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9 Best Places to Live in Utah

By: Susan Finch
July 26, 2021

Thinking of moving to Utah? You're not alone. The Beehive State is currently the fastest-growing state in the country. It boasts a strong job market, reasonable cost of living, and family-friendly vibe where the community is everything.

If you’re ready to move but aren’t sure where the best places to live in Utah are, prepare for a challenge. Utah boasts a gorgeous landscape, quick access to snow skiing and hiking, and key industries like aerospace and engineering.

Not sure where to start? Here, we did the work for you and rounded up some of the best places to live in Utah.

1. Salt Lake City

  • Population: 200,567
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $2,251
  • Median Household Income: $60,676
  • Walk Score: 59
  • Transit Score: 44
  • Bike Score: 73

As the capital of Utah and the most populous city in the state, Salt Lake City is an urban gem against a mountain landscape. The city appeals to families looking to settle into the best Salt Lake City neighborhoods. The city is also known as the religious headquarters of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons. Nearly 50% of the population identifies as Mormon, making it a good choice for active members in the church.

Beyond the strong sense of community and family, Salt Lake City is also known for its strong job market. A young and well-educated workforce presents new opportunities in tech, educational services, healthcare, and social services, and retail trade. College students also find a place to call home in Salt Lake City with options that include The University of Utah and Westminster College.

If you’re moving from other areas of Utah, you’re in good company. Most newcomers are moving into Salt Lake City from Ogden, Provo, and Heber. Salt Lake City locals are also leaving the city to make a move to Provo, Ogden, and Seattle.

Salt Lake City may not have the same thriving nightlife as areas like L.A, but there are still cozy piano clubs and cocktail bars to choose from. You can also discover jazz, rock and roll, and the pool hall scene around the city, as well as some breweries and burlesque shows.

Outdoor recreation is plentiful around Salt Lake City, where you can head to the mountains or the lake for sunbathing at the white sandy beaches of Antelope Island. The Red Butte Garden offers tranquil outings, and City Creek Center provides shopping under a glass roof, trout ponds, creeks, and manicured landscaping.

2. West Valley City

  • Population: 135,248
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,441
  • Median Household Income: $66,342
  • Walk Score: 35
  • Transit Score: 36
  • Bike Score: 43

West Valley City is one of the best places to live in Utah. Its proximity as a nearby suburb of Salt Lake City and the second-largest city in the state makes it a desirable location for commuters and young professionals. The suburb is family-oriented but also diverse and inclusive. In fact, in 2002, the city opened the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

West Valley City is more than just a Salt Lake City suburb. It’s also known as the home of the 2002 Olympic hockey games. A boom of economic development continued and has been a priority for local governments ever since. Business parks flourish in West Valley City with Lake Park Corporate Center, West Ridge Commerce Park, Decker Lake Business District, and Metro Business. Major employers around the suburb include Vierzon, Frito Lay, Back Country, and UPS.

There’s culture, family-friendly activities, and even some nightlife around West Valley City. The Utah Cultural Celebration Center hosts diverse cultural entertainment and art exhibitions. The Hale Centre Theatre is home to musicals and theatrical performances. For a nightlife fix, the neighborhood offers pubs, modern-day saloons, and sports bars. There are also global restaurants to choose from, such as Korean BBQ.

While parks are plentiful around West Valley City, the main draw is the educational and entertaining Scales and Tails Utah. Outdoor lovers come for the bird and reptile shows designed for kids.

3. West Jordan

  • Population: 16,480
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,657
  • Median Household Income: $80,955
  • Walk Score: 27
  • Transit Score: 29
  • Bike Score: 40

West Jordan is a growing suburb of Salt Lake City that's home to families and young professionals. The area attracts locals and visitors with its retail presence and Gardner Village. The quaint shopping area boasts historic charm with brick-lined paths and boutiques. Jordan Landing also offers upscale shopping and dining.

West Jordan is close to Salt Lake City at 13.5 miles, but you don't have to leave the suburb to work. Manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare, and social assistance are some of the biggest industries in the area. West Jordan's job market is holding steady and seeing some growth. It's predicted to surge 42.2% over the next decade, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.

You’ll find plenty of culture and art around West Jordan with galleries, the West Jordan Symphony, and West Jordan Band. The Schorr Art Gallery in City Hall is known for its local artwork and revolving exhibits, while the quaint West Jordan Historical Museum showcases a traditional Utah homestead, a blacksmith and granary building, and a traditional soda fountain for a history lesson.

Mining is part of the history around Utah, and you can visit one for yourself near West Jordan. The Bingham Canyon Mine was declared a National Historic Landmark and is still in working order today. Conservation Garden Park is dedicated to preserving water in Utah and boasts a garden, educational exhibits, and lessons on sustainable water practices.

4. Provo

  • Population: 116,618
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $913
  • Median Household Income: $48,888
  • Walk Score: 47
  • Transit Score: 34
  • Bike Score: 63

Provo is known as the home to Brigham Young University (BYU) and attracts college students from around the country. The University is operated by the Latter Day Saints Church (LDS). Beyond the University, the area is known for its affordable living and safe atmosphere.

The economy of Provo boasts over 100 restaurants, two shopping malls, and small and large international businesses. Provo is also a cornerstone of Utah's technology scene with several research companies. The pro-business community is also home to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center and Utah State Hospital. Job seekers also have their choice of working in healthcare and education.

For cultural opportunities, Provo is home to America's Freedom Festival at LaVell Edwards Stadium. For entertainment, you can take a spin on the ice at Peaks Ice Arena, which hosted part of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002. The BYU Museum of Arts exhibits a permanent collection of paintings, and the Crandall Historical Printing museum exhibits the history of printing with many unique printing press replicas.

Provo boasts multiple hiking opportunities, including the Y Trail and Provo River Parkway Trail. Hikers and adventurists head to Provo Canyon, which runs between Mount Timpanogos and Mount Cascade. Sundance Mountain Resort is located up Provo Canyon and home to the namesake festival.

5. Orem

  • Population: 97,828
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,531
  • Median Household Income: $64,590
  • Walk Score: 43
  • Transit Score: 33
  • Bike Score: 58

Orem's slogan is "Family City USA," which makes sense considering that it frequently ranks as one of the best places to raise kids. Time Magazine also called Orem the best place to live for spiritual well-being thanks to its religious-friendly community. Beyond its family-friendly vibe, Orem boasts a pro-business environment with several major industries.

Orem residents choose jobs in education, retail, healthcare, and social assistance sectors. Technology is also becoming a significant employer around Orem and the rest of the state. Universities like Bringham Young aren't far, but Orem also has its own higher-education scene with Utah Valley University and community colleges.

You don't have to go into Salt Lake City to find your culture fix in Orem. Theorem Arts Council works on cultural strategies for the city and is developing more of a presence. The Council is also responsible for bringing the Orem Bandstand to the community for free local performances and concerts. Orem is also renowned for the annual Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and a Summerfest celebration.

Families are close to both mountain skiing, big city life, and mountains in Orem. The Murdock Canal Trail is popular with bike riders and hikers looking to spend the day outdoors. You're never far from a community park with playgrounds and picnic pavilions. Start with Nielsen's Grove Park, where you can enjoy colorful flowers, a pond, and a reflecting pool.

6. Sandy

  • Population: 96,380
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,387
  • Median Household Income: $94,018
  • Walk Score: 34
  • Transit Score: 27
  • Bike Score: 37

Situated at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, Sandy eventually rose to prominence after a railroad connected the area to Salt Lake City. A streetcar line was also formed in 1907, helping shuttle locals to jobs in Salt Lake City before the automobile industry boomed. The area is home to young professionals and growing families looking for a highly ranked safe community close to Salt Lake City.

Sandy currently has a low unemployment rate with higher job growth than the rest of the US. Like many of the areas around Salt Lake City, Sandy's significant industries are healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, and mining. Locals also find work in professional, scientific, and technical services.

Living in Sandy, Utah, comes with major shopping and fashion stops at the Shops in South Town with big-box retailers and boutiques. Locals head to Jordan Commons for entertainment and dining or the Rio Tinto Stadium for hockey games. Downtown Sandy is also undergoing ongoing development with 1,100 acres devoted to a resort-style city center and mixed-use buildings.

Some of the best things to see and do in Sandy are found outside. Locals go skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, hike the Rocky Mouth Canyon to a waterfall, and horseback ride in Dimple Dell Regional Park. Sandy is also home to the world-famous Hot Air Balloon Festival held every year in Storm Mountain Park. The sky fills with colorful hot air balloons, and an evening concert treats visitors to the glow of balloons over music at sunset.

