37 Completely Free Things to Do In Utah County This Winter + $500 Giveaway with 14 Bloggers

14 Utah Bloggers 14 Utah Adventures!

Hi! Jami Stillwell here, founder and CEO of Chippr. I’m so excited for the opportunity to guest post on getinandgo.com!

At Chippr we’re all about finding new ways to save time and money. (You can check out our local blog here.) To go along with that theme, we’ve put together a list of 37 fun and completely free things to do in Utah County this winter.

Enjoy!

37 Free Utah County With the expenses of the Holidays, many of us are looking for extra ways to make our money stretch. But with all the weather, shopping and stress, a vacation is definitely in order! So how about a staycation on the cheep? Here are 37 fun and completely FREE things to do in Utah County this winter.

The Holiday Spirit

Holiday Activities

1. Christensen & Hymas Light Display

christensen & hymas

The Christensen and Hymas light display in Draper is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Set to music, this awesome light display runs from 5:30 to 10:30pm up until Christmas. Tune into 99.9FM and enjoy from your car!

Address: 11693 S 700 E #100 Draper, UT 84020

Hours: 5:30-10:30pm every night after Thanksgiving until Christmas.

For more details, click here.

2. Lights in the Hills Provo

I grew up in Provo, and one of our favorite places to see lights has always been in the hill streets of east Provo. You can access these streets from Timpview Drive or 9th East. Just keep driving east and up, and pretty soon you’ll see some pretty amazing light displays.

Tip: Be sure you either know the area or leave plenty of time, since it’s pretty easy to get turned around! If you get lost, no worries, that just means more lights.

3. Lights in the Riverbottoms Provo

When it comes to Christmas lights, this has been the go to spot for my family for years. These homes really go all out. It’s definitely worth a visit, no matter where you live in Utah county.

How to get there: off of I-15, get onto University Avenue towards 3700 N (Will’s Pit Stop for those of you familiar with the area). Turn onto 3700 N and then take your first left. Take a right onto any of the streets you come to, the lights shouldn’t be hard to miss!

4. Lights at the Shops at Riverwoods

The Shops at Riverwoods put on a beautiful display each year. Wander around the peaceful shops, warm your hands at any of the fire pits scattered throughout and enjoy. For those of you with a little money to spend, stop at the Provo Beach Resort for a fun time.

Address: 4801 N University Avenue, Provo, UT 84604

Hours: Most shops are open Monday through Saturday 10am-9pm, but the lights can be enjoyed at any time. If you plan on eating while you’re there, contact the restaurant for hours.

5. The Lookout Point at East Lawn Memorial Hills

Assuming you have no issue with being in a cemetery, there is a fantastic lookout point at East Lawn Memorial Hills in Provo. You can see the entire valley from here and it’s a breathtaking view whether it’s Christmastime or not.

Address: 4800 N 650, Provo, UT 84601

How to get there: Get on University Avenue off of I-15 headed towards 4800 N (Orem Center Street). Head east on 4800 N. The road to East Lawn will be on the left. You will need to walk a ways once you get there to reach the lookout point.

Hours: The road to East Lawn is closed off to cars after 10pm but you can still get there on foot.

6. The Lookout Point at Rock Canyon

Another great lookout point is located at the base of the Rock Canyon trail, just above the Provo Temple. My husband and I have been known to drive up this way to get our daughter to sleep and then spend a romantic half hour cuddling and looking at the city lights.

How to get there: Get on University Avenue off of I-15 headed towards 2230 N. Turn east on 2230 N and continue past the Provo Temple. The road will reach a point where you can either go straight or follow it right. Go straight and park in the first parking lot on your left, facing the valley.

7. Pond Town Christmas

Pond Town Christmas

Photo courtesy of www.pondtown.org

Salem, Utah puts on a magical display each year for the Christmas season. Even better, it’s completely free! Learn more here.

8. Christmas Caroling

Christmas caroling seems like it’s a dying art, but that’s no reason not to resurrect it! Get a group together and visit the homes of some families you know could use a little smile.

Explore And Learn

Science, Community, History and Culture

9. Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museums

provo dup museum

Did you know there are fifteen Daughters of Utah Pioneers museums in Utah county? Neither did I! What a cool way to learn about Utah history. I plan on adding this to my bucket list, and so should you!

For a complete list of the museums and accompanying info, visit this link and scroll down for Utah County.

