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14 Things to Know About Living in Salt Lake City

Moving to Salt Lake City? SLC is one of the best mid-sized cities in the U.S. because of its amazing employment opportunities, vibrant social scene, and range of things to do. Plus, as one of the best places to live near the mountains, the city boasts gorgeous views and plenty of outdoor activities! Here’s what you need to know about living in Salt Lake City.

Experience Affordable Living Near the Wasatch Mountains

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If you’re trying to compare Salt Lake City to another city with a similar vibe, Denver might come to mind—given both cities are located near the mountains, have similar climates, and provide an abundance of both outdoor recreation and career opportunities. However, Salt Lake City homes are about 13% less expensive than in Denver, and the SLC population is much smaller, which helps your dollar go further. There are also great places to rent in Salt Lake City, with a median rent that is 25% lower than the national median. Additionally, the median household income in Salt Lake County is around $15,000 higher than the U.S. median, making it easier for residents to afford SLC’s cost of living. And as one of the top ten healthiest cities in the country, Utah’s capital offers a great quality of life for its residents!

Find Excellent Jobs in Silicon Slopes

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Are you relocating to Utah for your career? The Beehive State is ranked among the best states for jobs, while Salt Lake City is one of the best cities for jobs! SLC has a 2.7% unemployment rate and offers careers in a variety of industries, including information technology, life sciences, finance, outdoor equipment, manufacturing, and more. In fact, when it comes to tech careers, SLC and surrounding areas are known as the Silicon Slopes—Utah’s version of Silicon Valley. They even host the annual Silicon Slopes Summit, which is one of the biggest global tech and business conferences in North America and has previously hosted notable speakers like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In addition to tech companies, some of the area’s other top employers include Salt Lake County, Intermountain Healthcare, and the University of Utah. (Fun fact: Extra Space Storage is also headquartered in Salt Lake City!)

Attend Salt Lake City Universities

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Living in Salt Lake City means you’ll have access to great educational institutions, including som

e of the best colleges in Utah! Attend the number one public university in the West when you enroll in popular majors ranging from economics to nursing at The University of Utah. Get your degree from another prominent—but much smaller—institution at Westminster University, which offers majors like aeronautics and aviation technology, finance, and communications. Pursue accounting, business management, or digital marketing at a private institution owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Ensign College—formerly known as LDS Business College. For an SLC college with a more specialized approach, earn a Bachelor of Science in computer science, software and game development, or web design at Neumont College of Computer Science. If health sciences are more your speed, check out the nursing, dental, or medical technology program at Fortis College in Salt Lake City. Or if you’d like to save some money before transferring to a larger institution, you can take transferable classes at the local Salt Lake Community College, which is part of the Utah System of Higher Education.

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Take Advantage of Salt Lake Public Transportation

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It’s getting easier to find public transportation in Salt Lake City, thanks in part to sustainable living efforts through air quality initiatives with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA)! Plus, traveling throughout Salt Lake City is made even easier by using the Transit App to see schedules or routes for any UTA service. Board FrontRunner, the commuter train, to travel back and forth across the metro from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south. Take UTA buses all over the city, or even up into the mountains to local ski resorts. Ride the light rail system known as TRAX to travel between Salt Lake neighborhoods and suburbs, or to reach the Salt Lake City International Airport—which serves 26 million passengers a year. And if you want to add a bit of exercise to your daily commute or while seeing SLC attractions, check out the 47 GREENbike stations throughout the city.

Make the Most of Salt Lake Skiing

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Salt Lake City is one of the best cities for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its beautiful mountain climate. The state of Utah is known for offering “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” and the considerable amount of snow in Salt Lake City—nearly 54 inches per year on average—makes the SLC area a ski and snowboard paradise come wintertime. With 11 ski resorts near the city, several of which are less than 45 minutes away, you’ll have your pick of slopes when snow season rolls around! Explore 7,300 acres of skiable terrain at Park City Mountain Resort, the largest ski resort in the U.S. Get your season pass to zip down the beautifully groomed trails at Deer Valley Resort. Or hit the slopes at Alta Ski Area, which is known for its deep powder skiing and challenging terrain.

