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Money Matters: Cheap or free winter activities in Utah County

By Amy Osmond Cook - | Nov 20, 2021

Utah is famous for its perfect, powdery snow, and as the temperature plummets, many of us endure the below-freezing temperatures happily, just knowing it means that we’ll be on the ski slope soon.

But the price of skiing and snowboarding can add up quickly. And what if you’re not into outdoor sports? Besides hunkering down with a book and fuzzy socks, what is there to do in Utah County during the winter months? There are plenty of cost-friendly things to eat, see and discover as well as causes to volunteer for and places to have fun. Here are just a few of the best cheap or free activities for a fun winter in Utah County:


  • Pick up a sourdough starter for $10 at Time Traveler’s Bakery in Provo and make your own sourdough loaf, and then make your own starter to bake many loaves in the future!
  • Pomegranates are in season, so why not give this tasty, unusual fruit a try? Learn how to de-seed a pomegranate for a memorable activity at http://bonappetit.com/story/how-to-seed-a-pomegranate.
  • Make your own hot chocolate mix with confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and powdered milk. Put it all in a cute little jar for a great gift! Check out the recipe at http://thepioneerwoman.com.


  • The BYU campus has a few free and fun museum options: the Bean Life Science Museum, the Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Art.
  • The Springville Museum of Art in the heart of Art City is always a good (and free!) choice. Current exhibitions include Depictions of Divinity, Off the Wall: Sculpture from the Museum Collection and Grand Ambitions.
  • The Covey Center has four art galleries, which are open on weekdays and free to the public. Currently on display are oil paintings by J. Wayne Anderson, puppets by Joe Flores and photography by Rick Nye, all local artists.


  • Head to Hogle Zoo on the last Wednesday of the month, December through February, for $2 admission.
  • See the light display and window shop at unique stores like Blickenstaff’s and Moon’s Rare Books at the Shops at Riverwoods.
  • Ride the FrontRunner to enjoy Utah County from a new perspective.
  • Visit an aquarium with local fish and the incredible taxidermy animal exhibits at Cabela’s.


  • Donate a meal or volunteer time at Community Action Services Provo. When you volunteer there, you can feel good knowing you’re not only helping meet immediate needs for food and shelter but also helping people become self-reliant.
  • Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity to help in the fight against substandard housing by helping build homes or serving at one of their Habitat ReStores.
  • Donate to a Giving Machine in Orem or Salt Lake. From goats and beehives to UNICEF and WaterAid, the options are plentiful for every budget, and you know you’ll be making a difference no matter what.


  • Have a fun night at Nickel City in Orem, where admission is $2.50, laser tag is $4 and arcade games are just a nickel!
  • Go bowling at FatCats in Provo or Saratoga Springs. Games are $5 before 5 p.m., and there are other fun activities — like arcade games and a VR experience — to round out your evening.
  • Make your own soap at the Soap Factory in Provo! There are over 400 molds and over 150 essential oils to choose from, and you can add colors and mix-ins to customize your bar. It’s $5 for the studio fee, and each bar of soap usually costs under $5.

The colder weather doesn’t mean you have to splurge on winter sports or never leave your house. There are plenty of cost-friendly things to eat, see and discover in Utah County, and great options for service and play. Check out a few of these local activities for a memorable winter season.


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