Join the RioT
Explore the itinerary that will have you watching one of Utah’s two professional soccer teams, then start planning your metro-meets-mountain urban experience.
A soccer game at Rio Tinto Stadium (known as the RioT) in Sandy is the perfect anchor for a trip to Salt Lake City — where big-city amenities easily pair with accessible outdoor recreation.
Salt Lake City is home to two professional soccer teams that share Rio Tinto Stadium:
- Real Salt Lake (Major League Soccer)
- Utah Royals FC (National Women's Soccer League)
These games feature the best of Utah soccer culture, including anthems, flags, tifos, smoke bombs, non-stop drums and scarves held high. The bulk of the action takes place in the various supporter group sections, but the whole stadium radiates energy.
When you're not at the stadium, Salt Lake City and the broader Wasatch Front provides all the landmark establishments, high-rated dining and nightlife, mass transit, creative culture, urban edginess and local events you expect to find in a thriving metro area.
Salt Lake City's official elevation is 4,330 feet and looking to the east, the foothills quickly give way to the airy 11,000+ feet peaks of the Wasatch Mountains, which are perfect for skiing during an early season game, but during the bulk of the season, take to the mountains for hiking, dining, concerts and resort activities.
- Play the Hits: Exploring Salt Lake City's Iconic Sights
- An Afternoon at the Natural History Museum
- Greenbike Pub Crawl
On your first day in town get to know the Salt Lake Crowd through Salt Lake City's dining, drinks and live music. Book a show, check out some live music, sneak in some shopping or just explore the city. If you haven't spent much time in Salt Lake, check out our "Play the Hits" itinerary for all the must-see attractions. A great day for the family though is easy: Head for the foothills to visit the Natural History Museum of Utah and Red Butte Gardens, excellent for adults and kids alike. In the evening, explore some RSL-inspired options for a night on the town.
Find more urban inspiration on Day 4 of this itinerary.
Let this itinerary be your guide to an enlightening three-day tour of the highlights of Utah’s cultural, natural and historical landscapes.
Spanning five floors and tucked along the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, the museum is adjacent to Red Butte Garden, the Intermountain West’s largest botanical garden and part of the University of Utah campus. Follow the author on an afternoon at the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Hook up a day pass on SLC’s shared bike system and ride station-to-station to sample the downtown bar scene and leveled up bar eats. Or rent one of the electric scooters you see around town (Bird or Lime). Don't miss Beer Bar, where RSL goalkeeper and local legend, Nick Rimando is part-owner. Or Proper Brewing, the brewery that brought the world Beckerman’s Brew (a very drinkable lager), named after long-time RSL captain Kyle Beckerman.
- The Caffeinators of Salt Lake
- Head to the RioT
- Shaping Temple Square
Start your day getting to know the city's caffeinated brew scene. Or you might try the RSL player's favorites (you may even see them) The Park Cafe or the Blue Plate Diner. Then take a fantasy journey through a day's worth of indulgence. Visitors to Salt Lake could certain spend a day exploring the best in craft coffee, cuisine and cocktails alongside a chocolate and cheese tasting or a trip to one of multiple local breweries or brewpubs.
Before the big game, first-time visitors might enjoy a trip to Temple Square for a free walking tour of the Temple grounds available in forty languages and frequent performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Then, take the train to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. Alternatively, if you have outdoor ambitions, the city's Cottonwoods Canyons are minutes from the stadium by car, making it easy to combine the hiking, biking, climbing and mountain resort activities with the south valley's array of great restaurants and your trip to the game.
Follow author and former barista Austin Wright as he explores the emergent coffee scene along the path of some of its most dedicated baristas.
Real Salt Lake and the women's side Utah Royals FC plays in the stunning Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. The stadium boasts a mountainous backdrop and is accessible via the blue Trax line's "Sandy Expo" station. At RSL games, go early and eat great BBQ at the America First Credit Union Pavilion.
Temple Square in Salt Lake City is Utah's most popular tourist attraction. The 35-acre area contains more than 15 attractions related to Mormon heritage and beliefs. Whether it’s the rich history, the gorgeous gardens and architecture, or the vivid culture, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.
- Top Salt Lake City Hikes
- Park City Main Street
- Performing Arts
The Cottonwood Canyons offer quick metro-to-mountain access, and the best hiking and mountain biking from Salt Lake City. Check out summer resort activities at Snowbird, or Oktoberfest if you're in town at the right time.
Another way to spend your day in Utah's Wasatch Mountains is to make the 40-minute drive to Park City, where you can hike, cycle or visit the Utah Olympic Park for a day of adventure. Deer Valley Resort also offers great summer activities and concerts.
In the evening, Salt Lake City boasts the metropolitan culture and nightlife of a world-class city — including a complete portfolio of professional performing art companies.
These Salt Lake City hiking and cycling destinations lead into the depths of the glorious, desert mountains and the respite they offer.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Park City's Historic Main Street is the centerpiece of this mountain town, and home to dozens of restaurants, bars and unique local shopping experiences. The town is also packed with other fun things to do that offer visitors the very best of Utah.
Explore a thriving metropolis with amenities and entertainment comparable to cities twice its size — including the professional companies of Ballet West, Utah Symphony, Utah Opera, multiple theater companies and Broadway-style performances.
- The Perfect Meal
- Musical Tour of SLC
With your remaining time in town, take a fantasy journey through a day's worth of indulgence in The Perfect Meal, a story that might help you narrow down your choices — in 2014, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Salt Lake City one of America's 5 New Foodie Cities and things have only gotten bigger and better!
Finish things up with a distillery tour for a behind-the-scenes look at craft distillation in Utah or drop into one of downtown Salt Lake's popular cocktail bars to see these libations put to work.
If you've got one more evening activity in you, check out Salt Lake's music scene. Still need more ideas? Check out our Cool Kids Guide to SLC for the deepest dive.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine recently named Salt Lake City one of America's 5 New Foodie Cities. Settle in for comfort food at historic dives or get gussied up for multi-course wine-pairing dinners over white tablecloth. Relax with award-winning beers or be amazed with cutting-edge modern gastronomic fare.
The business and craft of distilling is booming in the Beehive state. Visitors can experience a growing variety of unique spirits from local fruit brandies to “Valley Tan” whiskey made using best guesses of historic pioneer-era recipes. There’s a diverse and ever-growing spectrum of spirits to suit any palate.
Follow "Bad" Brad Wheeler in the video The Salt of Sound where he tours some of his favorite music venues in downtown Salt Lake City, and plays some blues along the way.