Things to do in Utah in Winter

Things To Do In Winter In Utah

Are you looking for things to do in Utah in Winter? Perfect! Get ready to plan some winter activities in Utah?

If you think of skiing when you think of Utah, that is a great thought to have! Utah offers world-class skiing. But it also offers a wide variety of other, amazing winter activities in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas.

Let’s explore some of the fun things to do in winter in Utah!

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Utah Winter – All About Winter Activities in Utah

Utah Winter Salt Lake City

Before we jump into all of the fun things to do in winter in Utah, let’s answer some questions you might have about Utah Winter. 

Is Utah Good to Visit in Winter?

Yes!  If you love winter sports, Utah is one of the best winter destinations in the USA.  The temperatures can vary from season to season but for the most part, Utah rarely gets extremely cold in the valley.  

Is it Hard to Drive in Utah in Winter? 

It doesn’t snow every day in winter, for the most part driving in Utah in Winter is great. If it does snow, Salt Lake City has an amazing road crew. The plows will run all night long and all day to keep the roads safe.  The most important thing to remember is to be careful when driving in snow.  Hopefully, you won’t find yourself in a snowstorm!  

If you are skiing there are parking lots at the base of the canyons where you can park and then take public transportation up to the ski resorts. It is very convenient and much safer. 

What is There to Do in Salt Lake City in Winter?

This is a great question!  The rest of this post will be about all the fun things to do in Utah in Winter and many of them are in Salt Lake City.  I know many people worry about what to do in Salt Lake City if they do not ski but don’t worry there are many fun Utah winter activities to enjoy.  

Utah Ski Trip

Things to do in Utah in Winter - ski

Utah has the “greatest snow on earth” according to a study done at the University of Utah. (I am sure it wasn’t biased in any way!)  Utah has 10 ski resorts.

Popular Ski Resorts

Park City, Deer Valley, Solitude, and Sundance are the more popular tourist ski resorts. They have beautiful accommodations.  Park City is a great town with lots of shopping and entertainment for when you are off the slopes.

In my opinion, Alta is one of the best ski resorts because it has a higher elevation than the others and you can be sure to have the best snow.

Beginner Ski Resort

Brighton is also another one of my favorites because kids ski free and is a great resort for first-time skiers.  This is perfect if you are bringing your family on a Utah ski vacation.

Skiing is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City in Winter! 

Midway Ice Castle

Things to do in Utah In Winter -Midway Ice Castle

If you are looking for other winter activities in Utah, one place to explore is the Midway Ice Castle.  Typically, this venue opens in early January.  It is one of the best Utah attractions in Winter. 

Midway, Utah is located close to Park City.  The Midway Ice Castle is a hand-crafted ice structure. There are tunnels and slides made of ice to explore. It really is a beautiful work of art. The ice castle is built entirely by hand using hundreds of thousands of icicles. The ice castle includes LED-lit ice sculptures (at night), ice thrones, ice-carved tunnels, and slides.

Admission 

The ice castle tickets range from $17 -21 per person

Our Experience

We loved going to the castle. Most people prefer to go during the night when it is lit up but if you have little kids the daytime is perfect because it is warmer and not as crowded. (Making it easier to keep track of your kids.)

We loved that there was hot chocolate and snacks available to eat right inside the castle.

The Midway ice castle is the perfect place to take amazing pictures! It is one of the best things to do in Utah in Winter!  

Soldiers Hollow

Things to do in Winter in UtahSoldiers Hollow is located near Midway.  It offers the longest snow tubing lanes in Utah. This 1,200-foot track is so fun!  And the best part is that you do not have to walk back up the hill.  There is a  lift service for towing people up.

A trip to the Soldier Hollow tubing is the perfect Utah winter activity!  This adventure will have you racing to get back to the top of the hill to go again and again.

Hours

Weekdays (Monday- Thursday) | 4 pm to 6 pm

Weekends
Fridays | 10 am to 8 pm

Saturdays | 10 am to 8 pm

Sundays | 12 pm to 2 pm

Admission

Weekend (Fri-Sun) 2 Hour Session

Adults: 25

Youth (ages 6-12): $23

Child (ages 3-5): $13

Soldiers Hollow is so much fun! 

