Provo City Guide: Our Favorite Things to Do (and Eat!) in Provo Utah

Our family’s favorite things to do in Provo, from the best places to eat in Provo to free things to do with kids. Whether you’re a local wondering what to do in Provo or coming for a visit, I hope you’ll find this helpful!

In 2018, our family moved to Provo, Utah after a dozen years of living all over the country (Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, and Massachusetts).

Bart grew up here and most of his family still lives here, so it was an easy transition and it’s been fun to get to know Provo and the surrounding areas as a family of our own now.

We’ve loved trying the many restaurants that keep popping up and discovering fun things to do in Provo and beyond as a family.

Here are some of our favorite Provo, Utah spots! things to do in Provo

The best food in provo

Provo Restaurants

This is probably our favorite restaurant in downtown Provo – it has great food, a fun, intimate vibe, and you absolutely cannot beat the Bleu Burger (it’s only on the lunch menu but they’ll pretty much always make it for you at dinner time too).

This place is tiny and you might be seated at the giant communal table with strangers, which is a fun twist. They have great food made for sharing and it’s almost all locally sourced. Don’t miss their weekend brunch!

This is a newer Provo restaurant and quickly has become one of our favorites for a nicer meal together or with another couple. The Block Burger is especially excellent (we went on a burger hop with Bart’s sister and her husband a few years ago and the Block Burger was hands down the best).

Bart lived in Korea for two years and is always on the lookout for good Korean food and Yummy’s is our favorite. We’ve been many times and never had a dud!

This isn’t really in Provo – you’ll need to drive about 15 minutes up the canyon, but it’s a gorgeous drive and an incredible restaurant. We had dinner here the night we got engaged and then went back for my birthday 15 years later and it was just as good as we remembered. The pepper steak with the mango chutney is to die for. I definitely recommend making a reservation several weeks in advance- especially if you want to eat there on a weekend.

This Indian restaurant is wildly popular and for good reason. They don’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait a bit most nights of the week.

This Indian restaurant is just around the corner from Bombay House and usually much less busy, but just as good! We go here most of the time because we’re too impatient to wait for Bombay House lines.

This is our very favorite Thai restaurant in Provo (and we’ve tried pretty much all of them!). Their curries and noodle dishes are all top notch!

This brunch place has huge portions and every single thing we’ve tried has been top notch! Don’t miss their bakery counter either!

This is our favorite sushi in the Provo area since my brother introduced us to it a few years ago. They have some really interesting combinations and our favorites are the Sunset and White rolls.

This burger place is probably my favorite burger place in Provo – they have a small menu with interesting burger combinations (my favorite, hands down, is the peanut butter one, which I know sounds weird but is incredibly delicious). You can also do a slider set of different ones to try them out.


This is hands down the best pizza in Provo and it’s my choice for a birthday lunch every year. I always get the Buffalo Chicken pizza and Bart always gets the Austin. The Thai Chicken is also terrific!

This is one of our favorite casual date night restaurants and we often hit it up after a game of pickleball with another couple! Don’t miss the cheese puffs and the smoothies are also phenomenal.

This casual Korean place is a staple for us – you can’t go wrong (and ask for extra sauce!).

I almost fear to count how many JDawgs we’ve eaten since we moved to Provo – I never eat hot dogs, but these ones are exceptional. Go all out on the JDawgs sauce.

I was pretty medium on Chom the first few times I went there, but in the last year, it’s really gotten good. Do not miss the sweet potato fries. My personal favorite is the Blue Burger.

Bart’s been going here since high school and it’s still a solid pick! This is usually Bart’s pick for his birthday lunch with his family. He always gets a Philly cheesesteak one and I always get a gyro version.

This is a newer Provo restaurant and almost immediately became one of our girls’ favorite places to go on the weekends.


Our favorite Provo TREATS and desserts

This is hands down the best ice cream in Utah (don’t even try to tell me that Handel’s is as good – it’s not even in the same ballpark. And Rockwell beats out Brooker’s for me too). My favorite is the GOAT ice cream and Bart loves the Muddy Buddy. But you can’t go wrong with any flavor. Pro tip – if you’re going on a date, split the triple scoop and you can get 6 half scoops. It’s way cheaper than getting two single or double scoops!

This tiny little bakery sells out fast, so go earlier in the day for sure! From delicious cinnamon rolls to incredible muffins to every kind of classic doughnut you can imagine, this is one our favorite family stops.

Utah is known for the soda shops on basically every corner selling every kind of soda concoction you can dream up, plus usually cookies or other treats. I’m not much of a soda drinker, but if you want to try one out, visit Swig, Sodalicious, or Twisted Sugar.

sundance provo utah

FREE Things to do in Provo with kids

One great thing about living in a college town is that the university offers plenty of (often free) things to do. The Monte L Bean Museum is a natural history museum with an impressive array of animals and exhibits. It is a great place to spend a couple of hours and they have many fun interactive exhibits that will appeal to kids. Tours are mostly self guided although you can schedule a guided tour in advance. There are QR codes throughout the museum with links to videos giving insights. (Anyone that is a fan of Studio C will especially appreciate these videos.) The museum’s website has some great additional resources here if you want to print out scavenger hunts or coloring pages before you go!

