Salt Lake City Sightseeing Attractions
The top sightseeing attractions in Salt Lake City are listed below. These would be the best, must-see tourist attractions for the majority of visitors to Utah. The isn't an exhaustive list of every sightseeing attraction and every one of the 'best things to do in Salt Lake City,' as personal tastes vary greatly between people. But these attractions are unique to Utah and we can say with confidence that they should definitely be considered when planning your vacation to Salt Lake City!
If you'd rather let the local experts be your guide than trying to research and plan out all of your Salt Lake City visit on your own, consider taking our Salt Lake City Tour to experience the best attractions and get an overview of the entire city. Our Salt Lake City tours are "the best first thing to do!"
For many year, Temple Square has the most visited attraction not just in Salt Lake City but in all of Utah! It is a 35-acre campus of over a dozen different buildings, and as such, we have a separate page dedicated to Temple Square sightseeing. To summarize that page, we recommend any visit to Temple Square should include
Main Street Plaza:
Walking and photographing the gardens of Temple Square on the block just east of Main Street, as well as Main Street Plaza as the ideal photo point for the Salt Lake Mormon Temple. The Salt Lake Temple is not open to the public, but its magnificent Gothic architecture is a must-see.
open to the public to enter, it is an auditorium with one of the largest pipe organs in the world -- 30-minute organ recitals are offered Monday through Saturday at 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM on Sundays. Pipe organ music is not for everyone! While some will find the organ recital a spectacular experience, others will find themselves a bit bored and leave after 10 minutes. It isn't music for the masses!
Two visitor centers are found on Temple Square, known as the North Visitor Center and the South Visitor Center. While some may be able to spend half an hour or more in each visitor center, the top highlights of each would be the Christus statue in the North Visitor Center, which is an 11-foot tall marble statue of Christ with a beautiful mural of the universe on the wall behind it, and the model of the Salt Lake Temple found in the South Visitor Center, which is like a very large dollhouse opened up to show you the interior of the building.
Joseph Smith Memorial Building:
Formerly a luxury hotel built in 1911 as the Hotel Utah. Today it offers views of Temple Square from the top floor, as well as two restaurants on that level. The building has been extensively remodeled and is no longer a hotel, but rather an office building with reception space. However, the lobby from Hotel Utah has been fairly well preserved, so as you enter the front doors you find a spectacular and opulent scene of chandeliers, stained glass ceiling, intricate wood carvings -- it is well worth a quick visit just for the lobby and the top floor viewing windows, though other attractions are found inside (Legacy Theater and Family Search Center, to name a few). Open Monday through Satuday until 9:00 PM.
Lion House and Pantry Restaurant:
One of the homes of Utah's first territorial governor and leader of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young, the Lion House is a pioneer-era home that today features a cafeteria-style restaurant serving old Mormon recipes in Brigham's dining room. Try the famous Lion House Dinner Roll with honey butter and you will be glad you stopped by. Open Monday through Saturday until 8:00 PM
The home of Brigham Young, the one he actually lived in, is attached to his office building and offers a 25-minute guided tour to see original furnishings and interesting decor. The tour is free, though it is offered not by professional guides but by young missionaries of the Mormon church, and as such, their historical knowledge is quite limited and the tours will include a heavy amount of proselyting and sharing of religious beliefs. The "sister missionaries," as they are known, are not Utah natives but rather they are brought in from all over the world so as to give Temple Square the capability to give tours in a variety of languages. They are very friendly, but again, their knowledge of history and of Salt Lake City is very limited. Most visitors are accepting of this, though some express disappointment, as reflected in the mixed reviews found online for the Beehive House.
Utah State Capitol
The Utah State Capitol is a tourist attraction, as strange as that may sound. In many states, a visitor would understandably have little interest in visiting the state capitol. Trust us, this is one state capitol you need to see! It was voted the 2nd most beautiful state capitol in America and has been used for Hollywood movies. The interior rotunda is made of stunning marble and is the site of weddings and high school prom. The views as seen from the front steps of the Utah State Capitol provide a spectacular vista of not just Salt Lake City, but the entire Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. The Utah State Capitol building is open seven days a week, closing at 8:00 PM on weekdays and 6:00 PM on weekends. Parking across the street is free and usually available all hours of the day.
This is the Place Park
This is the Place Park is the site of the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers in 1847. It is located on the mountainside, offering terrific views, and includes several monuments, a visitor center, and a living history village with historical interpreters dressed in pioneer clothing from the 1800's. Monuments include the Pony Express National Monument, the Mormon Battalion Monument, and This is the Place Monument. The history village charges an admission fee is generally open 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM during the spring/summer/fall. Parking is free and the village is open 7 days a week, though Sunday doesn't offer a full staff /activities.