Blake Walsh

16 Free Things to Do in Orem, UT

  • Published 2023/03/01

The city of Orem lies north of the state in Utah County.

Residents used to call this city Sharon, the biblical term for a somewhat flat land strip between mountains and the sea.

Orem is sometimes referred to as “Family City USA” since over 85 percent of its homes consist of married couples, and 50 percent of its people are under 25.

This city, home to Utah Valley University and the annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, lies in a high desert region with stunning, expansive landscapes.

Orem is expanding but is still a relatively small city, so it has maintained its friendly, laid-back vibe.

It is home to budget-friendly attractions ideal for travelers who don’t want to spend anything to enjoy the quaint city.

Here are some free things to do in Orem, Utah:

Uncover Diverse Information at Roots of Knowledge

Interior of Roots of Knowledge

Daniel K. Driskill /

Visit Utah Valley University’s Roots of Knowledge on your trip to the city.

It features stunning stained-glass murals in the Ira Fulton Library on West University Parkway.

Each of the 80 window panels in this installation is 20 meters (or 80 feet) in length and 10 meters (or 32 feet) in height.

Every pane in Roots of Knowledge is a perfect metaphor for the age-old human need for understanding.

People in Roots of Knowledge

Daniel K. Driskill /

Here you can learn about the printing press development, the Mayan calendar, and global history.

The university’s magnificent exhibit resulted from the hard work of 26 UVU professors, 350 undergraduates, and 40 professionals in the arts.

Young readers will be fascinated by the portrayal of historical people like Joan of Arc and the Kangxi Emperor.

Exterior of Roots of Knowledge

Nihonjoe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jog through Provo River Parkway

Jogging or running along the Provo River Parkway is a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the natural surroundings of Orem.

This path follows the Provo River through Provo Canyon and Provi City, beginning at Utah Lake State Park.

In addition to shopping and sightseeing, visitors may skate and ride horses and bikes along a route more than 15 miles long and pass by both business and residential areas.

You’ll have to go through the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls to reach the northern side of Provo River Parkway.

If you need a break from sightseeing, drinking fountains, bathrooms, and picnic areas are available.

Bike through Murdock Canal Trail

Murdock Canal Trail is around eight kilometers long and located in a fantastic spot, between Orem and Highland.

Historically, the trail was a ditch constructed for irrigation in the 20th century and known as the Provo Reservoir Canal.

Its primary function was to pipe water from the Provo River to agricultural areas in need of irrigation.

After expansion in 1940, the canal became known as Murdock Canal.

In 2010, the canal served as an underground aqueduct, and local authorities planned to build a walking path along its path.

Construction of Murdock Canal Trail came to a close in 2013, connecting to other trails in the area.

Catch a Performance at Scera Park

People at Scera Park

Ben P L from Provo, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scera Park is a must for anybody looking for fun things to do with a group in the city.

The citizens now manage the 20-acre site once held by the SCERA Center for the Arts, thanks to the efforts of local leaders.

In 1990, the city began making serious attempts to transform the area north of State Street into a verdant paradise, and work began on the park’s construction and beautification.

Swimming pool at Scera Park

Ben P L from Provo, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Park highlights include an outdoor amphitheater, a public swimming pool, two playgrounds, and a park pavilion.

Utah County residents now use Scera Park because of the substantial investment in its upkeep and the creation of attractive walking paths and gardens.

Bond with Your Family at Nielsen’s Grove Park

In case you didn’t know, Utah’s first park opened to the public back in 1880.

Jorgen Nielsen conceived of and built Nielsen’s Grove Park, making it Utah’s oldest public park.

Nielsen was a Danish immigrant who decided the neighborhood needed a park and designed it around a single fountain.

In 2003, the city of Orem welcomed this charming grove park.

In response, the city added several new amenities catering to guests.

There’s a pool, a playground, a carousel swing, and picnic tables. among others.

Get Active at Mt. Timpanogos Park

Mt. Timpanogos Park initially served as the setting for the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Its abundance of exciting outdoor pursuits draws many visitors each year.

You and your loved ones may jog, picnic, and run here.

Mt. Timpanogos Park is also home to the Orem Bike Skills Trail Park, which features paths for novice, intermediate, and experienced hikers.

The park’s 12 acres are home to a 1.27-mile walking route and full-service bathrooms.

Those traveling with canine companions may appreciate its proximity to Orem Dog Park.

Catch a Local Tournament or Exercise at Lakeside Sports Park

Welcome sign of Lakeside Sports Park

An Errant Knight, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Are you looking for a public park in Orem where your family can break up a sweat?

Orem residents’ 15-year ambition to build a sports park paid off when the Lakeside Sports Park opened.

Explore the sports complex featuring eight soccer fields, five illuminated baseball diamonds, a snack bar, and grandstands.

If you want to exercise in the morning or evening, the one-mile asphalt loop at Lakeside Sports Park is the place to go.

The sports complex also features a playground, so kids of all ages may have fun while their parents watch games.

Let Your Kids Explore their Imagination at All-Together Playground

Another fantastic and entertaining place to take the kids is the All-Together Playground.

Almost 4,000 people volunteered to make this playground possible, with professional playground builders overseeing their work.

All-Together Playground is the first playground in Utah.

All children are welcome to use the playground built in 2006.

Kids with special needs who can’t enjoy the park’s regular rides, swings, and activities will also find something to entertain them.

Here, kids of all ages and skills may play together and have a great time.

The playground was built from the ground up with healthy kids’ growth in mind.

Its vastness, at 19,000 square feet, ensures that everyone can find a suitable spot to enjoy themselves.

