What's it like to live in Salt Lake City, UT?


Carla Pruitt

Profile written by local expert:

Carla Pruitt

While remnants of its Mormon heritage – including the striking Salt Lake Temple – are still prominent downtown, Salt Lake City is not as devout as it once was. The Latter-day Saints' health code won't keep you from enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning, and many restaurants now have a liquor license. Today, Salt Lake City offers much more than a strong religious community.

Nestled along Utah's Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City has one of the country's best backyards. Five national parks and several world-class ski resorts are within driving distance. Residents take full advantage of the recreational opportunities at their disposal and visitors are encouraged to do the same. Salt Lake City hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002 and many of the venues, such as the bobsled track and the biathlon course, are still in use.

The Utah state capital also offers its residents everything from professional sports like Utah Jazz basketball to kid-approved attractions like The Living Planet Aquarium. These days, the metro area's job opportunities are as enticing to newcomers as its entertainment options. 

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Salt Lake City ranks as #10 with an overall score of 7.1 out of 10.

See the full list of Best Places to Live

7.1

Overall

Scorecard

  • Desirability
    7.3
  • Value
    7.7
  • Job Market
    6.9
  • Quality of Life
    6.9
  • Net Migration
    6.1

Read how we rank places

Salt Lake City, UT Quick Stats

  • 2,325,531

    Metro Population

  • $44,752

    Average Annual Salary

  • 63.8° / 41.6°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 29.8

    Median Age

  • N/A

    Median Home Price

  • 16.1 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.3%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $900

    AVG Monthly Rent

  • 22.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Salt Lake City, UT?

One reason why more people are moving to Salt Lake City is because the cost of living is cheaper when compared with other major metropolitan areas. More housing developments and condos are popping up throughout the region, keeping housing costs down (though they are still slightly higher than the national average).

Value Index

Index Score: 7.7 /10

How we calculate this.


Salt Lake City offers a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

What's the weather like in Salt Lake City, UT?

Owning a snow shovel is a must for anyone living in Salt Lake City, as the area can see up to 60 inches of snow a year. Wintry weather usually lasts through March, though it is not unusual to see snow in early May. Summers are typically warm with temperatures averaging in the mid-90s. 

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

31.3°F


Winter

51.3°F


Spring

75.1°F


Summer

53.0°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

1.4 in


Winter

2.0 in


Spring

1.0 in


Summer

1.5 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Salt Lake City, UT?

Finding your way around Salt Lake City is easy, as the streets are laid out in a grid. Addresses in the metro area coordinate with the location of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example, the road three blocks east of the temple will be 300 East, and the road five blocks south of the temple will be 500 South.

The Utah Transit Authority operates light rail trains and buses seven days a week, with the exception of some holidays. The Frontrunner train runs a total of 88 miles between Ogden and Provo (through Salt Lake City). Its stations offer free parking and are within walking distance to popular shopping districts. The TRAX trains cover a sizable area of the Salt Lake Valley, including stops at the Salt Lake City International Airport and in downtown Salt Lake City.

The metro area also has protected bike lanes, which are physically separated from traffic by a row of parked cars, a small curb or a row of planters. Still, many residents who live outside the city center choose to drive to and from downtown.  

Commuting in Salt Lake City, UT

Means of Transportation
Driving
88%
Equal to national average

Bicycling
1%
Equal to national average

Walking
2%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
3%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

22.3 minutes

3.6 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Salt Lake City, UT?

Approximately 2.3 million people live in the Salt Lake City metro area. The region's vibrant urban culture is increasingly drawing millennials to downtown. College students and young professionals make up a large chunk of the city center's demographics. Young couples and families tend to favor the affordable Rose Park, Poplar Grove and Glendale neighborhoods rather than the older populations of Sugar House, Federal Heights and the Avenues.

More than 70 percent of the population is religious, with approximately 60 percent of those who are identifying with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

While the state of Utah is considered conservative, Salt Lake City is actually pretty liberal when it comes to social issues. For example, the metro area has a growing LGBT community. However, politically, Salt Lake City tends to vote Republican with the rest of Utah.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


Fewer single people in Salt Lake City than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Salt Lake City, UT?

Salt Lake City is known for hosting the famous Sundance Film Festival, but during the rest of the year, museums such as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, performing arts venues such as the Vivint Smart Home Arena, and attractions such as the Hogle Zoo offer an array of cultural experiences.

Even if they're not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, residents can enjoy performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Temple Square.

When the weather's nice, residents appreciate the region's 900-plus acres of public parks, including Liberty Park, Sugar House Park and This is the Place Heritage Park. During the cold season, locals head to the nearby Wasatch Mountains to ski, snowboard and enjoy the mountain lifestyle in Park City. 

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Salt Lake City, UT