The 11 Best Things To Do in Ogden, Utah

View of Historic 25th St with a snowy mountain in the background

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

From the outside, Ogden may seem like any other town in Utah: beautiful scenery, great skiing, and a quaint old town. However, Ogden has an unusual history compared to other cities in the Beehive State. As the only Utah city not settled by the Mormon church (settled instead by the railroad), Ogden has a long rebellious history and is often referred to as Salt Lake City’s "devious little sister." While the railroad once brought crime and outlaws, it also brought a unique contrarian spirit that makes Ogden unlike any other city in Utah. Located just 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport you can experience this enigma of a city and understand why all the cool kids (at least in Utah) live in Ogden. 

01 of 11

Take a Stroll Down Historic 25th Street

Stores along Historic 25th St. with mountains in the background

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Take a walk through the heart of Ogden. Passionate locals brought this once lively—later abandoned—main street back to life in recent years. Now you’ll find colorful murals from local artists and can watch dozens of artists in their studios at The Monarch. You’ll never go hungry on this stretch, home to fine dining options like Table 25. Opened by an Ogden couple, who named their restaurant after the table number from their first date, Table 25 offers up farm-to-table fusion dishes. You can’t go wrong with any entree but be sure not to miss out on the homemade herbed biscuits with honey butter. For a more casual meal, stop by the original Roosters Brewing, which brought a new wave of artisanal beer and spirits to the area.

02 of 11

Try a Unique Style of Urban Fishing

People learning to Fly Fish with Utah Tenkara

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Ogden River is a beautiful spot to stop by and enjoy the beauty of nature, but it also offers a unique opportunity to try your hand at Japanese fly fishing. Tenkara is a form of fly fishing that doesn’t have a reel and can be learned quickly. Utah Tenkara, started by a U.S. Army veteran who picked up the sport during his active duty, now takes people out on the river for fly fishing excursions. Within minutes you’ll be casting your line and catching your own fish in no time.

03 of 11

Go Stargazing

View of starry sky in North Fork Park

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

Ogden is a great place to explore the final frontier: space. North Fork Park is a 2,600-acre area used for hiking and camping that is also recognized as an International Dark Sky location. The site is free and open to the public, so grab a telescope or a blanket to lie on the grass and gaze at the stars. You can also book a Starwalk Tour at the Compass Rose Lodge’s Observatory. Their professional-grade telescope, donated by the Astronomy Department at Weber State University, was once used by Stephen Hawking. With top-of-the-line equipment, guests can observe even the furthest planets and enjoy brilliantly clear images that the observatory has been able to take of distant galaxies.

04 of 11

Get Prehistoric at Utah's Dinosaur Park

Dinosaur statues in the park

Courtesy of Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park combines education and entertainment by using artists and robotics to bring the prehistoric to life. The park has over 100 dino-sized sculptures crafted based on real fossilized skeletons and several full-size actual skeletons. Interactive exhibits teach what dinosaurs most likely looked and sounded like and what scientists believe their day-to-day life was like many years ago. 

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05 of 11

Climb a Mountain With Via Ferrata

People climbing via feratta with Ogden, UT

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Via ferrata is a form of rock climbing that uses rebar drilled into the side of a mountain to create a ladder system for climbers. Climbers are strapped into the wiring system, making it an excellent way for beginners to start rock climbing. This style of climbing began in Italy and has become famous throughout Europe with over 2,000 courses. However, there are only a few locations to try via ferrata in the U.S. Utah is home to two courses, one in Zion National Park and the other in Ogden's Waterfall Canyon. Utah Via Ferrata offers guided tours through the three levels for beginners to experts. Even the level one course will take you over peaks and cliffs, providing amazing views of the mountains and the waterfall that gives the canyon its name.

