Looking for the best free things to do in Salt Lake City this weekend?
We’ve all had that jarring moment when planning for a trip and you realize how quickly all the costs are adding up. You’re imagining sandy beaches, cocktails on a rooftop bar, road trips to national parks, and just as you’re deciding what you should pack first, you remember utility bills, your rent is due, you have an upcoming oil change. But if you’ve got that travel bug, not to worry!
One of the amazing things about traveling to the Crossroads of the West is that there is plenty to do and see no matter what you’ve got in your wallet.
If you’re a traveler on a shoestring budget looking to experience the wonder of Salt Lake City, I’d recommend any of the following, one hundred percent free activities in Salt Lake City to make the most of your trip:
19 Fun Free Things to do in Salt Lake City This Weekend!
1. International Peace Gardens
Located on the bank of the Jordan River, the International Peace Gardens Park is a hidden gem of serenity inside this bustling city. Representing twenty-eight nations, this twelve-acre park symbolizes the beauty of diversity and positive relationships between countries across the globe.
Well-maintained walking paths take visitors on an international tour through garden plots allotted to nation representatives from across the world. Stop in France’s garden to admire the miniature Eiffel Tower erected between two ornate, iron benches surrounded by native flowers. Walk through China’s prominent Plum Blossom Pavilion. Admire a traditional Scandinavian house while visiting Norway.
May through October is a great time to visit the gardens and see flowers in full bloom. But events such as poetry recitals, art shows and folk festivals are also held in the gardens throughout other times of the year.
Bring a friend and enjoy taking in the gardens together or bring a book and stroll over for some peaceful time alone in your favorite plot!
Address: 1160 Dalton Avenue South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84104
2. Ensign Peak
An eighteen-foot, stone pillar stands proudly at the summit of Ensign Peak, a marker of the historical site at which LDS leader, Brigham Young, and his advisors took in the views of the land below and laid out their plans for Salt Lake City.
Previously serving as a source of inspiration for city planners, and as the site of many religious and civic ceremonies, Ensign Peak now serves travelers a panoramic view of modern-day Salt Lake, capturing the unique architecture, the energy, and the beauty of the city.
The trailhead is easy to get to, nestled at the top of a residential area just above the capitol building, and is marked clearly with plenty of helpful signage. This 1.8-mile, roundtrip hike is open each day until ten p.m., but keep in mind there is not much shade along the trail, so make sure to wear sunscreen and a hat for this outing.
One of the best fun free things to do in Utah in our opinion.
Address: 1002 Ensign Vista Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84103
3. Sugar House Park
Comprised of over one hundred and ten acres, Sugar House Park is an excellent choice for a budget-friendly, family-friendly outing. Well-known for its stunning views of the Wasatch mountains, lush greenery, and beautiful duck pond, this park also has options for those who are seeking activity beyond a peaceful stroll in a beautiful place.
What was once the site of the Utah Territorial Prison, is now a lovely park boasting sports fields, pavilions, basketball courts, playgrounds, an amphitheater, walking and biking trails and a sledding hill which are all sprinkled throughout the property.
Open year-round, and conveniently situated in southeast Salt Lake City, Sugarhouse Park provides space for calm reflection or lively entertainment for any traveler.
Address: 1330 2100 South Salt Lake City, Utah, 84106
See more: If you want to find free concerts in Salt Lake City, you can check out this page.
4. Temple Square
Strolling through downtown Salt Lake City, it is nearly impossible not to notice the impressive, five-block area known as Temple Square. Encompassing the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and many other unique, historical buildings, Temple Square is a sight to behold.
One of the top free attractions in Salt Lake City.
Incredible Victorian Gothic architecture, frequent music in the courtyard, an atmosphere rich in history and community, it is not only a center of worship for members of the church, but a spectacular experience for the curious traveler.
Led by missionaries of the church, guided tours are given daily at no charge to visitors. There are also self-guided tour options available in over forty languages!
