Holiday Events in Salt Lake

Salt Lake during the holidays? Brilliant. It’s our chance to sparkle as the streets light up with celebrations and joy. Whether you’re a local, new in town or just passing through, drop in on our holiday event calendar. You’ll find the festive spirit in every direction, without breaking the bank. Here are just a few of our favorite annual holiday events to check out here in Salt Lake.

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

Giant Gingerbread House 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

Ballet West's Christiana Bennett and Christopher Ruud in "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 at Abravanel Hall

A staple of the holiday season in Utah, join the Utah Symphony as they perform Handel's Messiah. Traditionally a sing-along, this has been changed to a performance only due to the pandemic. Tickets sell out quickly for this limited engagement event, so make sure to buy your tickets well in advance.

Christmas on Temple Square

Cedar of Lebanon Tree at Temple Square

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas comes to Temple Square with turning on the lights. This year there will be displays and limited lights (due to construction). The Salt Lake Tabernacle will have a unique Peace on Earth Christmas Nativity. Other presentations include "The Christ Child" in the Conference Center Theater. It is free and easy to tour the grounds and see the lights any night of the season.

Christkindlmarkt at This is the Place Heritage Park

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

Kids walking with Santa to enjoy 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.

ZooLights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo

Hogle Zoo Lights display

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.

Ice Skating at The Gallivan Center

Night view of the lit up Ice Rink at The Gallivan Center during the holidays

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.

Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point

Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point

This beautiful event brings the light and joy of the holiday season to the South Valley. More than 6,000 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.

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.