Maegan Kasteler | Dec 13, 2018

Things to Do in SLC While You Are Not at RootsTech

Are you visiting Salt Lake for the first time for RootsTech? Or has it been a while since you've been to the city? Maybe you're trying to rediscover your hometown. No matter what your circumstance, while you are here enjoying RootsTech, there are plenty of things to do in the city in the evenings and bookending your conference visit. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Natural History Museum of Utah

This amazing building sitting on the high east bench of Salt Lake boasts spectacular views of the city and the whole Salt Lake Valley. Here you can explore exhibitions about the sky, gems and minerals, the Great Salt Lake, ancient peoples, and the traditions of Utah's 8 federally recognized tribes.

The Museum is open late on Wednesdays (until 9 p.m.) and closes at 5 p.m. every other day. If you have a free day before or after the conference, the Natural History Museum is a great place to top off your visit.

Park City

Located just a short drive from the Salt Palace up Parleys Canyon, Park City is 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 winter outdoor activities, including snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding (Park City has 2 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.

Temple Square

Located in the heart of downtown, 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 boasts two visitors’ centers, multiple dining options, the Church History Museum, the FamilySearch Center, and the Family History Library.

When visiting Temple Square, be sure to take a tour of the Church Office Building. Here, from the 26th floor of one of the tallest buildings in the city, you find an observation deck with spectacular views of the valley.

You can also use Temple Square as a way to further your genealogy research at the Family History Library.

Another must-see? 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 something you won't want to miss.

City Creek Center

Located just across the street from the Salt Palace, City Creek Center features world-class shopping and dining options (to explore more great food in Salt Lake, check out our blog post here), a retractable roof, indoor and outdoor space, and multiple water fountains.

The City Creek Center water features were created by the same company that did the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. Running year-round are two 18-foot waterfalls, 3 fountains, and a man-made, 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 p.m. and 9 p.m. After dusk these shows also include "magical fire accents."

Clark Planetarium

Located down the street from the Salt Palace, the Clark Planetarium is a great place to escape the world. Explore a gift shop as well as exhibits dedicated to the sky for free. Optional tickets allow you to see shows in three different theaters, including an IMAX and dome theatre.

The Leonardo

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 and engineering to art, math, and more. Unique to The Leonardo you will also find "make spaces." These areas allow visitors to create and apply what they have learned and experienced in the exhibits.

The Leonardo also boasts multiple art installations for attendees to view and sometimes interact with.

Olympic Oval

Many of the venues of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake are still in use, including the Utah Olympic Oval. The Olympic Oval is reputed to be 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.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is open late on Wednesdays (until 9 p.m.) and 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.

Theaters and Live Performances

Utahans (according to a 2016 study performed by the Americans for the Arts) attend more performing arts events than any state in the nation. Because of this, there are numerous locations and performances happening the week of RootsTech. Here are just a few:

Eccles Theater

If you are a fan of the theater, you won't want to miss the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. Within walking distance of the Salt Palace, the Eccles Theater boasts a 2,500-seat performance hall. After opening in October of 2016, the Eccles Theater hosted over 197 performances and more than 350,000 patrons in its first year alone.

The week of RootsTech, you can head over to the Eccles Theater for the national Broadway tour of Wicked.

Abravanel Hall

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 wood floors.

The weekend of RootsTech the Utah Symphony is performing Casablanca in Concert. Their website explains, "Widely regarded as a landmark in American cinema, don’t miss your chance to experience Casablanca in a whole new way. Watch all the drama unfold as the Utah Symphony performs Max Steiner’s moving score live while the entire film plays on the big screen."

Hale Center Theater

If you are a theater buff, you will not want to miss the opportunity to attend a show at the Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy. Just a 20-minute drive from downtown SLC, 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 experience again and again.

While you are here for RootsTech, you can experience the Tony Award-winning musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder in the 467-seat traditional proscenium stage, the Jewel Box Theatre. Playing on the 900-seat Center Stage Theater you will find another Tony Award-winning musical, An American in Paris. Both musicals are sure to offer experiences you will never forget.

Utah Jazz Basketball Game

The Utah Jazz are currently in their 40th season in Salt Lake after moving from New Orleans in the summer of 1979. Their home is the newly-renovated Vivint SmartHome Arena, which features comfortable seating options wherever your seat is. The arena was originally completed in 1991 and has hosted two NBA Finals, as well as the 1993 NBA All-Star Weekend, the 1999 US Figure Skating Championships, and multiple events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

While you are in town for RootsTech, consider attending one of two home games for the Utah Jazz. They take on the Los Angeles Clippers on February 27 at 7 p.m., and the Milwaukee Bucks on March 2 at 7 p.m.

Maegan Kasteler

Recent Posts

RootsTech London Day in Review: A Talent for Genealogy

Donny Osmond closes out RootsTech London 2019 with inspiring stories of family history.
Elizabeth Miller | Oct 26, 2019

RootsTech London Day in Review: Sharing Our Stories and Overcoming the Odds

Kadeena Cox and Steve Rockwood share stories of courage, determination, and overcoming adversity at the RootsTech London 2019 General Session.
Elizabeth Miller | Oct 25, 2019