Top Salt Lake City Museums | 🏛️ Best Museums in Salt Lake City: Free, Art, Children’s & More!

Last Updated on: 30th January 2024, 04:10 am

Salt Lake City has more to offer than the world’s best snow and mountain views; it’s also home to some of the best Utah museums and other rich cultural attractions. Ready to plan your day at one of the top museums in Salt Lake City, Utah? Here are some of the best to explore, whether you’re looking for an art museum in Salt Lake City, award-winning children’s museum with kid-friendly activities, or an interactive natural history museum.

Natural History Museum of Utah – Utah Dinosaur Museum with One of the Country’s Best Fossil Collections

Nearly 250,000 people visit the Utah Museum of Natural History every year. The Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU) features natural history exhibits with an emphasis on the Intermountain West and a collection of more than 1.6 million objects. There are 10 permanent exhibits at the Salt Lake natural history museum:

  • First Peoples
  • Native Voices
  • Great Salt Lake
  • Our Backyard
  • Life
  • Land
  • Sky
  • Past Worlds
  • Gems & Minerals
  • Utah Futures

NHMU is best known for its impressive fossil collection. Regarded as not only the best dinosaur museum in Utah but one of the best in the West, the Past Worlds exhibit is always a hit with kids and adults of all ages!

Utah Natural History Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
  • Phone: (801) 581-6927
  • Hours: Thursday to Tuesday, 10 am to 5 pm; Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm
  • Admission: $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors 65+ and youth 13-24, $14.95 for kids 3-12, and free for NHMU members and U of U students, staff & faculty

The Leonardo – One of a Kind Salt Lake Museum Combining Art, Science & Technology

The Leonardo museum is one of the most unique museums in Utah with something for everyone. A visit to the Leonardo Salt Lake City museum immerses you in interactive exhibits for hands-on learning designed to spark imagination and wonder. The museum was named for Leonardo di Vinci who believed that the sciences and the arts were one in the same.

There’s always something new happening at SLC’s Leonardo museum from summer camps and the Leonardo art program with classes and workshops to special events like Immersive Leo Libations and special exhibits. Be sure to check the Leonardo museum’s program calendar before your visit!

The Leonardo is one of the top museums in SLC for immerse art experiences with exhibits like Van Gogh 360, Italian Renaissance, and From Monet to Kandinsky that bring art to life.

Note that general admission tickets include access to all activities and exhibits on the first and second floors but not Art Through Experience. You can purchase timed Art Through Experience tickets online which include general museum admission. You must purchase general admission tickets in person.

Learn more with our complete guide to visiting the Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake City!

Leonardo Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 209 E 500 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
  • Phone: (801) 531-9800
  • Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 10 am to 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 12 pm to 7 pm
  • Admission: General admission tickets are $12.95 for adults; $9.95 for seniors 65+, students, and military; and $8.95 for kids 3-15. Art Through Experience tickets are $30 for adults; $27 for seniors 65+, students, and military; and $17 for kids 3-15. Members enjoy free general admission with discounted Art Through Experience tickets.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts – Premier Art Museum in Salt Lake City

UMFA is one of the region’s premier art museums. Located on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah art museum is an accredited museum with a permanent collection of more than 17,000 pieces covering Oceanic, New World, African, Asian, American, European, Classical, and Ancient art spanning 5,200 years.

The Utah fine arts museum hosts regularly changing exhibits such as Japanese Art and the famous Japanese woodblock prints, Arts of Africa, Ancient Mediterranean Art, and Arts of the Pacific.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts also partners with many other organizations to preserve and advocate for local art and artists. The Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty earthwork, located near the Great Salt Lake and stretching over 1,500 feet, was donated to Dia Art Foundation by artist Nancy Holt, Smithson’s wife. UMFA works with the Dia Art Foundation, the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College, and the Holt/Smithson Foundation to maintain and advocate for the Spiral Jetty piece.

The Nancy Holt Sun Tunnels installation, four hours from the museum in the Great Basin Desert, is the most well-known piece by Holt. UMFA is a Holt/Smithson Foundation partner advocating for the Sun Tunnels Utah installation.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts offers many programs for adults and kids including studio art programs, films, lectures, and UMFA kids summer camps.


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Utah Museum of Fine Arts Hours & Location

  • Address: 410 Campus Center Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84112
  • Phone: (801) 581-7332
  • Hours: Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; Wednesday 10 am to 8 pm
  • Admission: $17.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and youth 6-18, free for UMFA members, U of U students, faculty, and staff, students at public Utah facilities, active duty military families, and Utah WIC/EBT/Horizon cardholders. Bank of America cardholders can enjoy a UMFA free day on the first full weekend of each month.

Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum – One of the Best Salt Lake Museums for Kids

The Salt Lake City children’s museum in downtown SLC is one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City with kids! This interactive children’s museum is in The Gateway, downtown Salt Lake’s premier entertainment and shopping destination. The popular Gateway Children’s Museum features 60,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and hands-on learning.

