Utah is a great place. There are fun downtowns, great small-towns, delicious restaurants, and tons of fun hikes and beautiful lakes. Whether you're a total foodie, an outdoor enthusiast, or someone who loves to experience new things, there is something on this list for you! I have worked really hard to compile this very thorough list of fun things to do all over the state of Utah (I even had to narrow it down to 101!). This project was fun because I have personally been to every single place on this list. If you're at a loss for something to do on Friday night, look no further!
Let's get started with some of the Outdoor stuff you can do in Utah. We love being outside, and if you do too, you'll love these next few things on my list.
OUTDOOR THINGS TO DO IN UTAH :
Little Cottonwood Canyon (and here) - All of the canyons in Utah are great, this one included. Great snow in the winter with a fun resort, Snowbird. If you're a skier though, you'll like Alta better. Red Pine Lake, and Cecret Lake are two of our favorite hikes up this canyon (see below).
Red Pine Lake - A more lengthy hike, 6.5 miles to Lower Red Pine Lake, can be found up Little Cottonwood Canyon, starting at the White Pine Trailhead. You pass creeks and waterfalls along the way, with great views of the whole canyon.
Cecret Lake - A beautiful hike to do in late Summer, when the wild flowers are in full bloom. This hike will take you 1 mile to a pretty lake. The trailhead is 11 miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon, just past the Alta Ski Resort. Plus, you're almost guaranteed to see a Moose.
Big Cottonwood Canyon (snowshoeing) - Lots of fun hikes that hook up with neighboring canyons, great night skiing at Brighton, with Silver Lake and Donut Falls (see below).
Donut Falls - 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon, you will find this fun hike. A total of 3.5 miles, with a donut shaped waterfall at the end.
Silver Lake - Right at the base of Brighton, this lake/wetland has a fun boardwalk to explore the Ecosystem.
Bear Lake Marina - With the most beautiful blue water you'll find in the continental US, you don't want to miss out on a trip up to Bear Lake. Head over to the Marina and check out some of the neat sailboats.
Wind Caves - Located about 5 miles up Logan Canyon, this almost 4 mile hike (roundtrip) is worth the workout. These awesome cave formations are awe inspiring.
Provo Canyon (bike ride) - You haven't officially visited Provo until you've walked (or biked) the Provo River Trail up to Bridal Veil Falls.
Sundance (and here and also full moon lift) - A lovely, quant ski resort 13 miles northeast of Provo, up the Provo Canyon. Beautiful year round, especially in the winter (pictured above) and the fall.
Alpine Loop - The Alpine Loop goes from Provo Canyon to American Fork Canyon, and if you get the chance make sure you do this drive sometime in the Fall to admire the absolutely stunning fall colors and millions of Aspen Trees.
Y Mountain - Another Provo staple, head to Y Mountain for a fun hike with GREAT views of Provo and Utah Lake.
Zion National Park - A total must if you have the time. This National Park is worth the drive to Southern Utah. A few of our favorite hikes are the Narrows, and Emerald Pools.
Canyonlands - Seriously stunning. We really enjoy going on a bunch of smaller hikes each time we're there. There's something cool about knowing that you did 5 separate hikes in all different parts of the park in one day.
Arches (and here too) - Arches National Park is one of those places, just like Canyonlands, where everywhere you look, you are completely in awe of the beauty around you. Even if you are crammed on time, I would highly recommend the quick (3 mile roundtrip) hike up to Delicate Arch (pictured above and on most Utah license plates).
Moab (also here and here) - Moab is a great place. I love driving through Main Street and looking at all of the cute restaurants and shops, but of course the best parts are the National Parks/hikes/trails that can be found all around it. Jeeping is also a total blast!
Scofield Reservoir - Up Spanish Fork Canyon, down Highway 6 and pretty close to Price, you will find this Reservoir. This is a great place for fishing.
Strawberry Reservoir - This is a huge reservoir, and a great place for Ice Fishing. It is very beautiful, plus if you're lucky, you get to stop at Dairy Keen on the way home.
Jordanelle State Park - Just outside Park City, people love to boat and jet ski on Jordanelle. Great campgrounds with real bathrooms.
Smith and Morehouse - This is one of the most beautiful lakes I've ever visited in Utah. It is nestled in the trees of the Unitas, with water from the Weber River.
The Unitas (also here and here) - The Unitas have the best backpacking to mountain lakes. You can seriously hike 2 miles and pass a dozen different lakes. If you're not into backpacking you could also drive up to one of the hundreds of different campgrounds for a picnic and short hike.