Travel throughout the square, explore buildings steeped in history, learn about the church, the community, current programs and renovations. While here, don’t forget to stop by the Mormon Tabernacle to hear the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir!
Address: 50 North Temple Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
See more: Things to do at night in Salt Lake City
5. Tabernacle Choir
Performing around the globe, receiving numerous awards for their talent and spirit, the Tabernacle Choir is a must-see while in Salt Lake City. Made up of over three hundred members, the choir is housed within the Mormon Tabernacle from which it received its name.
This beautiful domed building has been designated as a national historic and civil engineering landmark. This uniquely-shaped building provides ideal acoustics and a dramatic atmosphere fitting to the intensity of the voices of the choir.
While the choir does perform across the globe, free performances are available to the public in Temple Square twice a week, each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. and each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. An additional perk to experiencing the choir in the Temple Square Tabernacle is the impressive 11,623-pipe Tabernacle organ, that accompanies the choir at this location.
Address: 50 N. W. Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150
6. Utah State Capitol
Still looking for things to do in salt lake city for free? The Utah State Capitol is a good choice.
Just beneath the famous Ensign Peak, Utah’s state capitol building is well-worth the quick, two-mile trip from downtown Salt Lake City. The typical Neo-Classical Revival architecture is something to marvel at as you observe the exterior from the grounds and as you walk through the ornate halls along the inside of the 320,000 square foot building.
There are docent-led and self-guided tours available which will take you through the history and architecture of the Utah State Capitol, information on Utah’s former and current government, and defining moments of Utah’s rich history.
The building is open to the public daily, but spring is an especially lovely time to visit as the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and it’s a wonderful time to enjoy the nearby trails, rivers and monuments in the neighboring Memory Grove Park.
Address: 350 State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84103
7. Liberty Park
If you are still mapping out free things to do in SLC, check out Liberty Park.
Complete with a playground, a full basketball court, walking paths, gazebos, a swimming pool, outdoor grills, aviaries and more, Liberty Park is an excellent choice to experience a whole lot all in one place. The oldest of Salt Lake City’s parks, this historical land was left to the city by LDS leader, Brigham Young, as a place of play and enjoyment for the public.
His wish was granted and now this park is a favorite hangout for tourists and locals alike. Located near the park swimming pool, the Tracy Aviary, the oldest aviary in the United States, is home to over one hundred and thirty different species of birds.
And within the aviary is a botanic garden that includes native plants and wildlife habitat. If you have a chance to hop over to these sites while enjoying the park, it will complete your visit!
Address: 600 Harvey Milk Blvd, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84105
8. The Gateway
Over a million square feet comprise this hub of entertainment in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Humming with excited energy, travelers can immerse themselves in the culture of Salt Lake at this complex of open-air retail, residential and office buildings.
The Gateway offers a space to experience the local art scene, community events, check out culinary wonders and window shop unique retailers. In the past, The Gateway has been a venue for events such as goat yoga classes, makers markets, and global festivals, just to name a few.
With convenient public transit access, this is a great place to explore for a few hours then hop over to nearby sites such as the Children’s Museum, the Clark Planetarium, the Depot, the Vivint Smart Home Arena, or one of the many other interesting sites within the surrounding area.
One of our favorite things to do for free in Salt Lake City.
Address: 400 W. 200 S. Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
9. Urban Arts Gallery
Displaying the artwork of over one hundred and fifty new and established local artists, this nonprofit gallery delivers a spectacular experience for those seeking a taste of Salt Lake culture.
With art exhibits ranging from graffiti to fine modern works, this gallery showcases the balance Salt Lake City strikes of grit and beauty, the diverse perspectives of its people, and the talent the city holds.
Beyond the regular exhibits that visitors can view, the Urban Arts Gallery, located in downtown Salt Lake City, holds free events open to the public such as artist receptions, festivals, vintage markets and much more. With a down-to-earth vibe and inclusive mission, this gallery provides a welcome atmosphere to any curious traveler.