10. Pioneer Village

I visited this gem over the summer and had a great time. This is a similar experience to the Church sites in Palmyra for those of you that have been. Villagers in costume explain to you the significance of each building and demonstrate activities from life in that time.

Address: 500 W 600 N, Provo, UT 84604

Tours are by appointment only during the winter months. For more information, click here.

11. Crandall Historic Printing Museum

Photo courtesy of www.amsvans.com

Photo courtesy of www.amsvans.com

“A living documentation of the role the written and printed word has had on history”

–http://crandallmuseum.org/

Address: 275 E Center St, Provo, UT 84606

For more details, click here.

12. Orem Heritage Museum at SCERA Center for the Arts

Inside the SCERA Center for the Arts is a fun little gallery focused on local history, cultures and art. It’s free and changes from time to time. Worth a stop if you’ve never been.

Address: 745 South State Street Orem, UT 84058

Visit this site for more info.

13. BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures

“The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is BYU’s Teaching Museum, inspiring students to life-long learning and service and mentoring them in collections-focused activities”

–mpc.byu.edu

Address: 700 North 100 East Provo, Utah

Learn more here.

14. Peteetneet Museum & Cultural Arts Center

Address: 10 South 600 East Payson, UT 84651

Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm.

Website: click here.

15. The Museum of Mormon Mexican History

mormon mexican history

Address: 1501 North Canyon Road Provo, UT 84602

16. Historic Provo Buildings Walking Tour

A self-guided tour of historic architecture in Provo. Covers 71 historic Provo buildings.

Access the tour for free here.

17. BYU Eyring Science Center

The BYU Eyring Science Center is a great place to take elementary-school aged kids for exploration and fun. There are some great interactive exhibits including the well-known giant pendulum.

Location: In the middle of BYU campus, just west of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower (the tallest building on campus). For a map of BYU campus, click here.

18. BYU Museum of Paleontology

Photo courtesy of geology.byu.edu/museum

Photo courtesy of geology.byu.edu/museum

“This museum showcases many fossils from the Jurassic Period, which spans a period from approximately 210-140 million years ago. The museum houses one of the top five collections from the Jurassic Period in the world”

-geology.byu.edu

Address: 1683 N. Canyon Road Provo, Utah

Call for current hours: (801)-422-3680

More information: click here.

19. Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

Photo courtesy of mlbean.byu.edu

Photo courtesy of mlbean.byu.edu

Most commonly known as the “Bean Museum”, the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum was recently remodeled and has a very impressive display of every species imaginable. A great indoor day trip for you and the kids. For even more fun, call ahead to schedule a live animal show. It’s free! You can also schedule a tour of the exhibits.

Address: 645 E 1430 N Provo, UT

Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-5pm. Check here for holiday hours.

Website: click here.

20. Cabela’s Animal Display

Along with a great place to send your hubby when you want him occupied for well, days, Cabela’s in Lehi has a pretty fantastic animal display, surrounded by a stream of live fish. It’s a fun way to pass the time if you need a break from shopping at the Outlets.

Address: 2502 Cabela’s Blvd, Lehi, UT 84043

Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday 8am-9pm, Sunday 10am-6pm.

21. Fire Station Tour

Did you know that you can get a tour of your local fire station for free, any time? Just call ahead and ask! I so wish I’d known about this when I was a kid.

Location: Your local fire station (just call and ask).

22. Bluehouse Skis Factory Tour

Bluehouse Skis offers free factory tours by appointment. Visit their website here for more information.

Address: 1392 W 70 S, Lindon, UT

23. Treasures Antique Mall

Photo courtesy of springvilleblog.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of springvilleblog.blogspot.com

A little-known gem located in Springville, featuring antiques from over 50 dealers. A great place to go and search out that treasure you’ve been looking for.

Address: 1045 North 2000 West Springville, UT 84663

Visit their blog here.

24. Your Local Library

Most of us know about the daily and weekly free events held at our local library. However, I’d venture to say that few of us really take advantage of it. So go ahead, check out the schedule at your city’s library and add it to your itinerary!

Art Museums and Galleries

25. Brownstone Gallery

Address: 3370 N University Ave, Provo, UT 84604

26. BYU BF Larsen Gallery

Located in the Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU Campus. For a map of BYU campus, click here.

27. BYU Museum of Art

MOA_North_entrance

The BYU Museum of Art is one of the more well known art museums in Utah County. It features several exhibits, each of which changes from time to time.

Address: North Campus Drive, Provo, Utah

Website and additional information: click here.

