Things to Do in SLC 2020
Coming to Salt Lake City in February to join us for RootsTech? Maybe you’re spending some extra time while you are in town, or maybe you just want to rediscover your hometown. Either way, here are some fun things to do in SLC when you’re not at RootsTech.
This amazing building, which sits on the high east bench of Salt Lake City, boasts spectacular views of the city and the whole Salt Lake Valley. Here you can explore exhibits about the sky, gems and minerals, the Great Salt Lake, ancient peoples, the traditions of Utah's eight federally recognized tribes, and more.
The museum is open late on Wednesdays until 9:00 p.m. and until 5:00 p.m. every other day. So if you have a free day before or after the conference, the Natural History Museum is a great place to top off your visit.
Located just a short drive from the Salt Palace up Parley’s Canyon, Park City is the self-proclaimed “winter’s favorite town” and features some of the best ways to experience the “greatest snow on earth.” Here you can find all the best outdoor winter activities including snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding (Park City has two world-class ski resorts), snow biking, tubing, cross-country skiing, fly fishing, dog sledding, and more.
Park City is also home to the Utah Olympic Park, where you can explore some of the history of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Also in Park City are numerous museums and historical tours, spas, theater experiences, and more. Explore all of Park City’s offerings here.
Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, this historic block boasts multiple buildings, gardens, and fountains. Home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Temple Square has visitors’ centers, multiple dining options, the FamilySearch Center, and the Family History Library.
When visiting Temple Square, be sure to get a tour of the Church Office Building. Here, from the 26th floor of one of the tallest buildings in the city, you can find an observation deck with spectacular views.
You can also further your genealogy research at the Family History Library.
Another thing not to miss: you can attend the public rehearsal of the world-renowned Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square (formerly known as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir) in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle. This amazing building was built as a gathering place, and to avoid the use of pillars the early Utah residents used bridge-building techniques to construct the roof. This architectural masterpiece is a must-see.
The Spiral Jetty is a unique earthwork created in 1970. This epic, Instagram-worthy spot is a bit outside the city, but if you have the time it is well worth the trip. The spiral was created on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake, where artist Robert Smithson used over six thousand tons of black basalt rock to form a counterclockwise spiral off the shore and into the water. So head up north, bring your camera, and take in one of the most unique spots in Utah.
Located just across the street from the Salt Palace, City Creek Center features world-class shopping and dining options, a retractable roof, indoor and outdoor space, and multiple fountains created by the same company that did the Bellagio fountains.
One unique draw to City Creek Center is the water features. Running year-round are two 18-foot waterfalls; three fountains; and a manmade, self-circulating reproduction of the original creek that ran through the city. The largest fountain, named Transcend, features shows at the top of every hour with special shows at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. After dusk, these shows also include “magical fire accents.”
Located down the street from the Salt Palace, the Clark Planetarium is a great place to literally escape the world. Explore exhibits dedicated to the sky for free! Optional tickets allow you to see shows in three different theaters, including an IMAX and dome theater.
The Leonardo Museum in Library Square is a great place for people of all ages to explore immersive experiences and exhibits covering subjects from science to engineering, art, math, and more. Unique to the Leonardo, you will also find “make spaces.” These areas allow visitors to create and apply what they’ve learned and experienced in the exhibits.
The Leonardo also boasts multiple art installations for attendees to view and sometimes interact with.
Many of the venues of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City are still in use, including the Utah Olympic Oval. The Olympic Oval is reputed as the “fastest ice on earth” and boasts more Olympic world records than anywhere else. Here you can skate on the world-class ice or learn how to curl.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is open late on Wednesdays until 9:00 p.m. and until 5:00 p.m. every other day, and it is easily accessible by TRAX. Here you can walk through fine-art displays from all around the world, covering modern and contemporary styles. The diverse displays offer attendees opportunities to view nearly 20,000 original works of art.
Attend the Theater
According to a 2016 study performed by the Americans for the Arts, Utahans attend more performing arts events than residents of any other state in the nation. Because of this, there are numerous locations and performances happening the week of RootsTech. Here are just a few:
Adjacent to the Salt Palace is Abravanel Hall. This beautiful venue is home to the Utah Symphony and was built with superior acoustics in mind, meaning there are no right angles and only wooden floors.
During the weekend of RootsTech, the Utah Symphony is performing Singing in the Rain in concert. Their website explains: “Celebrate the 65th anniversary of the ‘Greatest Movie Musical of all time’ (American Film Institute) with Arthur Freed’s lyrics and Nacio Herb Brown’s music performed live by the Utah Symphony. Enjoy award-winning performances from Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds on the big screen as the orchestra plays the music live to picture. You may find yourself dancing to your car with a smile on your face. Umbrellas optional!”
If you are a theater buff, you will not want to miss the opportunity to attend a show at the Hale Center Theater in Sandy. Just a 20-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City, this theater is truly unique and boasts two separate stages, including a truly unique circular stage with 47 moving pieces of machinery powered by an impressive 130 motors. Patrons of this theater can expect cutting-edge technology, amazing costuming, phenomenal casting, and more—all encased in an intimate theater experience you will want to repeat again and again.
While you are here for RootsTech, you can experience the regional premiere of Bright Star, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, with live bluegrass musicians in the 467-seat traditional proscenium stage, the Jewel Box Theatre. Playing on the 900-seat Center Stage Theatre, you will find another fun musical, Strictly Ballroom the Musical, with a live band, outrageous costumes, and unforgettable music. Both musicals are sure to offer experiences you will never forget.
The Utah Jazz basketball team is currently in its 41st season in Salt Lake City after moving from New Orleans in the summer of 1979. Their home was newly renovated in 2017 and features comfortable seating options wherever your seat is. The arena was originally completed in 1991 and has hosted two NBA Finals, the 1993 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 1999 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and multiple events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
While you are in town for RootsTech, consider attending one of three home games for the Utah Jazz. They take on the Suns on February 24th at 7:00 p.m., the Celtics on the 26th at 8:00 p.m., and the Wizards on the 28th at 7:00 p.m. Also that week at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, you can see performances by TobyMac, Ludacris, and Blake Shelton, so there is something for everyone!
We are so excited to continue celebrating #RootsTech10Years with you leading up to RootsTech 2020 on February 26–29, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Haven't registered yet? Register today! And don't forget to follow us on social media! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.