City Guide / Salt Lake City

The 13 Pros and Cons of Living in Salt Lake City

By Amanda Mesa | Dec 14, 2022
The view of Salt Lake City at sunset.

Salt Lake City is growing quickly, especially among young professionals. In fact, the state of Utah has become the youngest state in the nation as more young professionals and college grads flock to the Salt Lake region and its many vibrant neighborhoods. Clearly, something must be bringing so many new residents to this thriving metropolis.

From the wild beauty of its mountains, canyons, and deserts to the top-notch food and bar scene downtown and the many family-friendly activities that it offers, the region has plenty to recommend it. That said, if you’re thinking about moving to Utah’s capital, it’ll help to know the pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City before making a decision. Here are both the advantages and disadvantages of living in this UT town, including:

The pros of living in Salt Lake City, UT

  • Access to parks, canyons, and endless ways to enjoy the great outdoors
  • Incredible winter sports
  • More sunshine and less rain
  • A thriving job market and booming tech
  • Affordable rent
  • Robust public transportation
  • Lots of diversity and inclusivity

The cons of living in Salt Lake City, UT

  • A lot of snow
  • Lots of tourists vying for a spot on the slopes
  • More competition for jobs
  • High housing prices
  • A unique street numbering system
  • Not a huge party scene

Want to learn more? Let’s get started!

Pro: Access to parks, canyons, and endless ways to enjoy the great outdoors

Panoramic view of Mt Timpanogos in Wasatch mountain range, Utah. Shot during autumn time.

Utah and the Salt Lake area are renowned for their captivating natural beauty. You’ll likely notice the Wasatch Mountains when you first arrive. This rugged range forms the backdrop for this UT metropolis and contains several well-known peaks and valleys just waiting to be explored by adventurous visitors. Here are just a few points of interest if you’re looking for great places to hike:

  • Ben Lomond: This mountain is north of Ogden and stands at 9,716 feet. Rumor has it that the Paramount Pictures logo was modeled after this picturesque peak!
  • Mt. Olympus: No mountain range would be complete without a Mt. Olympus. This nearby peak is lined with trails, including a strenuous and heavily trafficked hike that’s 6.3 miles long. The mountain itself has a peak of 9,026 feet, in case you’re thinking about summitting.
  • Twin Peaks (Board Fork): If you’re up for an outdoor activity and don’t mind a 10.5-mile climb, you can find excellent views from the top of this mountain. Twin Peaks stands at an impressive 11,330 feet, so you know the sights are gorgeous.

The Wasatch Mountains provide more than just beautiful views. They are an integral part of life here, offering locals and visitors great climbing, mountain biking, and camping grounds. In the wintertime, they set the stage for skiers, as it becomes covered in what has been called the “greatest snow on Earth” (more on that later, though).

If you’re looking for beauty, however, the Wasatch Mountains aren’t the only source nearby. Salt Lake City is within a five-hour drive of five breathtaking national parks in Utah, including Zion National Park, also known as Utah’s first national park, and the “red-rock wonderland” of Arches National Park. And, of course, there is the whole “lake” part of Salt Lake City to enjoy as well!

Con: A lot of snow

Snow in Salt Lake City

No list of pros and cons for this Utah city would be complete without mentioning the weather. People who aren’t fans of winter weather might not enjoy this place’s colder months. The city of Salt Lake gets an average of 54 inches of snow each year and is one of the 15 snowiest states in the U.S.

Additionally, the city tends to experience a weather event known as winter inversion, where a thick fog occurs on brisk mornings, especially after a snowstorm. An inversion occurs when layers of cold air get trapped under layers of warmer air. This can also cause pollution to get trapped in the lower layers that are closer to the ground. If you have a lung or breathing condition, you’ll want to be careful when Salt Lake City issues an inversion alert.

Pro: Incredible winter sports

Teenager ski jumping in Alta, Utah

If you’re a skier or a snowboarder, you likely won’t mind the heavy snowfall and brutally cold months that descend around the lake. In fact, it’s one of the region’s biggest draws for those who live to be out on the slopes or the cross-country trails. As we mentioned before, Utah is known for having some of the best snow in the world, and the Salt Lake area is a stone’s throw from a number of world-class resorts. This is part of the reason why the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics!

If you live downtown, a 45- to 60-minute drive will get you to Brighton Resort, Alta-Snowbird, Deer Valley, Park City, and Snowbasin—all stellar ski resorts with plenty of terrain for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Con: Lots of tourists vying for a spot on the slopes

Park City, Utah, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial.

Utah’s status as a prime skiing and snowboarding destination can also be one of its biggest cons during holidays and long weekends, when hundreds or even thousands of tourists flock to the city and its nearby resorts to take advantage of the amazing snow and abundance of terrain.

Getting a table at a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City can be a challenge if you live in the city and happen to get hit with the rush, and lift lines on the mountains can become frustratingly long. If one of the things you’re looking forward to most about life around Salt Lake is access to incredible skiing and snowboarding, take a tip from locals and avoid the mountains on long weekends and holidays, such as Presidents’ Day and the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Pro: More sunshine and less rain

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

While Salt Lake City does have more average snowfall than most U.S. cities each year, it also has more sunshine. The U.S. average is 205 sunny days per year, but residents here enjoy an average of 238 days of sunshine. This also means there’s less rain in this city. In fact, it reports an average annual rainfall that’s about half of the national average (17 inches compared to 38 inches). The average summer and winter temperatures here are also higher than the U.S. average, which is great news for anybody who likes long, warm summers and clear blue skies.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during both halves of the year.

When it comes to weather around the Great Salt Lake, you’re faced with more snow and the possibility of experiencing freezing conditions, but also more sun, higher average temperatures, and less rain.

