The urban gem of the Rocky Mountain West, Salt Lake City is a rapidly growing diverse city. With spectacular views of rugged peaks from almost any corner, Salt Lake City is brimming with top-shelf entertainment venues, college and professional sports teams, and a growing culinary scene. However, during the holidays Salt Lake City really shines. Here are 3 unique things to do in Salt Lake City during Christmas.
Salt Lake City, Utah is home to stunning mountain views, great entertainment and the nation’s largest population increase since the 2010 census. The 18.4 percent growth in Utah residents has brought even more fun and unique things to do in and around this western city (and many others).
Unique Things to do in Salt Lake City during Christmas
Why not consider spending the Christmas holidays in Salt Lake City? Nestled at the foot of the Wasatch Range, the vibrant city center is just a quick, ten-minute drive from its newly remodeled international airport. Itâ€™s a popular destination year-round, to be sure. But during the holiday season, however, the city truly shines. Here are three unique things to do in Salt Lake City, Utah, at Christmas time.
Visit the Christkindlmarkt
Willkommen! This spectacular four-day event is reminiscent of the world-famous Christmas markets of Germany, minus the beer. This is UTAH, after all, so try the Butter Beer instead. Or the Heidelberg Hot Chocolate.
What the market lacks in adult beverages it more than makes up for with other offerings. Free Parking? Check. Free Admission? Check. Ambience? Double Check. Leisurely browse the festive wooden booths for that perfect gift or memento to treasureâ€”handmade soaps, toys, home decor, clothing, and more.
Step away from the hustle and bustle, and ponder the Stille Nacht peace of a living nativity scene. Take in the St. Nikolaus Parade, the Clock Tower Dancers, storytellers, and a variety of gifted musical groups.
When your stomach growls, enjoy a mouthwatering Spud on a Stick, piping hot grilled brats, or a yummy waffle from Omamas Wafflehaus. Memories are to be made in the crisp, cold air of the Christkindlmarkt.
Hosted by the Hogle Zoo, this annual Christmas light extravaganza is not to be missed! With over 200 animal or holiday-themed displays, this evening view of the zoo is sure to please both old and young. Keep in mind though, that you may or may not see some of the zooâ€™s resident animals during this event. Why? Most of the zooâ€™s critters will already be tucked in to bed. Visitors can instead enjoy ten life-sized animal lanterns scattered along the lighted pathway.
Sip hot chocolate, make yourself a sâ€™more or two and let yourself be dazzled as you explore a 135-foot tunnel of lights. Weather permitting, top off a perfect evening with an old-fashioned carousel ride on hand-carved animals.
Skate The Fastest Ice on Earth
Why settle for a typical ice skating rink when you can skate the Utah Olympic Oval? Located west of the city center, and home of the 2002 winter Olympic Games, this 400-meter track boasts more Olympic world records than anywhere else. Open to the general public, with family-friendly pricing, you can rent both skates and helmets (recommended), for the whole gang.
Make sure to check their public skate calendar though ahead of time as the Oval closes occasionally to general skating in order to host other premier events. For example, in Dec 2021, both the Long Track Speed Skating World Cup and the U.S. Olympic Short Track Team Trials will be held at the Utah Olympic Oval.
Additional Things to do in Salt Lake City at Christmas
Need more unique things to do in Salt Lake City? No worries. Here are a few moreâ€”
- Got skis? With ten world class ski resorts within a one-hour radius of Salt Lake International Airport, Utahâ€™s legendary powder awaits both novice and expert. Plan your Christmas ski trip here.
- The Gallivan Center Ice Rink. Open mid-November thru February. Enjoy the holiday city lights in this outdoor rink. More information here.
- Thanksgiving Point Luminaria. South of Salt Lake City, experience this enchanting mile- long walk through gardens dotted with 6500 luminaries. Get your tickets here.
- The Grand America Hotel. Salt Lake Cityâ€™s most elegant hotel invites you to a holiday stroll of their boutiques. Enjoy lavishly decorated windows and a breathtaking, life-sized gingerbread house. To book your stay at the Grand America, click here.
- Cathedral of the Madeline. With a stunning beauty rivaling the great cathedrals of Europe, enjoy an evening of fine Christmas music presented by the students of the Madeline Choir School. A free event. Get tickets here.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Salt Lake City during the Holiday Season
Surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains, Salt Lake City is a magical place to visit during the holiday season and one that you will not soon forget. From family-friendly activities to thrill-seeking events and everything in between, Salt Lake City continues to offer so many great and unique things to do during the holidays.
M.R. Smith is a freelance writer living in the Rocky Mountain West. With a Masterâ€™s degree in professional writing, M.R. is also a teacher, author, and poet.
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