Tip – If you want to find out what’s free in SLC you can google “Free Events in Salt Lake City Today”.
Utilize the convenient public transit stops nearby if looking to avoid the parking fees on the nearby streets and parking garage!
Address: 116 S. Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
10. Big Cottonwood Canyon
For all you outdoor lovers out there, visiting the scenic Big Cottonwood Canyon, located just a half hour from downtown Salt Lake City, should be at the top of your list! This scenic locale has something to offer any traveler that enjoys fresh air and natural beauty.
If you’re interested in hiking, you can try Brighton Lakes Trail for views of crystal-clear waters, wildflowers and moose, Hidden Falls Trail for the spectacular waterfalls, Lake Blanche Trail for the aspen groves, lakes, and red rock cliffs, or one of the many other trail options that provide stunning backdrops, rewarding climbs, wildlife sightings, and a peaceful, meditative atmosphere.
But there’s more than just hiking along this 15-mile canyon. Biking, picnicking, rock-climbing, camping, fishing, snowshoeing are all popular options visitors explore to make the most of their time at Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s advisable to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, bring a water bottle, and visit with a buddy!
If you are looking for free camping in salt lake city, Big Cottonwood Canyon is a great spot. Save for the designated campgrounds, all camping is free in Big Cottonwood. It is some of the best free camping near salt lake city for sure.
Address: Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
11. City Creek Center
While visiting a premiere shopping center may seem like the last place you’d go as a thrifty traveler, City Creek Center has so much to offer even the most frugal of visitors.
Located near Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake, this mixed-use development includes an open-air shopping center, stunning water fountains, residential and office buildings that combined provide a hub of entertainment, educational opportunities, cultural diversity, and unique experiences.
Along with touring around the area, travelers can join in free events held at the center such as summer fitness series in the courtyard, fish feeding for the kiddos, magnificent fountain shows, community workshops and much more. City Creek Center is a great stop for those looking to participate in community events and gain a unique perspective of the Salt Lake culture and what the city has to offer.
Address: 50 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
12. Cathedral of the Madeleine
Listed on the national register of historic places, the Cathedral of the Madeleine is a popular tourist attraction that does not disappoint. This Romanesque and Gothic style cathedral, built in 1909, serves as a place of worship and celebration of the local Latino community.
Travelers can join in mass or simply explore the immense building, taking in the beauty of its murals, massive pipe organ, intricate shrines, beautiful stained-glass windows, and numerous artifacts.
Visitors are welcome to sit in the peace and serenity of the interior of the cathedral or take a public guided tour which are available for free each Sunday. This is a great option for travelers looking to learn more about the rich Latino community, its history within the state, and to take a moment to reflect in a pleasant, welcoming environment.
Address: 331 E. S. Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
13. Wheeler Historic Farm
Looking for an outing away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Salt Lake activities? Look no further than the Wheeler Historic Farm.
Located only fifteen minutes from the heart of Salt Lake City, this seventy-five-acre working farm and public park serves as a place of play, education, leisure, and refreshing outdoor activity. As long as the sun is up, visitors can enjoy walking the grounds, meeting the farm hands, taking a wagon ride, bringing their kiddos to the on-site playground, seeing the farm animals and more.
There is an outdoor education center on the farm that frequently holds fun, interactive workshops for visitors as well. There are benefits to visiting the farm at any time of year.
If visiting the farm between November and May, you can take a tour of the farmhouse on the property. But if your travels take you to the farm earlier in the fall, you may be able to participate in fun activities such as Pumpkin Days which includes a hay maze, duck races, and more!
Address: 6351 S. 900 E. Murray, Utah 84121
14. Salt Lake City Public Library
Designed by renowned architect, Moshe Safdie, the Salt Lake City Public Library is a breathtaking building filled with a great number of unique spaces to explore.
