What You Should Know Before Moving to Salt Lake City
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Salt Lake City: What You Should Know Before Moving There

by Team NextBurb 12 September 2021

Moving Guides By City Salt Lake City

Tucked in between the glittering Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City is a quickly growing urban area with four seasons and diverse culture.

With a population of 1,222,540, the metro area stretches in a long, narrow corridor that includes Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Provo among its growing centers of business and culture.

Salt Lake City – Tucked in between the glittering Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains
Salt Lake City – Tucked in between the glittering Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains

In addition to being the world headquarters of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Salt Lake City was planned out and developed by religious leader Brigham Young in 1800s. The entire city is mapped out in reference to Temple Square, where the Salt Lake Temple of the LDS church was built in 1893.

Despite its religious origins, Salt Lake City today is a progressive city home to a community with diverse religious leanings and cultural backgrounds. Some restrictions still apply to nightlife and liquor laws, but the city welcomes new residents and visitors from all across the country and the world.

Are you thinking of moving to Salt Lake City? Whether you’re relocating to the area for work or are considering it for its access to beautiful hikes and outdoor activities, check out our guide to the city to learn more about its neighborhoods, lifestyle, and amenities.

Moving to Salt Lake City

Is Salt Lake City Affordable?

Living in Salt Lake City is 6% more affordable than the national average, with a median home price of $320,000 within city limits.

You can expect to pay slightly higher prices on public transportation and gas than in other states, but the overall cost of living is a lot lower than what you’ll find in other major cities across the United States.

Should I buy a house in Salt Lake City?

The Salt Lake City area is home to a quickly growing population. If you’re looking to buy a house, this means that while your home value will appreciate well over time, average mortgage payments in the city are much higher than monthly rent.

Because of this, buying will be most advantageous if you plan on living in the area for a while.

If you value the freedom of being able to move in the near future, you might save money by renting instead.

Areas to Live in Salt Lake City

There are plenty of fun, family-friendly neighborhoods in Salt Lake, both within city limits and out in the suburbs.

Whether you want a beautiful older home or a new build with a spacious yard, you will be able to find an affordable home in the city or suburbs that meets your needs.

The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake’s residential areas are typically more spaced out and calmer than the busy energy of bustling cities like New York and Chicago, so some neighborhoods feel almost suburban even within city limits.

If you’re looking for an urban lifestyle, definitely focus your search closer to the city center in neighborhoods like the Avenues, Central City, and Sugar House.

These areas are full of beautiful old houses and local shops. Residents tend to be more politically progressive here than in other parts of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

  • Northeast of the city center, the Avenues neighborhood boasts Victorian and Tudor-era houses built as early as 1850s. The median home price here is almost as high at $729,000, but proximity to shops, downtown, and a beautiful view of the city and mountains make the price worth considering.
  • With a median home price of $345,000 and average rent at $900/month, Central City is a great place to live if you want a more affordable cost of living with access to city nightlife and an urban lifestyle.

    Unlike many neighborhoods nearby, Central City is home to more renters than buyers. As with most downtown areas in big cities, Central City has a higher-than-average crime rate, but so long as you practice self-awareness and basic safety, you should feel safe and secure in the heart of Salt Lake City.
  • At the southeast edge of city limits, the Sugar House neighborhood is full of trendy bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. The median home price is a little high at $480,000, but it comes with the fun of urban life and access to the best spots in the city.

Best Suburbs to Live in Salt Lake City

Where you choose to live in the Salt Lake City area will be determined in part by where you will need to work (unless you can work from home).

Suburbs north of the city provide quicker commute times up to Ogden. If you need to work in or near Provo, look at areas further south.

  • Just southeast of the city, Millcreek offers family-friendly suburban life with quick access to the mountains nearby.

    The median home price is $458,000, but you’ll find more affordable homes depending on what area of the township you choose.

    Nearby, the town Holladay has a unique small town charm that appeals to everyone. Holladay’s median home price is $568,000, and its schools ranked as some of the best in the state.

    Holladay brings in an older retired crowd as well as young families because of its cozy downtown and relaxed pace of life. You can drive downtown from Millcreek to Holladay in about 20 minutes.
  • To the north of Salt Lake City, Kaysville and Farmington are suburbs offering a more spread-out, rural feel with access northward to Ogden as well as into Salt Lake City.

    Kaysville has a median home price of $431,700 and has a more conservative population than other suburbs.

    Farmington has a median home price of $467,000. Commute downtown via car 25 minutes from Kaysville or 20 from Farmington.
  • If you’re looking for a home to the south of Salt Lake City, suburbs South Jordan and West Jordan have great schools, accessible shopping, and new spacious neighborhoods.

    The District of South Jordan provides fun dining and shopping. Both of these neighborhoods have low crime rates and moderate housing prices: South Jordan’s median home price is $462, 899 and West Jordan’s is $399,500.

Schools in Salt Lake City

The areas in and surrounding Salt Lake City have top-rated school districts as well as highly ranked charter and private schools.

