The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Salt Lake City

From the snowy winters and flourishing job market to the best moving tips, here’s everything you need to know before moving to Salt Lake City.
Written by Claire Beaney
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Aug 12, 2022
Salt Lake City has a lot going for it, including a thriving job market, easy access to the great outdoors, and a burgeoning downtown scene, but prospective residents should be aware of the city's higher cost of living and snowier winters.
Whether you want to go skiing or hit some restaurants on the weekend, Salt Lake City has it all. Utah's capital city continues to expand and diversify, making it one of the top mid-size cities in the country and an excellent area for young professionals and families to settle down.
Before you pack up and leave, think about whether you really want to live in SLC.
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To make your transition to Salt Lake City as smooth as possible, we have compiled all the information you'll need before you arrive—and help you save on your
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What you need to know about Salt Lake City before you move

Salt Lake City is known for its backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges, closeness to outdoor activities, flourishing job market, and the religious center of the Latter Day Saints. With a population of 200,133, the city also is becoming a popular tourist destination. SLC is a terrific place to live, with family-friendly activities, unfettered access to the outdoors, and a vibrant downtown—but there are other factors you should consider before moving there.
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1. The cost of living is just above average

Even with its beauty and growth, Salt Lake City is still one of the more affordable metro cities in the country.
Salt Lake City has a cost of living index score of 118.9, which is higher than the national average of 100. And on this index, Salt Lake City ranks just above other Southwest cities like Santa Fe but far below larger metro areas like San Diego and L.A.
Housing is the biggest factor that plays a part in Salt Lake City’s cost of living. In this important category, the city gets a score of 146.3, which is higher than the national average. That said, renting is actually cheaper in Salt Lake City—a one-bedroom apartment costs around $946/month, while a two-bedroom is around $1,139/month.
Now that we've talked about housing, let's talk about some of the cheaper parts of living in Salt Lake City. With a score of 94.6 and an average price of $135/month, utilities have a pretty low rank on the cost of living index.
Groceries are also on the lower end of things, receiving a favorable score of 95.8. A gallon of milk will cost you about $3.18, a loaf of bread is around $2.76, and a carton of eggs is around $2.80.

2. It’s one of the best U.S. cities for jobs

If you’re relocating to Salt Lake City in search of a job, then we’ve got good news! SLC is one of the best places in the country for job seekers. 
The city has a 3.9 percent unemployment rate and a typical household income of $63,156, and it is experiencing consistent job growth in the government, retail, technology, and healthcare sectors.
Salt Lake County, Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah, and Delta Airlines are among the area's largest employers.

3. Crime rates are around average

For the vast majority of the city, crime is extremely low and uncommon. The total crime rate is 84.06 per 1,000 residents, the majority of which are property crimes.
The Salt Lake City metropolitan area has one of the highest rates of auto theft in the country. According to FBI data, there were 6,785 vehicle thefts in the metro region in 2020, or 544 for every 100,000 people—far more than the national rate of 246 per 100,000 people.
However, Salt Lake City, like any other major city, has areas that are generally safer. The east side of Salt Lake City (east of I-15) is generally considered to be relatively safe. According to crime statistics, the southwest half of the Salt Lake Valley is also rather safe.

4. It’s a great city for both families and four-legged friends

SLC is an excellent area to raise a family, with a variety of safe neighborhoods, outdoor activities, professional opportunities, and kid-friendly things to do. It’s ranked the
52nd best city to raise a family
in America and
58th for cities with the best public schools
Salt Lake City may not be at the top of the list of pup-friendly places to live, but with miles of hiking trails and a thriving "social" scene, it's a pretty great place to be a dog.