Charming reading nooks, state-of-the-art computer labs, a teen lounge, a community garden, flower and coffee shops, galleries displaying local artwork, this building is much more than just a place to crack open a dusty book and study for your chem exam. The library not only serves as a place of learning and relaxation, but as a symbol of the creativity and innovative spirit of Salt Lake City.
It’s very possible to get lost in the wonders of these walls exploring for days, but if you only have a few hours, make sure to get to the rooftop terrace before you leave.
The terrace offers an unbeatable panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley and is hiding an unexpected unique gem: beehives kept by local beekeepers for the public to view and study. Stop by the first Wednesday of the month to take a full tour of the library!
Address: 210 E 400 S. Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111
15. Fort Douglas Military Museum
With a mission to honor Utah veterans and to preserve and inform the public about the history and current state of Utah’s military, the Fort Douglas Military Museum is a great option for a traveler looking to learn.
Just a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City, this museum houses various tanks, artillery, informative plaques, and impressive vehicles including old helicopters.
If you’re feeling up to more exploration, check out the University of Utah located right next door after your museum visit!
One of the best free museums in salt lake city for sure. I would personally also rate it one of the best free museums in Utah.
Address: 32 Potter Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84113
16. Family History Library
A genealogical research facility located at Temple Square, the Family History Library houses the largest collection of genealogical information. With a mission of supporting visitors’ hopes to connect with and better understand their backgrounds, the library offers many free, fun, interactive tools and resources to the public.
You can discover many interesting facts during your visit such as the meaning of your name, if you’re related to anyone famous, or simply where your family comes from.
You can see yourself in clothing your great great great grandfather would have worn or record information about your ancestors. This stop is a blast for both the lone traveler or a tourist group!
Address: 35 N. W. Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
17. Bonneville Shoreline Trail
This 13.5-mile mixed-use trail follows the shoreline of the ancient Lake Bonneville. Stretching from North Salt Lake to Parley’s Canyon, this site offers an abundance of activities including hiking, birdwatching, biking, and more.
For those going for the scenery, this trail exceeds expectations with epics views of the Salt Lake Valley, Mt. Olympus and the Oquirrh mountain range. Some sections of the trail are quite steep, so it’s advisable to wear sturdy shoes with good soles.
Bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen and a hat for this outing, especially if planning on completing the full hike. For the experienced hiker, this is a peaceful solo hike, but for those newer to the sport or the area, it’s recommended to take a buddy and enjoy taking in the views together.
Address: Bonneville Shoreline Trail, Utah
18. Inlet Park Hot Springs
Inlet Park Hot Springs, also known as Saratoga Hot Springs, sits along Utah Lake roughly a half hour from Salt Lake City. The large, mud-bottomed pool is free and open to the public during daytime hours.
Soaking in the therapeutic water, taking in the massive, snow-capped mountains in the distance, is an excellent way to experience the nature surrounding Salt Lake City.
Utah Lake is nearby and is a great option if you want to paddle board, fish or just want to cool off after a soak in the hot springs as well! One of the best hot springs in Utah for sure.
Address: Inlet Park Hot Springs, Utah
19. Downtown Farmers Market
Travel to a foodie city like Salt Lake would be incomplete without a taste tour of the local grub. The Salt Lake City Downtown Farmers Market, established over thirty years ago, is a great way to interact with local farmers, crafters, and entrepreneurs, and sample a multitude of terrific, local cuisine all in one spot.
Saturday mornings are bustling at Pioneer Park and the Rio Grande Train Depot, with thousands of locals and tourists alike flocking to the markets for fresh fruits, veggies, honey, baked goods, artwork, handmade crafts and more.
You don’t even have to buy goods from the market to enjoy yourself at this event; just being among the farmers market crowd gives you a sense of the vibrant community and the incredible food and craft scene of Salt Lake City.
Address: 300 W. 300 S.Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101
Other free good options include Utah Olympic Park, where the 2002 Winter Olympic Games were held, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and Red Butte Garden with free admission events.
Did we include your favorite free stuff in Salt Lake City Utah? If not, we would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!