Things to do in Salt Lake City Airport

If you have a short or long layover at Salt Lake City Airport and wondering how you’ll find fun things to do to kill time during your layover, we’ve got you covered. Salt Lake City Airport may not be the most exciting airport in the world, but there are still plenty of fun things to do both at and near the airport.

Things to do in Salt Lake City Airport During Layover:

Visit Temple Square

Salt Lake City is known for its beautiful temples, and luckily for travelers, Temple Square is just a short 10-minute drive from the airport. Take a stroll around the square and admire the gorgeous architecture, or take a tour of the iconic Salt Lake Temple.

As the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this 35-acre complex is a must-visit for those interested in history and religion. You can take a free guided tour to learn more about the church’s beliefs and practices, or simply stroll through the beautiful gardens and architecture.

Don’t miss out on seeing the iconic Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years to build and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Utah. You can also catch a performance by the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the nearby Conference Center.

The Mormon Temple is about 9.2 miles from SLC’s West Terminal and a taxi ride can take you 15 to 20 mins as per Google map estimates here.

Please allocate a minimum of one hour to fully experience the grandeur of the Church Architecture, encompassing the distinguished Tabernacle, Church History Museum, Assembly Hall, and the North Visitors Center. Kindly note that a reservation is required to access the temple, so it is advisable to plan ahead.

Guest Services: Call (801) 240-8945 or

You can also read more about Temple tours here.

If you love choir music, you can even book a ticket to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Performance

Visit Great Salt Lake:

Located just 10 miles from the airport, this is a must-see natural wonder that you shouldn’t miss. The lake’s high salt content makes it easy to float on its waters, creating an unforgettable experience for visitors.

Despite hearing that this lake has significantly shrunk since my last visit in 2013, it remains impressively large. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and ranks as the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. Read more on Wikipedia here.

Through I-80, it will take you about 20 to 30 mins to get to the Great Salt Lake on Uber from SLC Airport. See Google Map directions here.

Hike Ensign Peak:

For outdoor enthusiasts, a quick hike to Ensign Peak offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Great Salt Lake. It’s a short and easy trail that can be accessed just a few minutes from the airport.

Located just 9.8 miles from SLC Airport, it will only take you around 20 minutes to reach the base of Ensign Peak, where you can embark on your hiking adventure. This trail, spanning 0.9 miles in total, offers breathtaking views near Salt Lake City, Utah. With its moderate level of challenge, it typically takes an average of 39 minutes to complete. The area is highly sought-after for birdwatching, hiking, and running, so expect to encounter fellow nature enthusiasts along the way.

Find more information on hiking Ensign Peak here.

Visit Big Cottonwood Canyon:

If you have a little more time on your hands, take a scenic drive to Big Cottonwood Canyon, just 32 miles from SLC Airport. The canyon offers stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains and is home to numerous hiking trails, picnic spots, and viewpoints. You can also try your hand at rock climbing or fishing in the nearby streams.

Although you can spend a few minutes, a maximum of 30 minutes, in the Canyon, I recommend allocating at least 2 hours for round-trip travel and possibly up to 3 hours to ensure safety.

Read more about Cottonwood Canyon here.

Visit the Clark Planetarium:

Located in the heart of Salt Lake City, the Clark Planetarium is a must-visit for space lovers. Just a 10-minute drive from SLC Airport, this state-of-the-art facility offers immersive and engaging experiences through its interactive exhibits, dome theatre shows, and educational programs.

The planetarium also features free stargazing events every month, where visitors can use telescopes to view the night sky and learn about constellations, planets, and more.

At the Clark Planetarium, the Hansen Dome Theater stands out as a true gem. It presents captivating, full-dome shows that whisk you away to the vast expanses of the universe. Immerse yourself in these visually stunning shows, made possible by cutting-edge technology. They are not just a visual spectacle, but also an educational journey into the wonders of space and astronomy.

Having been captivated by astronomy, I was really impressed to learn that the planetarium also offers telescope rentals. This allows you to continue enjoying stargazing even after leaving Salt Lake City. It is a great option for those who wish to explore more of Utah’s dark skies.

Read more about the Clark Planetarium here.

Visit the Capital Hill:

For those interested in politics and history, a visit to the Utah State Capitol building is a must. Located less than 15 minutes from the airport, this architectural masterpiece sits atop a hill overlooking Salt Lake City. Take a free guided tour of the building to learn about its history and see some stunning views of the city.

Visit utah state capital hill

The Capitol Hill neighborhood also offers many other attractions such as museums, art galleries, and historic homes. Take a walk around the area and discover its charm.

Check out this list of things to do in Capitol Hill.

Things to do inside Salt Lake City Airport During layover:

Shop at the Duty-Free Stores

If you have some extra time to spare during your layover, why not indulge in some retail therapy? Salt Lake City Airport has a variety of duty-free stores that offer tax-free shopping for travelers. From luxury brands to local souvenirs, there’s something for everyone.

Dine at Local Restaurants

Salt Lake City Airport also boasts a wide range of dining options, from fast food to fine dining. Stop by local favorites such as Millcreek Coffee Roasters or Squatters Pub for a taste of Utah’s cuisine. You can even grab some famous Mormon funeral potatoes at The Bruges Waffles & Frites.

