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Old 12-05-2017, 04:39 PM
 
10 posts, read 1,233 times
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I was an avid reader of this forum before relocating from Southern California to Salt Lake City. I've seen many people ask some of these questions about living in Utah so I figured i'd share my experience.

As a remote tech worker in their 30's, the decision to move was mainly based on:
1) Affordability (why I left SoCal)
2) Access to normal groceries stores, gyms, restaurants (ruled out many small mountain towns)
3) Airport access (I travel with my cost of living savings)
4) Easy access to mountains where you can hike or ski on a weekday morning and be at work by 10am (ruled out Denver)

Pros:
-Access to nature. Wow. If the politicians don't take it all away this is Utah's #1 asset. There's endless open beautiful spaces within a short drive. From SLC specifically you have around 10 ski resorts within an hour drive, most within 30 mins. Unlike Denver, the mountains come straight up out of the city. There's no driving to get to them. You're in them!

-Everyone's friendly. Expect anyone you come across while walking around to say hi and good morning. People are laid back and i've noticed they're much nicer than other cities i've been to.

-Pristine clean and safe. Downtown is a little weird because it's a mix of church, state and private sector but I have to say the only other cities in the world i've seen as safe, clean and nice are in Scandinavia.

-No traffic. There is a rush hour for about an hour a day and on a very specific stretch of freeway. During it, people are still driving +25 mph.

-Prices. Coming from California, everything is cheap. Really cheap.

-I've noticed a very good pay to cost of living proportion. While in LA you might need to fork over $700-900k for crappy starter home when youre making $130-140k per year. Here the same job pays $110-120k and a much nicer home runs you around $300k. Therefore people seem to have a lot more disposable income. They drive nicer cars, have RV's, boats, motorcycles, etc... They're also home by 5-6pm and the work culture places value in that. I'm yet to meet someone who regularly works 10-12 hr days the way we did at our West Coast office.

-Airport access - Tons of cheap flights anywhere in North America and a couple of direct flights to Europe. They're also currently building a brand new airport which should be very nice when complete.

-None of these limitations to your lifestyle you had back home the way many believe. If you liked going out for dinner and drinks in your home state and are worried about the weird Utah laws. Worry not, aside from not being able to buy alcohol at grocery stores and having to order bottled beer at a bar instead of tap, it's totally normal. There's bars and good restaurants that feel like something you'd find in any other big city. You get used to it quickly and there's no sacrifice in Friday night fun factor unless you're an absolute party animal. For that, you can drive to Vegas in 5 hrs.

Cons:
-Air Quality - It's no joke. I totally underplayed this before moving here thinking a few bad air days a year was a small price to pay for living in a city like this. While the 10ish really bad "inversion days" you hear about are not the end of the world and you could easily spend them inside, there's a lot more mediocre hazy days. Essentially any time it's high pressure and it should be beautiful out, it gets smoggier and smoggier each day until the next low blows the air out. Just an an outsider's perspective, frankly I am not sure how the government can allow these refineries and mines to pump out so much smoke upwind, in smog trap inhabited by 100,000's of people. It seems much easier to shut down 3 refineries and a copper mine than getting the entire population of SLC to stop idling their cars or sitting in the McDonalds drive-thru. Anyways, it's such a shame to see the city in a haze so often after seeing how beautiful it is under clear air.

-Awful Drivers - Utah drivers are the worst i've ever seen. Expect to be tail gated at all times whether youre in the fast or slow lane, whether its clear/dry or puking snow. Maybe they should stop worrying so much about drinking laws and more about educating drivers on how to drive. At times I feel i'm more stressed out from the drivers on the road here than I was sitting in LA traffic. Specially when you see accidents left and right.

-Sprawl - Despite the lack of traffic, everything is FAR and requires a car. I spend a lot less time in the car now but am racking up way more miles and easily spending the same on gas. It's a shame all this building boom in office/housing is going on in Lehi (the middle of nowhere) and Sugar House (pretty suburban) instead of downtown which is a great place but lacks the people. So even today, there's still a huge sprawl mentality of eating up cheap open spaces, adding more cars on the road, increasing pollution, etc... In short, massive projects go up very far from where you think the zoning for them would be.