Adam's Canyon Waterfall - Nestled in the very back of Adam's Canyon, this waterfall is a treat to see at the end of your hike. This hike is very unique because it seems like you start in the dessert and end up in a forrest.
SEASONAL THINGS TO DO IN UTAH:
Festival of Colors - You have to go, at least once, to this unique Springtime celebration at the Hari Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork. Hundreds of people throwing lots of colored chalk. It's a very fun celebration of new life and spring time. Tip: Make sure to bring some kind of glasses and of course a white shirt.
Taylorsville Dayzz (and here) - We usually go to the concert and fireworks show, which is generally a few weeks before the 4th of July and a great way to get you in the mood for Summer and more fireworks and America!
Hill Field Air Show - Once a summer the Thunderbirds come to Hill Air Force Base and show off all of their sweet tricks! It is REALLY cool. You wont believe some of the tricks these guys can do. It's amazing.
State Fair - At the end of each Summer you must go to the state fair and eat funnel cake, and deep fried oreos and snickers, and maybe hit up the Rodeo, or just walk around and look at all of the pigs and sheep. And those Dairy Cows. They are huge.
Festival of Trees - A fundraiser for Primary Children's Hospital, this is truly a wonderful way to get you into the Christmas Spirit. Looking at hundreds of beautifully decorated Christmas Trees, and Gingerbread houses, is bound to do the trick. And I happen to have it on good authority, Santa is usually there.
Hot Air Balloon Festival - The Provo Freedom Festival has been my 4th of July family tradition for many, many years. One of my favorite events is definitely the Hot Air Balloon Festival. I'll do almost anything to be near hot air balloons.
Stadium of Fire - The biggest event of the Provo Freedom Festival is the Stadium of Fire. There is always great entertainment, and if you ask me the best firework show in Utah.
TASTY RESTAURANTS IN UTAH:
Pizzeria Limone | Downtown Salt Lake, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy - Fancy pizza but still fast and reasonably priced. I love the Crosta as an appetizer.
Hires Big H | Salt Lake, Midvale, West Valley - Hires is the best. Get a Hires Big H Combo with a frosted mug of their homemade rootbeer. MMm!
Hometown Drive-in | Bear Lake, Garden City - Raspberry shakes are a must at Bear Lake, right? The raspberry shakes at Hometown are delicious!
Mel's Drive-in | Beaver - The drive between Salt Lake and St. George can get long and boring. Stop for a quick bite to eat at Mel's.
Slacker's | Torrey - In the middle of nowhere, unless you're at Bryce, Slacker's has some pretty remarkable shakes. My favorite was the Snickers.
Reed's Drive-in | Nephi - Be adventurous and try the English Chips instead of your typical Fries. You wont be disappointed.
Milt's Stop & Eat | Moab - DIVINE shakes. The Chili Cheeseburger hits the spot after a long day of hiking or biking.
Burger Bar | Roy - Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, a trip out to Burger Bar is worth it for their Big Ben Burger.
Unita Drive-in | Kamas - Take a drive up to the Uintas and Mirror Lake, but stop for some lunch at the Uinta Drive-In. I love these burgers, with their square buns. Oh and definitely get bacon on your burger.
Big Moe's | Price - If you're ever hungry and in Price, head over to Big Moe's. They have home-made basically everything: buns, burgers, and fries!
Dairy Delight | Tooele - Please take a trip out to Dairy Delight and get their Old Fashioned Burger, which I swear is as big as a plate. You should probably share it with a friend.
Road Island Diner | Oakley - This diner was manufactured in New Jersey and then driven across the country, where it landed in Oakley Utah. Crazy! We really enjoyed The Ultimate Pig Trough (huge banana split!).
Oakley Polar King | Oakley - And another Oakley Diner. The Polar King has some pretty good fries and shakes.
Blue Lemon - Delicious food, I personally like their sweet potato fries, but most everything on their menu is delicious.
Hatch Family Chocolate | Avenues Salt Lake City - Stop in for some hot chocolate or buy a few hand dipped chocolates to share. I'm also a fan of the chocolate covered banana.
Red Iguana (and here) | Salt Lake City - Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Red Iguana is a Salt Lake must. They are famous for their Mole, but the whole menu looks so tasty I have yet to actually try some.
The Sweet Tooth Fairy - Need a sugary-pick-me-up? Head into one of the 9 Utah locations. My Favorite is the Strawberry Shortcake, it has a chocolate covered strawberry on top! Plus, another cool fact, the founder of The Sweet Tooth Fairy won Cupcake Wars.
