Salt Lake City, UT draws visitors throughout the year for its beautiful mountains, world-class skiing, outdoor adventures, and a growing cultural scene.
Over the holidays, Salt Lake City provides a winter wonderland of activities ready to help you experience its Christmas spirit.
If you’re planning to visit the “Crossroads of the West” this holiday, check out our list of 10 things to do in Salt Lake City at Christmas!
1. Christmas at Temple Square
Temple Square contains the worldwide headquarters for the Mormon Church and is a prominent landmark of culture and history in Salt Lake City’s downtown.
When the holiday season begins, hundreds of thousands of visitors come from all over to see Temple Square light up with Christmas lights. It’s an annual family tradition for many locals as well.
Throughout the Christmas season, over one million lights cover the grounds, as well as nativity scenes from around the world.
Be sure to check out the holiday performances from the legendary Mormon Tabernacle Choir as well!
2. Festival of Trees
An annual tradition for over 40 years, the Festival of Trees in Sandy, UT (just south of Salt Lake City) provides a festive array of over 700 Christmas trees decorated in various holiday themes.
The trees are auctioned off during the event with the proceeds supporting a local children’s hospital. Be sure to check out the Aisle of Wreaths to see some beautiful Christmas wreaths for purchase as well.
In addition, shopping and live entertainment, visits with Santa, and face painting for the kids round out this beloved local festival.
3. Christkindlmarkt SLC
Experience a European-style Christmas market with the festive Christkindlmarkt SLC, a holiday shopper’s delight! Located at This is the Place Heritage Park, this Christmas market provides over 90 vendors selling unique artisan goods and tasty German foods (mmm..currywurst!).
In addition, you’ll want to make a visit to see St, Nikolaus and the live nativity or listen to the story of Stille Nacht and sing carols with the children’s choir.
Afterwards, stay for the holiday parades, including the market’s highlight, the St. Nikolaus Parade, celebrating the good deeds of children.
4. Christmas at the Grand America Hotel
In the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, the luxurious Grand America Hotel provides an excellent place to stay for your Christmas in Salt Lake City visit. In December, the hotel hosts ample festivities to get you into the holiday spirit, worth seeing even if you’re staying elsewhere.
A visit to the Holiday Window Stroll is a must, where you can see the hotel’s famous window displays portraying beautiful holiday scenes (grab your camera!). You’ll want to keep taking pictures at the Grand Gingerbread House, a life-size gingerbread house and longstanding hotel tradition.
In the mornings, you can have the hotel’s famous breakfast with none other than Santa and Mrs. Claus!
5. Holiday Ice Cream Shakes at Iceberg Drive Inn
Utah is known for its extra-thick ice cream shakes requiring spoons to eat, and the Iceberg Drive Inn in Salt Lake City has been providing these famous treats for over 55 years.
During your Christmas in Salt Lake City visit, make a stop at the original Iceberg Drive Inn for one of these “over the top” shakes, which make a tasty holiday treat at Christmastime.
If you’re feeling festive, try their eggnog shake. You can only get the “mini” size, which is actually huge!
The original location has a retro neon look, great for taking fun selfies and family photos with shakes in hand.
6. Candlelight Christmas at This is the Place Heritage Park
This is the Place Heritage Park allows visitors all year to step back in time and experience what life was like firsthand for the pioneer settlers and Native Americans in Utah. At Christmas, the old-fashioned fun continues with Candlelight Christmas.
In addition to seeing blacksmiths, saddlemakers, and other 19th Century craftsmen while exploring over 50 historic structures, guests can visit with Father Christmas and enjoy the songs of Christmas carolers. Kids can make their own crafts too!
Looking for some unique gift ideas? Several handcrafted items will be for sale from the park’s historic pioneer homes and cabins.
7. Christmas Around the World
In nearby Provo for over 60 years, BYU’s International Folk Dance Ensemble has hosted its Christmas Around the World concert for generations of locals and tourists.
Celebrating the joys of the holidays, Christmas Around the World showcases international dances from various countries all over the globe. Each concert features over 175 dancers and musicians, creating a massive Christmas spectacle.
Striving for authenticity, every dance is crafted by international choreographers. This unique holiday tradition is an excellent choice for fans of travel and culture!
8. Ice Skating at the Gallivan Center
Make sure to come downtown to the Gallivan Center during your Christmas visit for the city’s outdoor ice skating rink! A festive sight, you can enjoy some community ice skating and take in downtown’s Christmas lights and displays.
While you’re there, grab some hot cocoa and a warm pretzel and admire the festive ambience. Plus, you’ll be close by to other downtown activities and shopping!
The Gallivan Center’s ice skating rink is open throughout the holiday season into the first winter months of the new year.
9. Park City Sleigh Rides
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh! You sing about it every year in “Jingle Bells,” but you can actually experience horse-drawn sleigh rides in the snow in Park City, UT.
With Utah known for its snow and winter recreation, it’s not Christmas in Salt Lake City without going out onto the snow for a sleigh ride.
At the charming ski town of Park City (less than an hour from Salt Lake City), you’ll have several opportunities to experience this classic Christmas activity (and maybe hear some jingling bells, too!).
Taking in the serene beauty of Park City’s snowy terrain on a sleigh ride will warm your hearts. You’ll create wonderful memories that’ll forever change the way you sing “Jingle Bells!”
10. Ride with Santa at Solitude Mountain Resort
After a night of delivering presents around the world, Santa unwinds by hitting the ski slopes in Solitude every year. Visitors are encouraged to be on the lookout for Santa while they’re enjoying their winter recreation, even getting the chance to ski along with him!
As Santa skis around the area, he passes out free candy to the kids every chance he gets. Only in Utah can you meet Santa on skis!
Did we miss any of your favorite things to do in Salt Lake City at Christmas?
Let us know in the comments so we can add more to the list!