple Square. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go.

Guided tour of Temple Square

One of the best ways to learn about Temple Square is to take a guided tour.

The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will share information about the history and significance of the square. You can experience an in-person tour or a live virtual tour.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

the choir loft where the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square sings
Your Salt Lake City day trip could include a live performance of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Photo: Plan, Ready, Go

The Tabernacle Choir is one of the most popular attractions at Temple Square. The choir is made up of 360 members who sing a vast repertoire of music, from classical to contemporary. 

The choir has been featured on television, radio, and film and has performed for Presidents and other dignitaries.

Their Music & the Spoken Word program has been running on TV and radio for many years, In fact, it’s the longest-running network broadcast. If you’re in Salt Lake City on a Sunday morning, you can see this program for free in person.

Combine a Tabernacle Choir performance with a bus tour of Salt Lake City with this tour.

Beehive House

19th century house with a beautiful garden in front
Stop at Beehive House during your Salt Lake City day trip.

The Beehive House is one of the most iconic buildings in Salt Lake City. The home was erected in 1855 and served as the residence of Brigham Young, the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The house gets its name from the beehive on top of the house, which is a symbol of industry and is Utah’s state emblem.

You will enjoy taking a tour of this historic house and learning about the life of Brigham Young. 

The tour includes a look at the office Brigham Young used when he was territorial governor and president of the church and his carpentry tools.

City tours

There are a variety of Salt Lake City tours you can try if you want to get an overview of the city.

This Salt Lake City guided bus tour includes some of the city’s top sites like Temple Square, the Mormon Trail, Old Deseret Village, the state capitol building, and sites from the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Tour Salt Lake City in a replica streetcar to get an overview of the city and includes several photo stops.

Or try a bike tour of Salt Lake City that includes stops at important sites in the city’s historic downtown.

Featured tours and activities for your one-day trip to Salt Lake City

Other sites to add to your Salt Lake City Itinerary

If you covered Temple Square during the morning of your Salt Lake City day trip, now you have the hard task of choosing how to fill your afternoon.

Below are some of the top recommended sites in Salt Lake City and the immediate vicinity.

You’ll find a variety of options here from historical sites to outdoor excursions, museums and more.

Utah State Capitol Building

The State Capitol Building is one of the most iconic landmarks in Salt Lake City. It was built in 1912 and houses the Utah State Legislature. The Utah State Capitol is one of the most beautiful capitals in the country.

The building features gorgeous original artwork that has been restored.

The interior of the Capitol features a grand staircase and a rotunda with an intricate dome. 

Visitors can take a free tour of the building via docent-led, self-guided or virtual and learn more about its history, government, and architecture.

You can also explore the grounds and visit the Utah State Capitol Museum.

The State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah.

It is the seat of the state government of Utah and houses the offices of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer. The building also houses the Utah State Senate.

The State Capitol Building is one of the most prominent features of downtown Salt Lake City and is located on Capitol Hill.

The building was designed by architect Richard Kletting and is one of the most significant examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the United States.

domed state capitol building in Utah
Utah’s State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City

Pioneer Memorial Museum

The Pioneer Memorial Museum is one of Salt Lake City’s most popular tourist destinations. The museum is dedicated to the history of the Mormon pioneers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who traveled from Nauvoo, Illinois, and settled in Utah.

The museum features a number of exhibits that tell the story of the Mormon pioneers. You can see quilts, pianos, guns, dresses, and other artifacts from the pioneer era. The museum also features relics from the short-lived theocratic State of Deseret.

The Pioneer Memorial Museum is one of the best places to learn about the history of Salt Lake City and the Mormon pioneers.

This is the Place Heritage Park

large monument with sculptures at This is the Place Historic Park

This Is The Place Heritage Park is a great place to experience lots of fun all year long. Take a trip back in time to view Utah’s early days as they were in the 18th century.

Visitors to This is the Place Heritage Park will have a pleasant time riding one of three trains, the Jupiter, Blackhawk, or the 119, around the park. They will also enjoy being taken for a scenic cruise on the Mini Train around the pond.

Clara Bell, the cow, is a must-see for city kids who can ride ponies, meet and pet farm animals, and attempt their hand at milking.

