Considering making Salt Lake City, UT your new home? Let us be the first to say “Welcome!” Living in Salt Lake City is an adventure, full of good food, great neighborhoods, and lots of fun things to do. Since we’re a bit biased as a local Salt Lake City moving company, we’ve put together this city guide to help convince you why Salt Lake City is the best place on Earth to live!
Interesting Facts About Salt Lake City
It Was Built Around Religion
Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by Brigham Young, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, known commonly as the LDS Church. The Mormons came here to find a place they could practice their religion without persecution, but they also wanted to create a city that was planned for Church members from the ground up.
The layout of SLC still reflects this today, starting with the way the streets are numbered. The literal center of the city is Temple Square. The Salt Lake Temple sits at the intersection of North, South, East, and Main Street. The rest of the city is laid out in a grid, and every location indicates it’s spot in relation to the temple. For example, 300 East is three blocks to the east of the temple. For newcomers, this system can be confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Another remnant of the original Mormon settlers is the size of the city blocks. Streets in SLC are an average is 132 ft. wide; that’s enough for six lanes of traffic! Plus, walking a “block” here will take longer than anywhere else in the U.S. The average block in SLC is 600 x 600 feet, in comparison to 300×300 in other major cities. Brigham Young designed them that way on purpose, so that the families of the city would have enough room for farming on the individual lots.
There Really is a Salt Lake
Yes, Salt Lake City is named for the Great Salt Lake of Utah. This lake is not only one of the largest lakes in the U.S., period. It’s also the largest salt water lake in the entire western hemisphere. Great Salt Lake is pretty shallow too. In fact, it’s so shallow that it’s depth and salinity can change day-to-day.
The Lake has also been home to two unusual creatures. The first is commonly known as “The North Shore Monster.” The way the story goes, in 1877, workers for Salt Works claimed they saw a monster in the water, with the body of a crocodile and the head of a horse. To this day, there remains no evidence of such a creature, and we’re pretty sure what they actually saw was a bathing American Bison from the local herd.
A very real inhabitant of Great Salt Lake was “Pink Floyd,” a Chilean Flamingo that escaped from a nearby aviary in 1987. Surprisingly, the flamingo chose to stay in the area, and migrated from Idaho in the summer to Great Salt Lake in the winter for almost 20 years. He was named after the english rock band, and had distinctly pink feathers, due to the color of the shrimp that live in the lake. Pink Floyd was last seen in Idaho in 2005, and is thought to have passed away that winter.
Who Lives in Salt Lake City
Now, Utah does have the largest population of LDS members in the United States, at 62% overall. However, even though Salt Lake City is considered the capital of the LDS Church, only about 50% of the city’s inhabitants are practicing Mormons. This is due, in part, to the huge influx of professionals moving to Salt Lake City for work, most of whom aren’t as religious as the original settlers.
These newcomers have also made Salt Lake City a very young city; the largest age brackets in SLC at 24-35 and 4-15. Why 4-15? That aspect is likely due to Utah’s super-high birth rate, spearheaded by the Mormon tradition of having large families. SLC is also known as a pretty gay-friendly city, despite the religious founding and the fact that Utah is a traditionally red state.
One aspect of Utahns in SLC that you won’t find in statistics is their love of the outdoors. Seriously, if you’re moving here, get ready to be a part of the nation’s healthiest city. Whether they are enjoying the cities bike lanes, hiking the nearby Wasatch Mountains, or hitting the slopes at one of the areas many ski resorts, SLC residents are an incredibly active community.
Working in Salt Lake City
The job choices in SLC are endless, and the employment opportunities here keep growing. As recently as September 21st, the federal government released a statement that reaffirmed this fact; the latest State Employment and Unemployment Summary from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics showed that Utah has experienced the largest job growth by percentage in the last year, growing 3.5% from 2017 to 2018.
The unemployment rate in Salt Lake City is also significantly lower than the national average, coming in at just 3.1% in July 2018. This is much in thanks to the presence of many large businesses, including Intermountain Healthcare and Delta Airlines. In recent years, SLC has also become a tech hub, with giants like Microsoft, Oracle and Adobe Systems leading the way. Where big tech goes, startups follow, and in SLC, it’s the same story. So whether you’re looking to join a large corporation or a new business, there’s opportunities in SLC for you.
Cost of Living in Salt Lake City
Living in Salt Lake City might cost more than other parts of Utah, but it’s still fairly affordable. Actually, in 2014, the Atlantic dubbed SLC the 3rd most affordable city in the nation for millennials and middle class workers! The median home price here is about $250,000, though you can find homes for under $200,000 in decent parts of the city– if you look hard enough. Renters also benefit from the lower cost of living here, paying around $844 per month for a one bedroom.
Another thing that makes living in Salt Lake City affordable is Utah’s flat rate state income tax! Instead of using tax brackets like other states, Utah charges a 5% income tax on all residents, regardless of their income. Now, this may not be the greatest news for those with lower salaries, but for those in SLC, where the median income is $50,000, it means you won’t have to worry about an increase in taxes when you finally get that promotion!
Salt Lake City Weather
The weather in Salt Lake City fluctuates throughout the year. Winter here can last from December to March, though it’s not unheard of to see snow in early May. Though SLC doesn’t get a huge amount of rainfall, it averages about 60” of snow a year. Combine that with the mountainous surroundings, and it’s no wonder that license plates in the city read “The Best Snow on Earth.”
Because of the nearby Great Salt Lake, SLC is frequently hit by what’s known as “lake-effect” snow. This occurs when storms traveling in from the city get an extra “boost” by picking up water from the lake, which leads to heavy snowfall that occurs rapidly. During a lake effect storm, you can go from a sunny day to white-out conditions in under half an hour.
