Summer in Salt Lake really shines. Sure, we may be known for our skiing (and rightfully so), but our summertime outdoor recreation, dining, sports and festivals sizzle. To help you start dreaming up your next vacation, we’ve got your warm-weather itinerary inspiration—from hiking and biking to can’t-miss eateries and fun-for-every-age events.

The Entrance to Antelope Island

#1 SLC Summer Stop: Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island 

Not only is it the city’s namesake lake, but it’s also the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. In other words, the Great Salt Lake is kind of a big deal. Stretching over 1,700 square miles, this unique landscape and diverse wildlife habitat offers endless opportunities for exploration.

Explore the history and beauty of the lake at Antelope Island State Park — the lake’s biggest island and the largest state park in Utah. It’s also home to the state’s biggest animal—a whole herd, in fact. Beyond the bison, Antelope Island is a great place to go for a hike, rent an e-bike, or test the buoyancy of the salty water as you get up close and personal with the lake's most interesting (and nearly sole) inhabitant: the brine shrimp. 

To make it the best stop on your summer vacation try a guided 1-day tour, which includes free hotel pickup and drop-off from downtown. 

Patio at Van Ryder

#2 SLC Summer Stop: Outdoor Patios to Eat and Drink Alfresco

Summer in Salt Lake is prime patio season, and nothing beats golden hour with a great view and a cold drink. As you explore, you’ll discover each neighborhood’s own distinct vibe. 

For an elevated experience near the Capitol, may we suggest Arlo, a seasonal produce driven restaurant with an intimate patio. In Sugarhouse, hit up Wasatch Brew Pub for refreshing brews and tasty bites. Oasis Cafe near downtown offers delectable cafe are with vegan and vegetarian options in a hidden garden setting. For a more casual hang downtown, grab some nachos on Gracie’s patio, which features live music or a DJ most nights. For unbeatable views, catch the sunset at a rooftop bar, like Van Ryder. Regardless of your preferred cuisine or budget, Salt Lake has an idyllic patio spot reserved just for you.

Zip line at Utah Olympic Park

#3 SLC Summer Stop: Sports Stadiums, Olympic Venues and Rodeos

Salt Lake is a buzzing sports destination, so join our fans while you’re in town. The Salt Lake Bees' minor league baseball stadium is incredibly scenic and conveniently located downtown. Salt Lake is also home to an MLS team, Real Salt Lake, and a National Women’s Soccer League team, Utah Royals FC, who share a field.

Or, harness the magic of the Winter Olympics at various venues throughout the valley. At Utah Olympic Park, summer activities include an alpine slide, extreme tubing, ziplines and more. Even better, the ropes adventure course is included in the Connect Attractions Pass  Pro tip: don’t miss the Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle Show, featuring professional skiers and snowboarders performing exhilarating jumps and tricks before splashing into a pool. 

Salt Lake also hosts two summer rodeos, the PRCA Western Stampede Rodeo over Fourth of July weekend and the Utah Days of ‘47 Rodeo, as part of the state’s Pioneer Day celebrations centered around July 24th.

#4 SLC Summer Stop: Nearby Lakes and Reservoirs for a Day on the Water

Beat the heat at one of many nearby lakes and reservoirs. Less than an hour’s drive will get you to the shores of East Canyon State Park, Deer Creek State Park, Willard Bay State Park, Jordanelle State Park and Utah Lake State Park, just to name a few. Plus, all the above offer a variety of boat and watercraft rentals, so all you have to bring is sunscreen.

Sandy Hot Air Balloon Festival

#5 SLC Summer Stop: Any One of Our Lively Festivals and Events

The diversity of Utah's capital is mirrored in the eclectic mix of events on deck for the summer. 

Foodies will love the Downtown Farmer’s Market, which takes place in Pioneer Park every Saturday starting June 1st. If live music is more your jam, check out the Twilight Concert Series, featuring nationally recognized and up-and-coming artists at shows throughout the summer. Utah Pride, one of the country’s largest pride festivals, takes over the streets of downtown the first weekend of June. Art aficionados won’t want to miss the Utah Arts Festival the last weekend of June. 

Make the most of a long holiday weekend for the Fourth of July, when celebrations include parades, carnivals, fireworks and drone shows. Later in the month, Utahns celebrate Pioneer Day with equal enthusiasm, complete with a parade, rodeo and the less traditional food and drink of ‘Pie and Beer Day’.

In August, Craft Lake City gives local makers the chance to show off their skills, the Sandy Hot Air Balloon Festival takes off and Snowbird’s Oktoberfest raises a glass as one of Utah’s longest-running cultural events.

Mountain Coaster at Snowbird

#6 SLC Summer Stop: The Wasatch Mountains for Alpine Adventure

No list of summer favorites in Salt Lake is complete without a mention of the mountains. On hot days, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons offer a cool retreat and adventurous activities. 

Hike to an alpine lake, load up your mountain bike for some lift-assisted downhill riding, or hop aboard (or atop) the world-famous Snowbird Tram for panoramic views from the peak.

Local ski resorts transition into summer mode, with everything from mountain coasters, adventure parks and concerts to outdoor pools and yoga classes.

Don’t miss the bright blooms of the Wasatch Wildflower Festival, taking place at the four major ski areas throughout the month of July.

#7 SLC Summer Stop: Breweries by Bike

As a mountain metro, Salt Lake is known for both its expansive bike trail network and bike-friendly streets. Take in valley views from the accessible Bonneville Shoreline Trail or cruise through the welcome shade of interconnected Memory Grove Park and City Creek Canyon.

The best way to end an epic ride is with a cold glass of something crisp, sour or hazy. You may be surprised to discover Salt Lake has built a thriving craft beer scene. To do your own research, you’ll simply have to visit a few of the breweries that call the valley home. Snag a Salt Lake Brewery Pass to get the most bang for your buck.

From the natural beauty of its surroundings to the hip happenings in town, the best part about a summer trip to Salt Lake is creating an adventure that’s all your own. Get the best deal on Salt Lake's unique summer attractions with this Salt Lake Pass.