Dairy Keen | Heber - Local Drive-ins are my thing, and this is no exception. I love their shakes. And their fries. Ok everything on the menu.
Ruth's Chris | Park City, Downtown Salt Lake City - We splurged and dined here on our first anniversary. We shared the largest steak known to mankind with some shoestring fries. We ended the night with some creme brûlée, my all time favorite dessert. Pricey, but VERY nice, and delicious.
Eva's Bakery | Downtown Salt Lake City - Feel like you've been transported to France for lunch. Love their fruit tart, but the Almond Croissant looked divine too.
Schmidt's Pastry | South Jordan, Sugar House, Holladay, and Taylorsville - Stop in for a treat any day and you wont be sorry. And please eat an extra cookie for me.
Benihana (here and here) | Downtown Salt Lake City - Benihana is our family birthday tradition. It just wouldn't be a birthday without it. (Plus, if you join the Chef's Table, you get $30 off your birthday meal)
Carl's Cafe | Cottonwood Heights - Carl's has a definite small town vibe in the big city. Delicious breakfast...and lunch, but really good breakfast.
Red Banjo | Park City - Fun environment (right on Main Street) and delicious food. A Park City must.
Main Street Pizza and Noodle | Park City - Yummy pizza, and even better bread sticks, or Garlic Knots as they are called there. SO filling and delicious. I literally had a dream about these the other night.
Smash Burger - It's a little bit silly, but I really like the chicken sandwiches from Smash Burger (I feel like I should like a burger). And their classical fries are really yummy too.
Doissant's at Dan's - Have you heard about the cronut? You can get some in Utah! But they call them doissants instead. You can find them at the grocery store Dan's, on Saturday mornings, usually before 11 or 12.
Lonestar Taqueria | Cottonwood Heights - Everything on their menu is delicious, and I've tried almost all of it. They are famous for their fish tacos, but my favorite is their carne asada burrito.
Goodwood - Delicious BBQ, that's all there is to say about this.
Sammy's | Provo - Sammy's has my all time favorite shake. It's the Peach Cobbler Pie Shake. MMMM! I wish I could have one right now. It is complete perfection.
Cafe Rio - I can't talk about food in Utah without mentioning Cafe Rio, possibly, my all time favorite. I have dreams about their pork salad.
Molly's - Provo, Strange hours (Tue-Fri 11-2, Fri 5-8:30) but delicious food! Everything I've ever ordered at Molly's was delicious.
Marley's | Provo, Lindon - I love Marley's. I love them because they serve shoestring fries. And in my humble opinion, shoestring fries are the very best kind of fries.
African Restaurant | Salt Lake City - Jordan served his mission in Africa and this was the "fancy" food on their mission.
Cheesecake Factory | Downtown, Murry - Who doesn't love cheesecake? And before the dessert, the regular menu is also divine!
Cubby's | Provo, Lehi - My family likes to tell me that I am a french fry connoisseur, and I have to say that Cubby's has the most delicious sweet potato fries in the whole world. I also love their Tri-tip Salad, or Tri-tip Sandwich, both are great.
The Melting Pot | Downtown Salt Lake City - Thinking about the Melting Pot is making my mouth water right now. This classic fondue restaurant is the perfect way to celebrate any occasion (it's a bit pricier). DO NOT skip the dessert fondue. It's the best.
Toasters - A fun lunch spot downtown. I personally loved the house sandwich. The balsamic vinegar completed it.
C&B Maddox | Layton - This place is great. They do have great chicken, but I'll admit that my favorite thing from C&B Maddox is definitely their Strawberry Pie. TO. DIE. FOR.
Bruges | Salt Lake City - If you like French Fries and Waffles (probably 2 of my top five favorite foods) you need to run over to Bruges immediately. Their liege waffles are delectable. And I can't forget to add that their Machine Gun Sandwich was featured on Man Vs. Food.
Pat's BBQ | Salt Lake City - As seen on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Pat's is a fun BBQ restaurant with some delicious food.
Rita's (and here) | Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, American Fork, Provo - Delicious alternative to the typical frozen yogurt/ice cream dessert. I love the gelati with the vanilla frozen custard.
Waffle Love | Provo (store), otherwise Food Truck - The best waffle you will ever taste, I promise. These liege waffles are perfect with strawberries and cream. I love when I find this waffle truck with I'm out and about. It almost always requires a stop.
Purple Turtle | Pleasant Grove - You have probably driven by the Purple Turtle. Next time, stop in and get some fries and a shake. It was even on a list of the top shakes in Utah.