SLC is also home to another weather phenomenon. Called “inversion,” this phenom happens when cool air is trapped under a layer of hot air. Because of the surrounding mountains, the Salt Lake Valley operates as a sort of bowl, making it easier for this air trapping to happen.
When inversion does occur, it can create a this fog, or smog, that hinders visibility. Smog can also trap air pollutants, decreasing the air quality where the smog is present. Luckily SLC is well versed in inversion events, and the city has gotten great at predicting and alerting citizens to incoming fog. This strange weather occurrence has also been a major reason for SLC’s massive sustainability efforts, designed to reduce carbon emissions in the valley.
Schools in Salt Lake City
Wallethub ranked Salt Lake City as one of the Top 50 most Educated Cities in America, and we agree that we’re pretty darn smart. As a family-friendly city, there are plenty of public and private school choices for younger kids. The Salt Lake Center for Science Education helps students who are interested in scientific pursuits, though they’ll have to compete for one of the 192 freshman spots. The Academy for Math Engineering and Science (Ames) is ranked third in the state, and has 67% student enrollment in AP classes.
There’s also plenty of education opportunities at Salt Lake City’s local colleges and universities. University of Utah and Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah Valley University and Weber State University offer hundreds of programs across the arts, sciences and math, as well as graduate and doctorate level studies. There are also several community colleges available to local students.
Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City
Sugar House is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, and is home to one of the oldest country clubs in Western America. Founded in 1899, The Salt Lake Country Club features a gorgeous golf course, multiple restaurants, pool and wellness center. The neighborhood was so named because the area was used to cultivate sugar beets by early pioneers. Even today, you could say that Sugar House “dances to it’s own beet.”
Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, Sugar Hill is a perfect neighborhood for young professionals and families alike. It’s a center of activity for small businesses, with as many mom & pop shops as there are chain stores and restaurants. Walking around town, you’ll find a ton of vintage signs, adding to the town’s purposefully eclectic vibe. If that isn’t enough to reel you in, Sugar House also includes the expansive Sugar House Park, a rolling 110 acres of natural beauty in the Salt Lake Valley.
9th and 9th
9th and 9th is a Salt Lake City neighborhood logically found 9 blocks east and 9 blocks south of Temple Square. One of the hippest, hottest areas of the city, it’s funky attitude is especially appealing to young professionals. In 9th and 9th, residents truly get the best of both worlds. They have access to the downtown, plenty of food and drink options and tons of boutique shopping. But they’re also only three blocks away from Liberty Park, which is 100 acres large, and the oldest park in the city.
Stop by 9th and 9th in September to enjoy the annual 9th and 9th Street Festival. It’s run by the community, or as they say, is “an event put on by neighbors, for neighbors.” Featuring local musicians, food, drink, artisan booths and games, the festival is a great way to get to know the neighborhood and its residents.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, you may want to consider East Bench for your new home. Resting on the outskirts of the city and overlooking the whole Valley, East Bench is the most affluent neighborhood in Salt Lake City.
As such, houses here are far more expensive than in other neighborhoods. You won’t find many renters; when people settle down in East Bench, they are here to stay. And that’s good, because you’ll be paying around $500,000 for your house– more than double the SLC median home price. The homes, however, are large and luxurious. You’ll enjoy plenty of greenery and a stunning view of the city from afar.
Since the quiet neighborhood feel is a major selling point here, there’s no public transport going from East Bench into downtown. You’ll either have to drive in (it’s 6 miles, or about 18 minutes to downtown), or head over to the bus stop in Foothills at the edge of town. Similarly, you won’t find a ton of restaurants or shopping here. East Bench is full-on residentia, and its inhabitants like it that way. If you’re looking for a bumpin and hopping neighborhood, this isn’t the place for you. But if you like to get away from the downtown, and have a calm, safe neighborhood in which to raise your family, it just might be the perfect fit.
Salt Lake City Attractions
Sundance Film Festival
Named after Robert Redford’s role in the iconic film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Sundance Film Festival is more than a local get together. It’s an internationally acclaimed event that brings thousands of fans and celebrities to Salt Lake City and Park City every January. The Sundance Festival is also where some of our favorite indie and and foreign films first grabbed the audience’s attention. Now-famous movies, including Little Miss Sunshine, Reservoir Dogs, and Call Me By Your Name were all featured at the Sundance Film Festival.
Skiing, Skiing, and more SKIING
Winter is about more than the Film Festival. For the locals here in Salt Lake City, it’s time to hit the slopes! There are nine local ski resorts, all within one hour of SLC, where you can ski, snowboard and tube down the mountains all winter long. The city was also chosen to host the Winter Olympics in 2002, so the winter fun doesn’t stop at the resorts. You can visit the Olympic Park in Park City to take a tour, learn about the Olympics, and even take a ride in a bobsled!
Want to learn more about the LDS Church? Stop by Temple Square to view more than 15 attractions related to Mormon history. You can take a tour of the Salt Lake Temple, the headquarters of the LDS Church, which took 40 years to build, and was completed in 1893. Enter the Joseph Smith Memorial Building to learn about this religion’s founder and watch the “Meet the Mormons” video in the Legacy Theater. If you’re around on a Sunday, you’re also welcome to come hear the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir during its weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcast at 9:30 (though guests need to be seated by 9:15.)
Convinced yet? We sure hope so. If you’re thinking about moving to Salt Lake City, you’re making a great choice for your family and your career. And of course, if you need help moving, Wasatch Moving Company is the trusted Salt Lake City local moving company that is here for you. For more information about our moving services, give us a call at (801) 758-0030.