Salt Lake City has pretty much anything a millennial looking to settle down could want. Not only is it affordable, but it’s quite LGBTQ+ friendly; it’s surrounded by one of the best natural playgrounds you could ask for (especially if you love to ski); parks are abundant; home values are looking to grow in coming years (making homebuying a great investment); and long commutes are the lowest on this list.
Founded in 1847, Salt Lake City is now home to nearly 190,000 people, of whom more than 7 percent are children under the age of five—the second highest city on the list for this statistic—leading to a great kid-oriented culture. The area caters to children well; between its six public libraries, there are close to a million kids’ books in circulation. And in terms of outdoor activities, there are 90 parks plus plenty of hiking and biking trails just outside the city—many of which can be found in the nearby Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges—to get them out and active. Kids also enjoy taking a dip in the Great Salt Lake, which is nice and shallow in many parts and, thanks to its being saltier than the ocean, allows you to float like a cork. (Although be warned: The flies and smell can get a bit annoying.)
Of course, adults have plenty of fun in Salt Lake City, too. While around 34-41 percent of the city is Mormon (and therefore mostly don’t drink), SLC is one of the top 50 beer cities in the U.S., with more than a half-dozen breweries around. Along similar lines, Salt Lake also scored highly in terms of number of adults who frequented a bar recently. Further, the historic Capitol Theatre brings in Broadway plays and symphony concerts, or you can kick back and watch a Utah Jazz game at the Vivint Smart Home Area.
And you can’t separate Salt Lake City from skiing, which is popular among both locals and tourists. Four resorts in particular are world-famous: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. You can also get out at the 2002 Winter Olympics facilities in Park City, which has year-round sports activities you can try out.
In terms of diversity, SLC is about 75 percent white, 22.3 percent Hispanics or Latino, 2.7 percent black, and 4.4 percent Asian. And while the Church of Latter Day Saints dominates, there is a wide mix of religions in the city, including a colony of Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics, and Muslims. Moreover, Salt Lake was named as the Advocate’s Gayest City in America, thanks to its thriving LGBTQIA community.
But what about jobs?
Well, Salt Lake is called the Crossroads of the West for a reason. Currently, its economy tends to be service-oriented, with emphasis on government, trade, transportation, and professional services. Delta is a major source of employment, as is Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Not quite sold on Salt Lake City? Then check out #5, especially if you want to live somewhere with a huge, stable job market and houses that won’t break the bank.