Why Go To Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has long been a little mystical. Back in the early 19th century, pioneers believed the area's Great Salt Lake was inhabited by monsters and giants. This spooky legend faded until Brigham Young decided to make Salt Lake the home of the new Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1847. Today, those who have spent time in Salt Lake will tell you that it's more than just a place of great faith, it's also a thriving cultural hub and an excellent home base for hikers and skiers.

Many visitors embrace the chance to learn about the Mormon Church, spending time touring the beautiful religious sites in Temple Square. And even if you aren't interested in Salt Lake's heritage, the city is worth a visit for the views alone. The Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges provide a stunning backdrop to the city skyline while the magnificence of the Great Salt Lake is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

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Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Salt Lake City is September to October. The kids are in school and the skiers have yet to arrive, so you'll have the city – and all of its discounted hotel rooms – to yourself. Springtime is another sweet spot for bargains, but snowmelt coupled with higher precipitation levels leads to soggy conditions. Winter marks the peak season with skiers flooding the region's slopes, while summer draws outdoorsy travelers looking to take advantage of the hiking trails and lake activities.

Weather in Salt Lake City

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
37
21.3
43.4
25.5
52.8
33.4
60.9
39
70.6
46.9
82.2
55.8
90.6
63.4
88.7
62.4
77.6
52.4
64
41
48.7
30.4
38
22.4
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
0.05
0.05
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.03
0.03
0.03
0.05
0.06
0.06
0.05
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit Salt Lake City

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Booze is still taboo Although you no longer have to fill out an application to buy alcohol, Utah's liquor laws remain strict. Read up on the liquor laws on the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's website before you go.
  • Sunday is God's day Many Salt Lake City businesses are closed on Sundays. If you're itching to do some shopping, Saturday's your day.
  • Everyone's welcome here The Mormon Church fully supports the city's anti-discrimination laws that were passed in 2010. As a result, LGBT communities are beginning to thrive. Polygamy, however, is no longer tolerated.

How to Save Money in Salt Lake City

  • Ride the bus The Utah Transit Authority provides free service around a six-block portion of downtown Salt Lake City.
  • Ask about package deals Many Salt Lake City hotels cater to skiers during the winter, offering stay-and-ski packages with discounts on room rates and lift tickets.
  • Enjoy the show Temple Square hosts a variety of free events, including organ recitals in the Tabernacle and performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Getting Around Salt Lake City

The best way to get around Salt Lake City is by public transportation and with a car. The Utah Transit Authority offers several affordable transit options for exploring the city. However, if you're looking to get out of town to the nearby ski and wilderness areas, you will need your own set of wheels. You can rent a car in town or at the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which is located about 6 miles west of downtown.

Photos

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City
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Snow-capped mountains create a scenic backdrop for Salt Lake City.

strickke/Getty Images

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