28. Mormon Art & Bronze Gallery

Address: 815 West Columbia Lane Provo, UT 84604

29. Provo Art and Frame

Provo Art and Frame will be moving in January 2015 and changing their name to A & A Art and Frame.

Address: Before January 2015: 201 W Center St, Provo, UT 84601. After January 2015: 661 N. State in Orem

30. Terra Nova Gallery

“Terra Nova (which is Latin, meaning “new ground”) was created to give local emerging and established artists an opportunity to exhibit their work in a fresh, new venue. The concept behind the gallery is simple — provide exhibit space for original works from artists who are ‘ready to hang’ but are not tied to a particular gallery.”

–www.terranovagallery.com

Address: 41 West 300 North Provo, UT 84601

Website: click here.

31. Window Box Gallery

Photo courtesy of www.windowboxgallery.com

Photo courtesy of www.windowboxgallery.com

“The Window Box Gallery brings you fine quality, affordable Limited Edition Art from the top-named artists who’s originals are accessible to only a few. The Window Box Gallery also carries original art from many well-known Utah artists. The art we carry can evoke emotions and memories as well as help you find collectible art that results in a valuable investment opportunity.”

–www.windowboxgallery.com

Address: 62 West Center Street Provo, UT 84601

Website: click here.

32. Woodbury Art Museum

“The Woodbury Art Museum provides free exhibitions and programs for our academic and local communities.”

–www.uvu.edu/museum

Located at the University Mall, 575 East University Parkway #250 Orem, UT 84097

Website: click here.

Go on, get playful

Play and Recreation

33. Indoor Track at BYU Smith Fieldhouse

Photo courtesy of rbfacilities.byu.edu

Photo courtesy of rbfacilities.byu.edu

Our family spends a lot of time here during the colder months. I’m an avid runner and my husband loves to run with me and track his times. Now that we have our daughter, we can take along BOB (our stroller, yes he is a member of the family) and make it a family date.

Tip: If possible, don’t go in the evening between 5 and 7. This is when all the families go right after work so the track is quite crowded. We’ve found the best time to be mid morning or late evening.

Hours change based on the semester, so be sure to visit here to double check before you go.

34. Play Area at the Provo Rec Center

Although the other amenities of the Provo Rec Center cost money, you don’t have to be a member to access the play area. It’s a great place to take the kids on a slow day.

Address: 320 W 500 N, Provo, UT

See website for hours.

35. Treehouse at University Mall

Photo courtesy of utahvalleyboredombusters.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of utahvalleyboredombusters.blogspot.com

The Treehouse Playground inside the University Mall in Orem is a fun place to take the kids. It’s never too crowded, and there’s lots of stuff to explore.

Address: Inside the University Mall (575 E University Pkwy, Orem, UT) At the north end by Payless Shoesource.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-9pm.

36. Play Day in the Snow

We all know some of the best activities can be done right at home. With our daughter old enough to enjoy it, I’m looking forward to building some snowmen and making snow angels this winter, snow permitting.

37. Sledding at Rock Canyon Park

Photo courtesy of myprovolife.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of myprovolife.blogspot.com

Rock Canyon Park in Provo has a great sledding hill for snowy days. It is pretty popular, so expect some crowds, but it’s still worth it.

Address: E 2620 N Provo, UT 84604

Want to make your winter staycation even better? We are giving away over $500 in prizes for your own Staycation in Utah! Prizes include a $100 gift card to the Marriot Hotel, 4 tickets to the SCERA, four passes to Tracy Aviary, a $20 gift card to Lowe’s Xtreme Air Sports, two copies of The Best of Utah Valley on the Cheep, a backpack from The Salt Project, 4 Leonardo Body Worlds passes and a Wasatch Saving Guide.
Prize Collage

With all that, you’ll be set!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

“14 Utah bloggers, 14 Utah Adventures! Click this link to go to the next great Utah adventure!”  

For more awesome giveaways and great ways to save, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!”

Check out these great blogs for other Utah adventures!

Indie Ogden

The Salt Project

What’s Cheep Utah Valley

Clarks Condensed

Keep Moving Forward With Me

2 Dorks In Love

Utah Deal Diva

Suitcase Foodist

Utah Valley Moms

Utah Mom Connection

Life Prekarious

Get in and Go in Your Motorhome!

photo-5

Last fall Kirk and I decided to upgrade our camping trailer. We loved our trailer. We would take it up to our mountain property every spring, leave it, and camp all summer in seclusion and beauty. It was a tough decision but the trailer did not function as well for us as empty nesters with a little Sidekick Suki.