This is another free spot in Provo and they have rotating exhibits that are generally incredible! I’ve visited with my kids many times and occasionally stop in on my own too!

Who would I be if I didn’t recommend a visit to my very own local library? The Provo Library is a beautiful, historic building. It occupies the former Brigham Young Academy built in 1892. In addition to being a library, the building houses several art galleries and rotating exhibits. The upper ballrooms host public and private events throughout the year. There is a robust children’s library in one wing while the other wing caters to a broader adult audience. They have I Spy challenges in the children’s department, excellent story times (outdoor ones in the summer), make and take crafts, and usually a fun summer exhibit for families up in the Attic!

This duck pond full of ducks and turtles is a HIT with little kids, plus it has plenty of benches around so you can sit down while your children go crazy.

The most famous hike in Provo is the one to the giant white Y on the side of the mountain that’s visible for miles around. It’s a fairly steep hike, but we’ve done it with a four year old who handled it just fine. The first few switchbacks are forever long, but then they get quicker and quicker.

This is a gorgeous hiking area that’s pretty flat with plenty to explore. If you hike past the gate there are five foot bridges to cross and a natural spring drinking fountain.

This beautiful canyon trail runs along the river and is perfect for walking, biking, or scootering, plus you can stop at Bridal Veil Falls! We also love to stop at the parks along the canyon, like Vivian Park or South Fork. There are several companies at the mouth of the canyon that rent electric bikes or scooters if you want to ride up the canyon.

Most kids probably aren’t thrilled about an outdoor mall, but this one has a big fountain/splash pad in the middle that always makes it a hit! They also host fun seasonal events throughout the year like a summer beach party and chalk the block for charity event. These are always great for the whole family.

This play for all abilities park is top-notch and our absolute favorite playground to visit in the Provo/Orem area. It’s endlessly fun for little kids and bigger kids alike!

This reservoir has sand along half of it which makes it extra fun for a free beach day without going far! We sometimes stop at SUP Rentals in Springville on the way and rent some kid kayaks or a giant water mat for extra fun. Spanish Oaks is another excellent nearby reservoir with plenty of sand and water.

things to do in provo utah

PAID Things to do in Provo with kids

In 2021, Provo Rec Center was voted the best rec center in the country and whoever was doing the awarding, wasn’t wrong. It’s incredible and we’re so lucky to have it in our community. There are amazing indoor and outdoor pools, pickleball courts, an indoor playground, bouldering walls, exercise classes all day long, and more. We have annual passes, but you can buy day passes too.

Splash Summit is Provo’s water park. It features multiple water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and three different pools that cater to different ages. We’ve gotten season passes for the past couple of summers and it’s an unbeatable deal. It’s such a great way to beat the heat on hot summer days. Be sure to check out Groupon for the best deal on a day or season pass!

In the summer, one of our favorite things to do is attend plays, concerts, or outdoor movies in the Scera Shell – the weather is perfect, tickets are affordable, and it’s the perfect way to soak up a Utah summer night to the sounds of music. Bring a blanket and some snacks, snag a spot on the hill that makes perfect stadium seating and enjoy!

If you’ve been here a while, you know that we have skied at Sundance the last several years. It is a beautiful little resort that is only a twenty minute drive up Provo Canyon. The skiing is fantastic and I honestly don’t have enough good things to say about it. When you think of a ski resort your typically don’t think about going there in the summer, but Sundance has really great offerings all year round. They have outdoor plays and concerts during the summer as well as mountain biking, zipline tours and studio art classes.

Bowling is one of our favorite easy family activities and the bowling center at BYU is inexpensive, clean, and usually not too busy. We go all the time!

Seasonal Festivities in Provo

4th of July- Provo Freedom Festival

Provo has one of the best Fourth of July Celebrations. The festivities span the whole week and include a 5k race, a parade, a hot air balloon festival, and the Stadium of Fire. This is a ticketed event at BYU’s Lavell Edwards Stadium. They typically book a big name country music singer and have a world class fireworks show at the end. Whether you attend the event in the stadium or not, the fireworks are great to watch from anywhere in the valley.


Any other recommendations for things to do in Provo or Utah County? I’d love it if you left them in the comments to make this post even more useful!