The Davis, Canyons, and Alpine school districts are rated highly for public schools throughout the metro area, and schools like the Beehive Science & Technology Academy and the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science (NUAMES) provide private, specialized education for students in the sciences.

Crime in Salt Lake City

Crime rates in Salt Lake City are 191% higher than the national average.

Although this is concerning, remember that this is reflective of certain areas of the city and that many neighborhoods are perfectly safe.

Neighborhoods in the city to the north and east are generally considered the safer areas of the city, and suburbs throughout the entire metro area have low crime rates and are great, secure places to live.

Climate in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City residents enjoy four seasons, with cold winters and hot, dry summers. Winter-month temperatures stay below freezing, but rarely get below 0℉, and the Great Salt Lake creates frequent, powdery snowfall in the valley and surrounding mountains, providing perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

Temperatures during the summer rise to the 90s, but the dryness of the climate allows the air to cool at night, sometimes as low as 40℉.

Salt Lake City’s unique location in a valley by one of the biggest lakes on the continent has one unfortunate drawback: poor air quality.

Pollutants from motor traffic and manufacturing are often trapped in the city's air and raise poor air quality to health-threatening levels.

During the winter, temperature inversions lead to week-long periods of fog, humidity, and trapped pollutants. As a quickly growing city, air quality is one of Salt Lake City’s top concerns.

Transportation & Commute

Airports

Salt Lake City International Airport provides service to over 26 million travelers every year.

Most major American airlines operate from the airport and you can book nonstop flights to international destinations like Paris and Amsterdam.

The airport is only a ten-minute drive from the city center and is accessible via public transportation as well.

Public Transportation

The Salt Lake City metro area is served by TRAX, a light rail train service that runs from the center of the city to the surrounding suburbs.

A base ticket fee is $2.50, with additional fees for each passed station. TRAX provides access to the airport and to the downtown area, and a commuter train service called FrontRunner runs throughout the entire metro area from Ogden and Provo Monday through Saturday.

Salt Lake City also has bus routes that provide connections throughout the city and that even run from downtown up to ski slopes during winter months–a great opportunity for those without a vehicle.

Do I need a car to live in Salt Lake City?

If you live within city limits, you will probably be able to run all errands and commute downtown without a car. Neighborhoods downtown like The Avenues and Sugar House have a good amount of grocery stores that are accessible by foot or a short ride.

Trax reaches out into the suburbs, and if you choose a home nearby, you can use it for all your transportation needs.

However, living without a car might limit you from exploring the mountains and outdoor sports that the area has to offer. If you love the outdoors and want the freedom to explore the area, a car might be a good consideration.

Business in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has long been a center for financial companies, healthcare, and higher education.

The University of Utah and Brigham Young University are both located in the metro area and employ thousands of residents.

Companies like Fidelity Investments and Goldman Sachs also have branches in the city.

The future job growth of the city over the next ten years is predicted to be 39.9%, which is higher than the country’s average of 33.5%.

Working from Home in Salt Lake City

Utah was ranked in 2020 as the seventh best state for remote work in a report that factored in home size and the costs of the internet and electricity.

It also provides quick access to mountains and water sports when you want to go outside for the weekend.

The city offers a handful of traditional coworking spaces as well, in case you need to get away from home during the work week.

Things to Do in Salt Lake City

Food & Drink

Salt Lake City might have conservative Mormon roots, but you will still find bars, clubs, and coffee shops galore throughout the city.

Although there are stricter restrictions on nightlife and alcohol purchases compared to most of the country, you can still find great cocktails and fun bars to have a good time.

Pay a visit to neighborhoods like Sugar House and 9th and 9th in downtown Salt Lake for food from all culinary traditions.

Just keep in mind that many businesses (and liquor stores) close their doors on Sunday, so weekend festivities might require some planning ahead.

Sports & Entertainment

After hosting the Winter Olympics in 2002, Salt Lake City saw a huge growth in popularity of winter sports.

Today, eight ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains east of the city bring in thousands of ski and snowboarding enthusiasts every winter.

During the summer, the mountains are a great place for hiking, camping, and rock climbing. In addition to water activities on the Great Salt Lake, boaters and swimmers can find cold streams and rivers up in the mountains for kayaking and fishing.

Culture

Although Church of the Latter-Day Saints members make up 62% of Utah’s religious demographics, only 50% of Salt Lake City residents are Mormon.

Salt Lake City is progressive relative to the rest of the state, and most of its mayors for the last seventy years have been part of the Democratic party. Demographics further out in the Salt Lake suburbs tend to be more conservative and culturally aligned with LDS values.

Living in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is a fun, beautiful area to consider as a place to live.

With a growing job economy and a diverse background in politics and religion, the city provides a lifestyle suited to anyone.

Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced city life with access to the great outdoors or want a family-friendly suburb with promising home values, this beautiful city is a great place to consider home.

Here at Nextburb, we’re committed to providing you with the facts you need to know about any area you’re considering as a future home.

Discover the best places to live in the United States to find out more about neighborhoods to live in, school ratings, crime data, and real estate options.

We’ll provide you with recommendations based on your lifestyle and budget preferences to help you discover where you want to go.

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