Although not yet ski season, the October climate in Salt Lake City makes getting outdoors almost irresistible. The air carries a hint of crispness and the sun still shines throughout, granting highs in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit; meanwhile, the summer crowds (and summer prices) begin to ease their grip on the city, making an autumn visit feel much calmer and cheaper. What's more, October is packed with events and activities in Utah's capital, between its bounty of Oktoberfests, football games, and concerts.
Many events have been canceled or altered in 2020, so check the websites of organizers for updated information.
Come fall, farmers markets across the city become abundant with seasonal delights: pumpkins, apples, cider, and the like. The Downtown Farmers Market in Pioneer Park is open every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., from June through October, and every Tuesday, from 4 p.m. to dusk, starting in August. In addition to locally grown produce, an Arts & Craft Market showcases artisan jewelry, ceramics, and metal and glass work. Note that inclement weather can cause cancelations.
Lovers of performance art know that fall is the beginning of theatre season. In Salt Lake City, that means the return of the Utah Opera. In 2020, showings of "The Human Voice" and "Gentlemen's Island" (a double bill) begin on October 9 and run through October 18. After that, the next showing, Jonathan Dove and April De Angelis' "Flight," doesn't open until 2021. Read up on the Utah Opera's new safety plan—including information on contactless ticketing, physical distancing, and face coverings—before you attend a show. All performances take place at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre downtown.
Similarly, October is prime time to see the Utah Symphony in action. The symphony plays at Abravanel Hall—an architectural landmark worth visiting in itself—and will be hosting several performances throughout the month. A rendition of Antonín Dvorák's "Serenade for Strings" will show October 22 through 24, 2020, then the symphony will put on a "Back to the Future" concert on October 29 and 30. In 2020, face coverings are required and shows will not include an intermission.
The State Room is one of SLC's favorite little music venues, bringing together local and international talent for a reasonable price any time of the year. Its October schedule included names like Mason Jennings, John McLaughlin, Sinkane, and Bleached in 2019, but in 2020, many of its shows have been canceled or postponed. The 9th annual KRLC Halloween Bash, featuring Talia Keys & The Love, will be livestreamed on the night of October 30. Tickets are required.
The Depot is another iconic SLC venue—typically hosting more well-known artists than The State Room—whose October concert schedule has also been canceled. Its 2019 acts included Cold War Kids, Sabrina Claudio, Scotty Sire, and Stiff Little Fingers. In 2020, it's only holding virtual events.
Oktoberfest at Snowbird—a Little Cottonwood Canyon ski resort—typically starts in mid-August and occurs every weekend through October. This annual series includes music, dancing, traditional German cuisine, and, of course, a beer garden. Here, you can enjoy a bratwurst and sauerkraut, apple strudel, or other German treat while the kids indulge in face painting, inflatable rides, yo-yo demonstrations, clowns, balloons, and caricature artistry. In 2020, Snowbird's Oktoberfest celebration has been canceled.
Any college football fan who loves Pacific-12 action will be lining up with the rest of the Ute fans outside of the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium on game day. The fun normally begins in September and gets optimally rowdy by October, but in 2020, the season won't kick off until November 7.