Admire Local Artistry at the UVU Museum of Art

Orin and Wacky Woodbury donated 600 modern paintings by prominent Utah artists to create the UVU Museum of Art (then known as the Woodbury Art Museum) in 2002.

The museum has a rotating display of works of art, each sorted into a predetermined category.

There are four regional paintings by various photographers in the Hal Wing Photography Collection.

The Malan and Linda Collection, featuring the work of Mongolian-connected artists, is also on display at the UVU Museum of Art.

Another maximalist painter whose works use extensive symbolism is Jeanne Leighton-Lundberg Clarke.

In addition to paintings and sculptures by Western American artists, the Cloward Collection features traditional Native American frontier oil paintings.

The museum is currently moving locations, so it’s best to contact the management before you visit.

Discover the City’s Past at Orem Heritage Museum

Handwoven beehive displayed in Orem Heritage Museum

Ben P L from Provo, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Over 2,000 items, each with a fascinating history, may be found in the Orem Heritage Museum.

It is a fantastic destination for individuals, families, and groups of all ages, including those from nearby schools and churches, scout teams, senior centers, and assisted living facilities.

The museum is home to displays of uniforms, equipment, and weapons from World War I through the Korean War, as well as Indian petroglyphs and arrowheads.

There are also artifacts from early Orem’s schools, churches, and railroads, items from the Orem POW camp during WWII, a blacksmith shop and agricultural display, videos documenting the lives of early Orem settlers, and more.

Those interested can arrange free, guided group tours to Orem Heritage Museum.

It is located in the historic building just south of the SCERA Center.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Just a short drive from Orem will take you to Provo, Utah.

This city offers a wide variety of activities, many of which are free of charge, from historical and cultural attractions to artistic performances and nature escapes.

Here are other free things to do near Orem, Utah:

Bring Your Kids to Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

Exterior of Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum

An Errant Knight, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another BYU gem is Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, a natural history museum.

The museum focuses on natural history and wildlife.

It features environmental history and future exhibitions using taxidermy and other plant displays.

It also offers fun activities for youngsters such as drawing and reading, group visits, and scavenger hunts.

In addition to being a fascinating museum, Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum is also an excellent free option that is ideal for families.

Explore Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Exterior of Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Jllm06, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

BYU campus also boasts a museum for arts.

Visit the Brigham Young University Museum of Art to view the works of some promising young artists.

It features garden sculptures and works by current artists.

Brigham Young University Museum of Art spans four stories and has galleries, schools, exhibitions, an auditorium, a theater, and a gift shop.

The museum is open from Monday through Saturday.

See the Majestic Bridal Veil Falls

Scenic view of the Majestic Bridal Veil Falls

Sean Pavone /

Bridal Veil Falls, a charming cascade within a 12-minute drive from downtown Orem, is a must-see.

Parking is convenient here, as viewing areas for the falls are only a short distance away.

Bridal Veil Falls looks like an actual bridal veil, around 180 meters in height, formed by the cascade of water down a limestone cliff.

Downstream of the Majestic Bridal Veil Falls

Alisa_Ch /

It’s stunning in all four seasons since its landscape and colors adapt to the changing weather.

If you go in the fall, the leaves will be a brilliant orange, and if you go in the winter, the waterfalls will be frozen, making for a gorgeous sight.

Also, if you’re lucky, you may spot ice climbers who brave the falls during this time.

Learn about Local Culture and Traditions at the BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures

People usually consider Provo a student city because it is home to Brigham Young University (BYU).

The BYU Museum of People and Cultures, a seven-minute drive from Orem, is a must-see for anybody interested in art, culture, and history.

Anthropology and archaeology are the primary focus of the museum.

Numerous displays highlight regional and global history, featuring objects from South and Mesoamerica (modern-day Central America).

The BYU Museum of People and Cultures’ mission is to foster a more profound regard for many cultural traditions.

Cruise through Provo Canyon

Daytime view of Provo Canyon

Marci Paravia /

If you’re in Provo, exploring Provo Canyon is a must if you’re a nature lover because it’s one of the loveliest places in the city.

In this location, 14 minutes from Orem, you’ll find lakes, mountains, waterfalls, and dense vegetation.

As you drive by, you’ll also pass by Bridal Veil Falls and Deer Creek Reservoir.

Stone arch at Provo Canyon

Jason Finn /

This enchanting journey can take anywhere from two to four hours.

Starting on US-189, the Provo Canyon scenic drive follows the Provo River and offers access to the Alpine Scenic Loop, U-92, which travels through Uinta National Forest and Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

Hiking trail at Provo Canyon

Jason Finn /

Visit the BYU Museum of Paleontology

Dinosaur skeleton in the BYU Museum of Paleontology

Jaren Wilkey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The BYU Museum of Paleontology, another BYU campus gem, began in 1976 as a repository of the geological and dinosaur artifacts amassed by Dr. James A. Jensen.

Throughout several decades, Dr. Jensen and his teams collected rare and unique artifacts from all over Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.

In addition to displaying Dr. Jensen’s research, the museum at BYU serves as a lab and research facility.

Dinosaur skull in the BYU Museum of Paleontology

Etemenanki3, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum is open to both individual tourists and organized school trips.

It is open to the public, and contributions are welcome but not required.

Every year, the museum welcomes more than 25,000 visitors.

Final Thoughts

Orem’s scenic landscapes, rich heritage, and flourishing art community provide a warm and welcoming environment that draws in many tourists searching for a memorable getaway.

As Orem is a family-friendly city, everyone can find something to suit their interests here regardless of age.

For a budget-friendly vacation, use this guide on the free things to do in Orem, Utah.

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