Moving to Salt Lake City: 14 Things to Know Before You Do

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Moving to Salt Lake City is something that may appeal to a number of people for different reasons. If you like mountains, open space, the outdoors and snow you will probably enjoy Salt Lake City. The Wasatch Range can be seen from the city and the highest peak is almost 12,000 feet. This area is also known for having some of the best snow in the US for skiing and snowboarding. The mountains were carved by glaciers, and with the heavy snowmelt, each year erosion has added more texture to them. The effect for some is spectacular scenery. Salt Lake City also has a reputation for being clean.

salt lake city

How big is Salt Lake City?

The city itself has a population of about 190,000, but the metro area is over one million; the region is over 2.4 million. You won’t be alone if you are moving to Salt Lake City; the whole state of Utah is growing too.

What is the cost of housing?

The average home value in Salt Lake City is about $243,000 as of 2016, but you can drive about 20 minutes and save approximately $20,000 off that figure.

The average monthly apartment rent is about $900, though you again might find slightly cheaper places with a short drive out of the metro area. There are some studio apartments for $800 or a little less, and shared situations would probably be less, especially in certain areas.

Moving to Salt Lake City is likely going to appeal to people who live in smaller cities and towns, or in rural areas who want to live in their first big city to experience the culture. It also is a place that some people in larger cities would like to move to in order to experience a lower living cost and especially to be able to afford their own home or to purchase a larger one.

For example, the median home value in San Francisco is about $1.1 million, but you can buy a decent home in Salt Lake City for about one-fourth of that.

You also could purchase a small condo in the Salt Lake City area for less than $200,000. So, moving to Salt Lake City could be a good financial move for someone who saved money after living in a larger city and had enough for a large down payment, so the mortgage payment would be reasonable or low.

What jobs are available?

The Salt Lake City metro area is expected to experience job growth in the coming years. The state of Utah also did well in job growth in the year 2015.

Some of the top employers in Salt Lake City are:

University Health Care
University of Utah Health Care
Sun Products Corp
Maverik Inc.
Salt Lake Community College
Arup Blood Svc
Autoliv Inflators
Century Link
US Veterans Medical Ctr.

Some of the tech companies are:

Universal Synaptics
Goal Zero
Alliance Health.

Adobe and Ebay are present in Utah as well; there is enough hi-tech in the SLC area that it has been called the Silicon Slopes.

How is the food?

Some of the highest-rated eateries in Salt Lake are:

The Park Cafe
Oh Mai
The Robin’s Nest
Penny Ann’s Cafe
The Copper Onion
All Chay
Chile Tepin
Red Iguana
Laziz Kitchen
Valter’s Osteria
Caffe Molise
Sweet Lake Biscuits and Limeade
Sunny’s Bistro
Tosh’s Ramen
Pacific Seas
The Dodo Restaurant

Some of the most popular grocery stores are:

Tony Caputos Market & Deli
Trader Joe’s
Whole Foods Market

Farmers markets are available in Salt Lake City too, and there is one active in winter.

How are the schools?

The public schools are rated 5/10 by Great Schools. For adults, the University of Utah has over 30,000 undergraduate students, and in-state tuition that is about $8,000 per year. Brigham Young University is about 40 miles south and has a little over 10,000 students.

Is there access to nature?


There are many parks within the city and 21 monuments and national parks not too far away. Some of them are:

Bryce Canyon
Arches National Park
Bear Lake State Park
Antelope State Park
Anasazi State Park.

There is much undeveloped land in Utah, that one can find an abundance of places for hiking, camping, biking and taking in views.


Antelope, deer, elk, black bear, mountain lions, and bison can be found in Utah.
Well over 400 species of birds have been observed in the state too. Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, perch, rainbow trout — these are just some of the fish you can catch if you like fishing.

How is the transportation?

Salt Lake City Public Transportation

Salt Lake has its own light rail system called Trax; it has three lines covering routes from the airport to West Valley, the University of Utah to South Jordan, and from Draper to the downtown area. Over 140 train cars make up the people moving part of the system, and some routes are active every day. Annual ridership is over 19 million, and the system is about 44 miles long. Like most cities, Salt Lake has a bus system and it connects with Trax at some points. The Salt Lake International Airport is about 4 miles from the downtown area. It is possible to fly from Salt Lake to some international destinations like Paris, Toronto, and Amsterdam. Moving to Salt Lake City might have more advantages than one might first expect. Being able to move about the city by train and bus is quite a benefit, especially if you don’t like driving. Also, rather than have to fly and connect to another flight if you wanted to go abroad, you could simply fly direct and that is much convenient.

What are some fun places to visit?

Here is a list of only a portion of the top-rated ones:

Big Cottonwood Canyon
Clark Planetarium
Temple Square
Family History Library
Natural History Museum of Utah
Red Butte Garden
The Tabernacle
Cathedral of the Madeline
Utah State Capitol
Salt Lake Temple
City Creek Center
The Tracy Aviary
Utah’s Hogle Zoo
Church History Museum
Salt Lake City Public Library
Salt Palace Convention Center
Ensign Peak Park
Great Salt Lake
Liberty Park
Family Search Center
Smith’s Ballpark
Mill Creek Canyon

What is the weather like?

The average temperature in January, which is the coldest month, is 29 degrees. There can be a great deal of snow in winter, and a fair amount of rain in spring. Summer temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. The average yearly temperature is about 52.

A Salt Lake City winter is probably not going to be a bitterly cold as in Boston or Chicago. A summer there is not going to be as humid as those places either. Moving to Salt Lake City from one of the coldest cities might be something of a relief, but from the South or California, it is going to take some adjusting.

Anything else I should know?

Salt Lake had an unconventional approach to homelessness, and it appears to have been effective. The streets tend to be clean, or very clean, and with far fewer people living on them than in San Francisco.

What is the history?

Native Americans lived in the valley prior to the Mormons arrival, who came upon the land in about the 1840s. It was one of the most populated cities in the Old West, with an influx of Mormons and Gold diggers. A community of Chinese also lived there about this time, as they were drawn to the work opportunities related to the Transcontinental Railroad.

If you like the outdoors, open spaces, exercise, affordable housing, and cleanliness, you might enjoy moving to Salt Lake City.

What about the Mormon Church?

Provo is more Mormon than Salt Lake City if that is a concern. Salt Lake City has undergone some changes in recent years, which makes it more of an urbane setting. So, while the Mormon Church still has a considerable presence, it isn’t as pronounced as it used to be.

Moving to Salt Lake City will probably appeal to many people who are not Mormons, but it might help to visit a couple of times before making the decision. Fortunately, Salt Lake City can be a very enjoyable place to visit.

Is there storage available?

Yes, we have two facilities in the Salt Lake City Area:

AAA Storage, 2420 South West Temple, Salt Lake CityUT 84165 | P: 801.218.2857

Corporate Storage, 3410 W 2400 S, Salt Lake CityUT 84119  | P: 801.210.9670


Salt Lake City: City Hall

What is near Salt Lake City?

Las Vegas — 421 miles, or 80 minutes by plane

Zion National Park — 308 miles

Jackson, WY — 300 miles

Anasazi State Park — 250 miles

Moab — 233 miles

Park City — 41 miles

Big Cottonwood Canyon — 12 miles

So, after reading all this information, are you still interested in moving to Salt Lake City?

Image Credits:

Pasteur, The Salt Palace, CC BY-SA 3.0

Bryce Canyon, Jean-Christophe BENOIST,  CC BY 3.0

Trax, Green Line, Garrett, CC BY 2.0