View of Downtown Salt Lake City.

City Guide / Salt Lake City

Living in Salt Lake City: Pros and Cons

By Savana | Dec 2, 2020

Salt Lake City is growing quickly, and the state of Utah has become the youngest state in the nation as more young professionals and college grads flock to the area. Clearly, something must be bringing so many new residents to this thriving city. If you’re going to be moving to Salt Lake City, you’ll need to know the pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City. Luckily, Landing has compiled a list of all the advantages and disadvantages of living in this Utah city.

Pro: Access to national parks and the great outdoors

Utah and the Salt Lake City area are renowned for their natural beauty. You’ll first notice the Wasatch Mountains when you first arrive in Salt Lake City. This rugged range forms the city’s backdrop, and it contains several well-known mountains.

  • 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 mountain.
  • Mt. Olympus: No mountain range would be complete without a Mt. Olympus. This strenuous and heavily trafficked hike is 6.3-miles long, and the mountain itself has a peak of 9,026 feet.
  • Twin Peaks (Board Fork):  If you’re up for a great outdoor activity and don’t mind a 10.5-mile climb, you can find excellent views from the top of this mountain. This mountain stands at an impressive 11,330 feet.

The Wasatch Mountains provide more than just beautiful views. They’re also a place where both locals and visitors go hiking, climbing, mountain biking and camping. People also enjoy winter sports like skiing and snowboarding in what has been called the “Greatest Snow on Earth.” This is part of the reason why the city hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Wasatch Mountains aren’t the only source of natural beauty in the area. Salt Lake City is within a five-hour drive of five breathtaking national parks in Utah. From the “red-rock wonderland” that’s known as Arches National Park, to Zion National Park, also known as Utah’s first national park, there’s no shortage of places to enjoy and explore.

Con: More snow than the national average

No list of the pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City would be complete without mentioning the weather. While skiers and snowboarders love the snow, people who aren’t fans of winter weather might not enjoy it. Salt Lake City gets an average of 54 inches of snow each year. This is compared to the U.S. average of 28 inches. Additionally, the city tends to experience a weather event known as winter inversion. This event is a thick fog, and it occurs on winter 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 within the con: More sunshine and less rain

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 Salt Lake City residents enjoy an average of 222 days of sunshine. This also means there’s less rain in this city. In fact, Salt Lake City reports an average annual rainfall that’s about half of the national average (20 inches compared to 38 inches). The average summer and winter temperatures in Salt Lake City are also higher than the U.S. average.

  • Summer: Salt Lake City has an average high temperature in July of 91 degrees Fahrenheit. This is compared to the U.S. average of 85.8 degrees. 
  • Winter: The city’s average January low temperature is 23.3 degrees versus 21.7 degrees as the U.S. average.

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

Pro: A thriving job market and booming tech

Young professionals and college graduates have been moving to Salt Lake City for its great job market. The city boasts an impressive 3.9% unemployment rate and a $50,353 median household income. This is thanks in part to steady job growth in technology, healthcare, education, retail and government. Intermountain Healthcare, Delta Airlines, the University of Utah, L3 Communications and Salt Lake County are among the area’s biggest employers. Salt Lake City is also experiencing a tech boom right now. Nicknamed the Silicon Slopes, this city is poised to join the ranks of top U.S. tech cities like its namesake Silicon Valley. If you’re hoping to work in tech in Salt Lake City, you can apply to one of the area’s many tech startups. Or you can work for Oracle, Microsoft, eBay and Adobe, as they all have set up shop here.

Con within a pro: High home prices but affordable rent

When thinking of the pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City, it’s also important to think of the cost of buying or renting a home. With so many people moving in, the housing prices have increased. The average price of purchasing a home in Utah is over $302,000, which falls in line with other in-demand locations like Denver. If you’re hoping to buy a home in an in-demand neighborhood or community, you can expect to pay an average of $400,000 or more. However, living in Salt Lake City isn’t impossible. It can be quite attainable if you’re a renter. Rental prices tend to match the national average, which means you can find a one-bedroom apartment for around $1,000 per month in many parts of Salt Lake City. And if you live outside of the metro area, you can get even more for your money, with properties with four and five bedrooms going for as little as $1,250 per month. Once you establish your budget, discover the best neighborhoods and where to live in Salt Lake City.

Pro: Robust public transportation 

Salt Lake City has spent a great deal of time and money implementing an eco-friendly and user-friendly public transit system. If you’re ever wondering what to do in Salt Lake City, there are extensive bike lanes throughout the city and a non-profit bike sharing program called GreenBike, the city also offers rail and bus options.

  • Light rail: Salt Lake City’s light rail takes riders between neighborhoods, suburbs, and even the airport.
  • FrontRunner: This commuter train offer service from Ogden to Provo. 
  • UTA Buses: The city offers buses to help people get around the metro area and to ski resorts in the mountains.

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

Con: A unique street numbering system

When people first come to Salt Lake City, they sometimes find it confusing to get around. This is because of the city’s unique street numbering system. Due to the city’s Mormon roots, the city 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.

Pro: Lots of diversity and inclusivity 

Brigham Young founded Salt Lake City 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 city. Friendly people from a wide variety of backgrounds call this city home today.

  • LGBTQ+: Salt Lake City is the second-most friendly city in the United States for LGBTQ+ people.
  • Asian-American and Hispanic populations: Salt Lake City is also home to Asian Americans and Hispanics who have helped make the city more diverse.

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.

Bonus pro: Landing makes it easy to move to Salt Lake City

Just like every city, there are pros and cons of living in Salt Lake City. However, many people find that all the pros outweigh any cons. If you’re moving to Salt Lake City, Landing can help. We offer fully furnished apartments in Salt Lake City with 24/7 concierge service and flexible lease terms that can be ready for you in a matter of days. Your new home in Salt Lake City is calling.

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About the author

Savana