Pro: A thriving job market and booming tech scene

Aerial shot of the University of Utah

Young professionals and college graduates have been moving here for the great job market. SLC boasts an impressive 2.1% unemployment rate and a $65,880 median household income. This is thanks in part to steady job growth in technology, healthcare, education, retail, and government and big regional employers such as Intermountain Healthcare, Delta Air Lines, the University of Utah, and Salt Lake County.

The so-called “Silicon Slopes” is also experiencing a tech boom right now and is poised to join the ranks of top U.S. tech hubs such as its Silicon Valley namesake. If you’re hoping to work in tech here, you can apply to one of the many tech startups that call SLC home or work for larger tech companies that have set up shop here, like Oracle, Microsoft, eBay, and Adobe. Best yet, if you’re a remote worker with the ability to work from anywhere, Phoenix is a great spot to base yourself for both its recreational and networking opportunities.

Con: More competition for jobs

Aerial view of Utah State Capitol from the top of LDS Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Because Salt Lake City has become so sought after in recent years, landing your dream job here can be tough. With so many people competing for a spot in SLC’s leading companies, it can be more difficult to stand out from the crowd. If you aren’t able to relocate to the Great Salt Lake area without giving up your current job, consider locking in a new one before making the move. Having your employment figured out ahead of time can take some serious stress off your shoulders, allowing you to enjoy all the wonders this place has to offer without dealing with job applications and interviews in a labor market that’s more competitive than many neighboring cities.

Con: High housing prices

Salt Lake City panoramic

When thinking about the pros and cons of living in the Salt Lake Valley area, it’s also important to think about the cost of living, including buying or renting a home. With so many people moving in at such a rapid pace, housing prices have definitely increased. The value of a typical, single-family home in Utah is about $493,221, which is higher than the national average. If you’re hoping to buy a home in an in-demand neighborhood or community with comfort-boosting amenities that can help you better adjust to the seasons, you can expect to pay even more. However, living in this western paradise isn’t impossible.

Pro: Affordable apartments for rent

Vintage toned Salt Lake City downtown in autumn, Utah, USA.

While purchasing a home here can be a challenge for most folks, living in Salt Lake City can be quite attainable if you’re a renter looking to live in an apartment. You can find one-bedroom Salt Lake City apartments for around $1,651 per month in many areas. And, if you live outside of the metro area or downtown Salt Lake, you can get even more for your money. Once you establish your budget, do a little bit of research on different local neighborhoods before deciding which Salt Lake City apartments might be a good fit for your lifestyle.

Pro: Robust public transportation

Tram in Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City has spent a great deal of time and money implementing an eco-friendly and user-friendly public transit system to get locals and visitors around the metropolitan area. Additionally, there are extensive bike lanes and a non-profit bike-sharing program called GREENbike. You can also take advantage of rail and bus options, which means you technically don’t need a car to move around within the city limits.

  • Valley Metro Rail: The city’s light rail line is a convenient mode of transportation that takes riders between neighborhoods, suburbs, and even to the airport.
  • FrontRunner: This commuter train offers service from Ogden to Provo.
  • UTA Buses: SLC offers buses to transport people around metro area and to ski resorts in the mountains nearby, including the Wasatch Front.

To help residents get from one end of Utah’s capital to the other, SLC completed extensive highway renovations to include an HOV (or carpool lane). There are also options for people traveling outside of the state, including two interstate highways that connect to Utah in both directions and a major state highway that provides access to Utah’s many national parks and the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Con: A unique street numbering system

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA downtown cityscape over Temple Square with autumn foliage.

When people first come to this capital city, they sometimes find it confusing to get around on foot or by car due to its unique street numbering system. Due to Salt Lake’s Mormon roots, the city’s grid is based on the Salt Lake Temple in Temple Square.

While the numbering system can be confusing at first, it’s easy to learn: Temple Square is surrounded by North Temple, South Temple, West Temple, and Main Street. Point zero is the starting point, and it is where South Temple and Main Street meet. From there, each street name tells you how far east/west and north/south it is from this starting point.

Con: Not a huge party scene

Nightlife in Salt Lake City

If you’re somebody who craves nightlife, Salt Lake City may not be the perfect fit. Its Mormon roots also mean that drinking alcohol is not as widespread as in other state capitals, and parts of the region are definitely “dry.” That’s because members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which make up a big community here, choose not to imbibe in alcohol. However, the downtown area does feature a good number of excellent bars serving up beers, wines and, craft cocktails—it’s just not a scene as big as Miami, Las Vegas, or other well-known party capitals.

Pro: Lots of diversity and inclusivity

Salt Lake City Sunset

Brigham Young founded Utah’s capital in 1847 to allow people to practice the Mormon religion. As a result, the city has a strong religious presence, but it’s also a very diverse and accepting place. Friendly people from a wide variety of backgrounds call this city home today. Additionally, it’s worth noting that people in Utah are among the most generous in the country when it comes to charitable giving. They routinely rank among the top givers and volunteers in the United States.

Finding apartments in Salt Lake City is easy with Landing

Just like every city, there are both pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City. However, many people find that all the pros outweigh any cons. If you’re thinking about moving to Salt Lake City, Landing can help. We offer fully furnished apartments in Salt Lake City with flexible leases that make it easy to move on your terms. Learn more about becoming a Landing member today.

Amanda Mesa

Amanda currently lives in Chicago but was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She’s covered a wide range of topics as a journalist, including travel, hotels, bars, restaurants, interior design, nightlife and music. Some of her past bylines include Indulge Magazine,, the Miami Herald, Dining Out Magazine, Plate and Boca Magazine. When she isn’t writing, Amanda is usually planning future trips around the world—at least half of which involve skiing.