2 Days In Salt Lake City (Your Perfect Weekend Getaway)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Whether you’re looking for a weekend away or traveling the length and breadth of the United States and want to stop off in Utah’s famous sporting location, Salt Lake City is perfect for explorers.

Here’s my guide on the best things to do for 2 days in Salt Lake City. 

What Is Salt Lake City Known For?

There are two main things that draw people to Salt Lake City; sport and religion. Yes, that’s a bit of a juxtaposition but it certainly makes for an interesting break. 

Weekend Visit Salt Lake City
Visit Salt Lake City

In 2002, Utah’s capital hosted the Winter Olympics so the city has become synonymous with sports.

Not only that but the mountains that create the backdrop for this idyllic setting are home to some of the best ski resorts in the whole of the United States.

Some of the top spots include:

  • Snowbird
  • Sundance
  • Alta
  • Powder Mountain
  • Deer Valley
  • Brighton

But Salt Lake is also a hub for Mormon culture and history. The Church Of Jesus Christ and The Latter Day Saints has its headquarters here and people flock to the city as part of a pilgrimage since the city was founded by Mormons back in 1847.

Even if you’re not a person of faith, you have the Mormons to thank for some of Salt Lake City’s most iconic spots such as Temple Square.

The Best Ways To Spend 2 Days In Salt Lake City

Most people would agree that you need at least two days to properly explore Salt Lake City, preferably more.

Spending 2 days in Salt Lake City
Spend at least 2 days in Salt Lake City

However, if your time is limited, I’d advise going for the following activities which will give you a real flavor of what this town is all about. 

Check Out The Salt Lake Food Scene

When you think of places to go to experience an amazing food scene, Salt Lake City honestly isn’t one of them.

However, after visiting, I did notice that there were a lot of exciting places to eat.

What’s more, the streets are no longer just lined with fast food restaurants and convenient eats; there’s a new lease of restaurants, making Salt Lake a foodie’s paradise.

One of the things I noticed was how diverse the range of food was here.

Salt Lake City night
Salt Lake City in the evening

There are some amazing Italian restaurants such as Valter’s Osteria which are incredibly authentic. If you’re a sushi lover then head to Takashi which is hailed as the best sushi restaurant in the area. 

You’ll also find a fantastic array of other types of cuisine including seafood, Mexican and an amazing Indian restaurant called The Kathmandu which is perfect for lovers of South Asian cuisine.

Of course, there are also plenty of American restaurants offering familiar comfort foods that’ll fuel you up for the next part of your trip.

Day 1 – Visit Temple Square

As I have already discussed, Salt Lake City is famous for its religious culture and Temple Square is one of the most visited places here.

Visit Temple Square
Temple Square in Salt Lake City

It provides an opportunity to learn more about the religion that has shaped Utah and, even if you’re not a spiritual person, it’s an interesting insight into the history of the area.

I’d recommend visiting Temple Square in the morning as this is when it will be least busy.

I found that taking one of the many guided tours provided me with the most information and you will have the opportunity to explore all areas which is great, especially the stunning gardens.

If you’re someone that has an interest in the religion then there are church members dotted around Temple Square. You’ll be able to ask your most burning questions or engage in discussion to learn more.

Day 1 – Take In The Views Of The Great Salt Lake

Once you have spent a couple of hours in the morning at Temple Square then I would recommend making the trip to visit the Great Salt Lake.

After all, you cannot visit a city whose name was inspired by such a beautiful natural spot and not check it out. 

Great Salt Lake view
Great Salt Lake

It will come as no surprise that the lake gets its name because of how salty it is and it’s also incredibly huge.

It’s thought that there is as much as six times more salt in the Great Salt Lake than there is in the sea and that the only other body of water with salinity anywhere near as close is the Dead Sea.

Despite how salty it is, the lake is actually home to an abundance of flora and fauna which is excellent news for nature lovers. I personally loved the variety of bird life. 

If you want to find a vantage point to see the entire lake and take some wonderful photos then I’d recommend heading to Antelope Island. You’ll find this to the north of the lake and, as well as amazing views, there are lots of activities to keep you entertained.

Just over an hour and a half from the Great Lake are the Bonneville Salt Flats which are well worth a visit while you’re in the area. This is a huge piece of land that is covered in a shiny salty blanket for as far as the eye can see and it covers more than 30,000 acres!

What I love about the salt flats is that you’ll never have the same experience twice.

I found that visiting during the summer was super hot and made me feel as though I was on a different planet. However, if you go during the wet season then the environment totally changes and things are muddy with plenty of chances to splash about.

Day 2 – The Natural History Museum

On the second day of your trip, after returning to the city, I’d suggest checking out the Natural History Museum of Utah.

There are tons of exhibits, many of which are interactive so this is a brilliant choice if you’re traveling with kids and want them to get involved in learning. 

The collection is all local so you’ll be able to learn a lot about the history of Utah which spans the course of millions of years. Not only this, but many of the displays have a direct link back to the culture of the area even today.

I’m including this as a morning activity for your second day as the museum only takes a couple of hours to explore. That said, if you do have more time, then you could easily spend half a day here.

Day 2 – Take A Hike

Later in this guide, I’ll talk about the best time to visit Salt Lake City.

But let me just say that if you visit when the weather is a little warmer and drier then it would be a crime not to check out Big Cottonwood Canyon, especially if you’re a fan of hiking. 

Getting out into nature is so easy when you’re based in SLC and this stunning location takes just 20 minutes to reach.

Hiking Big Cottonwood Canyon
Big Cottonwood Canyon

The landscape offers some fantastic photo opportunities with its red rock and for those that want to explore you’ll find lots of trails winding among the trees.

You’ll get up close and personal with some of the wildlife and plant life in the area and it’s a brilliant way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while still getting those steps in. 

I particularly like to head out here on a spring or summer’s day because it gives the opportunity to wade in Silver Lake where the cool waters will certainly take away some of that hot Utah summer heat.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Salt Lake City?

If you only have a couple of days to spend in Salt Lake City then you’re going to want to make sure that you’re able to get out and about to enjoy everything this location has to offer.

Best time to visit Salt Lake City
Best time to visit Salt Lake City

You’ll need to consider the weather as well as thinking about when the city is busiest.

Here are my top tips on when to visit. 

  • If you’re looking to spend a couple of days at one of Salt Lake City’s best ski resorts then it’s best to go in winter when there will be plenty of snow covered peaks. However, keep in mind that things can get quite busy.
  • For those that are looking to enjoy nature and take part in hikes and bike rides, visiting during spring is the best option.
  • While it is possible to visit in summer, the weather can get very warm which may put some people off. However, if you’re here to explore the museums and cultural aspects then you’ll spend a lot of time indoors so the hot weather won’t be as much of an issue. 
  • Fall is largely considered to be one of the best times to visit Salt Lake City because the weather is mild and dry. What’s more, there aren’t as many tourists so hotel prices tend to be lower and attractions aren’t as crowded. 

Final Thoughts

Salt Lake City is a brilliant place to spend a few days and I’ve found some really interesting and exciting activities to fill your time here.

From religious Temple Square to the stunning views at the salt flats and everything in between, this is a city that has something for everyone.

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.