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Salt Lake City
  • $475   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $918   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1440   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northwest US)

83% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Some errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
"secret" polygamists, altitude sickness
dog friendly, nearby skiing 6
more rich people, lizard headquarters, walking dead, newly wed or nearly dead, really rich people, smog observation point, gay mormons, polygamy, nerd yuppies, sugarhood, fake chinatown, spiritual rich people, crime valley city, overpriced homes, birthplace of the messiah, and must be close enough to smell the canyon are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Salt Lake City roommate rundown:

So Salt Lake City equals Mormons in the mountains, supremely sporty in all of SLC's dramatically different seasons.

And SLC's an ultraconservative cowboy pioneering mountain town . . . but with a side of Mormon family values?

Well.

Mormon culture is dominant, and this is their headquarters. So all the above . . . it's not like that's not true. (Because it certainly is.)

But there's more worth looking at too . . . for many. If you're Mormon you already know . . . but otherwise you might not about the stunning outdoors in the high altitude with camping?

Temple Square is the most visited site in Utah, still true. It's five city blocks, with the LDS Church headquarters, a Church Museum, the Tabernacle (home of the Tabernacle Choir), Assembly Hall, a Family History Library, and multiple gardens.

Entering the actual Temple requires a special permit you won't be getting unless you're Mormon, but most of the rest of Temple Square is open to non-Mormons. Tours from staff missionaries called "sisters" are free.

Utah has confused many with aggressive alcohol regulations. They've changed under pressure from non-Mormons in recent years such that Utah's now more like other states except beer sold in establishments with "beer-only" licenses like groceries, convenience stores, and bars without liquor licenses can only be up to 5% ABV.

Anything higher is "heavy" and can only be sold in volume at dedicated liquor stores, mostly run by the government. You can buy heavy beer along with wine and spirits by the drink in restaurants and bars too, as long as they have a restaurant liquor license. But only until 1 a.m.

And coffee is now about as widely available as other cities on this list? So you don't have to be Mormon, fully half of residents aren't, although that's more apparent in some neighborhoods than others.

(We're also not referring to the rest of Utah.)

(But if the Mormons make you mad, you'll feel mad most of the time, and SLC probably wouldn't be a great match. Possibly for you or your roommates. Possibly even if no one is Mormon.)

National parks, ski resorts, the Wasatch Mountains, and the Great Salt Lake, all within driving distance means outdoor recreation in an ideal climate for almost all sports at least a few months every year. Camping, hiking, mountain biking, boating, fishing, and sailing are usually available on the Great Salt Lake, because the high salinity keeps it from freezing solid.

Skiing, rafting, and hiking are available in the nearby Wasatch Mountains, including several large ski resorts.

But even if you don't get sporty in the mountains, SLC is getting more cold and more dry, especially during winter, especially at higher altitudes. Especially in the winter, you and your roommates would definitely prefer to rely on a snow-worthy car.

(Along with some lip balm. Maybe some lotion. Static cling!)

Because all this spectacular altitude can be both good and bad, SLC can offer problems at lower and higher elevations. Possibly both on the same day, but let's avoid that.

Most of SLC is about 4300 feet above sea level, but with nearby mountains many thousands of feet higher. Otherwise healthy folks don't usually experience altitude sickness until at least 6000 feet, more commonly 8000? But most might not be your new roommate, and SLC is high enough to exacerbate medical issues in some. Take home point: If you've not experienced altitude recently and aren't sure how your body will respond and/or have any ongoing issues, please have a check up and mention your intentions to visit SLC at all, but especially its higher elevations.

In SLC, nearby peaks mean there are canyons, lately home to some serious smog.

Winter temperature inversions can cause trouble for anyone with a respiratory condition by trapping pollution in the lower atmosphere (smog). This is worst at the lowest elevations, but if you have asthma you probably don't want to be breathing a lot of air in any valley or low elevation canyon near SLC during smog. Unfortunately, no one can presently say how much smog is coming?

We also find it thematically and practically on point that SLC has a KOA campground? In the city. No, we know, a lot of cities have KOA's or similar outside of town. Sometimes quite a ways outside of town? Like . . . far?

