SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With temperatures dropping below freezing at night, it’s no debate that winter is officially here. Frigid temps may be leaving Utahns longing for summer heat, but even if the weather outside is frightful, there are still ways to make your winter in Salt Lake City delightful.
Here’s 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 path. And of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. What are your favorite winter activities in Salt Lake? Let us know on Facebook.
Glide down a mountain
This one almost goes without saying. Utah boasts the “greatest snow on Earth” and has, especially in recent years, become a skiing hub, pulling in visitors from far and wide. The entire state boasts a whopping 15 ski resorts, with 11 of them within an hour from Salt Lake City. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious resort experience, a more local feel, or anything in between, Utah’s mountains have you covered. Intrepid skiers can also take advantage of the plethora of backcountry options – just make sure you’re equipped with the property safety equipment and have researched avalanche risk before you head out. For a slower pace, there are also options for cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Salt Lake region.
Soak in the Mystic Hot Springs
We’re sure you’ve seen it on Instagram. And though the red-rock-lined bathtubs at Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe certainly make for a perfect summertime photoshoot, the pools are a great place to warm up in the winter, too. Located about 2 1/2 hours south of Salt Lake City, this little slice of paradise is a perfect day trip when winter blues have you down. Cabins and renovated buses are also available to book as lodging, so it’s easy to turn your getaway into a weekend retreat.
Stroll around Park City’s Main Street
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 through the plethora of local shops and upscale boutiques. Main Street also boasts a long list of dining options, like typical grill fare, fresh sushi, and even Brazilian food. Just make sure to book dinner reservations in advance. Winter is peak tourist season in Park City so many restaurants fill up! Park City is approximately a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake.
Go for the gold at the Olympic Park
While you’re in Park City, take a stop by the Utah Olympic Park, built for the 2002 winter games held in Salt Lake City. During the tour, visitors get an inside look at the world-class facilities. Highlights include a sweeping view of the city from the top of the six Nordic ski jumps, as well as an opportunity to see the sliding track – which is one of only four in North America. And if you have a need for speed, you can try out the track yourself by booking your own bobsled experience.
Star in a real-life ‘Frozen’ at the Utah Ice Castles
It’s frozen water; they call it ice and it’s going to change the world. Each year, these larger-than-life ice sculptures transform Midway into a winter wonderland. Located just less than an hour from Salt Lake City, this seasonal exhibition is a perfect night out for those looking for a change of pace. The ice structures are complete with full-size caverns and archways, an ice slide, and crawl tunnels for children. Riffing off the classic fall tradition, the Ice Castles are also home to a maze made of solid ice. To add a little extra to your visit, guests can book a winter sleigh ride that departs from and returns back to the castle.
Take a dip or dive at Homestead Crater
Don’t put your swimsuit away just because it’s winter! Although swimming may seem like a chilly suggestion for the colder months, Utah is home to the only warm scuba diving location in the continental U.S., located in Midway, less than an hour from Salt Lake City. Homestead Crater is not just a typical hot spring, either. The geothermal pool is nestled in a 55-foot tall limestone cavern. Guests to the crater have a choice of scuba diving, snorkeling, or just taking a swim in the warm waters.
Explore Salt Lake’s Museums
Salt Lake City is home to a host of world-class museums. Take a gallery stroll at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, learn about the natural landscape and the creatures that lived here before us at the Natural History Museum, or marvel at the universe at the Clark Planetarium. Whether you’re feeling like staying warm inside or you aren’t able to leave the city, you can still get out and experience what Salt Lake has to offer.