Home of amazing Temple Square, Mormon Temple, Natural History Museum of Utah and lots of things to do in Salt Lake City on Memorial Day. We've compiled some of the best activities to do in Salt Lake City on this Memorial Day holiday.
Although Temple Square is one of the top highlights of Salt Lake City, it's in the midst of a massive six-year restoration project, and many areas will be closed until 2024. Buildings are being upgraded, and in some cases completely replaced, and a new tunnel is being installed to improve access and pedestrian flow.
It is expected that the North Visitor's Center, Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, and the Joseph Hall Memorial Building will remain open. The Temple building will be closed. Before your visit, check to see the latest updates on the temple website.
Temple Square is the holy place of the Mormons. Spread out over 35 acres, you'll find beautiful flowering trees; colorful flowerbeds; fountains; and four key Mormon buildings: The Mormon Temple, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Temple Annex, and the Assembly Hall. In addition to these spectacular buildings, you'll come across several historical monuments highlighting important people and events in the faith.
For a more in-depth understanding of the Church of Latter-day Saints, visit one of the two information centers at the entrances to the square. They supply information, and staff are more than happy to answer questions about the doctrines and the history of the Mormon faith and the area.
This is a peaceful place to simply wander around, particularly in spring and summer when the flowers and trees are in bloom. Several well-regarded restaurants in this area make good lunch stops on your Memorial Day visit.
One of the most iconic Salt Lake City landmarks is the Mormon Temple. Designed and built in the unique Mormon style, this stunning building was constructed between 1853 and 1893. At each end of this huge granite structure are three towers, the highest of which, at the east end, bears a 13-foot-high gilded figure of the angel Moroni.
The temple may be entered only by Mormons, but very detailed models of the spectacular interior are on display at the North visitors' centers that are open to all especially during Memorial Day.
The Natural History Museum of Utah is a wonderful family activity on Memorial Day or something to do on a cold or rainy day in Salt Lake City. Housed in a spectacular copper-clad concrete building with soaring spaces, the museum has more than 40,000 square feet of displays and educational facilities with 1.6 million objects in its collection.
Approximately 5,000 items are on display at any given time, and some of the highlights include the digital globe, dinosaur fossils, and a three-story indoor canyon. There are seven permanent collections including Paleontology, Anthropology, Entomology, Vertebrate Zoology, Mineralogy, Botany, and Malacology (the study of mollusks).
The views from the observation deck out across the city and valley are spectacular.
Next to the Natural History Museum is Red Butte Garden, a very popular attraction with locals. It's worth a stop if you are visiting in spring. The garden is known for its spring blooms.
If you love to ski, Salt Lake City is a destination that should be on your list of places to visit during Memorial Day. Within easy reach of the city are the ski resorts of Park City, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Sundance.
Just up Interstate 80, you'll find the resorts of Park City and Deer Valley. If you prefer smaller resorts, Alta and Snowbird are up the Little Cottonwood Valley via highway 210. Both drives are twisty and scenic, as they take you into the heart of the jagged Wasatch Range. Solitude and Brighton are north over the ridge over in Big Cottonwood Valley, only a few miles away as the crow flies, but over an hour by road.
If you head north of Salt Lake City for about an hour, you'll find two lesser known but still amazing resorts: Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. Snowbasin is an ideal destination if you love skiing but hate crowds. It's rarely too busy, and the lift infrastructure is excellent, as it was one of the host mountains of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Powder Mountain has the largest skiable terrain of all the resorts in the United States and limits the number of skiers on the mountain at 1,000. For those who prefer a smaller and historic ski resort, head an hour south of Salt Lake City to Sundance, started in 1969 and made famous by actor Robert Redford.
For skiers and boarders watching their pennies, Salt Lake City is a great base, with a good assortment of cheap and mid-range hotels and a wide variety of restaurants. This makes SLC a good alternative to staying at the resorts, where you'll pay tourist prices versus local prices in town.
One often overlooked advantage of staying in Salt Lake City is the lower elevation, which will limit the effects of the altitude.
Set 300 feet above the city at the north end of State Street, on Capitol Hill, is the Utah State Capitol. This towering, neoclassical, domed building houses the House of Representatives, Senate, and Supreme Court of Utah.
The interior is known for its marble rotunda, the Golden Room (the Governor's reception room), and a small gallery with changing exhibits. Along the main hallways are wall panels showing the development and history of Utah through the ages.
You can walk the building on your own or make a booking for a guided tour. Be sure to look up to the paintings on the ceiling, and don't miss the view out over the city to the snow-capped mountains from the top of the main exterior staircase during Memorial Day visit.
Capitol Hill is located an easy stroll northeast of Temple Square at the end of State Street. Many of the city's attractions are located here, including the historic Marmalade District.
The tabernacle is a massive oval building with a dome perched on 44 sandstone piers. The sober interior, with seating for over 6,500 people, is noted for its fine acoustics. Free tours are offered throughout the day, and an interesting example of the acoustics is performed. If you are lucky, you may also be able to attend a free performance or recital, which take place on a regular basis.
At the west end is the gallery for the celebrated Tabernacle Choir, and above it is the great organ with an astounding 11,623 pipes.
When, after the Mormons' 1,300-mile-long trek, Brigham Young emerged from Emigration Canyon and saw the valley of his visions, he exclaimed "This is the place!" This park makes an ideal family outing and is just 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City on Memorial Day.
The park traces the history of the early pioneers and settlers to Utah in the mid-19th-century, but some of the fun things to do here include pony rides, train rides, and a splash pad called the Irrigation Station. You can even dig for gold at the Treasure House.
One of the main features at the park is This Is The Place Monument, a huge sculpture created in 1947 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Mormons' arrival in Salt Lake Valley. The park also includes the Old Deseret Village, a living history museum built to resemble a typical mid-19th-century Mormon community.
One of the main buildings in Temple Square is the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Constructed in 1911 and originally known as the Hotel Utah, it was later renamed in honor of the first president of the Mormon Church.
The building is 10 stories high and is made with glazed terra-cotta bricks, which shine in the strong Utah sun. It's well worth stepping inside to see features like the marble columns, art glass, and the grand staircase.
On site are the Legacy Theater, conference rooms, the FamilySearch Center, and three restaurants, including one on the 10thfloor called Rooftop, which offers exceptional views over Temple Square and the city on your Memorial Day visit.