From world-class skiing to spring wildflowers, these are the best times to visit Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City offers visitors the opportunity to explore the outdoors, visit museums, learn about the city’s rich spiritual history, or enjoy world-class downhill skiing. Different activities are available to you depending on the season of your 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 love to roam the trails in the spring to see wildflowers blooming. Summer can be hot, so visiting the variety of museums the city has to offer is an interesting way to spend some time.

If you want to visit the city for what it is best known, there are plenty of resorts for skiers and snowboarders to visit in the area © Shutterstock / CSNafzger

High season: December – March

There’s a reason Salt Lake City is nicknamed “Ski City”. If you like to hit the slopes, winter is a paradise for skiers and snowboarders who wish to visit the many world-class ski resorts in the region. There are nine resorts within an hour of town, Alta (for skiers only) and Snowbird are the closest, while Park City and Deer Valley are known to be family-friendly.

Whether you want to do tricks in a snow park, descend the falls, or just take the Rabbit Trail, December through March are great months to visit. Utah is known for its light, dry snow, which is why it is a popular location for winter sports. Many resorts also rent 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 with winter being the peak season in the Salt Lake City area, you may have to deal with crowds and higher prices for accommodation, transportation, lift tickets and equipment rental.

Mid season: April – June

Best time for outdoor activities

Spring in Salt Lake City offers a variety of outdoor experiences such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and visiting the many gardens and parks. A few kilometers from the city, the Wasatch range has dozens of hiking trails which range from easy to difficult. For those who prefer to use two wheels, there are plenty of mountain bikes trails, from fire routes to novice riders through single tracks for those who are more daring and experienced.

From April to June it is usually neither too hot nor too cold to walk, bike or bus around the city and enjoy the many monuments and museums, many of which are free. It is also the perfect time to pack a picnic and spend a pleasant afternoon in the beautiful gardens, such as the 21 acres Butte Rouge garden at the University of Utah, the 50 acres Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point with the largest man-made waterfall in the Western Hemisphere, or the Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden where guests can see and feed the birds and walk through a rainforest.

Be aware that rain is more likely this time of year, so pack an umbrella.

Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square
Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square © Allison J. Hahn / Shutterstock

Low season: September – October

Best time to travel on a budget

For budget travelers who want to visit the Salt Lake City area, fall is the least crowded and cheapest time. In September and October, the children have returned to school and the snow has not yet fallen so that the city and the roads are not overrun with family vacationers or skiers and snowboarders. It is also a good time to visit as the beautiful fall foliage adds its colors to the landscape. A hike in the nearby Wasatch Mountains, a trip to Great Salt Lake, or mountain biking are all fun activities this time of year.

As the temperatures start to drop, it’s also a good time to take advantage of the many museums and monuments dotted around the city. Discover The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Temple Square, examine the life science exhibits at the Natural History Museum of Utah, explore your family tree at the Family History Library, or gaze at the stars at the Clark Planetarium. There is 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.

January

Start the new year with a white winter in Salt Lake City. The city is full of winter sports enthusiasts who visit the nearby ski and snowboard resorts. Bundle up, it’s cold outside.

The important 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 opportunity to see inspiring films and an abundance of stars.

February

The ski season is in full swing and “Ski City” is a great host. With nine stations less than an hour away, the city will join in after-ski happy hours after the ski lifts close. Stay warm indoors by visiting the city’s museums.

March

As the temperatures start to rise, it’s time for spring skiing and to start putting the big coats back in the closet. Thaw with friends over Spring Break in Salt Lake City by catching up at one of the popular water spots.

The important event: St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Wear green so you don’t get caught on the free St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You will be sure to find green beer and food from the vendors at the event.

Skeletal dinosaur replica at the Natural History Museum of Utah
A complete replica of the skeleton of the carnivore Lythronax argestes on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City © Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

April

Be prepared for April showers. This is a great time to visit as the crowds of skiers start to decrease as the town goes from winter to spring.

Red Butte Garden in Salt Lake City
Red Butte Garden in the heart of Salt Lake City © Shutterstock / Chaithanya Krishnan

May

April showers bring May flowers. The city and the wide open spaces nearby defrost after winter and spring flowers bloom. Time to explore the hiking and mountain biking trails in the surrounding area Wasatch facade Region.

The important event: Red Butte garden bulbs and flowers – Immerse yourself in a field with over a million spring flowers, most of which are daffodils. The perfect place for a selfie!

Utah Pride Walk in Salt Lake City
Pride Week events draw Salt Lake City in June © Shutterstock / Mehmet Dilsiz

June

At the start of summer, it’s time to dust off the hiking boots and hit the trails, get your fishing rod out, or take the ride. Snowbirds Tram for a panoramic walk to the top. If enough snow has melted, ski resorts will open the trails to mountain bikers. Load your bike onto the ski lifts and head up the mountain for a thrilling descent.

The important event: Pride week – Utah celebrates the LGBTIQ + community with several events throughout the week, including a rainbow march and rally.

July

Summer is in full swing with long fun days and hot summer nights in the city. Enjoy outdoor concerts, food festivals and flea markets.

The important event: Wasatch Wildflower Festival – The Flower Festival takes place at the Alta Ski Resort and includes guided hikes in the Albion Basin and live music.

August

Spend your summer vacation exploring Salt Lake City and the surrounding nature. August is an optimal time of year to attend art festivals, gallery walks, outdoor movies, and sporting events.

The important event: Tooele County Fair – Carnival rides, cotton candy, rodeo, concerts. The Tooele County Fair has a lot of summer fun!

ComicCon in Salt Lake City
The FanX Salt Lake Comic convention takes place during the city’s low season © Shutterstock / nyker

September

Watch the trees change with the temperature as the children return to school. It’s low season so take advantage of the best deals of the year.

The important event: Salt Lake Comic Book FanX Convention – Comic Con arrives at the Salt Lake City Convention Center to delight fans of cosplay, Star Trek, Marvel, comics and fantasy-related entertainment.

October

October in Salt Lake City brings book festivals, harvest festivals, haunted houses, and the start of the holiday season.

Key events: Oktoberfest – Take part in a family-friendly Oktoberfest at Snowbird. Feast on German food and beer, beat traditional German music, descend the Alpine slide and more.

November

Cool fall weather and maybe a bit of snow make indoor activities more appealing this time of year. Cozy up with a cup of cocoa and warm up by the fireplace at the impressive Grand America Hotel. Since this is shoulder season, you should see a break in travel expenses, except during Thanksgiving weekend.

December

Temple Square is decorated for the holidays with twinkling lights, Christmas carols, nativity scenes and a blanket of snow. It feels like the North Pole.

The important event: Christkindlmarkt – Visit Christkindlmarkt, a German Christmas market, for authentic German food, beer and crafts.


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