SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With temperatures dropping below freezing overnight, there’s no doubt winter is officially here. Frigid temperatures can leave the Utahns sucking in the summer heat, but no matter how scary the weather outside, there are still ways to make your winter in Salt Lake City enjoyable.
Here is a list of some of the best things to do in and around Salt Lake City in the winter. Some are obvious, and some are a little more off the beaten track. And of course, this is not an exhaustive list. What are your favorite winter activities in Salt Lake City? Let us know on Facebook.
Go down a mountain
This one almost goes without saying. Utah has the “greatest snow on Earth” and has, especially in recent years, become a ski hub, attracting visitors from all over. Across the state there are 15 ski resorts, 11 of which are within an hour of Salt Lake City. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious resort experience, a more local feel, or something in between, the mountains of Utah are for you. Intrepid skiers can take advantage of the plethora of backcountry options too – just make sure you’re equipped with the property’s safety gear and you’ve researched avalanche risk before heading out. For a slower pace, there are also options for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the Salt Lake City area.
Immerse yourself in the mystical hot springs
We’re sure you’ve seen it on Instagram. And while the red rock-lined tubs at Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe certainly make a perfect summer photoshoot, the pools are also a great place to warm up in the winter. Located about 2.5 hours south of Salt Lake City, this little slice of heaven is a perfect day trip when the winter blues get you down. Refurbished cabins and buses are also available for booking as lodging, so it’s easy to turn your getaway into a weekend retreat.
Stroll the Main Street of Park City
During the winter months, Park City’s Main Street transforms into a bustling center, straight out of any Christmas movie. Visitors can enjoy a drink at one of the many local bars, breweries and distilleries, or browse the plethora of local stores and upscale boutiques. Main Street also has a long list of dining options, like typical grilled meats, fresh sushi, and even Brazilian dishes. Just be sure to book in advance for dinner. Winter is peak tourist season in Park City, so many restaurants fill up! Park City is about a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake.
Go for gold at Olympic Park
While in Park City, stop at Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 Winter Games held in Salt Lake City. During the tour, visitors get a glimpse of the world-class facilities. Highlights include breathtaking views of the city from the top of the six Nordic ski jumps, as well as an opportunity to see the slide trail – which is one of only four in North America. And if you need speed, you can try the track yourself by booking your own bobsleigh experience.
Star in a real life “Frozen” at the Ice Castles of Utah
It is frozen water; they call it ice cream and it’s gonna change the world. Each year, these larger-than-life ice sculptures transform Midway into a winter wonderland. Located just under an hour from Salt Lake City, this seasonal exhibit is a perfect night out for those looking for a change of pace. The ice structures are complete with full-size caverns and arcades, an ice slide, and exploration tunnels for the kids. Drawing inspiration from the classic fall tradition, the Ice Castles are also home to a maze made of solid ice. To add that little extra to your visit, guests can book a winter sleigh ride that leaves and returns to the castle.
Take a dip or snorkel at Homestead Crater
Don’t put your swimsuit away just because it’s winter! While swimming might seem like a chilly suggestion for the cooler months, Utah is home to the continental United States’ only warm scuba diving site, located in Midway, less than an hour from Salt Lake City. Homestead Crater isn’t just a typical hot spring. The geothermal pool is nestled in a 55 foot tall limestone cave. Guests at the crater have the choice of scuba diving, snorkeling, or just swimming in the warm waters.
Explore Salt Lake City Museums
Salt Lake City is home to a host of world-class museums. Stroll through the galleries of the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, learn about the natural landscape and creatures that lived here before us at the Natural History Museum, or marvel at the universe at the Clark Planetarium. Whether you want to stay warm indoors or can’t leave town, you can always get out there and experience what Salt Lake has to offer.