Many people dig deep into their pockets during the holiday season—for gifts, dining out, and entertainment—but holiday cheer doesn't have to be expensive. There are lots of affordable and amazing holiday events and activities in the Salt Lake area that will bring joy to the season without breaking the bank.
Christmas concerts on Temple Square and nearby locations begin with "Bells on Temple Square" on Friday and Saturday, November 22–23, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. Each year, the Bells on Temple Square’s concerts are audience favorites. If there are no free tickets when you go to reserve one, the concert will also be streamed live on the internet on both November 22 and 23, 2019. Temple Square events continue almost nightly until December 30. Some events require tickets obtained in advance (to ensure there is seating for everyone); others do not require a ticket. Most events are free.
Wander through the Made in Utah Winter Fest, held in collaboration with The Gateway’s holiday light experience. This family-friendly market showcases Utah artists, musicians, and products. You'll find Utah breweries, distilleries, restaurants, food trucks, and other local businesses in a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
Rio Grande street will be closed to traffic so you will be able to walk down the street enjoying the winter decorations, festive lights and listen to music by local artists while drinking hot winter-themed beverages. The event will be held weekends—December 7 and 8, December 14 and15, and December 21 and 22, 2019.
The lights at Temple Square, the Gallivan Center, City Creek Center and Gateway are one of Salt Lake City's best holiday traditions, and best of all, they're free! Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake City are lighted with more than a million lights from November 29, 2019, through December 31, 2019.
School groups and church choirs perform daily at six different venues. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert and the LDS Church First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional are some of the most popular performances.
Thanksgiving Point has many special holiday events, but the main one is Luminaria. Running from November 22, 2019, through January 4, 2020, Luminaria is a mile-long light display that you can walk through in Ashton Gardens. Around 6,500 programmable luminaries come together to create moving images of poinsettias, flying reindeer, and seasonal symbols. The centerpiece—a 120-foot Christmas tree—stands at the top of the hill.
You'll also find a nativity scene with 35 bronze sculptures and glowing lanterns at the entrance to the Light of the World garden. When hunger strikes, nosh on some s' mores around the fire pits and sip hot chocolate.
The Utah Governor's Mansion is decked out for the holidays, and free tours are available to the public throughout December. Tours are available on Thursdays (excluding holidays) in December from 1–4 p.m.
Parking is available east of the Governor's Mansion behind the Utah Arts Council building. The lot is accessible from H Street.
Red Butte Garden's annual free open house event features local handmade gifts for sale, free cider and hot chocolate, and acres of winter garden to explore. The Orangerie will be filled with 19 artists selling jewelry, glass art, pottery, and more. The event will be open on December 7 and 8, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This lively and festive concert is a crowd-pleaser sure to get all of your friends and family in the spirit. Holiday classics and some lesser-known pieces are featured in the annual Holiday Celebration Concert.
Admission is free, however, donations are accepted and encouraged. The concert will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillside Middle School, 1825 E Nevada Street.
The Larry H. Miller Family and Robert C. Bowden present the annual Christmas Carole Sing-Along featuring The Bonner Family. Come and experience the sights and sounds of the season. Guests will receive a special gift package including a holiday treat while supplies last. The free concert will be held on Monday, December 16, 2019, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.
The Cathedral Choir's annual Christmas Carol Services feature music of the Advent and Christmas seasons, including plainchant, choral works, and traditional carols. A special family event will be held on Friday, December 6, 2019, with holiday ornament making at 9 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. Carol Sing in the Cathedral with the Choristers and a story from Saint Nicholas.
There will also be a free ceremony of carols series concert in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on December 19 and 20, 2019, at 12:15 p.m.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts will host a holiday market on December 7–8, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market will showcase scarves, leather journals, pottery, handmade soap, books, jewelry, and textiles from local artists.
Admission to the holiday market is free, but regular gallery admission is required. Free parking and complimentary gift wrapping are provided.
You'll find a traditional German Christmas Market at This is the Place Heritage Park on December 4–7, 2019 from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. Enjoy shopping from a range of vendors, some bringing gift items from Germany for the event. On stage, you'll be entertained by German folk singers and dancers and, as you stroll along, be enticed by European food vendors. Throughout the event, there are parades, activities, and opportunities to do a service project. Check out the heritage village and, in one historic building, you'll encounter Santa! Entrance to the event is free.