Moving to Salt Lake City, UT

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Last Updated on January 8, 2024 @ 4:23 pm

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Salt Lake City At-A-Glance

You’ll be in good company. Data from December 2022 shows Utah had the largest one-year jump in population in the post-World War II era. More than 61,000 people moved to the Beehive State compared to the year before, pushing the total population above 3.4 million. 

And a large majority of them are moving to Salt Lake City, an area of the state that boasts some of the best skiing, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking in the country. No wonder it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.  

SLC is growing into an economic powerhouse specializing in finance and tech. It offers access to excellent recreational activities, from its namesake lake to some of the country’s best ski slopes. With great schools and low crime, Salt Lake City is also family-friendly. And if you’re imagining a city full of stodgy teetotalers, think again: SLC has a thriving nightlife, a red-hot culinary scene, and is turning into a hipster haven.

Increasing Diversity, Booming Cultural Scene and Gorgeous Backdrops

If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Salt Lake City is the Mormon church, you are missing out on an entirely different outlook. In fact, Salt Lake City is also more than just great housing and world-class ski resorts. 

Increasing diversity, a booming cultural scene and gorgeous backdrops flanked by beautiful blue peeks, yes, there’s an abundance of reasons why Salt Lake City is a fast-growing metropolitan area. Salt Lake City has reasonably comfortable temperatures for the majority of the year and is paradise for anyone who enjoys outdoor recreation. In fact, it’s been ranked the 20th best city in the U.S. for access to outdoor activities

Need more reasons to consider Salt Lake City? How about a growing food scene, a lively downtown, friendly neighbors, and a true sense of community. The Honest Local says it best, “breathtaking mountain backdrops, great food, incredible nature, and world-class outdoor recreation opportunities are just the start.” 

With endless opportunities to explore for young professionals and families alike, a booming job market, incredible housing options, and weather you can appreciate no matter the season, Salt Lake City is an especially good place to call home. 

Downtown Salt Lake City skyline cityscape of Utah in USA at sunset

Downtown Salt Lake City / Shutterstock User @f11photo

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Salt Lake City Earns the Nickname “Silicon Slopes”

Unlike many other cities, Utah and Salt Lake City specifically had a reason to feel hopeful during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was one of the only areas that came out of that time frame relatively unscathed. For one, it has a diversified economy. In 2020, the Hachman Index of economic diversity put Utah at No. 1 in the nation. And small businesses were some of the least affected in the nation. In multiple factors, Utah was one of the nation’s best performers. The Salt Lake Tribune reports, “the Utah economy has been roaring, fortified by a strong social fabric.” 

You’ll find several thriving industries in SLC that support the growth and development of the area, including information technology and gaming, outdoor products, life sciences, healthcare, finance, logistics, manufacturing, and distribution. Unbelievable job opportunities are attracting huge swaths of young people, as well as the growth of the tech industry. It has become such a major player of SLC’s job market that it has earned the nickname “Silicon Slopes.” 

  • Unemployment rate: 2.6 percent (as of February 2023)
  • Average weekly wages for all industries: $1,354 (as of October 2022)

Silicon Slopes Utah / siliconslopes.com

Expect Record High Housing Costs in Salt Lake City

With a large influx of population, the question is whether that has affected Salt Lake City’s housing costs? The answer is yes and no. According to Redfin, the median home value in Salt Lake City is $535K, which is a whopping 35 percent higher than the national average. And overall the cost of living in Salt Lake City is 8 percent higher than the national average. 

But there’s good news on the horizon. The housing market appears to be cooling for the time being. The median sale price is down 9 percent since last year. And the median sale price per square foot is $342, which is also down 7 percent compared to the previous year. 

Because millennials make up a majority of the Salt Lake City population (52 percent is 35 and under), finding affordable places to rent can be uber competitive, too. Which also means prices have skyrocketed in recent years. You’ll pay an average of between $1,288 and $1,712 for an apartment in Salt Lake City.

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Our Top Picks for the Best Salt Lake City Neighborhoods

As Salt Lake City’s population keeps trending upward, it’s natural for newcomers to want to know the best neighborhoods for living and exploring. These are some of the best neighborhoods to check out in Salt Lake City.

Capitol Hill/Marmalade: Whimsical, charming houses mix with the political feel of the Capitol Hill area. Perfect for those who want a smaller-town feel with great places to snack and drink as well as a panoramic view of the city. 

The Avenues: If being close to hiking and mountain biking opportunities is more your speed, the Avenues is offset from the city with converted historic homes and tree-lined streets. Plenty of restaurants and hidden gems are nestled in this Salt Lake City neighborhood, too. 

Maven District: This eclectic up-and-comer is a newer neighborhood that has quickly become a central location for local artisans, makers, and shop owners. You’ll find everything from local businesses to parks in this affordable neighborhood. 