Woodward Park City Snow Tubing

Another location for tubing is the Woodward Park City Tubing Hill.  It is located in Park City, Utah.  This is a new tubing area that replaced the Gorgoza Park Tubing Hill.  

Admission

Prices can vary from $27-$54

Hours

10:00am – 6:00pm

Each session is 2 hours long.

Snow ShoeThings to do in winter in Utah snow shoeSnowshoeing is a fun Utah winter activity.  A lot of the ski resorts offer trails designated for snowshoeing, including beginner trails and tours.

Snow Shoe Trails

Some of the resorts that have trails are:

  • Cherry Peak Resort
  • Park City Mountain
  • Sundance Mountain Resort
  • Alta and Snowbird Resorts
  • Snowbasin Resort

In southern Utah Cedar Breaks, National Monument, and Brian Head Ski Resort have some great options.

Our Experience

Snowshoeing is like hiking in the winter!  If you like hiking and cold weather you will probably like snowshoeing.  My husband really enjoyed snowshoeing with friendsIt is nice to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

The Elves at Gardner Village

Utah Winter Activities - Gardner Village Elves
Image Courtesy of Gardner Village

Gardner Village is a cute boutique shopping area located in West Jordan, Utah, about 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.

During different seasons the village is decorated for a holiday. During winter,  there are elves placed all over the property.  You can go on a scavenger hunt to find the elves.  When you are done you can go to the bakery and get a cookie! 

Our Experience

My kids love going and searching for all the elves.  They have so much fun and if the weather is nice, it is even enjoyable for mom!

Gardner Village is open during normal business hours and this is a free winter activity!  This event runs from November 21 to December 31.

Ice Skating at Gallivan Center

Salt Lake City Winter Activities
Image courtesy of Visit Salt Lake City

If ice skating outdoors is your idea of the perfect winter activity, then the Gallivan Center is a perfect choice.

Bundle up and get outside for some fun.  The ice rink is located in downtown Salt Lake City and is a block from a shopping district called City Creek (you can stop there to see Santa during Christmas time and do some shopping).

This outside venue is a fun Utah winter activity. 

Admission

Adults: $10 (Includes Skate Rental)

Children: $9 (13 and under)

Hours:

Weekdays – 4 pm – 9 pm

Weekends – 12 pm -12 am

Holiday hours vary. 

Polar ExpressUtah Winter Activities Polar Express

Another place close to Park City to have some winter fun is Heber, Utah. Heber is home to “The Heber Creeper” a train ride for every season. True to its name, this rail ride creeps along. But you are not on to get somewhere quick. Instead, you are there to enjoy the sights both on the train and outside.

In the winter, the Heber Creeper becomes the Polar Express.  This is one of the best things to do in Utah in winter! The train provides hot chocolate and candy canes.  And of course, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus make an appearance.

Admission

Train tickets cost $35-$75 depending on what class of ticket and dates. Obviously, the closer to Christmas the more expensive it gets.

Our Experience

We went a few years ago and the kids had a great time. You could look out the window and see holiday decorations.  Santa and Mrs. Claus came to each train and handed out cookies and hot cocoa.  Our kids loved the experience!

Grand America Christmas DisplaysUtah Winter activity - Grand America

Christmas time is a great time to visit Salt Lake City.  The Grand America is one of the nicest hotels in the Salt Lake Area.

During Christmas time you can walk around the main floor of the hotel to see Christmas displays portraying “The night before Christmas” poem.  To give you an idea of how big the hotel is, it will take you at least 30 minutes to walk around and look at each display.

Ginger Bread House

The hotel also has a two-story gingerbread house.  Get your cameras ready! There will be a hotel employee to hand out a special treat, and to take pictures if you’d like.  You do not have to stay at the hotel to experience this.  It is a great free winter activity in Utah!

This Is the Place Heritage Park Candle Light ProcessionalUtah winter activities - This is the place park

This is the place park is an outdoor area located east of Salt Lake City, close to the University of Utah. The area is very large, and is open all year, offering a re-creation of a pioneer village.  During Christmas, they have a special Christmas event.

You will go back in time and celebrate Christmas as the pioneers did.  There are many crafts and activities available throughout the park.