Get Outside With SLC Parks & Trails

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The Wasatch Mountains are a defining feature of the Salt Lake City skyline, serving as a towering backdrop for the entire Salt Lake Valley. Because of city’s location at the base of these mountains, you’ll find plenty of hiking and other outdoor activities in and around SLC. Have your pick from paths like City Creek Canyon Trail, Jack’s Peak Trail, Parley’s Canyon Overlook Trail, or Ensign Peak Trail—all of which are close to home. Tackle a tougher challenge on the outskirts of the city with Mueller Park Trail to Rudy’s Flat or Grandview Peak via Great Western Trail. Walk or bike the trails in local parks, have an afternoon picnic in the pavilions and BBQ stands, or play on the sports fields and courts in Salt Lake City parks like Big Cottonwood Regional Park, Bingham Creek Regional Park, and Sugar House Park. Some spots like Jordan River Regional Park even have boat docks available for a day out on the water! Or visit one of the largest botanical gardens in the Intermountain West for a wide range of local flora and over 590,000 blooms in springtime at Red Butte Garden.

Enjoy Fun for the Whole Family in SLC

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Living in Salt Lake City with kids? There are many fun, family-friendly things to do in SLC! Start with animal exhibits like African Savanna, Rocky Shores, Asian Highlands, or Wild Utah at Utah’s Hogle Zoo. Discover over 300 different species of birds from around the world, interactive shows and demonstrations, and free-roaming animal encounters at the eight-acre Tracy Aviary. Let the kids run wild in hands-on, interactive exhibits like I Dig Dinos, Water Play, and The Garden at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum of Utah. Ride the Primordial, Cannibal, or Odysea just 20 minutes down the road at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington. Head over to Draper to observe sea creatures in the Deep Sea Lab, Expedition Asia, or Ocean Explorer animal habitats at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. Or have a blast exploring the site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, now home to the UOP Summer Camp, Alpine Slide, and Summer Bobsled Experience for children at the Utah Olympic Park, about 35 minutes away.

Immerse Yourself in SLC History & Museums

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Salt Lake City was settled by Mormon pioneers in 1847, but the area was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ute—which Utah is named for—as well as the Pueblo, Shoshone, Navajo, Paiute, and Goshute. Visit a Utah State Park that also functions as a cultural and historical landmark, complete with a Native American Village to honor Utah’s native tribes, at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Walk through Temple Square to see multiple historical Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints landmarks within a five-block radius, including the Salt Lake Temple, Church History Museum, The Lion House, and The Beehive House. View a state-owned collection of folk art, celebrate the diverse traditions of different Utah cultures, and support local literary arts with the Utah Original Writing Competition and Poet Laureate Program at the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts. See exhibitions like Climate of Hope, Native Voices, and Great Salt Lake in the Natural History Museum of Utah. Embrace your inner scientist with shows in the Dome Theatre and exhibits like Restless Planet, Space Weather, and Planetary Processes at Clark Planetarium. Or visit the beehive sculptures and attend a guided or self-guided tour to see the art and manicured grounds of the Utah State Capitol.

Cheer for Utah Sports Teams

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There are many professional sports teams in Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas that residents can root for! Watch the Utah Jazz (NBA) tear up the court at the Delta Center. Buy tickets to see the men of Real Salt Lake (MLS) or the women of the Utah Royals (NWSL) take on soccer matches at America First Field. Support the Salt Lake Bees (MiLB) as they hit home runs in Smith’s Ballpark. Travel a quick 20 minutes down the road to West Valley City for a Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) hockey game at Maverik Center. Root for the Real Salt Lake affiliate soccer team Real Monarchs (MLSNP) or cheer for the Utah Warriors Rugby (MLR) pro team as they play in Zions Bank Stadium around 30 minutes outside the city in Herriman.

Take in Salt Lake City’s Arts & Entertainment Scene

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SLC is a hub of fine arts and entertainment opportunities! Peruse the permanent collection or special exhibitions like Sonic Blossom or Chiura Obata: Layer By Layer at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Check out rotating modern art installments like Nina Elder: What Sustains and Paul Kos: Oracles at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Experience science, tech, and art with exhibits like Into the Mind of Artificial Intelligence, Look at Us, and Flight, or attend community events like sommelier-led tasting nights at The Leonardo. Buy tickets to concerts from big-name artists like Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, and Neil Young in the Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre. See productions from the Utah Opera and Ballet West at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Listen to a night of classical music from the Utah Symphony in the beautiful Abravanel Hall. Or splurge on tickets to hit Broadway shows like Annie and Hamilton at Broadway at the Eccles.

