SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The holidays are long gone and summer is not yet on the horizon, but while the doldrums of February — and the recent bleak weather — might be getting you down and making that vacation you’ve planned seem even farther away, there are ways to take a break from the day-to-day. A good place to start is by putting on your tourist hat and delving into our state and city’s past. And you don’t have to break the bank either. ABC4.com has wrangled up five free historic sites you can visit in and around Salt Lake City.
1. Tour the Utah State Capitol
Most Salt Lake City residents have taken the time to stroll around Capitol Hill, enjoying the luscious, green lawns and sweeping views of the city. But, many of us have not had the chance to go inside the formidable building itself. And perhaps we hadn’t even known it was a possibility. However, a trip to Capitol Hill isn’t just confined to the legislative elite. Anyone can take a free tour of the building during the weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the exception of state holidays. The Visitor Services Center offers three options for tours: docent-guided, self-guided, and virtual. For more information, visit the Utah State Capitol website.
2. Hike to a historic mine in Park City
The Kennecott Copper Mine — visible across the entire Salt Lake Valley — is a not-so-subtle reminder of Utah’s rich mining industry. But, a journey through our state’s mining past proves a bit more scenic — and makes for a great day trip. The mountains around Salt Lake, specifically those closer to Park City, are home to a variety of old-timey mines that often still have historic buildings intact. Intrepid travelers can hoof it to the Silver King Mine, located on the mountain at Park City Resort, and the Bonanza Mine also offers a beautiful — albeit creepy — hike above Park City. But — although it might be tempting — the mines and old buildings are best enjoyed from the outside. Though they are historical, they haven’t been maintained for years and present many potential hazards to explorers.
3. Stroll around Temple Square
As most SLC residents know, all roads emanate out from the Temple. So next time you’re headed downtown, why not stop where it all converges and take a walk through the beautiful grounds surrounding this stately building. Although the Temple is an essential landmark for followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it is also an important location for all Utahns because of its importance to the history of our state and capital city. While you’re exploring, be sure to check out the Deuel cabin, a pioneer-era homestead and the oldest building on Temple Square. You can also book a free, guided virtual or in-person tour of the area here.
4. Visit the Chase Home Museum in Liberty Park
Next time you’re out getting some sun in Liberty Park, make it a point to stop by the Chase Home Museum, located on the west side of the park, near the Tracy Aviary. In the 1850’s, early Latter-Day Saint pioneer Isaac Chase built the home near his sawmill and gristmill. In 1959, the property was traded to Brigham Young, and he lived there with his family for a number of years. Now, the two-story home houses the country’s only state-owned collection of contemporary folk art. The collection features pieces by Utah artisans from a variety of different communities and traditions. Admission to the museum is free and the home is open to visitors on Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
5. Immersive yourself in whimsy at the Gilgal Sculpture Garden
Ironically tucked away at the intersection of two of the busiest streets in town — 700 E and 500 S — the Gilgal Sculpture Garden provides a bit of serenity and whimsy in the heart of Salt Lake’s Central City. Created by Thomas Battersby Child Jr. — a local masonry contractor and community and religious leader — in the mid-1900’s, the park uses 12 original sculptures and over 70 engravings to encapsulate Child’s spiritual and philosophical journey throughout his life. The park is open seven days a week, and the hours of operation vary by season.
Did we miss anything? What are some of your favorite free historical sites in and around SLC? Let us know on Facebook!