When we first got married we spent Christmas' traveling to visit family. A few years ago our kids got old enough and we had enough of them that we decided it was no longer worth it to pack up all their presents and haul them across the state to spent Christmas morning at Grandma's and started just staying home to form our own little family traditions.
We still wanted to spend time with extended family however, so it sort of became our tradition to get together with family during the week between Christmas and New Years. Last year rather than traveling to them, the family all decided to come up to stay with us in Salt Lake. We were excited to host all the grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, but needed to come up with some fun ideas to entertain everyone from toddlers to single 20-somethings to preteens and adults.
I started searching around and discovered that downtown Salt Lake hosts an EVE WinterFest event. It has been running for a few years now, but we just stumbled across it and went for the first time last year. Our kids begged to go back this year, so I think it may become a new tradition! In the past we always got a bunch of junk food, movies and board games to ring in the New Year, so last year was our kids' first experience with a high energy, party like atmosphere and they all loved it! EVE WinterFest will be hosting our family's New Year again this year and the kids are thrilled.
EVE WinterFest is basically a collaboration of a ton of downtown venues coming together to celebrate and offer an amazing package deal. You can buy a 3-day or 1-day pass and then gain access to:
The Clark Planetarium Shows
Discovery Gateway Children's Museum
Off Broadway Comedy Shows
Live Bands and Entertainment
The Salt Palace (set up as a huge party venue with a ball room, game room, percussion room, performing stages, and mirror ball)
Discount Ice Skating
Jazz Game (limited seats, only available to 3-day pass holders)
Kids tickets start at $5, so you can hit up all the family museums during the day and then party at the Salt Palace in the evening for a few hours, and you definitely get your money's worth!
Last year we got the 3-day passes and spent the day time together exploring a different museum each day.
The Clark Planetarium was cool enough to entertain adults and children alike. You have to go in and stand in line for tickets to their IMAX shows, so we got in line right away and then spent some time exploring the free exhibits while we waited for our show to start.
The Leonardo was amazing and had tons of galleries for adults and hands on exhibits for the kids.
At one point the adults without kids took off to see some of the comedy and off Broadway cinema shows while the families headed over to the Discovery Gateway children's museum.
After exploring each museum we'd meet back up and then get dinner somewhere together. We wanted to spend sometime looking at the lights on Temple Square, but it was so cold last year that we literally ran through the block and called it good! We're hoping to spend more time wandering this year and if not we'll hit up the Museum of Contemporary Art and the new Church History Museum. Although they always offer free admission we still haven't been to either one and would love to spend a little time exploring them in the evening after dinner.
If you purchase the 3-day pass you can also stand in line Tuesday night to get tickets to the Jazz game on New Year's Eve. Last year half the family attended the game while the other half took the babies and toddlers home for the night. Our older kids loved getting to see a professional game and all sit together as cousins. It was a blast. They do only have a limited number of tickets though so you'll want to get in line early to snag those if your interested.
In the evening they also open up The Salt Palace and have different activities in every room that you can explore. Some are more geared to adults, such as a live band and dancing, while others are geared to kids, such as the giant inflatable and oversized games (Jenga, Minecraft, Connect-4, etc). One of our kids' favorites from last year was the ballroom. Not a formal dancing ballroom, but rather an entire room full of thousands of beach balls that they could throw at each other and play around in. There were actually two of these rooms, one for older people and one for little kids, which was great because our toddler was even able to get down and play around close to us.
We really did spend 3 days downtown last year and never got to all the venues, there was so much to do and it was perfect that everyone was able to find things they enjoyed no matter what their interests or ages. We had family in town all week and it was great to get out of the house and spend time together, but I'd also recommend just a day pass to take a day and go explore the museums during the day with kids that are out of school and needing to be kept busy and entertained this week before they head back to school. I love that they decided to put this on and combine such a wide variety of activities at such a great price! You couldn't even go to most of those shows or museums for $5 per kid, let alone all of them, I'm so glad we discovered this event and plan to attend for many years to come!
The event organizers have agreed to giveaway 2 of their 3-day adult tickets to one lucky reader! Leave a comment below or checkout our Instagram feed to enter. Entries will be accepted until 8 am tomorrow morning.
*****GIVEAWAY CLOSED***** We'll be emailing the winner shortly.
Free parking is available at the Gateway for EVE ticket holders. You can pick up validations at the Salt Palace, Discovery Gateway or Clark Planetarium. Free EVE shuttles run between all the venues or TRAX is free downtown within the fare free zone.
Sounds like a blast!!
How fun is this?! I had no idea there was so much activity going on downtown on NYE. Love that there's a lot of things for little ones to do too! Thank you so much for this post!
Sounds like an awesome family event!
These are fantastic events and highlight some of the reasons we love our home state of Utah. Love holidays at home! Thanks for the chance to enjoy even more.
Sounds fun, I'd love to win tickets!
I've been wanting to know what New Years Eve events are going on in Utah. Thanks so much for this post!
We love EVE! We have taken our son all four years of his life and this year will be his 5th year and our daughters first year going. Our entire family, youngest to oldest enjoys EVE, there's really something for everyone and even better, you have 3 days to do it!
How did I have no idea about this?! So cool! My twins would love going to the museums. Thanks so much for posting this, it's great to find new family activities in our area!
So glad to see that EVE has added some much needed indoor activities.