Dickey's - We like Dickey's. I'm partial to the brisket but the free soft serve is definitely a bonus too.
Maid Rite Diner | Layton - I love the decor in this place as well as their Cookie Butter Shakes. Seriously, Cookie Butter! In a Shake!
Taco Taco | Downtown Salt Lake - A great little Taco Joint, right across the street from The Leonardo. I personally would recommend their Carne Asada Tacos. Delicious!
MISCELLANEOUS THINGS TO DO IN UTAH:
Park City - Stop for a visit at the McPolin Farmstead or a walk down Main Street, Park City couldn't possibly let you down.
Alpine slide - Park City Mountain Resort has one of the longest Alpine Slides in the world. Alpine Slides are a really fun thing to do in the Summer. Ride the lift up to the top and get your scooter and then head over to the luge-like track!
Deer Valley - We went for the Freestyle Aerials for the Skiing World Cup, but this Resort is where many Olympic events were held, as well as where the rich and famous usually stay when they come and visit Utah.
Jazz Game (here) - If you're into sports, you should definitely go to a Jazz game at Energy Solutions Arena. And a plus (kind of), the tickets are usually really cheap (because the Jazz are usually not very good. Hah)!
Clark Planetarium - There are lots of fun exhibits at the Clark Planetarium, including one where you can pretend you are on the Moon or Mars. The highlight however, is their Hansen Dome Theater, where we saw a Sound and Light show (pictured above), with lots of really cool lights and lasers.
Bee's Game (and here) - This is as close as you'll get to the Major League in Utah. A baseball game at Smith Ballpark is a great Summer activity, especially since most games have fireworks afterward!
Hogle Zoo - You can't beat a trip to the Zoo. They recently opened the African Safari Exhibit, and you shouldn't miss the Polar Bear. He's my favorite.
Provo Farmer's Market - This farmer's market always has some great food trucks, lots of crafty booths, as well as some of the very freshest fruits and veggies you've ever tasted.
BYU Football Game - I'm a bit biased (Go Cougars!) but there's nothing that screams Fall more than a than a great football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU Basketball Game - Theres always a rowdy student section, creating great enthusiasm for the whole crowd. Make sure to get there early, you don't want to miss the pre-game festivities.
Tracy Aviary - Like the zoo, but for birds! Make sure to check out Andy the 55 year old Condor with an 11 foot wingspan.
State Capital - Offering tours every hour from 9-5, Monday-Friday or self-guided tours whenever you want, this beautiful building is a fun slice of Utah History.
Rocky Mountain Raceway - Great and cheap way to see some fast, loud cars!
Cabela's Shooting Range - Cabela's is a HUGE store for the Outdoorsmen. You can easily spend at least an hour wandering around looking at all of the gear and animals. They have a really neat (and huge) fish tank, but my favorite part is the shooting range.
Salt Lake Masonic Temple - Fun venue for a concert, the auditorium is really neat. If you call ahead you can take a tour and see all of the unique Egyptian Architecture.
Utah Cultural Celebration Center - Neat artifacts on display as well as interesting exhibits (currently about immigrants). I'd recommend a visit, even just to see the above arch!
Manti Temple (and here) - Take a day and drive down to Manti and visit this historic building. If you time it right (check here), a trip to watch the Manti Pageant might be a fun Summer activity.
Logan Temple - Another super historic Temple worth a visit is the Logan temple. This beautiful building was built in the 1870s and was the 2nd temple built in Utah.
Draper Temple - Hidden on the mountain in Draper this gorgeous temple has an inspiring view of the whole Salt Lake Valley.
Ogden Temple - The newly redone Ogden Temple is worth a visit (and afterwards, head across the street for some Farr's Ice Cream).
Provo Temple - Swing by the Provo Temple. Across the street is the Missionary Training Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and behind it beautiful Rock Canyon (and a plus if you can find Uncle Bud's Park near by, that's where Jordan proposed!)
Temple Square - Definitely a Utah must. Take a visit to Temple square. Make sure to stop in the visitor's centers as well as the Joseph Smith Building. Also, if you can, a trip to Temple Square during Christmas is perfection, if you ask me.
Conference Center - An amazing one-of-a-kind auditorium, with the largest pipe organ in the world. This building also houses tons of wonderful original art.
Church Office Building - It is definitely worth a trip to the observation deck at The Church Office Building for these spectacular views of Salt Lake.
Planet Play - Remember all of those birthday parties you went to as a kid where you played all sorts of games and won tons of tickets which you redeemed for silly prizes like Chinese finger traps and sticky hands? This is that place. Such a fun date.