Festival of Trees
Each year, the Festival of Trees at Mountain America Expo Center shows off the talents of professional designers and decorators in the community who take on the task of decorating trees in just 24 hours. This fundraising event for Primary Children’s Hospital is an excellent way to kick off the holiday season with doors open to the public for three days of oohing and ahhing while shopping for small gifts.
Walk the Windows at The Grand America
Get into the holidays by walking through one of Salt Lake’s most elegant hotels. Boutiques within the grounds create breathtaking displays for the holidays season and there's the not-to-be-missed Grand Gingerbread House that can stretch upwards of 15 feet. These special walking tours include hot chocolate and cookies for sale as guests and visitors to the hotel observe these displays. For adult beverages head to the Gibson Girl Lounge, and for something truly special with the family make a reservation for Afternoon Tea in The Lobby before checking out the displays.
Ballet West: The Nutcracker
Visitors and locals alike flock to this annual performance of William Christensen’s The Nutcracker, which highlights the incredible full-length choreography of this classic children’s story. Performances are held throughout the month of December, with special matinee performances every weekend at discounted prices.
Handel’s Messiah Sing-In at Abravanel Hall
A staple of the holiday season in Utah, join the Utah Symphony and locals as they sing along to Handel’s Messiah. Tickets sell out quickly for this limited engagement event, so make sure to buy your tickets well in advance.
Christmas on Temple Square
Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas comes to Temple Square with the lighting of the tree. Daily performances from local and touring groups are free and open to the public all season long inside various buildings on this 35-acre oasis in the center of downtown Salt Lake. The highlight of the event is the annual Christmas Concert with the Tabernacle Choir. The three-day event has limited, free tickets for guests ages 8 and older. However, it is free and easy to tour the grounds and see the lights any night of the season.
Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point
This limited engagement event brings the light and joy of the holiday season to Salt Lake’s South Valley. More than 8,000 lights are used to create a breathtaking display along a mile-long walk in Ashton Gardens. Time slots are available every half hour, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Additional holiday events at Thanksgiving Point abound, so be sure to check for the events that best fit your family and budget.
Christkindlmarkt at This is the Place Heritage Park
Admission is free to this annual Christmas market in Salt Lake’s Foothill District. The historic park transforms for the season with costumes, decorations, treats, sweets, and arts and crafts of all kind available for purchase. The market is open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for one weekend only in December as local and visitors alike get into the spirit of the holiday season. Kid-friendly activities include daily parades, a live nativity, a gnome festival, and more. If you can’t make it to Christkindlmarkt, head for the Holiday Market at Rio Grande where local vendors offer up their wares.
Breakfast with Santa at Gardner Village
A local favorite for celebrating the season, families can enjoy breakfast with Santa and other holiday characters on select days in December at this annual holiday event in Salt Lake.
Winter Solstice Celebration at Red Butte Gardens
A kid-friendly celebration of winter and nature, this annual event commemorates the shortest day of the year with crafts and explorations. This ticketed event is held in the orangerie and includes admission to the rest of the gardens.
ZooLights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo
During the holiday season, Utah’s Hogle Zoo lights up with over 200 lighted animal and holiday-themed displays in the evenings. Guests are invited to make s’mores, sip hot chocolate, and explore the 135-foot tunneled walkway. And the fun doesn’t stop on Christmas Day. Bring the kids and countdown to the New Year (well before midnight) with a special lighted countdown display.
Noon Year’s Eve at Natural History Museum of Utah
Another event to celebrate the New Year that won’t wreck your sleep schedule, Noon Year Eve at the Natural History Museum of Utah is special event for kids and their adults to celebrate the New Year while enjoying hands-on activities, music, and there’s even a countdown complete with confetti in the middle of the day.
Ice Skating at The Gallivan Center
In downtown Salt Lake, the city lights the streets with holiday-themed displays. A lovely spot to learn to skate while enjoying pop music, The Gallivan Center offers skating throughout the winter months along with ice skate rental included for just $5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additional skating venues can be found throughout the valley and include the Olympic-level facilities that are open to the public.
You’ll find holiday markets, festivals, concerts, pop up bars, dance performances, musicals, and more to celebrate the holiday season in Salt Lake. Use the search tool below to see what holiday events you can enjoy during your next winter visit and create new traditions for your family this year.