There’s a lot more to Salt Lake City, Utah, than what you’ve learned from watching Big Love or The Book of Mormon. This mountainside city is home to a welcoming, diverse population that believes in doing the right thing, working hard and having a whole lot of fun. Whether it’s hitting the slopes on the “Greatest Snow on Earth” or attending one of the country’s biggest Pride Day parades, Salt Lake City is full of excitement and surprises.
Take a look at the top six reasons you should consider calling this Rocky Mountain city home.
The Great Outdoors
We may not be the “mile-high” city, but we are so close to the magnificent mountains that surround our city that you can go from downtown to the top of a mountain in under half an hour. Hiking, skiing, fishing and cycling are passions for Salt Lakers. Here are some of the best ways to take advantage of the wonderful wilderness that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the big city.
- Snowbird: One of 10 resorts within an hour of the city, Snowbird was ranked as 2016’s second best ski resort in the country by Forbes. This ski and summer resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon boasts a 3,240 vertical, a world-class lodge and spa, and a killer Oktoberfest every fall.
- Red Butte Garden: Since 1985, this botanical garden (the largest in the Inter-mountain West) on the eastern foothills of the city has provided hours of nature appreciation, exploration, and education. The garden is community funded and features more than 18 acres of botanical beauty and five miles of hiking trails. In the summer, there’s no better place to sit back with a picnic basket and enjoy an outdoor concert.
- Antelope Island State Park: A nature lover’s dream, this park is nestled along the famed Great Salt Lake and is home to bighorn sheep, free-ranging bison, millions of birds and (of course) antelope.
The Healthy Job Market
It takes more than a recession to hinder job growth in the industrious Beehive State. Utah has enjoyed a consistently low unemployment rate, and jobs grew 4.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. From a booming tech industry (Silicon Slopes, anyone?) to innovative startups (eBay lives here), Salt Lake City is one of the best cities in the country if you’re looking for work. Here are some of the best places to work along the Wasatch Front.
- Instructure: Another member of the Silicon Slopes, this online educational company provides its employees with free healthcare, flexible schedules, and catered lunches. Those perks helped Team Instructure win the 2014 Utah Tech Week Hackathon, naming them the best developers in the state.
- Skullcandy: This Utah company changed the way we listen to music via their innovative headphones and speakers. They take sound seriously: their Human Potential Labs tests the impact of bass on athletic performance. And Utah customers can choose to automatically make a donation to a local charity during checkout: Skullcandy forks out the bucks for that gift, as a thanks to the community that helped them become a world player.
- Clearlink: This digital marketing pioneer has been recognized as one of the best places to work, thanks to an awesome company culture that extends beyond the office walls. Clearlink is home to a slew of environmentally conscious initiatives like their Walk4Water charity and a tree planting program that put 1,200 trees in the ground in Parley’s Canyon in just four hours.
Salt Lake City may not be the biggest city in the West, but it boasts some of the most pedigreed and respected arts and culture in the entire country. You’re in for a treat with these world-class organizations.
- Ballet West: For 50 years this resident ballet company has delighted locals and visitors with their annual rendition of The Nutcracker, along with a selection of classic ballets and original choreography that runs all season. But their fame stretches beyond the Wasatch Mountains. Ballet West was the subject of a reality docuseries, Breaking Pointe, that took a behind-the-scenes look at what makes a ballet company great.
- Utah Symphony: One of the few full-time orchestras in the country, Utah Symphony is celebrating its 75th year. Their musicians hail from all over the country and call Abravanel Hall, considered one of the world’s greatest concert halls, home.
- UMOCA: The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) embraces all points of view and experiences, and has become both an aesthetic and a community leader. Established in 1931, UMOCA has gained national attention, receiving funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation four times and being honored with the 2015 National Endowment for the Arts’ Art Works Grant Award.
When it comes to world-class dining, Salt Lake City has a plethora of outstanding restaurants to choose from. Whether you want a farm-to-table experience, a gourmet meal, or the perfect greasy burger, here are some of our favorites.
- The Copper Onion: Farm-to-table, communal dining at its best.
- Pago: Intimate, local, artisan cuisine complemented by an excellent wine list.
- Bambara: Swanky, gourmet dining that gives you a reason to dress up.
- Spitz: Mouthwatering Mediterranean street food — and killer craft brews.
- Bruges Waffles & Frites: Authentic Belgian fare served in house and from the Waffle Bus.
- Cotton Bottom Inn: The best garlic burger you’ll ever eat.
- Pallet: Reclaimed industrial vibe with creative cocktails and inventive, new American fare.
- R&R BBQ: Finger-licking good barbecue offered by the pound.
Regardless of the rumors, it’s not all church meetings and missionary work in Salt Lake City. If you like to hit the town and catch live music and a tasty beverage, Salt Lake’s pub and bar scene might just surprise you. Take a look at the hotspots you don’t want to miss.
- BTG: This wine bar pours some of the best vintages in town.
- Whiskey Street: All the whiskey you ever wanted, plus bourbon bacon popcorn.
- Bar X: A SLC classic. If you like things straight up, this is the bar for you.
- Beer Bar: Owned by Ty Burrell of “Modern Family,” this place is a “love letter to beer.”
- Copper Common: Old-world pub feel and delicious eats (the little brother of The Copper Onion, above).
- Gracie’s: Perfect for after-work drinks or catching the big game.
- Bodega: A cool, downtown secret — show up and discover “The Rest.”
We could fill a book with all the things we love about living in Salt Lake City, but to make things easier, here are a few things we just can’t bear to leave out.
- Housing: Not only is it affordable, but downtown has some of the coolest lofts you’ll find anywhere.
- Traffic: Don’t even worry about it; compared to any other big city, it’s a walk in the park.
- Beer: The beer is amazing. SLC loves craft beer, and our 10-plus local microbreweries love us.
- Low Crime: Utah is one of the safest states in the nation, and many of our safest cities are right in the SLC metro area.
- Neighborhoods: SLC has distinct, charming neighborhoods — check out the Avenues, Sugar House, 9th & 9th, and Capitol Hill to start.
- Music: There is a vibrant local music scene that has given the world hit-makers like Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons.
- Smiles: One rumor that’s true — the people in SLC are so darn nice, you’ll think you’re in a quaint, small town worthy of the Norman Rockwell treatment.
Now that you know how amazing this little big city in the Rocky Mountains is, it’s time to grab a ski parka, pack your bags, and head west. Salt Lake City is calling, and, if you decide to answer, you’ll be one of the lucky people who get to call this quirky, surprisingly progressive town home.