Salt Lake City offers visitors the chance to explore the outdoors, visit museums, learn about the rich spiritual history of the city, or enjoy world-class downhill skiing. There are different activities to enjoy depending on the season you visit.
Skiers and snowboarders flock to the surrounding ski resorts in the winter. Fall is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and get lower rates. Hikers and mountain bikers enjoy hitting the trails in spring to see the wildflowers bloom. The summer can be hot, so visiting the variety of museums the city has to offer is a worthwhile way to spend time.
Here’s our guide to visiting Salt Lake City throughout the year.
High Season: December - March
Best time for skiing
There’s a reason Salt Lake City is nicknamed “Ski City.” If you love to hit the slopes, winter is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders to visit the many world-class ski resorts in the area. There are nine resorts less than an hour away from the city, Alta (for skiers only) and Snowbird are the closest, while Park City and Deer Valley are known for being family-friendly.
Whether you want to do tricks in a terrain park, maneuver down some chutes, or just hit the bunny trail, December through March are great months to visit. Utah is known for its light, dry snow, which is why it is a popular place for winter sports. Many of the resorts also rent out snowshoes for trekking through the trees and offer cross-country skiing, which is a great way to explore the serene winter wilderness.
Keep in mind that since winter is the high season in the Salt Lake City area, you might have to deal with crowds and higher prices for accommodations, transportation, lift tickets and equipment rentals.
Shoulder Season: April - June
Best time for outdoor activities
Springtime in Salt Lake City offers a variety of outdoor experiences like hiking, mountain biking, fishing and visiting the many gardens and parks. Within a few miles of the city, the Wasatch Range has dozens of hiking trails that range from easy to difficult. For those who prefer to use two wheels, there are plenty of mountain biking trails, from fire roads to novice riders to single track for those who are more daring and experienced.
From April through June, it’s typically not too hot or too cold to get around the city by foot, bike or bus to take advantage of the many monuments and museums, many of which are free. It’s also a great time to pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a pleasant afternoon in the beautiful gardens, such as the 21-acre Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah, the 50-acre Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point with the largest manmade waterfall in the Western Hemisphere, or the Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden where guests can view and feed birds and walk through a rainforest.
Be aware that rain is more likely during this time of year, so pack an umbrella.
Low Season: September - October
Best time for budget travel
For budget travelers wanting to visit the Salt Lake City area, fall is the least crowded and least expensive time to go. During September and October, kids have returned to school and the snow hasn’t fallen yet so the city and roadways aren’t overrun with family vacationers or skiers and snowboarders. It’s also a good time to visit because the beautiful fall foliage adds its colors to the landscape. A hike in the nearby Wasatch Mountains, a trip to the great Salt Lake or some ATV off-roading are all enjoyable activities this time of year.
As the temperatures start to drop, it’s also a nice time to take advantage of the many museums and monuments scattered throughout the city. Learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints in Temple Square, examine life sciences exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah, explore your family tree at the Family History Library or see the stars at the Clark Planetarium. There’s plenty to do and see in the city and beyond.
Here’s our month-by-month breakdown of what to expect and what to do in Salt Lake City.
Kick off the new year with a white winter in Salt Lake City. The city is hopping with winter sports enthusiasts visiting the nearby ski and snowboard resorts. Bundle up, it’s cold outside.
Key event: Sundance Film Festival - Film buffs, creators and celebrities, can be seen at events in Salt Lake City, Park City and beyond during the annual Sundance Film Festival. It’s a great chance to see inspiring movies and an abundance of A-listers.
Ski season is in full swing and “Ski City” is a great host. With nine resorts less than an hour away, the city will be teaming with apres ski happy hours after the lifts close. Keep warm indoors by visiting museums around the city.
Key event: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in Concert - Be mesmerized by the talent of the Utah Symphony as it brings the Harry Potter books to life with this magical concert.
As the temperatures start to rise, it’s time for spring skiing and to start putting the heavy coats back in the closet. Defrost with friends over spring break in Salt Lake City by catching up at one of the popular watering holes.
Key event: St. Patrick’s Day Parade - Wear green so you don’t get pinched at the free St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You’ll be sure to find green beer and food at the event vendors.
Be prepared for April showers. This is a great time to visit since the ski crowds start to dwindle as the city transitions from winter to spring.
Key event: Natural History Museum of Utah - The museum has rotating special exhibitions as varied as ancient pharaohs to the ecosystem.
April showers bring May flowers. The city and nearby open spaces are defrosting after winter and the spring flowers are in bloom. Time to hit the hiking and mountain biking trails in the nearby Wasatch Front area.
Key event: Red Butte Garden Bulbs & Blooms - Immerse yourself in a field with more than a million spring blooms, most of which are daffodils. The perfect place for a selfie!
As summer starts, it’s time to dust off the hiking shoes and hit the trails, break out your fishing pole, or take the Snowbird tram for a scenic ride to the top. If enough snow has melted, the ski resorts will open the runs to mountain bikers. Load your bike on the ski lift and head up the mountain for a thrilling downhill ride.
Key event: Pride Week - Utah celebrates the LGBTIQ+ community with several events throughout the week including a Rainbow March & Rally.
Summer is in full swing with long, fun-filled days and hot summer nights in the city. Enjoy outdoor concerts, food festivals, and flea markets.
Key event: Wasatch Wildflower Festival - The flower festival takes place at Alta Ski Resort and includes guided hikes through Albion Basin and live music.
Spend summer vacation exploring Salt Lake City and the surrounding wilderness. August is an optimal time of year to attend art festivals, gallery strolls, outdoor movies, and athletic events.
Key event: Tooele County Fair - Carnival rides, cotton candy, rodeo, concerts. The Tooele County Fair has lots of summer fun!
Watch the trees change along with the temperature as kids go back to school. This is the low season so take advantage of the best deals of the year.
Key event: FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention - Comic Con hits Salt Lake City Convention Center to thrill fans of cosplay, Star Trek, Marvel, comic books, and fantasy-related entertainment.
October in Salt Lake City brings books festivals, harvest festivals, haunted houses, and the kick off to the holiday season.
Key events: Oktoberfest - Take part in a family-friendly Oktoberfest at Snowbird. Feast on German food and beer, groove to traditional German music, take a ride down the Alpine Slide, and more.
The cool fall weather, and maybe a little snowfall, make indoor activities more attractive this time of year. Cozy up with a cup of cocoa and warm up by a roaring fire at the impressive Grand America Hotel. Since this is the shoulder season, you should see a break on travel expenses, except during Thanksgiving weekend.
Key events: Gingerbread House Competition - All ages can participate in this fun and creative holiday event at the Bountiful Davis Art Center.
Temple Square is decked out for the holidays with twinkling lights, Christmas carols, nativities, and a blanket of snow. You’d think you’re at the North Pole.
Key event: Christkindlmarkt - Visit Christkindlmarkt, a German Christmas market, for authentic German food, beer and crafts.