One of the greatest parts about the holidays is the keeping of tradition with your family, but sometimes it’s best to take an adventure so you can make new traditions! Salt Lake City has no shortage of awesome family activities for the season. Here are the top ten holiday attractions according to USA Today.

It’s so nice to live in or visit a larger city at the holidays and have so many options for Christmas activities.  Salt Lake City, Utah provides just that, in a picture perfect setting, with the beautiful snow-capped Wasatch Mountain range on the east providing a beautiful backdrop.  The downtown is energized with seasonal spirit, wtih many people choosing to stroll around the beautifully decorated Temple Square, with its numerous lights and beautiful nativity scenes.  Horse-drawn carriages carrying blanketed riders pass shop-keepers’ themed windows.  

Music is such a large part of the season and the Utah Symphony provides that in two different ways.  First, accompanying the professional ballet company Ballet West in their multiple showings of The Nutcracker at the Capitol Theatre, and secondly, in their own concert at Abravenel Hall, in the “Messiah” Sing-In.  Fulfill your inner dancer and singer by attending these two very inspiring shows.

Finish your holiday shopping while browsing the beautiful City Creek Centerdowntown or step back in time and to Salt Lake City’s beginnings by meandering the old fashioned village buildings at This is the Place Heritage Park and purchase handmade items or make your own while hearing carolers.  Father Christmas is on hand too.

Stay warm indoors at the annual Festival of Trees event at the South Towne Exp or bundle up to see Santa rapel from the tram at Snowbird Resort and see the Torchlight Parade come down the mountain – an awesome sight!

Enjoy your holidays in Salt Lake City!

Festival of Trees at South Towne Expo Center 
Festival of Trees is an annual holiday event held at the South Towne Expo Center, in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City (ongoing for 44 years!). Themed Christmas trees are decorated by individuals, families and businesses and auctioned off, with all proceeds going to help the Primary Children’s Medical Center. What a wonderful way to help these children suffering from severe illnesses. Besides seeing all the different fun trees, be sure to see the Angel trees, which offer stories of current patients and those who lost their battle. Also don’t miss the change to purchase beautiful Christmas wreaths in the Aisle of Wreaths. Besides seeing all the trees, shop the Christmas boutiques and enjoy a variety of entertainment, including moving dance performances. Kids will love the visit from Santa, face painting, the gingerbread village and the bubble machine. Tickets are $5 at the door for adults and $3 for kids. Discounted tickets can be purchased in advance at most branches of Zions bank. For a special night out, attend the Opening Night with a $30 contribution to Primary Children’s Hospital Foundation. This is a dressy event complete with silent auction. (385-468-2260)

Christmas at the Grand America Hotel 
The Grand America hosts Santa and Mrs. Claus for Breakfast and a photo opportunity. Join in the holiday sing along and feast on delectable breakfast items served in the Oak Room at the only five star hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. An amazing array of items awaits at either the kid’s buffet or the traditional buffet. Children love the chocolate chip pancakes with raspberry syrup, french toast sticks and even mini corn dogs and macaroni and cheese. At the traditional buffet, treats such as mini waffles, cheese blintzes, yogurt parfaits and smoothies accompany the egg and omelet station. A variety of dates are offered from November 29-December 24. Adults, $37, Children $20. Another option to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus is at Santa’s Grand Afternoon Tea in the Lobby, with 12pm and 3pm seatings, complete with holiday stories, hot chocolate and cookies. Since these events are in high demand, other options to enjoy at the hotel are the Victorian Afternoon Tea, Holiday Sunday Brunches, Christmas Eve Breakfast and Lunch Buffet, Christmas Eve Prix Fixe Dinner and Christmas Day Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Enjoy the beautiful seasonal decorations in the lobby, window displays in the shops and gingerbread creations. Continue the celebrating with New Year’s Eve Breakfast and Lunch Buffet, a New Year’s Eve Prix Fixe dinner and a New Year’s Day Breakfast Buffet. (801-258-6000)

Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo 
Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo is a fun holiday activity for the whole family. Running nightly November 29-December 31, the animals take a back seat for once amid all the excitement, although some displays are still open and some animals are actually more active at night. The Rocky Shores exhibit features a heated underwater viewing area for seeing North Pole natives such as polar bears, sea lions, otters and seals. Have fun walking the lit pathways with hologram glasses on and work your way through the 135 foot lighted tunnel. See the holiday crafts, ice carving displays and ride the Conservation Carousel (weather permitting). Catch some dinner at the Beastro, grab a hot chocolate, then go meet Santa and his reindeer at the Macy’s Santa Station. Tickets are $7 for Adults, $5 for children (Toddlers 2 and under free), with discounts for seniors and members. Gates are open 5:30-8pm Sunday through Wednesday and 5:30-9pm Thursday through Saturday. (801-582-1631)

Messiah Sing In with Utah Symphony at Abravanel Hall
The Utah Symphony, under the baton of Thierry Fisher, brings its “Messiah” Sing-In to Abravanel Hall Nov. 29 and 30. Handel’s “Messiah” is a famous piece of music performed mostly during the holidays, and contains the familiar “Hallelujah Chorus.” Always wanted to sing someplace besides the shower? Here’s your chance! The audience is invited to sing along with the symphony and featured soloists from the Symphony Chorus during this masterful and inspiring concert, which tells the story of the Messiah through Biblical verse. Print out your own lyrics or purchase when you come. For inspiration, volunteer members of the Morman Tabernacle Choir will be dispersed throughout the audience on Saturday night with 75 singers from the University of Utah chorus joining in on Sunday evening. Both performances start at 7pm. Tickets range from $10-$32. Concert is 2 hours including intermission. Abravanel Hall is a beautiful venue in the heart of downtown, next to Temple Square. Its 4-story lobby has impressive city views and the theatre, known for its acoustics, seats nearly 3,000. (801-323-6800)