Our Experience

The highlight for my kids was the bakery.  Homemade fresh-baked gingerbread men are available for free!

My kids also liked the Christmas carolers.  The carolers are dressed in pioneer attire and will show up at many of the historic houses. Making candles and seeing Santa Claus is another bonus of this event.

We really enjoyed the Christmas events at This is the Place Heritage Park!

Zoo Lights

Zoo lights - things to do in winter in Utah
Image Courtesy of Hogle Zoo

The Hogle Zoo is located across the street from This Is the Place Heritage Park. The zoo puts on a magical display of lights every night in December from 5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Admission

This event is around $10 for adults and $8 for kids.

This is a great Utah winter activity and tradition for many Utah families.

Giving Machines

Things to do in Winter in utah

This is one of my favorite Utah Winter activities.  The Giving Machines provide a service opportunity for you and your family. 

These machines are located on Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  Go ahead and walk into the building, and to your right, you should see large, red vending machines.

There will be ropes to help you know where to stand in line. Employees will hand you what looks like a menu, showing you the vending machines’ offerings. You can choose to donate chickens, vaccines, and more.

I always want to do something special during the holiday season and this is the perfect service project.  When you get a menu, you will see that on one side there are choices for your local community and the United States.  The other side is dedicated to third-world countries.

Our Experience

We loved picking out different items that specifically went to certain people.  It was an incredible experience. We can’t wait to do this in the future! 

Check to see if there is one near you – Giving Machines

SleddingThings to do in winter in Utah - sledding

If you do not want to spend a lot of money sledding is the perfect winter activity in Utah.  Most of the local parks on the East side of Salt Lake City have nice sledding hills.

We like to go to a place called Iron Mesa Park located in Sandy, Utah. The hill is unreal!   But there are many other parks to choose from.

Our Experience

It’s best to go after a recent snowstorm. The one downside to this awesome hill is that the slope is southward facing, which gets a lot of sun in the winter. But the hill is so big that you can still manage with bare spots.

We pack up our sleds and bring hot chocolate in a thermos. It’s a great time!

Ice Fishing on Strawberry ReservoirWinter Activities in Utah - ice fishing

A winter activity in Utah that you may enjoy is ice fishing.  I actually have never done this activity but my brother-in-law does this every year.  Strawberry Reservoir is located 23 miles east of Heber City.

If ice fishing is new to you there are ice fishing rental companies that will actually drop everything you need off at the fishing site.  The best time to ice fish at Strawberry Reservoir is early in the season (as soon as the ice is thick). Some people actually catch fish that are 18-24 inches long.  This might be one of those activities you might want to try this year!

Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees Things to do in winter in Utah

The Festival of Trees is one of my favorite Utah winter activities because it helps those in need.  Located at the Sandy Expo Center in Sandy, Utah, the space is quite large. (2021 it is virtual) 

People in the community will decorate beautiful trees, and you have the chance to buy them.  The proceeds go to a charitable cause.

Our Experience

My sister-in-law had a neighbor that died of ALS. She and her friends have been making a tree each year, and the proceeds of the tree go to Primary Children’s Hospital.  Others have lost family members to cancer, or have other causes close to their hearts.   Each tree honors those that have passed. 

We love walking around and looking at all the beautiful trees. Some of these trees sell for thousands of dollars. 

There are food options, and there is a staging area for concerts.

Christmas Light Display’s

Salt Lake Temple lights
Image courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS.

There are lots of displays around Salt Lake City, Utah.  The most popular location is Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake, but the temple is under construction right now and I believe the light display is on hold until they are finished.  Temple Square offers many Christmas concerts as well but this year they will be virtual. 

Displays in Utah

  • Temple Square –  Salt Lake City 
  • Thanksgiving Point Luminaria – Lehi
  • Christmas in Color – South Jordan and Provo
  • Tree of Life – Draper
  • Festival of Lights – Spanish Fork
  • Zoo Lights – Salt Lake City
  • Riverwoods – Provo

Go See a PlayGo see a play Utah winter activity

We love the theatre! Around Christmas time the Hale Center Theatre has a spectacular Christmas Carol production.  My kids are big fans!  