9th & 9th: SLC newcomers will have to get use to the city’s peculiar preferences for naming streets with numbers instead of names. That said, the 9th & 9th area 

Sugar House: Dubbed SLC’s “downtown away from downtown,” Sugar House is a popular neighborhood for young professionals and small families alike with shopping plazas and a great deal of green space, ideal for the dog owners of the groups.

Map showing location of sugar house, ut

Sugar House Utah / visitsaltlake.com/salt-lake-city/sugar-house/

SLC’s Robust Public Transportation System Beats the Traffic

Get your podcasts ready, you might need them to maneuver through Salt Lake City’s traffic. In fact, INRIX reports the average commuter in Salt Lake City spends 12 hours in traffic each year. According to the United States TomTom Traffic Ranking, Salt Lake City is the 60th most congested major city in the United States. 

The good news is there are plenty of other options for getting around in Salt Lake City thanks to the area’s robust public transportation system. Choose from TRAX light-rail lines that run from downtown to locations across the valley, buses that travel through the downtown area and commuter trains which service areas from Ogden to Provo. Because of its emphasis on being outdoor-friendly, SLC is highly walkable and has many dedicated baths that make biking enjoyable as well. 

newer model train, red, white, and blue, in salt lake city

Newer Model Train / SLC / rideuta.com

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Salt Lake City Has an Educated Workforce to Fuel the Economy

Salt Lake City has a decent school system with the surrounding communities of Draper, Millcreek, and Sandy having higher rated public schools. Living in Utah means you’ll pay a state income tax, which sees dollars funneled into the state’s education fund and supports both public education and higher education. 

SLC does have a reputation for an educated workforce thanks to top-notch educational institutions and trade schools. Higher education consistently ranks high for graduation rates and offers a myriad of fields and professions. The economic development department invests in ways to keep growing local talent to fuel the growing SLC’s economy.  

best trade schools in utah ranking seal

Best Trade Schools in Utah / onlytradeschools.com/utah/

Need Plenty of Vitamin D? SLC Weather Delivers

If getting enough Vitamin D is a requirement of where you live, sunshine is no stranger in Salt Lake City. In fact, you’ll see an average of 222 sunny days a year, which is over two weeks more than the national average. 

All-seasons kind of folks will love living in Salt Lake City as you’ll see weather patterns of all kinds from frigid temperatures to snow and balmy summer months. Pack appropriate snow gear for everything from skiing to shoveling snow as SLC gets an average of 60 inches of the white stuff every winter. 

Summer months see average daily temperatures just barely topping 80 degrees. The best part? It stays relatively dry in Salt Lake City so humidity isn’t a big concern. Even during the rainiest month in May, the city averages about 1.7 inches of rainfall. 

Summer average (June – Aug): 87°F high, 45°F low

Winter average (Dec – Feb): 41°F high, 28°F low

10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has a little bit of everything for you to explore, including salt flats, renowned restaurants, and year-round sports activities. Start with the Utah Olympic Park and then cross the rest of these 10 must-see things to do off your travel bucket list. 

  1. If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, you must stop by the Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. It operates year-round and offers bobsledding, ski jumping, ziplining and more. 
  2. Grab a parking space and take in a double feature at the Redwood Drive-In Movie Theatre. 
  3. Go for a hike at the Red Butte Garden, which is the largest botanical garden in the Intermountain West featuring 21 acres of gardens, plant collections, and trails.  
  4. Stop for a drink at the Bodega and The Rest, a speakeasy-style underground bar and restaurant. While there you’re required to keep your phone in your bag to maintain ultimate secrecy. 
  5. Plan to stay at the Sundance Mountain Resort, a beautiful resort owned by Robert Redford that features gorgeous scenery and an impressive array of year-round activities. 
  6. Trek to the summit of Grandeur Peak for one of the best views of the Salt Lake City valley. If you start at the Church Fork Trailhead in Millcreek Canyon, it’s a hike of just over three miles.  
  7. Pedal your way through Salt Lake City while learning about the history of the area. If you want to save your legs for an electric bicycle instead you can try the Salt Lake Bike & Brew Tour which includes beer sampling and sightseeing. 
  8. See the colorful caverns, helictites, stalactites, stalagmites and anthodites on a Timpanogos Cave Tour.
  9. Take in the Bonneville Salt Flats, which is one of the most unique landscapes you’ll see and one of only a handful of salt pans in the world. 
  10. Rent a boat and venture out onto the Great Salt Lake, which is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and only slightly less salty than the Dead Sea!
Mountain view marina at the great salt lake in utah

Mountain view marina at the Great Salt Lake / Shutterstock @Chrisu68

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Shawnna Stiver

Shawnna Stiver is a veteran content writer and copy strategist with over 22 years of experience. She has had the pleasure of writing traditional, digital and social content for the following industries: beauty, construction, consumer goods, entrepreneurship, financial services, health/wellness, home improvement/DIY, lifestyle, moving, non-profit, parenting, self improvement and travel. In addition, she’s led content strategy for the self-storage industry since 2022.
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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
Contact the editor: [email protected]


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