Kids can explore the world around them in Kid’s Eye View with a child-sized town, construction area, and family farm exhibit. The Garden exhibit allows kids to play music and practice motor skills. The Story Factory and Studio on the third floor let kids put on plays, make stop-motion animated films, create comic strips, and combine science, art, and technology.

Discovery Gateway offers a Sensory Inclusive Afternoon program with reduced noise and lighting to make the facility and exhibits autism friendly.

Check out our complete guide to planning your day at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum!

Discovery Gateway Hours & Prices

  • Address: 444 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
  • Phone: (801) 456-5437
  • Hours: Wednesday to Monday, 10 am to 6 pm
  • Admission: $13.50 for adults, $12.50 for children and seniors, free for kids under 12 months

Church History Museum – Mormon History Museum on the Square

The LDS Church History Museum is one of the best free museums in Salt Lake City for learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and its role in the development of the Salt Lake area. You’ll find the Church History Museum at Temple Square in downtown SLC.

The Church History Museum features historical church artifacts, demonstrations, fine art, films, and activities for kids. There’s also a gift shop with souvenirs, jewelry, and books. The museum is a highlight of self-guided Temple Square tours!

LDS Church History Museum Hours & Location

Hill Aerospace Museum – Hill AFB Museum Near Layton, Utah

One of the best Salt Lake City museums on this list isn’t actually in SLC but it’s worth the drive. The Hill Air Force museum is about 30 minutes north of downtown Salt Lake City in Roy, UT close to Layton and Ogden. This military airplane museum is dedicated to the history of aviation and the Hill Air Force Base.

The museum has been expanded and renovated multiple times since it opened in 1987. Most recently, the Utah aerospace museum began the construction of a third hangar and a new restoration facility.

The Hill Air Force Base Museum has a C-130 fuselage converted into the Marc C. Reynolds Aerospace Center for Education and more than 4,000 objects including missiles, ordnance, uniforms, artwork, military vehicles, and aircraft. Only about 20% of the collection is on display at any time. The Hill AFB museum is divided into five main exhibits: Beginnings in Aviation, World War II, Dawn of the Jet Age, The Cold War, and Keeping the Peace.

The airplane museum collection features attack, cargo, fighter, surveillance, trainer, and bomber aircraft. Over 70 aircraft are on display in the outside air park and inside two hangars.

One of the museum’s most iconic aircrafts on display is the B-17. See inside a B17, one of just 50 fully intact B-17s remaining!

Hill Air Force Base Museum Hours & Location

Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point – One of the Most Beautiful & Interactive Museums in Salt Lake City

The Museum of Natural Curiosity is just 20 minutes south of downtown SLC in Lehi. It’s a top attraction that’s part of the Thanksgiving Point garden, farm, and museum complex. Kids and adults alike can marvel at the building’s gorgeous architecture and explore 400+ hands-on exhibits. The Kidopolis and Rainforest exhibits are packed with hidden passageways and secrets to explore while nature comes alive in Water Works and the Discovery Garden.

The Thanksgiving Point ropes course at the museum is a must-do for thrill seekers. Experience the museum from 40 feet above! The 45,000-square-foot facility also boasts changing exhibits like Mission Aerospace where visitors can design and build their own rocket or plane, wind through an interactive maze, and learn about NASA.

Thanksgiving Point Curiosity Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 3605 Garden Dr, Lehi, UT 84043
  • Phone: (801) 768-2300
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm
  • Admission: $24 for adults, $21 for seniors 65+, $19 for youth 13-24, $17 for kids 3-12, and free for Thanksgiving Point members. An Explorer Pass includes admission to all 5 Thanksgiving Point attractions at $38 for adults and $29 for children.

This Is the Place Heritage Park – Native American Village, Petting Zoo & More at Living Museum in Salt Lake City

This Is the Place is one of Salt Lake’s top historical landmarks and a fun living museum. Home to some of the largest Pioneer Day celebrations in Utah, This Is the Place marks the spot where Brigham Young saw the Salt Lake Valley for the first time in 1847 and proclaimed, “This is the right place” to become home to the Mormon pioneers. The This Is the Place monument at the park is a recognizable Salt Lake City landmark.

The Salt Lake City pioneer park features train rides on three trains plus a petting zoo and pony rides for kids. The Treasure House teaches visitors about Utah mining history with hands-on exhibits like panning for gold in the creek and cracking open geodes.

The Native American Village celebrates the heritage of the first peoples of the Salt Lake Valley while the saddle maker, tinsmith, and blacksmith let visitors experience more of what life was like in the valley in the mid-19th century.

You’ll find even more to see and do from the Mormon Battalion Museum to the Walk of Pioneer Faiths and horseback riding on park trails. There are more than 50 historic structures and homes at This Is the Place Heritage Park!

This Is the Place Hours & Location

Salt Lake City Museums Map

With so many fun museums in Salt Lake City, where will you start? If you’re exploring things to do in SLC ahead of moving to the city, give us a call at Wasatch Moving Company for a free moving estimate from our 5-star movers!


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