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Renter's Guide to Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is a vibrant city with a rapidly growing downtown core. It’s the capital of the state of Utah and is bordered by the Great Salt Lake, the saltiest lake in the Western hemisphere. Salt Lake is also part of the most populous metropolitan area in the Intermountain West.
Salt Lake City sits higher in elevation than many cities in the United States. The total area of the city is 110.4 square miles and the elevation average is 4,327 feet above sea level. Salt Lake City is bordered by the Great Salt Lake to the northwest and the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges on the eastern and southeastern sides. Because Salt Lake City sits in a valley between steep mountains, the air quality in Salt Lake City during the winter can become poor due to inversions. The Utah Division of Air Quality closely monitors air quality and sends out alerts when the air is too poor to spend a lot of time outside. However, you can get out of an inversion by heading up in elevation (up to a ski resort ideally) and reach cleaner air.
Salt Lake City is an ideal location for traveling to destinations in the west. You can get to Park City, Utah in about half an hour by car and down to the scenic red rock town of Moab in 4 hours. Denver, Colorado is 8 ½ hours away and Las Vegas, Nevada takes 6 ½ hours in driving time. New York City is 2,175 miles away and it would take almost 34 hours to drive there (a flight to NYC would be smarter). It would take 10.4 hours to travel the 660 miles to Rapid City, South Dakota. Finally, if you want to hit up some National Parks, the Grand Canyon is 9 hours away to the south and Yellowstone is just about six hours away, to the north. Salt Lake City International Airport is the closest airport to the city, in case you would rather fly to your destination instead of drive.
The climate in Salt Lake City is dry and arid. There is little to no humidity throughout most of the year. It’s hot in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. The Great Salt Lake has an effect on precipitation in the region, helping thunderstorms increase in size and causing lake effect snowfall 6-8 times per year. Summers can be as hot as 100 degree F or higher and winters are usually down below freezing. The fall and spring seasons vary in temperature from very warm to very cold.
Salt Lake City, UT Demographics
- Total Population194,188
Female 100,038Male 94,150
- Median Age31.9
Cost of Living in Salt Lake City, UT
The cost of living in Salt Lake City will be slightly higher than in neighboring suburban areas, just like in any city. Whereas a car is needed for travel outside the city, walking, biking, or taking public transportation are all easy ways to get around in Salt Lake.
You can take the bus or Trax in the city for $5.00 round trip or $6.25 for the whole day. If you want to ride to areas outside Salt Lake City, you’ll want to take the Frontrunner train which costs $2.50 and each additional stop is 60 cents. You can travel to California or across the Great Plains on the Amtrak, leaving from Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City Greyhound bus will also take you to any destination you desire. Commute times in Salt Lake City depend on where you’re coming from. Driving from Provo or Ogden, commuters can expect a 40-50 minute commute, but they’re also driving 30+ miles. As Utah’s population expands outward, commuters are driving longer distances to work. The commute time for citizens who work and live in Salt Lake City is between 7-15 minutes. A popular Trax line is the Blue Line, which takes riders past the Planetarium, Temple Square, the ballpark and then ends up south in Draper City.
You can buy meals in Salt Lake in a variety of settings, from a food truck on the street, to a sit-down restaurant overlooking the city. A meal for two people in a typical mid-range restaurant would cost about $45.00. A gallon of milk will run you about $2.40.
Utility costs in Utah are lower than the national average - basic utility costs (including electricity, heat, water, and garbage) would be about $102 per month for an apartment of 915 square feet.
Average Rent in Salt Lake City, UT
- Salt Lake City, UT Average Rental Price, December 2019 $1,245 /mo
Salt Lake City, UT Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0004%
Salt Lake City, UT Rent Trends
|Nov / 2016||Mar / 2017||Jul / 2017||Nov / 2017||Mar / 2018||Jul / 2018||Nov / 2018||Mar / 2019||Jul / 2019||Nov / 2019||Dec / 2019|
Average rent is projected to grow by 4% in 2019 compared to 2018.
Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.
Living in Salt Lake City
In 2014, CNN named Salt Lake City as the least stressed-out city in the United States, listing the low cost of living and high number of available jobs as reasons for the less stress. Livability.com named Salt Lake City #5 of the top 10 best downtowns in the United States in 2015 for their thriving downtown atmosphere and growing city amenities and attractions.
Living in Salt Lake City is wonderful. If you like to get outdoors, you’re lucky to live in such a recreationally rich area. Salt Lake is close to the mountains and you can reach 8 ski resorts in less than an hour. There are many lakes and reservoirs also within an hour’s drive, including the Great Salt Lake. Dirt biking, four-wheeling, and camping are popular, with numerous trails and spots to camp throughout the state. Utah has many state and national parks with sights that are incredible to behold.
