Salt Lake City is a beautiful city situated in the Wasatch Mountains in the northern portion of Utah. It’s named for … you guessed it… the giant Great Salt Lake, which is the largest salt lake in the northern hemisphere and the 8th largest lake in the world! This is a beautiful city to visit and is a great jumping-off point for your adventures through the rest of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and even Montana. The scenery in and around the city is absolutely jaw-dropping and you won’t regret spending a day of your trip here.
We flew into Salt Lake City before our Yellowstone and Grand Teton trip back in 2020. Flying into SLC was sooo much cheaper than any of the airports near the national parks and renting a car was very affordable. It also made our trip that much easier! The weather in September was magnificent and we loved seeing the foliage begin to turn in this portion of Utah. So, how did we spend a day in Salt Lake City?
Grab your Google Notes and start writing… let’s talk about the best one day Salt Lake City Itinerary!
Table of Contents
Why spend one day in SLC?
Flying into a major city just to spend one day? What’s the point…?! If you’re like us, you may be choosing Salt Lake City as your “hub” when traveling out west to the national parks or surrounding areas. This is a great option, because SO MANY national parks and sites are within a day’s drive (or less) from SLC. We wanted to see the city without feeling like we were taking away time from what we really came to do: hike, explore, see animals. We had about 24 hours in Salt Lake City on the day we arrived. I think we got a good feel for the city and were able to see the “major” sites we wanted to see.
It’s often cheaper to fly into a major airport like Salt Lake versus the smaller airports surrounding the national parks like Jackson Hole and Glacier National Park. The drive to the parks is *kinda* long (it took us about 6 hours to get to Grand Teton) but it’s very scenic and so, so worth it.
With that being said, if you fly into Salt Lake early in the morning or late at night and stay 1 night in a hotel, you can explore the city before taking off on your next adventure. I highly recommend going this route because we LOVED SLC! We aren’t “city” people so seeing it in one day was the perfect amount of time for us.
How to get to SLC
Salt Lake City has an international airport that services many airlines and major cities. We were able to get a flight with one stop from Raleigh, NC. Flying from NYC, Chicago, DC, or Atlanta will most likely get you a direct flight!
For my west coast friends, it’s a day’s drive from many major cities.
Salt Lake is:
- 8 hours from Denver
- 5 hours from Boise
- 6 hours from Las Vegas
- 11 hours from San Francisco
Park City, UT is a short 40 minutes away and you’re about 5 hours from the “big 5” national parks in the southwest portion of Utah.
Getting around Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is a relatively small city and easy to navigate around.
My recommendation? Rent a car! If Salt Lake City is just a stop before the rest of your trip, driving a car around the beautiful state of Utah and surrounding states is absolutely the way to go.
Don’t want to rent a car? No worries! You can always use a ride sharing service, like Uber or Lyft, or use the public transportation! The Utah Transit Authority provides trains, buses, and light-rails that are available from the airport all the way to Ogden, UT.
TRAX is their light-rail system that services access throughout downtown. The buses will get you around downtown to any light-rail line as well as from the airport and to the greater Salt Lake City areas. Visiting during ski season? The bus can take you to Park City and many other ski areas in near SLC.
What to pack
The weather in Utah is absolutely glorious. You experience all 4 seasons in the most magical way. Fall and spring are very mild with low humidity and temperatures in the 50s-60s. Winter is a true winter with an average of 54 inches of snow per year.However, the summer does get rather hot, with highs in the low 90s!
The best time to visit Utah for a one day visit is late spring or early fall. You’ll be very comfortable walking around the city with the mild temperature!
Here’s a short list of things not to forget for a quick visit to Salt Lake City:
- A pullover – the weather can get chilly at night!
- Rain jacket – just always bring one… it always rains when you don’t have it, ha!
- Comfortable shoes – SLC is VERY walkable. Avoid the taxis and just use your own 2 feet!
- A cute hat – protect that face from the sun, my friend!
Where to stay in Salt Lake City
Whether you enjoy a familiar brand to rack up points, a luxury stay, or a funky boutique hotel, Salt Lake City has more than enough options for a cozy stay!
The Grand America Hotel
One of the only 5-star hotels in Salt Lake, this is a great place to land if you want to be in the center of the action with luxury amenities about. Despite being a 5-star option, it’s surprisingly easy on the wallet!
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City
A part of IHG’s portfolio, Kimpton Hotels are known for being trendy and welcoming. Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City is no exception! A great choice if you love inspired design and don’t want to take a chance on quality–Kimptons are solid through and through.
Book with me to receive exclusive perks:
- $50 USD value-added amenity (hotel credit)
• Upgrade to next room category (subject to availability)
• Late check-out 2:00 pm (based on availability)
• Bottled water and fresh fruit / snacks in room upon arrival
• VIP level added to guest profile
• Turn down service
Inquire via email below.