06 of 11

Hit The Trails

Late fall in the Wasatch mountain foothills near Salt Lake City, Utah

Salil Bhatt / Getty Images

If you're visiting Utah, you'll want to get outside! Ogden offers several hikes that put you smack dab in the middle of breathtaking views. Waterfall Canyon offers lookouts of its 200-foot cascading waterfall and views over the Wasatch Mountains. For more of a more intense journey, you can set out on the Skyline Trail that follows the entirety of the Northern Wasatch ridge line. The steep inclines and multiple switchbacks pay off for breathtaking views. However, if a leisurely stroll is more your thing, the Bonneville shoreline trail is a great option. This mostly flat trail that stretches through the Salt Lake Valley is an excellent option for beautiful vistas of the lake and native plants in the area.

07 of 11

See Live Music Outdoors

Aerial shot of Ogden Music festival with mountains in the background

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

Ogden’s location between Denver and Las Vegas helps attract an impressive amount of musical acts. The most notable tend to play the summer twilight concerts at the amphitheater at the end of 25th Street. These outdoor concerts happen between July and September. These concerts often line up with Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll, so you can browse local artists and shops on 25th Street before or after the show. June is also when the Ogden Music Festival, a three-day festival that showcases the best in bluegrass, folk, and Americana genres takes place. The Blues, Brews & BBQ summer series at the nearby Snowbasin resort also happens every Sunday during the summer months. 

08 of 11

Learn About Ogden's Railroad History at Union Station

Union Station lit up at night

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

Union Station was once a central hub for rail service in the U.S.—if you traveled across the country, you were bound to stop in Ogden. Today, Union Station serves as a monument to Ogden's railroad days. Located at the end of historic 25th Street, it now serves as a home to four museums, including the famous John M. Browning Firearms Museum and the Utah State Railroad Museum, which is home to two of the largest locomotives ever manufactured. The Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum and the Myra Powell Gallery are also well worth visiting.

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09 of 11

Drink Like the Locals

Cans of beer from Roosters Brewing

Courtesy of Roosters Brewing

Utah is known for strict alcohol laws, but it's far from a dry state. Over the last decade, Ogden has seen a boom in brewing and distilling, with each producer putting their own unique spin on their products.

It all started with Roosters Brewing Co. This woman-owned brewery creates a variety of styles of beers, from traditional lagers to more adventurous brews like Blackberry Cream Ales. Other great options are Ogden River Brewing and the veteran-owned and operated Talisman Brewing. New World Distillery is a local favorite for hand-crafted spirits, and their Wasatch Blossom Tart Cherry Liqueur is not to be missed!

Visitors will also want to stop into Ogden's Shooting Star Saloon, the oldest bar west of the Mississippi which has been continuously operating for over 200 years, even through prohibition. This quirky dive bar has a simple menu of beer and burgers but always serves up a good time.

10 of 11

Learn About Nature

Views from Ogden Nature Center

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

If you're looking for more relaxation than adrenaline, you can still experience the beauty of Utah without breaking too much of a sweat. Ogden has several options to explore the great outdoors, including Ogden Nature Center. Covering 152 acres of preserved land, you can wander through the center's gardens and spot native wildlife. They also have a packed event schedule with everything from concerts to their Birds and Brews series, where you can join a guided birdwatching walk, local beer in hand. There's also the Ogden Botanical Garden, consisting of 11 acres of public gardens—a great place to experience Utah's impressive wildflower season. 

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Hit the Slopes

A person skiing down Powder Mountain

Courtesy of Visit Ogden

Utah is known for great skiing, and Ogden keeps up this reputation with three nearby ski resorts covering more than 11,000 acres of skiable land. Each resort is roughly 30 minutes from downtown Ogden, and you can even catch a winter ski bus that takes passengers to each resort. Nordic Valley is great for skiers of all levels and has some of the best night skiing you’ll find anywhere. Powder Mountain is the largest resort in the U.S., and Snowbasin was home to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games and is soon home to a new Club Med. For a more boutique stay, Compass Rose Lodge doubles as a museum, collecting ski gear from past Olympians, including one of the first-ever chair lifts.