We mean truly in town, not just technically. It's 14 blocks from Temple Square, which is also the center of downtown. Salt Lakers are continuing to celebrate their uniquely American pioneering spirit in other ways too, so this is different, but on theme. Also, the real estate was cheaper back in 1974 when it opened, but it's still impressive that there's still a KOA campground still right in the middle of SLC.

Still!

And they're open year round, with amenities galore. For the more affordable slots you really need a decent RV, but they have cabins that cost more if you don't. Either way, for the same money we'd pick this over a cheap hotel any day. Especially because pets are welcome, as long as they are never aggressive, and stay on leash.

They're also proud to offer a discount to all military, police, firefighters, and first responders.

The rest of the Salt Lake City roommate lowdown:

  • capital and largest city in Utah, with 200,000 residents in the city, and about a million in the greater metro
  • Pioneers led by Brigham Young first claimed this area as the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, back in 1847.
  • SLC is in the desert, surrounded by mountains, so it features a very seasonal climate, with both very hot and dry summers and long winters. Light snow happens regularly, but usually doesn't shut much down. If your road isn't plowed, best to wait before driving, it likely will be within hours.
  • home to Weber State University, Westminster College, and the University of Utah. Utah State University and Brigham Young University have campuses here, along with many trade and technical schools.
  • Sundance Film Festival is held every year in nearby Park City.
  • Salt Lake City is the home of the Utah Jazz (NBA), Real Salt Lake (MLS), Utah Warriors (MLR), Utah Royals (NWSL), plus multiple enthusiastic minor and collegiate team fandoms.
  • SLC is known for inventing fry sauce, which is about half ketchup, half mayonnaise, sometimes with extra seasonings added. It's a condiment someone might put anywhere they'd otherwise put either ketchup or mayonnaise. It has since expanded into a few national burger joints.
  • On-street parking is easy to find outside downtown, but driving downtown during rush hour is to be avoided whenever possible.
  • The buses of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and their light rail system (TRAX) connect to most tourist destinations, the University of Utah, and the airport, via multiple lines. Most of downtown is in a free fare zone. Bikes are allowed because most transit lines have bike racks. Many major streets have bicycle lanes, and connect to off-road paths and mountain biking trails. However, most lanes aren't separated and car traffic and snow are often problematic.

    You can probably bike your way around SLC most of the year, but you might have to experiment with routes, check maps for alternatives, or ask local cyclists for the best bike routes around town.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Salt Lake City's:

  • Hogle Zoo: 42 acres with many exhibits, but their newest is Wild Utah, focusing on SLC's native fauna, including mountain lions, big horn sheep, bobcats, marmots, skunks, badgers, gray foxes, red-tailed hawks, and North American porcupines.
  • Clark Planetarium: Exhibiting the Earth, Near Earth and . . . Beyond. Plus IMAX shows and lots of free community programs.
  • Utah Museum of Fine Arts: About 20,000 objects with a special focus on Japanese Art: Adaptation and Transformation, Ancient Mediterranean Art, Ancient Mesopotamian Art, Arts of the Pacific, and American and Regional Art Exploring Westward Expansion. You and your roommates can download an audio guide. Or become volunteer docents yourselves.
  • Gallery Stroll: Usually the 3rd Friday of the month, galleries downtown stay open later than usual to show you their stuff. Free, no reservations required.
  • Bonneville Shoreline Trail: Hiking and biking trail following the shoreline of Lake Bonneville. But it hasn't been a "lake" lake for thousands of years, so it's actually the shoreline of the now extinct prehistoric lake. But this trail beside that situation goes about 90 miles so far, while the proposed future route expansion would grow it to 280 miles.
  • Sugar House Park: Once upon a time the Utah State Prison, now converted into 110 acres of rolling green hills of Sugar House neighborhood. However, please be aware that along with the entirely reasonable bans on vandalism, littering, archery, fireworks, and powered aircraft . . . there's also no selling food or beverages, no consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages, no smoking, no signs, and no off-leash areas for dogs.
  • This Is the Place Heritage Park: Over 200 acres of Utah State Park depicting Brigham Young's vision of the Salt Lake Valley for Mormon pioneers. They celebrate their pioneer spirit with horseback rides and parades and live concerts and celebrations of local history through Heritage Village throughout the whole year.


Here's Salt Lake City's official .gov for parking.. SLC has parking locations and payment integrated with downloadable apps for your phone, you and your roommates might need if you'd like to drive downtown.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.