UTAH (ABC4) – Let’s suppose that you’re hosting someone visiting Utah for the first time. Naturally, you’d want to show them a good time, entertain them in ways that don’t involve sitting on the couch watching TV, and eventually send them back to wherever they came from wanting to visit again and again.
Where would you take them?
Luckily, Utah has tons of fun and unique spots that will fascinate and delight visitors of all ages.
Here’s a list of some of the best places in Utah to take a visitor. Some are obvious, some are lesser-known treasures:
Hike to the most beautiful plane crash site ever
South of Salt Lake City, Mount Timpanogos in Utah County is considered by many to be one of the most gorgeous hikes in the state. The 14-mile hike with nearly 5,300 feet of elevation gain to the summit has a variety of lush greenery in forest and alpine settings. Along the way to the top, which has an incredible view, a slight detour will take you past the crash site of a 1955 B-25 bomber plane. Although the crash over 50 years resulted in the death of five for unknown reasons, scattered remains of the aircraft, such as a giant radial engine, create an incredible juxtaposition against the mountain background.
Take a dip or a ride on a paddleboard
While water levels are historically low throughout the state, one of the best places to go for a dip when appropriate is Pineview Reservoir near Ogden. The body is water is a favorite for boating fanatics, anglers, and other fans of aquatic recreation. If you don’t have a vessel to call your own, renting a Jet-Ski, kayak, or paddleboard is a cinch. And if you’re visiting in the winter, conditions could be right to lace up the skates and carve up the ice.
Skip class, grab some ice cream on campus
One of the longest-standing and most divisive ongoing arguments in state history is which college has the best ice cream? Many loyalists would argue that BYU Creamery on Ninth at Brigham Young University in Provo has the most irresistible collegiately themed frozen treats. Others would insist that Aggie Ice Cream at Utah State University in Logan has superior ice cream. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City and are willing to take a drive to tour a college town while enjoying a double-scoop cone, you can’t go wrong heading in either direction.
Go for a canyon drive
While Salt Lake City is a bustling and growing metropolitan area, it doesn’t take much effort to escape into nature. Driving through Big or Little Cottonwood Canyon, or any other nearby scenic view makes for a great time to crank up the tunes and roll down the window. In no time, you’ll forget you were in the thick of an exploding downtown region likely only minutes before. If you feel so inclined to hop out of the car, go for a hike, or take a quick picnic, there are plenty of places to do so.
Visit iconic Temple Square
Likely the most iconic building in Utah, the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a can’t-miss place to take a visitor. At the moment, the historic house of worship, which took the early settlers 40 years to build by hand from granite taken from the mountains, is under construction to implement an earthquake-proof foundation so there’s not a lot to see as it stands. However, when the work finishes, the building’s grounds, known as Temple Square, will be a hotspot for photos and tours as it was before.
Feel like a star in Park City
A short drive through the canyons from downtown Salt Lake City, Park City is a favorite visiting spot for many locals and visitors. You’ve likely heard of the skiing town as the home of the Sundance Film Festival, an annual gathering of Hollywood’s finest to showcase some of the best new movies of the year. Even when Tinseltown isn’t taking over the city, there are still plenty of great resorts with a ton of activities to fill up the day. Park City’s legendary Main Street, with both sides lined by boutiques, bistros, restaurants, and even a couple of paintings by the famously mysterious street artist, Banksy.
Where art and nature collide
Utah has a way of distinctly combining natural beauty with manmade art. The best example of this is likely found at the Great Salt Lake. Built by sculptor Robert Smithson in 1970, the massive installation made of mud, salt, and rocks is considered to be the artist’s masterpiece. The giant coil that stretches 1,500 feet into the lake has to be seen to believe and tragically since the water levels at the lake are shrinking at a historic rate, that has become easier than ever.
Take a bath, post it on Instagram
If you’re aspiring to be an Instagram influencer, or just trying to relax in a bathtub full of naturally warm water, driving to the Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe is probably worth your time. Taking a photo in the bathtubs embedded into the red rocks is so ubiquitous it borders on being “basic,” but you won’t care, you’ll still do it. There’s room in some of the tubs for two, which is basically a textbook definition of a highly engaging couple’s photo on social media. But even if you’re not doing it for the ‘gram,’ you’ll still enjoy yourself.
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Where do you like to take your out-of-town visitors? Let us know on our Facebook page.