Celebrate Diverse Salt Lake City Festivals

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Residents can take full advantage of numerous Utah festivals in Salt Lake City throughout the year. Grab tickets to the world-famous and largest independent film festival in the U.S. that’s been bringing indie movies to the big screen since 1981, the Sundance Film Festival in nearby Park City. Attend Poetry Slams and walk through the stalls in the outdoor market during the Utah Arts Festival. Learn about Greek culture at the largest Greek festival west of the Mississippi River in front of a beautiful Greek Orthodox cathedral at the Salt Lake Greek Festival. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the local donut shops, bakeries, and coffee shops participating in a festival to support Utah charities at the Utah Dough Show. Immerse yourself in folk and ethnic arts with a celebration of the prominent cultures that call Salt Lake City and Utah home—including Ecuadorian, Samoan, Mexican, Polish, Greek, and more—at the Living Traditions Festival. Take a drive from Salt Lake City to Park City for a unique outdoor experience hosted by the Utah Symphony at the Deer Valley Music Festival. Or venture to the heart of Downtown Salt Lake City for summer blues music, free workshops, food trucks, and artistic and non-profit vendors at the Utah Blues Festival.

Party at Utah Pride Events

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Salt Lake City pulls out all the stops when celebrating the LGBTQ community, thanks to the Utah Pride Center—an organization devoted to creating safe spaces and events for wearing your identity with pride. There are also plenty of LGBTQ-friendly things to do in Utah, like participating in the state’s second largest parade at Utah Pride every June. You can also keep the party going during the last weekend in June at the local SLC Pride event, or celebrate at a number of other LGBTQ events throughout the year. Attend queer comedy shows, drag shows, open mic nights, and more at Why Kiki. Dress in your best and brightest gear before hitting the slopes during Gay Ski Week in nearby Park City. Or dance the night away at Club Verse, a Salt Lake City gay bar that operates in conjunction with the University of Utah PrEP Clinic, UAF Legacy Health, RCGSE, and Utah Gay Rodeo Association to provide a safe space for fun.

Check Out a Variety of SLC Restaurants

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Salt Lake City is filled with must-see eateries and foodie destinations in Utah! Start the morning off sweet with a Chocolate Donut, Blueberry Donut, or Cinnamon Rolls from Banbury Cross Donuts. Try German classics like the Wiener Schnitzel, Bratwurst, or Corned Beef Ruben from Siegfried’s Delicatessen. Order an elevated version of a classic hot chicken sandwich with the Fried Chicken Sando paired with Crinkle Cut Fries at Pretty Bird Hot Chicken. Looking for good Mexican restaurants in Salt Lake City? Treat yourself to “Killer Mexican Food” like Mole Amarillo, Enchiladas Potosinas, or Cochinita Pibil at Red Iguana. Get great seafood in Salt Lake City with Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell, Scallops, or Salmon from Current Fish & Oyster. Dine at an authentic SLC Italian restaurant with Pasta Al Forno Vera, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Pollo Della Casa at Valter’s Osteria. Or have an elegant evening sampling a rotating menu with possible entrees like Gnocchi, Pork Shank, or Hamachi Crudo at HSL Restaurant.

Plan a Night Out With SLC Nightlife

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Adults of all ages can easily find a good drink at SLC breweries or a fun night out in SLC bars and clubs! Enjoy a Belgian Ale, Bavarian Weiss, or Czech Pilsner off the frosted rail at Beerhive Pub. Try house cocktails like The Frenchman, Dark N Stormy, or Lynchburg Lemonade at The Green Pig Pub. Taste house brews like the Pub Pils, Utah Pale Ale, or Latter Day Stout at Desert Edge Brewery. Sit down in an elegant setting with a draft beer like Bewilder Vitruvian Pilsner, a glass of wine like Nautilus Sauv Blanc, or a cocktail like the Mitsu Man at White Horse Spirits & Kitchen. Experience “mixology mastery” with signature cocktails like AlcoholYouLater, All the Pretty Things, and Cusco’s Demand at Lake Effect Cocktail Bar. Taste craft cocktails like Elder Bourbon, Cucumber Collins, or the Rotisserie Inn Punch in a refined setting at Whiskey Street Cocktails & Dining. Or invite your friends out for a night of music from world-class artists and DJs in a high-end nightclub in SLC at The Exchange.

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Moving to SLC? Extra Space Storage has convenient storage facilities throughout the Salt Lake City metro to help with your move. Find self storage near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.