Great things to do in Salt Lake City

Liberty Park

Liberty Park is one of Salt Lake City’s most popular parks.

Liberty Park is one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors in Salt Lake City. The park is located in the center of the city and is a great place to relax, have a picnic, or take a walk.

This large park has a playground, picnic areas, a swimming pool, tennis courts, paddle boats, a children’s amusement park, and plenty of space for fun or relaxation. Many community activities are held at the park as well.

The park is also home to the Tracy Aviary, one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the United States. 

Tracy Aviary

The Tracy Aviary is the United States’ biggest and oldest free-standing aviary, and it’s one of Salt Lake City’s most fantastic attractions.

Tracy Aviary is a Salt Lake City-based bird sanctuary that provides up-close encounters with birds and nature 363 days a year.

The aviary has a number of different exhibits, including Pelican Pond, King of The Andes, Expedition Kea, North American Eagles, Southern Ground Hornbills, and more.

It’s a great place to see a variety of birds and learn about their ecology and natural history.

Natural History Museum of Utah

The Natural History Museum of Utah is part of the large, over 160,000 square feet Rio Tinto Center. In the hills above Salt Lake City is where you’ll find The Rio Tinto center. The museum is a community effort, and the structure is a testament to that.

The Natural History Museum of Utah is one of the best museums in Salt Lake City.

It has exhibits on Gems and Minerals, Past Worlds, Utah Futures, and much more. The museum also has a planetarium and a number of hands-on exhibits.

Ensign Peak

view of Salt Lake City from Ensign Peak in Utah

Ensign Peak is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of Salt Lake City.

The Ensign Peak Hike is about a mile round trip, and it is a very beautiful and leisurely hike for beginners as long as you don’t plan your trek on the hottest day of the year.

Brigham Young and seven other pioneering leaders went to the top of a mountain on the second day after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. They drew a city in their minds from the top of the hill. A stone marker now perches on the peak.

Visitors to Ensign Peak can take a picnic lunch and watch the beautiful sunset. The north end of the Salt Lake Valley is home to Ensign Peak, which rises above the State Capitol.

Hogle Zoo

Hogle Zoo is home to more than 800 animals, including lions, tigers, giraffes, and elephants. You can also see a variety of birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The Hogle Zoo also has a number of educational exhibits, so you can learn about the variety of animals that live there.

In addition, the zoo also provides a number of hands-on exhibits to teach you about the state’s ecology and natural history.

Where to stay in Salt Lake City

Here are a few suggestions for great places to stay in Salt Lake City.

Ellerbeck Bed & Breakfast—If you’re looking for bed and breakfast accommodations near Temple Square, you should check this out. It’s just a 12-minute walk to the Temple. They offer Wifi and free parking, and it’s just 9 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport.

Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Downtown/The Gateway—In my book, Hyatt Place is always a great option if you’re looking for affordable and reliable accommodations. It’s a few minutes’ drive to Temple Square.

Hampton Inn Salt Lake City Downtown—Enjoy a 20-minute stroll to Temple Square. It’s just a few miles from the airport and the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Best time to visit Salt Lake City Utah

Salt Lake City is a great place to visit any time of year.

There are a number of things to do, including visiting Temple Square, the State Capitol Building, and the Natural History Museum of Utah. You can also see a variety of animals at the Hogle Zoo or the Tracy Aviary. If you’re looking for a panoramic view of the city, be sure to check out Ensign Peak.

One of the most fun times of year to visit Utah is in the spring or fall. The weather is mild, and there are a number of great events

Some of the best events in Salt Lake City during the spring include the Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival, the Living Traditions Festival, and more.

Salt Lake City tours mentioned in this article 

Final thoughts on your one-day trip to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a wonderful place to stay and explore. Even with only one day in Salt Lake City you can see at least a few of the top sites.

If you’re short on time, be sure to check out Temple Square and This Is The Place Heritage Park and the Natural History Museum of Utah.

If the outdoors are more your speed, make sure to do the Ensign Peak hike and check out Liberty Park (with Tracy Aviary) and the Hogle Zoo.

More articles to help you plan your Salt Lake City day trip

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our list of the essential travel planning resources. 

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the best things to do with one day in Salt Lake City

One Day in Salt Lake City: Perfect Things to Do

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