Things to do in Salt Lake City
There are almost too many Salt Lake City attractions to name because beautiful places in Salt Lake City are easy to come by. First, the most popular place to visit is Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake. This site hosts the main Salt Lake City Temple and other important buildings for the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here, you can take a tour and learn more about the Mormon Church. In the winter time, you can take a carriage ride around Temple Square and through the streets of Salt Lake. Across the street from Temple Square is City Creek Center, an open-air mall with high end shopping and restaurants.
The Leonardo Museum is a popular SLC attraction with exhibits and galleries that are interactive and fun. If you want to head outside, check out Liberty Park Salt Lake City - it’s one of the oldest and largest parks in all of Salt Lake.
If you want to catch a movie, head to Century 16 Cinema in South Salt Lake City. The music scene in SLC is awesome - there are many options for Salt Lake City concerts, including The Complex and The DEPOT, Salt Lake City’s most unique live music venue.
Salt Lake is host to a lot of different conventions (Salt Lake Comic Con and Fantasy Con) at the Salt Lake Convention Center. If you like theater or opera, you could catch a live show at Capitol Theatre and then head across the street to a popular Italian restaurant, the Salt Lake City Olive Garden for dinner. Red Iguana Salt Lake City is a great Mexican joint. If you’re craving Japanese food, check out Takashi Salt Lake City. The Copper Onion in Salt Lake has amazing homemade bread and sauteed mushrooms. If fresh fish is your thing, Market Street Grill in Salt Lake City is the best place to go.
As far as shopping goes, there are many options for affordable shopping in the city. Salt Lake City has a Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, Best Buy. Ikea is located about 20 minutes to the south, in Draper. If you want to check out an outdoor store, head to the REI Salt Lake City store.
Salt Lake has a host of family friendly attractions that are affordable and easy to get to. The Utah’s Hogle Zoo has 42 acres of animals living in diverse ecosystems. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is in a new location in Draper. If camping is your thing, Salt Lake City has a KOA campsite, perfect for those who like to camp in a trailer, tent, or cabin.
For couples, the Anniversary Inn is a cozy bed and breakfast with themed rooms - it’s perfect for romantic getaways!
Salt Lake City has fun activities throughout the city that are also free. The Salt Lake City Library has some fascinating architecture and outdoor rooftop gardens and water features. Visits to the Salt Lake City Temple are also free. Although non-members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can’t enter the temple, the grounds and gardens are quite breathtaking - especially during the Christmas season when all of Temple Square is covered with holiday lights. The Lion House is the former home of Brigham Young, Utah settler and Mormon leader. It is now a restaurant and banquet hall, but you can walk through various parts of the famed house. It is located right next to Young's other official residence, the Beehive House.
The most popular sports team in Utah is the Utah Jazz, which is part of the NBA and play at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake. Real Salt Lake is a professional soccer club for men that competes in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The Salt Lake Bees are a minor league baseball team that plays at Smith’s Ballpark. The Utah Grizzlies are an ice hockey team in the American hockey league, playing at the Maverick Center in West Valley, Utah.
Salt Lake also has annual events that are fun for all. These events would include the Days of ’47 Parade and Rodeo, the Salt Lake City Greek Festival, the Salt Lake City Marathon, and the Salt Lake County Fair.
Finally, the Salt Lake City Farmers Market is a popular free event in the warmer months, when local farmers, growers, and craftsmen bring their produce and wares to sell in the outdoor market at Pioneer Park in downtown Salt Lake.
Employment & Economy
Salt Lake City is known as the ”Crossroads of the West” due to the number of railroads that carry products from major steel and mining companies like Geneva Steel and Bingham Canyon Mine. But, many Utahns also have jobs in government, trade, utilities, professional, and business services. Major industries and employers in Salt Lake include Delta Airlines, Intermountain Healthcare, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Salt Lake City, UT Households
- Total Number of Households76,876
Family 40,301Non-family 36,575
Children 19,853No Children 57,023
- Average People Per Household2.45
- Median Household Income$54,009
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$975
Education in Salt Lake City
High birth rates in Utah equal large classroom sizes and though the state spends a lot of money on education, Utah spends less per student than any other state. Recently, Salt Lake City School District was given the go-ahead to reconstruct several elementary schools and one middle school. East High School in Salt Lake City gets its claim to fame by being the school filmed in the Disney movie, ”High School Musical.”
Salt Lake City, UT Education Statistics
- No High School5%
- Some High School25%
- Some College22%
- Associate Degree7%
- Bachelor Degree24%
- Graduate Degree17%
Tips for Renting in Salt Lake City
Renting in Salt Lake City can be more expensive than some of the areas outside the city. You’ll want to do your homework when searching for a place to live. Most people recommend searching for housing on the east side of Salt Lake, since the crime rates are lower there. You’ll have the same renter’s rights in Salt Lake as in anywhere else. Most places will have you sign a contract and you’ll have to provide a security deposit (which you should get back - you can consider suing if it is not returned to you when you leave). You can be evicted for failing to pay rent. When your lease ends, have the landlord walk through the property with you and note any damages so there is no claim of additional damage after you move out.
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