I had a list of things that I needed for our new Camp Needs!

1 – First and foremost, a walk around bed. Our old camp trailer had a bed that was placed in the corner. I hated making that bed. I would have to crawl across the top to tuck in the blankets. I wanted to be able to walk around the bed to tuck everything in with hospital corners.

2 – A slide out living area. Our camping trailer was very cramped when we had visitors so I wanted to have more space for when all 10 of our children came to visit us while we were camping. We could more easily squish them all into a trailer with a slide out living area.

3. More storage space. The camping trailer was fine but there were only 3 drawers and one cabinet for the kitchen. I love to cook and I need lots of stuff to cook with and it needs to be stored somewhere.

4. A place for Suki. Well, Suki actually fits just about anywhere. She loves camping!

So the hunt was on. Kirk’s criteria was that it had to be reasonably priced and make me happy. We looked at so many campers, trailers and motorhomes. Some were so beautiful but not reasonably priced. Others were reasonably priced and not so nice. Then one day I saw a motorhome with a little chandelier in it. I told Kirk that I really wanted to look at that one. We drove to Salt Lake to take a look at it. The motorhome had been sitting for a few years and was dusty and needed a good cleaning. It had a walk around bed, a slide out living area, lots of storage, and a place for Suki. And bonus, a cute little chandelier over the table.

We bought a 1996 Allegro Bay. Sure it is old. Sure the outside is a little faded. But it was reasonably priced and had all the necessities we needed. Now it is so nice. We cleaned it, gave it a good tune up, and now that old motorhome is our favorite get in and go vehicle.

Here is my favorite part of the whole deal! There are 2 old televisions hooked up to an old VCR. Now I can watch all my old favorite movies while I am camping. If I feel like getting a new old movie I can usually pick them up at thrift stores for under a buck. Sweet!

IMG_3821

Visited Chichen Itza – Checked It Off My Bucket List

Kirk and LaRea in front of El Castillo

My husband and I recently took a well needed vacation to Mexico. We made an adventure of it and did a lot of activities outside of our comfort zone. As we were preparing for our vacation, I told Kirk that the one thing I really wanted to do MORE THAN ANYTHING was to go to Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. After all it’s on my bucket list! For weeks prior to our travel date I studied out everything I could about this ancient Mayan city. What is the best way for us to get to Chichen Itza from our resort? How much will it cost to get in? How did this great city get here? What happened to all of the people that lived there?

I became fascinated with the whole Mayan culture. there is a lot of history that has been recorded about the Mayans but also a lot that has been lost due to the Spanish conquest to Mexico. This website http://www.chichenitza.com/ had a lot of valuable information about how to get there, where Chichen Itza is located and some historical information.

We ended up taking a tour offered by our resort. That meant no worries about getting a taxi or taking a bus. Whew! I thought I knew what I was going to see when I got to Chichen Itza, but walking through the gates I was awestruck. It was beautiful! I am always fascinated about the history of places and this place had so much ancient history I couldn’t take it all in.

The Thousand Columns – My favorite picture of the day

Here were the highlights:

  • El Castillo – the big pyramid in most photographs. At two times during the year during the equinox when the sun shines just right you can witness the snakes highlighted on the pyramid. We were just 15 days early to witness this great event. Dang it!
  • Exactness – Every building was built with a purpose and measurements were such that at certain times of the day or year “miracles” would happen. Or if you stand in the right place you can hear certain sounds. Such as when you clap at the base of El Castillo you can hear a chirping sound come from the top doors of the pyramid.
  • The Thousand Columns - It is believed that these columns once supported a roof and housed several meeting rooms, maybe classrooms. Lots of learning going on then and now. There were so many columns all evenly lined up I just wanted to walk through them. Too bad they were roped off.
  • The Great Ball Court – What? Sports played back in ancient Mexico. I was sure my sons would be so impressed. I don’t know if it was football or basketball or some sort of quidditch game. Apparently though if you lose you die.
  • The Enormity of It All – Chichen Itza was once a very large city with approximately 50,000 people. As I walked around the ruins thinking about all of those people walking in these same footsteps I just kept thinking, “Where did all the people go?”

Kirk in Front of El Castillo – He looks so tiny here


This was such a fun and educational experience! I am so excited to check it off my bucket list. I learned so much and I value the history from this ancient people. Now I am ready to head off to my next adventure. Where should I go?

The Observatory – Looking at the stars in ancient Mayan times

El Castillo