Utena was first mentioned in historical documents dating back to 1261.
Germany occupied Utena from 1915–1918, until the Soviet Bolsheviks took over. In June 1919, Utena became a district center in independent Lithuania.
The anniversary of Utena City had been held each year on the last weekend of September. Since 2013 the anniversary has been held on the first weekend of September to take advantage of better weather conditions.
The name of the city is most probably derived from a hydronym.
The name of the settlement has been known since 1261.
The city is divided into 10 districts: Aukštakalnis, Ąžuolija, Centras, Dauniškis, Pramonės rajonas, Rašė, Vyturiai, Šilinė, Grybeliai & Krašuona.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Lithuania occurred in Utena (-42,9 °C in 1956-02-01).
The City of Utena covers 15,1 km² and is the 8th largest city by area in Lithuania.
Four rivers cross the city territory: Vyžuona, Krašuona, Vieša and Utenėlė.
Utena is located in the region of Utenos apskritis and is also the regional capital of this region.