As the days get shorter and the cold sets in, it’s easy to see the holiday season is in full swing throughout the Salt Lake Valley. And though it is possible to fall into a winter slump as soon as the snow starts falling, there are tons of fun holiday activities to enjoy both indoors and outdoors across the Wasatch Front. From window shopping, horseback riding, Christmas markets, and more, there are plenty of options for fun-seekers of all ages. Grab your friends, family, a coat and a quality pair of boots, here are the activities that can’t be missed this holiday season. 

Experience the Old World Charm of Christmas Markets

Experience the magic of the holiday season at Kriskindlemardt SLC, a unique shopping and cultural experience inspired by the festivity of the world famous German Christmas markets at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Free to the public and open on November 29th, 30th and December 1st, 2nd from 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM, visitors of all ages can stroll through the wooden vendor booths, indulge in delicious holiday food, and enjoy festive holiday entertainment like singing, dancing, and more. Alternatively, head to the winter market at the The Gateway for a variety of local baked goods, chocolate, art, crafts, and more.

See the Grand Gingerbread House at The Grand America Hotel

One of the best places in Salt Lake City to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Christmas is at The Grand America Hotel. Each year, the hotel’s many boutiques go above and beyond to create the most jaw-dropping holiday window displays as well as a towering gingerbread house towering over 15 feet tall. The displays are free to enjoy throughout the month of December.  

Step Back In Time At Candlelight Christmas

Leave the hustle and bustle of the present behind and become immersed in the enchanting festivities of pioneer times at Candelight Christmas, open on December 7th - 23rd from 5:00 - 9:00 PM at This is The Place Heritage Park. Say hello to Father Christmas, watch the live Nativity scene, and enjoy the beautiful melodies of The Heritage Village Carolers while cozying up by the fire. Tickets are $9.95/adults, $8.95/seniors (65+), $7.95/children (3-11), and free/children (2 and under), though admission is included with season passes. 

Shop for Christmas Gifts at The Gift Shop and ZCMI Mercantile

Looking for the perfect gift for friends and family? Look no further than The Gift Shop at the Visitors Center and the ZCMI Mercantile at This is The Place Heritage Park. From handmade jewelry, locally-sourced honey, world-famous “Pioneer Jam” and other Utah-themed souvenirs and tasty treats, there’s a gift sure to make any recipient smile. Visit the shops during Candlelight Christmas, Kriskindlemardt, or during a day at the park, all winter long. After shopping, head to the Huntsman Grill for a hearty meal sure to satisfy any appetite! 

See The Lights At Temple Square

A holiday in Salt Lake City isn’t complete without a trip to see the lights at Temple Square. Free to the public, the lights are switched on the day after Thanksgiving and continue to shine bright until the New Year from 3:30 - 10:00 PM and from 6:00 - 8:00 AM. It’s been reported that over one million Christmas lights are lit during the Christmas season at Temple Square. 

Go On A Winter Horseback Ride

There’s no better way to experience the chill of the winter season than bundled up on the back of a horse. Starting at just $75/person, hour-long trail rides are available from November 1st on Thursdays through Saturdays at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Led by experienced wranglers, these rides will take you through gorgeous canyons and valleys blanketed by Utah’s “greatest snow on Earth.” Ride fair also serves as admission to the park, where visitors can experience a range of daily activities like panning for gold, visiting the petting zoo, and exploring the Native American village.

Christmas is a time for joy, celebration, and spending quality time with friends and family, and any one of these holiday activities is the perfect new tradition for you and your family. So why not make this year extra special and plan a trip to explore all of the holiday festivities across the valley? The holidays will be here before you know it, don’t miss out! For tickets to Candlelight Chistmas or horseback rides at This Is The Place Heritage park, visit thisistheplace.org.