There are many widely-held misconceptions about Salt Lake City. Allow us to clear things up. Here are 10 quirks and perks about this city that might surprise you.
1. Not everyone in Salt Lake City is Mormon.
Every Salt Laker who has traveled beyond Utah has been asked “Are you a Mormon?” It’s a fair question, given that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS Church) has its headquarters here. But Salt Lake proper’s population is actually less than 50% LDS. People of all religious and non-religious groups call Salt Lake home.
2. Drinks are served: caffeinated and alcoholic.
You can get a drink, a really good one! Salt Lake City has a vibrant nightlife with numerous renowned breweries and a plethora of bars to suit every taste. Drinking laws are admittedly stricter than in some states, but it is completely possible to imbibe responsibly. Finding a good cup of coffee is also easy to do. Every Salt Lake neighborhood has at least one noteworthy, locally-owned coffee shop.
3. You will find like-minded people in SLC.
While the Beehive state is staunchly conservative, the capital city is a progressive outlier. Every mayor since 1985 has been a Democrat, three of them have been women. The Utah Pride Center hosts one of the largest Pride Festivals in the country every June. We have a slew of vegan restaurants, a tattoo convention, and a rodeo. Regardless of your political views, interests, or lifestyle, there is a community here for you.
4. This is the desert.
People associate Salt Lake City with snow-capped mountains, and rightly so. While we get more than our fair share of fluffy powder, Utah is actually the second driest state in the nation. If you’re used to a humid climate, the dry air may come as an arid surprise. However, we also have plenty of lakes and reservoirs that are great for recreating.
5. We have some big-city problems.
Air quality, homelessness, and, depending on your perspective, traffic. Salt Lake City is not immune to the issues that all large cities face. We are working as a community, with the support of city government, to address the complex factors that contribute to these problems. Read our interview with Salt Lake Mayor Erin Mendenhall to learn more about her experience and dedication to improving air quality in Salt Lake City.
6. There are seismic faults running along the Wasatch Front.
The chances of an earthquake of magnitude 7 or greater in the next 50 years is 43% in Salt Lake City. And that probability rises to 57% when the Richter scale drops to 6. Read our article, What Every Salt Lake Homeowner Should Know About Earthquakes, for more information about mitigating the risks.
7. The lake is really, really salty.
The Great Salt Lake, located just west of Salt Lake City, is the remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville. Its unique ecosystem provides wetlands for migratory birds and the scenic Bonneville Salt Flats. But you won’t want to go fishing. The saline content of the water is too high for anything except algae and brine shrimp. Learn more about what makes this body of water unique in our article What’s So Great About the Great Salt Lake?
8. A grid system makes navigating the city easy.
The pioneers who made the plans for SLC’s roads were forward-thinkers. Not only are the streets wide enough for a horse carriage to turn around on, they’re also laid out in an easy to navigate grid. Addresses are centered on Temple Square in downtown and increase numerically as you travel away from the center. Looking for the address 500 East and 500 South? It’s five blocks east and five blocks south of Temple Square.
9. Many businesses are closed on Sunday.
It’s wise to check business hours when making your weekend plans. While most major retailers and grocery stores are open, many locally-owned shops and all liquor stores take Sundays off. Looking for recommendations on what to do and where to eat? Check out our Neighborhood Guides for some of our favorite activities and eateries.
10. The Greatest Snow on Earth.
Thanks to a phenomenon known as “the lake effect,” the powder here is truly superb. There are 10 incredible ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake and five more waiting just beyond that perimeter. Salt Lake City is paradise for ski bums in the winter months.
Something for Everyone
Salt Lake City is full of surprises. Whether you are looking for a kid-friendly place to raise your family, searching for like-minded single people, or considering a second home for retirement, Salt Lake City has something to offer you. Not convinced? Here’s a list of 10 outstanding features our fair city has to offer.
Learn More About Moving to Utah
Want to know more about moving to Salt Lake? Find helpful information on our relocation page, including video interviews, advice and useful articles such as: