I’ve been living around the U.S. as a digital nomad for the past year and a half, and I just lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, from November to January. Despite the fact that I don’t ski or snowboard, I still managed to enjoy my time in Utah!
Here’s how I spent three months living in Salt Lake City:
Enjoying the beautiful views
Utah is one of the most beautiful states I have ever seen. There are mountains everywhere—literally, everywhere. Every time I stepped out of my apartment, I was shocked to see just how close the mountains were to the city. It felt like I could reach out and touch them!
Though it’s a little more difficult to hike in the winter, I still spent plenty of time exploring the surrounding mountains and journeying out to the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island, and the Living Room Trail.
My dog, Bo, loves rolling in the snow and catching snowballs, so we explored plenty of trails and dog parks around Salt Lake City. Our favorites were Tanner Park, Herman Franks Park, and the City Creek Canyon Trail. We made sure to bundle up since it gets really cold in Utah during the winter!
Floating at the Homestead Crater
To warm up, I ventured out to the Homestead Crater in Midway, Utah, which is about an hour away from Salt Lake City.
The ancient crater houses a 60-foot-deep hot spring that stays at a toasty 90 degrees. While the snow was falling outside, I dove into the hot water and got to float around and relax for an hour. While floating, I could still see the light of day through the natural opening at the top of the crater. Trust me when I say I did not want to get out of the water.
I also got to use snorkeling gear to explore life below the surface. There were no sea creatures, but I did get to see the beautiful limestone glowing from the sunlight. Fun fact: This is the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S.!
In Utah, it can be tricky to drink alcohol like you would in most other states. For instance, there are no draft beers above 5% ABV, drinks need to be ordered with food at restaurants, and most beer, wine, and liquor can only be purchased at a state liquor store.
Despite the strict drinking laws, I still managed to indulge in plenty of great drinks around the city. For great beers, I would visit Epic Brewing Company, Shades Brewing, and TF Brewing. For great cocktails, I would visit Back Door, Purgatory, and The Red Door (I also met Tyler Glenn, the lead singer of Utah-based band Neon Trees, while at this bar!).
I just had to keep reminding myself that when I got to any bar, I needed to show my ID at the door, even if I wasn’t drinking.
Visiting the Natural History Museum of Utah
I don’t go to museums that often, but when I heard that the Natural History Museum of Utah had an impressive dinosaur display, I had to go. I may be 30 years old, but I still think dinosaurs are fascinating.
When I got to the museum, I was absolutely blown away. I was expecting a few dinosaur fossils, but they had an entire floor dedicated to dinosaur displays, including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, and of course, a T. Rex. I felt like a kid in a dinosaur exhibit! It was incredible.
The rest of the museum was also fascinating, with exhibits on the life, land, and history of Utah. I could have spent the entire day there and still not been able to see everything.
Attending the Sundance Film Festival
By complete luck, I happened to be living in Utah during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival—the largest independent film festival in the U.S.
The annual festival brings thousands of attendees, celebrities, and artists to Salt Lake City and Park City to watch films of all kinds. Famous movies such as “Get Out,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “The Blair Witch Project” have debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.
I ventured over to Park City for opening weekend to witness the packed city come to life with an exciting, nearly palpable buzz in the air. Though I didn’t see any celebrities, I felt honored to have been able to attend three movies (“Birth/Rebirth,” “Infinity Pool,” and “You Hurt My Feelings”), all of which I highly recommend.
Exploring national parks
Utah is famous for its “Mighty 5 National Parks,” Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. While I didn’t get to visit all five, I did get to explore three of them (Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Zion).
It’s hard to put into words just how majestic these national parks are, but I will try!
1. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is where you will find the famous Delicate Arch, which is on display everywhere, from Utah’s license plates to its souvenirs.
I hiked out to Delicate Arch in November to catch the sunrise. I’m not a morning person, but I cannot emphasize enough how worth it this was. The iconic arch is so beautiful in person, and I got to spend plenty of time with it as the sun slowly crept up the sky.
This is one of the top national parks in America, and I only scratched the surface of it, so I will definitely be back.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park
My parents visited Bryce Canyon National Park back in 2021, and they told me I just had to visit and see it for myself. Once I got there, I understood why. The vast canyon is full of orange hoodoos (spire-shaped rock formations) that go on for days. According to Paiute lore, the hoodoos were once Legend People but were turned to rock after behaving badly.
Exploring this park in the winter also allowed me to see the stunning contrast of white snow against the vibrant orange landscape.
3. Zion National Park
I visited Zion National Park in January while the sun was shining and there weren’t too many visitors. I spent the whole day driving through the park (which is usually only accessible to the shuttle bus) and admiring the touring cliffs, deep canyons, and the flowing Virgin River.
I couldn’t stop pulling over to take pictures and videos to try and capture its beauty. There are seemingly endless trails and hikes to explore, and I enjoyed taking Bo on the dog-friendly Pa’rus Trail.
Living with Landing in Salt Lake City
Throughout my travels, I have stayed with Landing. They offer furnished, luxury apartments all over the United States. With their flexible membership, I’m able to hop from one city to the next with ease. Check them out if you’re a digital nomad looking for temporary housing.
Want to follow more of my journey as a digital nomad? Check out my blog posts from the other cities I’ve lived in, including: