Tell me about neighborhoods around Salt Lake City
May 20, 2019 6:28 AM   Subscribe

I am thinking about eventually moving to the Salt Lake City area to be closer to family. I'm traveling there next week and plan to look around to think about places to live. Neighborhood snowflakes below.

This is the first of what will probably be many questions about relocating to be closer to my children, one of whom is in the Salt Lake City area. Assume for the sake of this question that I'll be able to work remotely (which means WiFi is important). I'll probably be looking for a two-bedroom house or condo in the 250,000–300,000 range, though cheaper is better. I would consider renting, but I'm so out of the loop on what it costs to rent that I don't have a range for that. (I own my condo and don't have a mortgage - I expect to sell it for around 250,000.)
My dream neighborhood would feel like an old-fashioned neighborhood with trees, rather than a bunch of strip malls. I'd like access to a large park or some other kind of walking trails. Being able to walk to shopping, libraries, and anything else would be great. In my wildest crazy and probably unrealistic dreams, there would be a Catholic church on the progressive side. I have some personal animosity toward the Mormon church as an institution (not to individual Mormons), and this concerns me in considering this move, as does how generally conservative Utah is (I wouldn't even think about Utah if it weren't for my family being there). I realize that I'm unlikely to get everything I want, but I want a sense of what I can get.
For this question, I'm mostly wondering what neighborhoods or nearby cities would be worth a look. I'm aware of Daybreak and Sugar House. My daughter lives in Herriman.
I have lived almost my whole adult life in college towns and love them, so bonus points if you can help me feel good about Salt Lake.
posted by FencingGal to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
I've lived in Salt Lake for the last 20+ years. I do like it, primarily for the accessibility of skiing and other outdoor activities. I live near the University of Utah. The 9th and 9th, University, Liberty Park, Sugarhouse, and Avenues areas are probably what you're looking at, but, finding a house in your price range in these areas is getting more difficult. I would also look into the Marmalade and Central 9th areas.

The closer you live to downtown the more you're going to find like-minded liberal people and less of the Mormon vibe.
posted by trbrts at 6:51 AM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

You won't be able to find a good house, in a centerllay located neighborhood for that price. You can get a 2/br condo around the University of Utah, Capitol Hill, 9'th & 9'th, Sugar house, Bonneville Hills, Avenues, Holladay, Cottonwood Heights.

Since you don't have school going children, Midevale, Murray, Millcreek are also good areas. The schools are ranked low, but you can get an ok house for about 300K.
posted by WizKid at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far.
Forgot to mention I'm also curious about Ogden, which the internet says is a more diverse/liberal city in Utah and seems to be not that far from Salt Lake.
posted by FencingGal at 10:38 AM on May 20, 2019

I doubt Ogden would be liberal. I'm not sure as I'm from SLC. But if you are looking for a liberal area, closer to the UofU/Sugar House is a safe bet.
posted by WizKid at 12:52 PM on May 20, 2019

Best answer: trbrts is right about neighbourhood character and about housing prices, which are approaching half a million in some of those areas. WizKid is half-right about condos; downtown they’re even more expensive per square foot, so it depends on what you’d call “centrally located.” The bubble really is out of control right now around here.

SLC is an adolescent city, bigger than the rest of America thinks it is but smaller than the rest of Utah thinks it is. Mormons who live in the city proper are probably more liberal than their counterparts in the sticks — those who hate the (relative) diversity set out for Davis County (to the north) or Utah County (to the south) years ago.

Catholicism is actually our second-largest religious demographic statewide. I’m Episcopalian so I couldn’t presume to advise you on a particular parish or congregation, but I have Catholic friends who are quite progressive, and I could certainly ask where they attend!

Being liberal and religious can feel kind of lonely if you don’t find a church home in the city. Many ex-Mormons have a chip on their shoulder about religion generally.

Other things that tend to surprise people, just in case they’re useful:

Air quality gets bad in the winter with temperature inversions. It gets bad again in summer with ozone, wildfires, and lax firework controls. (Scofflaws blow things up all July long in the name of patriotism and Utah heritage. It’s a nightmare.)

Climate may take some adjustment. Our winters can be very cold and messy; our summers can be searingly hot; our total lack of humidity will either delight you or make you miserable (I have a bloody nose right now) and our altitude can increase your risk of depression. If you’re the type who’s miserable at sea level, you might like it! If you’re like me, you’ll never truly get used to it.

Crime is a mixed bag. We are tops for property crime — you will have your car broken into or packages stolen off your porch if you live here long enough, no matter how “good” your neighbourhood is. You may have your house burglarized. Violent crime overall isn’t terrible, but crime against women outpaces that in major cities. Scams are pretty rampant.

Nobody here can drive. Seriously, I’ve had a better time in Massachusetts. Our drivers aren’t aggressive so much as oblivious and self-centered. Expect the unexpected.

Back to your point, housing is expensive and weird. Gentrification in the liberal urban core, and white-flight developments in the conservative suburbs, have joined forces to make housing wildly unaffordable, and the greed keeps building. Last summer I saw a lot of “luxury condos” springing up across the street from homeless encampments; it seems to be warming up again now.

Ogden is farther away from Herriman than it sounds, more diverse than you think, and probably less liberal than you want. It isn’t especially safe for its size, but it does have a public university, a thriving arts scene, and some neat restaurants. It’s pretty, and the downtown area is charming in a lot of ways SLC has lost.

If you’re planning to visit, memail me and I’ll buy you a coffee or a stiff drink. (Both of those are easier to get than you’d imagine.)
posted by armeowda at 6:04 PM on May 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

armeowda is spot on, in terms of driving. Driver's are not aggressive like in Houston, LA, or Chicago. They are really oblivious. They have no clue that others are in the road, or the light changed to red :-)
posted by WizKid at 11:18 AM on May 21, 2019

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