Relax at the Yoga Room

Need some time to unwind and stretch your muscles after a long flight? Head over to the Yoga Room at Salt Lake City Airport. This tranquil space offers mats and props for travelers to use, as well as calming music and instructions on various yoga poses.

Visit the Art Exhibits

Salt Lake City Airport is known for its impressive collection of art installations. Take a self-guided tour through the airport and discover various exhibitions, including sculptures, paintings, and photography. You can even purchase some of the pieces at the airport’s Art Gallery.

Kids Play Areas

Traveling with children? Keep them entertained at one of Salt Lake City Airport’s play areas located in Concourse B and C. These interactive spaces feature climbing structures, games, and other activities to keep kids busy and happy.

Take a Walk on the Airline History Trail

For aviation enthusiasts, Salt Lake City Airport offers an Airline History Trail that showcases the airport’s rich history. Learn about the different airlines that have operated at the airport over the years, and get an up-close look at retired aircrafts such as a Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-3.

Browse the Bookstores

Salt Lake City Airport has a variety of bookstores for travelers to peruse. From national chains like Barnes & Noble to local independent stores, you can find a wide selection of books, magazines, and other reading materials to keep you occupied during your wait.

Take a nap at Minute Suites:

If you have a long layover or need some quiet time, head over to Minute Suites at Salt Lake City Airport. These sleeping suites offer comfortable beds, bedding, and even workstations for travelers to rest and recharge. Read about Minute Suites at Salt Lake City Airport here.

Relax at the Massage Studio

Need to relieve some stress and tension? Visit the XpresSpa at Salt Lake City Airport for a relaxing massage or other spa treatments. You can also purchase some travel-sized beauty products to freshen up before your flight.

Visit the Meditation Room

For a moment of peace and relaxation, visit the airport’s Meditation Room, located in Terminal 2. This serene space offers a quiet sanctuary for travelers to sit, reflect, and meditate before their journey.

Learn about Local Art

Salt Lake City Airport is home to a variety of art installations and exhibits that showcase the local culture and history. Take a self-guided tour through the airport to discover unique pieces of art, including sculptures, paintings, and photographs.

Enjoy a Local Craft Beer

For beer lovers, Salt Lake City Airport offers a great selection of local craft beers at its various restaurants and bars. Take a break from your travels and enjoy a cold brew while waiting for your flight.

Short Layover Activities near Salt Lake City Airport:

Visit Salt Lake City Downtown:

If you have a short layover, take a quick trip to Salt Lake City downtown and explore the city’s unique attractions. Just a short 15-minute drive from the airport, downtown offers plenty of things to do, including shopping, dining, and sightseeing.

Tour the Temple Square

One of Salt Lake City’s most iconic landmarks is the Temple Square, which is home to the famous Salt Lake Temple. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this religious site.

Visit the Red Butte Garden

For nature lovers, a visit to the Red Butte Garden is a must. Located just 20 minutes from the airport, this botanical garden features over 100 acres of beautiful flowers and plants, as well as stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.

Hike Ensign Peak

For a quick outdoor adventure, hike up Ensign Peak to enjoy breathtaking views of Salt Lake City. This short but steep trail is just a 15-minute drive from the airport and offers panoramic views of the entire city.

Explore Clark Planetarium

Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Clark Planetarium offers a fun and educational experience for all ages. Check out their various exhibits, interactive displays, and planetarium shows to learn more about our universe.

Have a drink at Squatters Pub Brewery:

Located just minutes from the airport, Squatters Pub Brewery is a great spot to grab a local beer or cider before your flight. With a cozy atmosphere and delicious food, it’s the perfect place to relax before your travels.

Long layover activities near Salt Lake City Airport:

If you have a longer layover at Salt Lake City Airport, there are even more activities to keep you entertained before your next flight.

Ski or Snowboard in the nearby mountains:

Just a short drive from the airport, you can hit the slopes for some skiing or snowboarding at one of the many ski resorts near Salt Lake City. With world-renowned resorts like Park City and Snowbird, you can experience some of the best winter sports in the country.

Visit Provo:

Take a day trip to Provo, located just an hour south of Salt Lake City. This charming college town offers plenty of activities, including visiting the BYU Museum of Art and hiking in nearby canyons.

Go shopping at The Gateway:

Located in downtown Salt Lake City, The Gateway is a premier outdoor shopping center featuring popular brands and local boutiques. Spend some time browsing through shops and grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.

Enjoy outdoor activities at Liberty Park:

Just a short drive from the airport, Liberty Park is a great place to spend some time outdoors. Take a stroll around the park, enjoy a picnic, or visit the Tracy Aviary to see over 135 different species of birds.

Visit Antelope Island State Park:

Located on the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island State Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including bison, bighorn sheep, and antelope. Take a scenic drive around the island or go for a hike to get some fresh air.

Explore Temple Square:

For a more cultural experience, visit Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. This iconic landmark is home to the famous Salt Lake Temple and offers free tours of the grounds.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.