With shorter days comes the countdown to ski and snowboarding movie premiers, pumpkin spice lattes, and (best of all) Opening Day. Being that it’s still sweltering outside and winter days are seemingly far off, it’s not too late to add new memories and experiences to your summer. Check out this list of activities around Salt Lake City and Utah for your next family day, solo outing, girls’ night, or date night.
You may be unaware, but Snowbird actually hosts one of Utah’s longest-running cultural events each year: Oktoberfest. Since 1973, Snowbird has provided beer lovers with an alpine escape to enjoy cooler temps and beautiful fall foliage, all while sipping delicious libations and sampling authentic German fare. This year’s 46th annual Oktoberfest will continue to offer a huge number of diversions for kids and adults in addition to over 50 beers, wine, and a Jägermeister tent. The festival will run Saturdays and Sundays starting August 18 through October 21st and the Monday of Labor Day. Definitely, don’t miss the Major League Eating (MLE) sanctioned bratwurst eating contest on August 25th when professional eaters and amateurs alike will stuff as many brats into their bellies as possible in a ten-minute period.
If cramming meat into your gullet isn’t your style, consider participating in the Cirque Series Snowbird Race on September 8th. This grueling race challenges runners in an 8.7-mile course with 3,566 feet of climbing. If you prefer to earn your beer, this would be a rugged diversion before heading off to Oktoberfest to celebrate completing such an insane feat! More on the Cirque Series and trail running here.
While visiting Oktoberfest, make a day of it and head up early to take advantage of scenic tram rides, the climbing wall, hiking, mountain biking on the Big Mountain Trail, a spa treatment, or testing your physical fitness in the new Woodward Wrecktangle. Each Oktoberfest will be accompanied by local vendors, live music, ample food options, and the haunting call of the Alpenhorns atop Hidden Peak at 3:15 each day.
A great way to spend a summer Sunday is to head on up to Snowbasin Resort for activities aplenty and their always free Blues, Brews, & BBQ concert series. The concerts run every Sunday, June 10th through September 30th on the expansive lawn and patio behind Earl's Lodge at the Snowbasin base area. Make room in your belly by taking a hike, playing a round of disc golf, or enjoying the 26 miles of mountain biking trails before making a beeline for the lawn to grab great seats.
Musical acts begin at approximately 12:00 pm and typically, three bands or acts will run through 5:30 pm. The headlining band will usually begin their set around 4:00 pm. Kids will discover games and activities and Snowbasin’s award-winning BBQ will satisfy hungry patrons as they enjoy the ambiance and cool air on the lawn. Bring your own chairs and blankets for this festival-style event. Leashed dogs are also welcome to attend.
The 2018 Beaver Mountain Music Festival will encompass the sounds of 31 artists, ranging from funk to indie, electronica, and bluegrass. Running August 17-18th the Main Stage will host artists as guests sprawl, relax, or dance on the lawn of the Face Lift ski run. The Forest Stage, surrounded by tall pines, will provide a completely different experience. A top-notch lighting and sound crew will be on hand to guarantee a truly fantastic experience in the mountains. When not jamming out, guests can take advantage of mountain bike trails, a miniature halfpipe and skating competitions, and temporary art installations. Kids will find amusement in the Adventure Zone bounce houses, carnival games, nature walks and educational programs, face painting, and the opportunity to try out various musical instruments with the On Chord Academy.
Pack up the camper or your tent and enjoy a night or two under the stars. Beaver Mountain offers onsite camping and RV hookups and there are an ample number of off-site locations in the National Forest area surrounding the ski area. Purchase tickets in advance for a discount.
In this climate of political tumult, sometimes the only antidote is laughter, and you’re guaranteed a bellyful at the Salt Lake Acting Company’s 40th rendition of their annual production of Saturday’s Voyeur. Bring your own food or picnic (seriously) to this cabaret-style show that aims to lampoon and add levity to current events on both the national and local scale. While irreverently poking fun at all the oddities that make Utah special and unique, the Salt Lake Acting company manages to provide satirical relief and witty commentary on current events and happenings. The decidedly silly atmosphere reminds us all to take time for a little comedic relief now and then. The 2018 show will run June 27th through September 2nd; be sure to book tickets well in advance, as this popular show often sells out.
The Twilight Concert Series will make a lauded return to the downtown Gallivan Arts Center in Salt Lake City for the summer of 2018. Back in the autumn of 2017, the future of the beloved concert series was uncertain due to budgeting concerns, organizational challenges, and the mounting cost of security at Pioneer Park. Local group, Broadway Media, thankfully stepped in and saved the day, pulling together a last minute, star-studded lineup and relocating the action to the Gallivan Center. Concert-goers will enjoy far more food and dining options with better access to bars and restaurants downtown once the music shuts down. Tickets should be purchased for $10 in advance directly from Twilight’s website, as it is likely most shows will sell out. The lineup includes Diplo, Snoop Dogg, King Princess, Flora Cash, and more. Shows will run Thursdays starting August 16th and extend through September 13th. The sun won’t set on this 30-year-old Salt Lake tradition just yet!
Early in the morning on a misty September weekend, more than 20 hot air balloons gather for a free and inspiring spectacle. The 5th annual Autumn Aloft event celebrates color, form, and the carefree nature of mountain living with morning hot air balloon parades on September 15th and 16th and an evening Candlestick procession on Main Street on the 15th. While rides aren’t available to the public, the sight is worth waking up early for. You never know which forms the balloons will take and it’s an especially perfect event for awe-struck children or avid photographers. You may run across Donald Duck, jack-o-lanterns, a winsome frog, a gremlin, or Mr. Peanut.
Since the day’s festivities wrap up by 10 am, you can easily head over to Park City Mountain and wear yourself out with their many summer activities. The Adventure Park is best suited to families seeking adrenaline while miles and miles of perfect singletrack beckon to mountain bikers. Intermediate/advanced riders won’t want to pass up the Mid Mountain Loop, an IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) Epic rated trail. There are also scenic lift rides, zip tours, golf, and a multitude of hiking trails. Wrap up your day with a delicious meal on Main Street and catch the Candlestick procession afterward!
If you're looking for additional family-friendly activities, you'll want to read Brooke's Top 10 Activities for Kids at Utah resorts.