7. St. George

  • Population: 89,587
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,030
  • Median Household Income: $58,259
  • Walk Score: 30
  • Transit Score: 16
  • Bike Score: 45

Located near Snow Canyon State Park, St. George is situated in southwestern Utah and boasts gorgeous landscape and 18th-century stately buildings. St. George was settled as a cotton mission in 1861 and the population flourished. The city was also the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the US between 2000 and 2005. St. George is celebrated for its year-round outdoor recreation and state parks.

St. George is home to a large population of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day. Saints members, which is higher than St. Lake City. The area is family-friendly and attracts both outdoor enthusiasts and young professionals looking to settle into a city that blends outdoor wonders with a quaint downtown. Major industries around St. George, Utah include agriculture, oil and gas, mining, construction, manufacturing, and wholesaling. St. George boasts a projected job growth of 55.6% over the next ten years, which is considerably higher than the US average of 33.5%.

St. George offers cultural opportunities in its tight-knit community. The St. George Art Museum houses historical photos showcasing work by local and regional artists. The St. George Temple is open to the temple with colorful gardens, fountains, and a cascading waterfall. At the Visitors' Center, free guided tours are available!

Locals never run out of things to do outdoors in St. George. The city is a gem with hallmarks like Snow Canyon State Park with trails, dunes, and red sandstone cliffs. The free Red Hills Desert Garden features desert plants and flowers with stunning views of the "Dixie Desert''. For a hike along large boulders and red rock, Pioneer Park welcomes families and explorers looking for a unique setting.

8. Ogden

  • Population: 87,773
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $911
  • Median Household Income: $50,061
  • Walk Score: 46
  • Transit Score: 36
  • Bike Score: 45

Ogden is a gateway to local ski resorts and historic buildings. The city served as a railway hub when the First Transcontinental Railroad was joined in 1869. Today, Ogden remains a hotspot for freight rail traffic where manufacturing and commerce industries set up shop.

Like most cities around Utah, Ogden is a family-friendly city, welcoming married couples. Young professionals also settle into Ogden for its strong job market. The city is just two miles from the cornerstone of Utah's aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry cluster at the Hill Air Force Base. Ogden attracts engineers and professionals in advanced materials, manufacturing, and software development.

Ogden was once home to Prohibition-era speakeasies along historic 25th Street. It's now a central shopping and dining center where locals gather after work and on weekends. For a lesson in Utah history, the Ogden Union Station explores the early train industry, cars, and local cowboy history.

Ogden is also a playground for snow skiers looking to spend the weekend at Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and the Nordic Valley area. The George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park features life-size models and a paleontology lab for budding scientists seeking out history lessons mixed with the great outdoors. For hiking, Waterfall Canyon Parks delights visitors with cascading falls and family-friendly trails.

9. South Jordan

  • Population: 76,598
  • Median 2-Bedroom Apartment Rent: $1,433
  • Median Household Income: $104,597
  • Walk Score: 25
  • Transit Score: 22
  • Bike Score: 44

Located 18-miles south of Salt Lake City, South Jordan was founded by Mormon settlers in 1859. The city was also the first municipality to have two temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Today, the modern city offers two TRAX light rail stops, a commuter rail stop, and a growing business market.

South Jordan is a family-friendly city where over 76% of people are married and almost half of the population have children over the age of 18-years-old.. Young professionals have their choice of jobs around South Jordan. The city's most prominent industries include healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing. The job growth around South Jordan is also set to grow 46.4% over the next decade, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.

Make a cultural stop at the Gale Center, which houses a museum, Arts Council's Artist on Display, and an audiogram. The family-friendly exhibits attract families for their play areas and hands-on learning. Plus, the Wasatch Gem and Mineral Society host special events and an annual gem show.

South Jordan lies alongside the Oquirrh Mountains and the 11,000-foot Wasatch Mountains and makes the perfect location for fun outdoors. Locals are never far from a hiking or mountain biking trail. Start with the 40-mile Jordan River Parkway Trail running along the Jordan River that follows along Utah Lake and onto the Great Salt Lake.

Final Thoughts - Where Should I Move to In Utah?

Utah offers plenty of city living, mountainside retreats, and historic towns. Whether you want some nightlife or live among a gem of waterfalls and hiking, you can find it in Utah. Ready to make a move to the Beehive State? Sign up for Apartment List to find the best places to live in Utah.

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Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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