You don't have to spend a lot to have a lot of fun, especially when in a city where the outdoors is your playground. Even if you're more of an indoor person, there's plenty of free fun in the Salt Lake City area if you know where to find it.
AddressParley's Canyon, Utah 84108, USA
The canyons are where Salt Lake City's residents relax, play and get away from the everyday. There are seven main canyons for recreation in the Salt Lake area, plus two more in Utah County that are worth getting to know. These are:
If you're not sure what to do in the canyons, begin by taking a scenic drive up Big Cottonwood or Little Cottonwood. There are numerous places to get out of the car and look around, explore or have a picnic. Once you get oriented and begin to see the possibilities, you can plan hikes and other excursions.
Salt Lake City and County maintain more than 145 parks in the Salt Lake Valley. Other cities and suburbs have their own parks, so check other cities' websites to find out more. There are parks in every neighborhood, but these are some of the most popular:
Liberty Park: Salt Lake City's oldest and most famous park, with outstanding facilities that include playgrounds, jogging paths, tennis, swimming, a lake, Seven Canyons Fountain, Chase Home Museum and Tracy Aviary.
Sugar House Park: Beautiful Sugar House Park sits at the former site of the Utah State Prison but today boasts a scenic lake, a park road popular with joggers, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, sports facilities, and one of Salt Lake City's best-known sledding hills.
Memory Grove: Memory Grove, at the entrance of City Creek Canyon, includes memorials to U.S. veterans, a scenic bridge over City Creek, a meditation chapel, walking and jogging paths and an off-leash dog area. It's a place to enjoy natural surroundings close to the city.
Dimple Dell Nature Park: This nature preserve in Sandy includes hiking and equestrian trails as well as picnic facilities.
Jordan River Parkway: The Jordan River Parkway is a system of trails that parallel the Jordan River, which runs from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake. Some parts of the parkway are better developed than others—recommended sections include the Redwood Nature Area, Murray's section, and the South Jordan section.
Valley Regional Park: This park in Taylorsville is a large regional park with many amenities that include a pavilion, disc golf course, exercise track, outdoor basketball complex, four-field softball complex, large, grassy areas, and pool.
Salt Lake City has a number of interesting free museums, like the Fort Douglas Military Museum, the LDS Church History Museum, and the Pioneer Memorial Museum. Other museums that normally charge admission have free exhibits or periodic free days.
Movie lovers can find a huge variety of free film screenings in Salt Lake City. These include major Hollywood productions, experimental films, classics, kids' movies and documentaries.
Tour Temple Square
AddressSalt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
Temple Square is Salt Lake City's best-known tourist attraction, and everything there is free. It's worth a visit if you haven't been there or a return visit to discover something you haven't seen before. Temple Square boasts spectacular flower gardens in spring, summer and fall and amazing Christmas light displays in winter. Some of the highlights of Temple Square are the temple itself, the North and South Visitor's centers, the Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, the Family History Library and the LDS Church History Museum.
Hiking is fun, healthy and free, and it's one of the best things to do in the Salt Lake area. You don't have to be an expert or an athlete to enjoy the area's hiking trails. There are plenty of easy and moderate trails as well as more strenuous peaks to climb. Check out popular Salt Lake area hiking trails and family hiking trails for some ideas.
Hit the Beach
Yes, even though it's counterintuitive, Utah does have beaches near its lakes and reservoirs, where you can swim, play, and take small watercraft. Some of them are in state parks; in those cases, there is a use fee per day.
There are free concerts all summer long in the Salt Lake area at great venues like the Gallivan Center, Deer Valley, Snowbird, The Canyons, Sandy Amphitheater, Draper Amphitheater and Brigham Young Historic Park.
Several cities and shopping centers in the area have free splash pads or interactive fountains where kids of all ages can enjoy water play and get a break from the heat of summer.