Local Theatre’s 

We also like to see as many of the plays that are offered throughout the winter.  Hale Center Theatre is a local theatre.  The Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake is where you will want to go to see the off-broadway shows.  We enjoy both venues and think this is one of the best things to do in Utah in winter!

Tuacahn Nativity

Things to do in winter in Utah

If you want to go south, there are a couple of great options in St. George, Utah. One is called the Tuachan Christmas in the Canyon.  Tuacahn is an outdoor amphitheater in Ivins, just outside of St. George. This event offers a live Nativity, train ride, and Santa greeting.

This 20-minute show is available at 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm Nov 27th – December 23rd.   Cost is $3 per person.  The train ride through the Padre Canyon is $2 and runs at 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm.

Enjoying the lights at Tuachan is a free winter activity in Utah!

Run a Race in St. George

run a race in winter in utah

Southern Utah has some beautiful weather in the winter.  Several races are held in January and February.  The St. George half Marathon is one of the bigger races to look forward to.

This is probably one of those things to do in winter in Utah you didn’t think of!  I know I didn’t at first!

Dicken’s Festival

Charles Dickens Festival Utah winter activities
Image Courtesy of Real Estate of St. George Utah

The Dickens’ Festival is an Olde English craft fair.  There are period costumes, shops, and boutiques.  This event is usually held the first week of December in Northern and Southern Utah.  This year St. George will be the only venue available.

If you love Charles Dickens and the time period of that classic story you will love the Dicken’s Festival.

Things to Do in Winter in UtahMidway Ice Castle

Hopefully, this gives you some great ideas of things to do in winter in Utah!  It is such a great time of year!  There are plenty of winter activities that will help make this season so much better.  Have so much fun! 

If you want to learn more about Utah, I have you covered.  From Spring Break in Utah, Fall Break in Utah, to the Utah National Parks.  Also, be on the lookout for all the fun things to do in Utah with kids and the best Utah hikes with kids.

Facebook Group

If you have any questions about Utah winter activities or other upcoming trips come join me in my privatFacebook Group.  

This group is a place where you can ask any question about your upcoming trip and help others plan their trips.  It is also a place where I put travel deals.

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80 Comments

  1. Utah looks like a great place to visit in the winter! I would love to see the Festival of Lights or go ice scaring at Gallivan Center.

  2. Now Utah is calling my name in all seasons! And these winter activities in Utah all sound like a blast! Would love to check out that 1,200-ft. tubing run especially. And love The Giving Machines!

  3. I am not much in to skiing but the rest looks like such a great way to get in to the holiday spirit!

  4. I had no idea there was an ice castle in the US. How fun! Also love the idea of the “giving” vending machine. I think more people would be willing to give and help, if they only knew how. It’s really nice they make it so easy.

  5. I love this post about things to do in Utah in the winter. I grew up in Utah and haven’t heard of a lot of these. I’ve been to the Festival of Trees and done lots of skiing there (I love Snow Basin), but you have a lot of cool stuff I’d like to see like the Ice Castle. When we lived in Utah, we actually owned a little cabin in the canyon where Strawberry Reservoir is. Unfortunately, we had to sell it when we moved to another state.

  6. So many fun things to do in Utah during the winter! I’m glad. I’m not a skier. I love the looks of the Dickens Festival!

  7. I love Utah anytime of the year but winter is always amazing! The one thing I would like to try is ice fishing.. seems like a fun adventure!

  8. These all look like so much fun! If I had to do just one activity, it would be that Polar Express. So cool, and that’s one of my favorite Christmas stories!!

  9. Your post really got me in the holiday spirit and although I don’t live snow and cold, you made the state look beautiful and inviting.

  10. So many fun things to do in Utah besides skiing. A winter wonderland of activities. I would love to do the Tubing and explore the Gardner Village. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is on our list of must travel. Our daughter is dying to go snowboarding here. So many awesome things to do.

  12. Looks amazing! I love skating, but Hubby is more interested in skiing. I know the kids would love the tubing (especially since there is a lift!) and the ice castle! We are all about the outside activites!

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  15. There are so many fun things to do in Utah in the winter! I Thank you to introduce these ideas to us. love these ideas!

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