Bright Holiday Lights Sparkle in Salt Lake City

Temple Square, Gateway, ZooLights, and Luminaria put on a show

Decorated Trees in Front of Salt Lake Temple at Night
Joseph Sohm/Getty Images

The holiday season is a favorite time of year for many, and light displays are a special part of that. Here are the best in the Salt Lake City area in 2017. Catch one or more to get into the spirit and make the most of the long nights of December.

  • 01 of 05

    Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake City are lit with more than a million lights, glowing from the Gateway to Temple Square, down Main Street to the Gallivan Center, and along Broadway Boulevard. Temple Square, the main attraction, will be lit up for the holidays starting the night of Nov. 24. The lights will be on every night at 5:30 p.m. and stay on until 10 p.m. On Dec. 14 and 16, the lights will stay on until 11 p.m., and they'll be shining brightly until a half an hour after midnight on New Year's Eve, or 12:30 a.m. Jan 1, 2018.

    The downtown holiday lights are amazing, but so are the crowds. If you can, go on a weeknight when there's no Jazz game. Downtown restaurants will be crowded, so make a reservation if that's possible. Dress warmly. If you have a small group, try taking TRAX downtown; if you have a larger group, it might be more economical to drive. ​

  • 02 of 05

    The Gateway will kick off the holiday season with "Light Up the Night" at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, featuring special holiday musical performances, a special appearance by Santa, and a countdown to the tree lighting ceremony. The Gateway's light display features more than 600,000 lights choreographed with the music of the Olympic Legacy Fountain.

  • 03 of 05

    This year visitors to downtown will have the chance to hop on and hop off the Jingle Bus, a free holiday-themed bus that will run between City Creek Center, the Gateway, Temple Square, City Creek Center, Capitol Theatre, and the Gallivan Plaza, hitting all the holiday lights and storefront decorations along the way. The bus will run from late November to late December from 5 to 10 p.m. every day of the week.

  • 04 of 05

    Take a mile walk through Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah, where you'll see 8,000 programmable luminaries across the hill in the shapes of poinsettias, flying reindeer, and other seasonal symbols. At the top of the hill, you'll be greeted by a 120-foot Christmas tree, all lit up. Luminaria is open Monday through Saturday from Nov. 20 through Dec. 30, 2017, with time slots from 5 to 8:30 p.m.; the last admission is at 9 p.m. 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Hogle Zoo's biggest special event of the year, ZooLights, runs from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017; it is closed on Christmas Day. Hogle Zoo began Zoolights in 2006 with more than a million sparkling holiday lights and animated light displays. ZooLights occurs after the zoo's regular hours, so the lights, not the animals, are the main attraction. However, some animals will be on display during ZooLights, and some are more active at night. Dress warmly. Hours are 5:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.