Six Fabulous Reasons to Spend Your Holidays in Utah

Posted in Planning Smart
by Amber on December 4, 2013

Sure, you could take an exotic sun-kissed beach vacation over winter break but for this Canadian-born lassie, Christmas is synonymous with snow. And palm trees strewn in lights just don’t do it for me.

That's why I'm thrilled my family will be spending our Christmas break with my husband's family in Salt Lake City. Not only will be get some quality cousin time but here are six things on our bucket list.

1) Ski. Utah has 11 resorts within an hour of Salt Lake International Airport so the ski is the limit. We love 3,300-acre Park City Mountain Resort for its epic terrain, top-notch ski school, Snowbugs and Adventure Alleys for kids through the trees and renowned powder days! PCMR also has a full holiday line-up with Santa’s Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade down the mountain and yuletide festivities at Town Lift Plaza along with oodles of on-the-snow fun. Channel Dasher and Dancer as you careen down the resort’s zipline and alpine coaster or head over to Gorgoza Park for lift-serviced tubing and mini snowmobile racing around a track. If you’re a real adrenaline junkie and don’t mind dropping $200, the Comet Bobsled ride at nearby Utah Olympic Park generates up to 4-5 times the force of gravity.

2) Want an almost guaranteed winter wonderland? In December, the Historic Park City District will host a number of events, classes and activities to celebrate the festive season in a beautiful mountain setting. Many events are free to the public and open to all ages (see the full winter calendar here). On Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m., welcome Santa, Rudolph and the other reindeer to Park City when Santa Comes Down the Town Lift  to an evening filled with holiday treats and revelries. Also, shop 'til you drop! Park City has more than 100 unique shops and boutiques, art galleries and specialty stores, not to mention an equally impressive line-up of restaurants.

3) Temple Square. If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, Temple Square in Salt Lake City will send you into overdrive. The headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has literally thousands of festive lights, nativities, lanterns and garlands that set the city ablaze. In addition to the visual feast, the Church organizes a lineup of holiday concerts and other events that offer visitors acoustic experiences full of holiday cheer.

4) Downtown Salt Lake City. There are so many things to do in the areas surrounding Temple Square. Be sure to go across the street to the Joseph Smith Memorial building and take the elevator to the top floor for breathtaking views of Temple Square. If you're hungry, dine at elegant The Roof Restaurant or the more casual Garden Restaurant. Another favorite haunt is the Lion House, which is the historical home of Brigham Young that has been converted into a restaurant near Temple Square. Even if you don't have time, stop by for a quick history lesson and grab some of their world-famous rolls from their bakery (I dream about them. Daily). Across the street, the newish City Creek Center offers upscale open-air shopping with frequent visits from Santa. If you're curious about your ancestors, the Family History Library has one of the most extensive catalog of materials in the world and genealogists are on-hand to help of charge!

5) Grand America Hotel. Though we'll be staying with family, I'm thrilled my generous in-laws are treating us to the Christmas Eve breakfast brunch at the Grand America Hotel, the only AAA Five Diamond hotel in Salt Lake City. The special buffet will be in addition to their standard brunch menu. With the hotel's amazing display of gingerbread houses, whimsical holiday displays in the windows of the retail shops and free treats for kids, I'm hoping this will become a regular Johnson family tradition.

6) Thanksgiving Point. Just 20 minutes south in Lehi, this nonprofit farm, garden, and museum complex draws upon the natural world to cultivate transformative family learning. My kids are huge fans of the Museum of Ancient Life that boasts one of the world’s largest displays of mounted dinosaurs with 60 complete dinosaur skeletons in our galleries, along with more than 50 hands-on exhibits. I love the gift shops and Emporium, the largest home accessory and furniture stores in the valley with 13,000 square feet of accessories.  Free holiday activities at Thanksgiving Point include live reindeer on the plaza and ice sculpting demonstrations.

For more information about Utah's holiday activities, be sure to go to or




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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Killiington Resort and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' will receive compensation for their participation as an author.