5. Traffic is—comparatively—pretty mild

Traffic in Salt Lake City isn't perfect, but compared to other major cities, it's fairly mild. The average commute time in the city is 19.4 minutes, far below the U.S. average of 26.4 minutes. The majority of people get to work driving (67.7%), and only around 6.7% take transit to get around.
And when key factors were used to
measure the bike-friendliness
of the largest 200 cities in the United States, Salt Lake City placed high in access and community. The access category comprises kilometers of bike lanes, trails, and bike stores, whereas the community category includes bike clubs, tours, and workers who bike to their job.
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6. You’ll see four distinct seasons

Because of its lovely alpine climate, Salt Lake City routinely leads lists of the greatest cities for outdoor enthusiasts, and SLC has pleasant weather all year.
Winter temperatures range between the low 20s and the mid-40s, while summer temperatures range between the low 70s and the mid-90s. There isn't much rain in the area, but there is plenty of snow, with over 62 inches on average.
Nevertheless, the snow doesn’t deter folks from enjoying the outdoors. If anything, it simply means that the
11 ski resorts in the valley
are busy throughout the winter!

7. Salt Lake City truly is “different by nature”

Living in Salt Lake City is all about being outside—you'll come across hiking paths no matter where you go in the city. You can hike to the summit of
Ensign Peak
, where Salt Lake City founder Brigham Young first saw the valley below. This lovely location also provides excellent views of the
Utah State Capitol
and downtown SLC.
Hike to
Donut Falls
in Big Cottonwood Canyon, where water from a local creek flows through a "donut" opening into a small cave. Or put your endurance to the test by hiking nearly eight miles up
Mount Olympus
to its Instagram-worthy top.

Does Salt Lake City live up to the stereotypes?

You've definitely heard that Salt Lake City is home to stunning mountains, world-class ski resorts, and a plethora of outdoor activities—all of which are stereotypes that the city definitely lives up to.
Despite its prohibitionist reputation, SLC features a thriving bar scene that includes local brewpubs, unique cocktail bars, and tucked-away speakeasies. And even though a lot more places are open on Sundays now, there are still quite a few businesses that aren't. 
That's why locals are out on the trails, riding bikes, rock climbing, skiing, and seeking whatever other fun they can find on Sundays!
Key Takeaway A greater cost of living and higher property crime rates balance out unimpeded access to the outdoors, pleasant weather, and a thriving job market in Salt Lake City.

Finding a place to live in Salt Lake City

If you decide to move to Salt Lake City after reading the list above, you'll need to look at a few communities to narrow down your house search. In case you're unfamiliar, the following are some of Salt Lake City's most notable neighborhoods:
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: The Avenues, Capitol Hill, University
  • Best neighborhoods for families with kids: East Bench, Greater Avenues, Liberty Wells
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Downtown, Sugar House, Central City
  • Best neighborhoods for low crime rates: East Central, Yalecrest, Wasatch Hollow
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Kearns, Wood Cross, Magna

Moving to Salt Lake City checklist

After you've found your new place and paid your security deposit, head to the hardware store to stock up on packing tape and boxes for your big move. Here are some tips for a less stressful moving experience.

Before you go

Before you move, do the following:
  • Hire a trustworthy moving company or rent and
    drive a U-Haul
    if you want to do it yourself.
  • Pack all your belongings (and think about
    asking your friends for moving help
  • Inform your landlord, employer, utility provider, and insurance company of your upcoming relocation.
  • If you are moving across the country and want to keep your car, you might want to
    ship it
    to Salt Lake City.
  • Buy plane tickets or plan the road trip of a lifetime.

After you get there

When you move into your new home, you're not done! Follow these steps to help you get used to your new life in SLC:
  • If you brought a car from another state with you when you moved to Utah, be sure to
    register it
    update your insurance
  • Speaking of insurance, make sure to get
    renters insurance
    to protect yourself, your belongings, and your wallet.
  • Change your mailing address, where you're registered to vote, and your health information.
  • Check out your new spot! Find out about the nightlife, restaurants, cafes, and dog parks, and don't forget to look for the best late-night takeout.

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Salt Lake City

The cost of rent in SLC is going up, so it's important to save money wherever you can. And you may not realize it, but you may already be paying too much for your
, renters, or
Salt Lake City car insurance
If you’re looking for a new insurance company,
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