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  1. I grew up in Orem and lived in Utah County for almost our entire first 15 years of marriage (until we moved to Maryland last summer) so this post was a fun one for me to read! And even living there all those years, there are still things you suggested that we hadn’t done! If you want an additional hike on your list, one of our absolute favorites in that area is Buffalo Peak. It’s up Provo canyon (turn at the Squaw Peak turnoff) and is a perfect hike with kids. I think it’s around a mile, but relatively flat and easy until a short steep climb at the end. But then the payoff is incredible – such stunning views!! Right around this time of year I bet the wild flowers are starting to come out, as well. Highly recommend! (One caveat — you do have to drive on a very bumpy, rut-filled dirt road for about 2 miles to get to the trailhead. My minivan handled it reasonably well, but a small car might struggle.)

  2. Our family loves so many of these things, and I am 100% with you on your ice cream recommendations. Here’s some of our other favorites:

    *Our favorite time to visit the BYU MOA is during the Family Arts Festival and their exhibit opening parties. They have craft projects for kids and entertainment and it’s great!
    *The Family Concert series is my favorite way to introduce kids to classical music.
    *We love picking up lunch, produce, and fresh flowers at the Provo Farmer’s Market, and it’s a bonus that the park also has a playground and splash pad.
    *Favorite restaurants: Mozz Pizza, Waffle Love, Love Birds Chicken, Fillings & Emulsions
    *We love getting tacos at 180 Tacos at taking them up the canyon to Mount Timpanogos Park for a picnic
    *Nielsen’s Grove Park has a duck pond and the carousel swing is one-of-a-kind.

    Springville/Spanish Fork:
    *The Springville Museum of Art is beautiful and has some great exhibits
    *The splash pad at Adventure Heights playground in Spanish Fork is outstanding.

    Pleasant Grove/American Fork/Lehi:
    *Discovery Park in Pleasant Grove is a family favorite
    *Harvey Park in Cedar Hills is also a favorite, and is one of the only parks my tween/teenage kids still think is fun.
    *Blox Desserts in American Fork is our go-to treat spot.
    *Favorite restaurants include Kitchen 88 (AF), Chubby’s (PG), Hruska’s Kolaches (AF), Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade (AF)
    *My kids love the paint classes at My Little Paintbrush in Lehi.

  3. You should definitely check out The Wash. They have an even better brunch than The Brunch House. And it’s a little less on the nose…
    But bonus for your husband, its run by my sister’s Korean Mother-in-law! They have soda drinks and games you can play while you’re there. But the brunch, which is incredible, is only served Saturday mornings.

  4. I agree with the vote for Adventure Heights in Spanish Fork. It is an all abilities park, and the city did such a good job at it! Spanish also has another splash pad by Costco, called North Park. It isn’t quite as great as Adventure Heights, but it is nice if you need to do Costco. 🙂
    Seven Brothers at the Shops at Riverwoods is a great burger. One of our favorite cinnamon rolls is from a gas station in Spanish Fork called the Dugout.
    If you are a bike rider, Spanish Fork has a great trail for walking and biking.

  5. Great post! We’ve lived in Provo for the past 7 1/2 years and Utah County since college, and you covered some of the best!
    A few more:
    For music lovers, Velour Live Music Gallery is an amazing Provo venue that has launched greats like Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons. The Killers filmed a music video there recently! We have a fantastic local music scene. It’s one of the reasons we moved here.
    There’s a cute record store across from the library called 3Hive Record Lounge. They even let in middle aged moms like me. 😂
    Take advantage of BYU’s arts season! Great plays, music and dance performances, and speeches during the school year. We even saw Ira Glass speak last year. Their offerings are super affordable too.
    Make sure you follow Provo City Events on social media. There is always something fun going on like June’s free movies at Rock Canyon Park or free music performances around the city.
    Take a tour of the (many) murals around Provo. You can get maps at some downtown shops or online. We did it via bike one anniversary.
    A lesser-known favorite is Grassroots Shakespeare. Follow them on social media to get performance info on their fun free outdoor Shakespeare plays. They encourage rowdy , engaged audiences so bring the kids and some snacks.
    A couple more restaurants:
    Tru Religion in Orem for breakfast. Their S’mores hot chocolate, cat head biscuits, and green chili breakfast offerings are some of my favorite menu items.
    Communal’s breakfast is also top notch!
    The Chocolate in Orem is a great dessert option.
    I also second Fillings and Emulsions. We were just in France and only F&E can fill the croissant-shaped hole in my heart. 😂
    Provo has a Hruska’s Kolaches location too (the original, I think?) and it’s amazing.
    Holy Taco in Orem has really amazing al pastor tacos.
    I also love Guru’s Cafe in Provo. It’s always busy!
    Some small shops I love:
    Pioneer Book for used books.
    Harmony for gifts and (if you’re a maker) yarn, fabric, etc.
    Foxglove for plants and gifts.
    Taste for fancy chocolate.
    Liminal for gifts and plants.
    Writ & Vision for a tiny art gallery, author talks, and LDS (& LDS adjacent) books.
    Man, you really sent me down a rabbit hole of all the things I love about my town! Thanks for the post!

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