-Different vibes from Utah LDS than LDS in other states. I have many LDS friends in California and they had a mixed group of friends, accepted non-LDS differences and hung out with them. The vibe I get in SLC is that LDS mainly hang out with other LDS so if you're non-LDS here you'll mainly be meeting other non-LDS people. In that respect the city seems to have 2 faces, the LDS face and "the rest of us" face. Sort of a con because I expected them to be more social with non-LDS like my friends were back home.

Last edited by rh310; 12-05-2017 at 05:18 PM..
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Old 12-05-2017, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
19,587 posts, read 18,913,041 times
Reputation: 8383
Quote:
Originally Posted by rh310 View Post
-Different vibes from Utah LDS than LDS in other states. I have many LDS friends in California and they had a mixed group of friends, accepted non-LDS differences and hung out with them. The vibe I get in SLC is that LDS mainly hang out with other LDS so if you're non-LDS here you'll mainly be meeting other non-LDS people. In that respect the city seems to have 2 faces, the LDS face and "the rest of us" face. Sort of a con because I expected them to be more social with non-LDS like my friends were back home.
Hi there! As a life-long Salt Laker, I found your post really interesting. The only thing I want to comment on is this paragraph. I am a Mormon and I hate so bad to hear people say this. I used to think, "Nah... that's not true. It's just confirmation bias. That's not how it is." Eventually, though, I started to believe it, and I've got to say it sucks! While there's definitely an explanation for this, that's not good enough. I think that when roughly half of the people in any given neighborhood are LDS, the LDS people just don't see any need to extend themselves to non-LDS people moving in. They already know half of their neighbors really well, and it's not like they're trying to make it as us versus them thing, they don't stop to consider how it must feel to move into a new house and not have people make the effort to get to know them. My husband and I decided to change this in our neighborhood about three years ago. We threw a neighborhood backyard pot-luck and invited everyone on our street. There are 12 families (only 4 of whom as LDS). All except one family (who sticks very much to themselves) attend every year. They range in age from 20's to 80's. There's one Asian, one Hispanic, and one Middle-easterner in the group, and everybody looks forward to it every year. On the invitations, I always mention that it's okay to BYOB, and a few people generally do. I wish so much more Mormons in this area would do this. We have some great neighbors and it has been so much fun to get to know all of them better.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:28 AM
 
Location: God's Gift to Mankind for flying anything
4,828 posts, read 9,657,400 times
Reputation: 3548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
My husband and I decided to change this in our neighborhood about three years ago. We threw a neighborhood backyard pot-luck and invited everyone on our street.
You are a good example of what needs to be done, except it took a long time for even you to come to this decision ..
You lived here all your life and only 3 years ago, you decide to do something about it.

So KUDOS to You !!!

This proves that 'change is there" but it comes slowly !
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:46 AM
 
99 posts, read 38,874 times
Reputation: 82
Salt Lake City is a city I'm thinking of moving to for many of your pros. I'm in Denver right now but I'm worried about cost of living. The LDS thing is kind of making me look at other cities, but I hope it's not too big of a social thing where I can't make much friends.
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Old 12-06-2017, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
19,587 posts, read 18,913,041 times
Reputation: 8383
Quote:
Originally Posted by irman View Post
You are a good example of what needs to be done, except it took a long time for even you to come to this decision ..
You lived here all your life and only 3 years ago, you decide to do something about it.
We've always been friendly and outgoing with everyone in our neighborhood, but yes, it took us quite a while to decide to actually host a barbeque where we paid for all of the hamburgers, buns, condiments and soft drinks for the entire neighborhood. A couple of months ago, though, one of the other families on the street told us they'd like to host it next summer. You know what I personally think had the biggest impact on the attendance? The fact that we indicated (by BYOB) that we would not have any objections to alcohol being consumed on our property. That pretty much told all of the invitees that this was not a "Mormon" gathering to which they were being invited.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:00 PM
 
92 posts, read 82,110 times
Reputation: 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by rh310 View Post
Cons:
Just an an outsider's perspective, frankly I am not sure how the government can allow these refineries and mines to pump out so much smoke upwind, in smog trap inhabited by 100,000's of people. It seems much easier to shut down 3 refineries and a copper mine than getting the entire population of SLC to stop idling their cars or sitting in the McDonalds drive-thru.
Industry emits only 10-15% of the particulate matter that makes the air unhealthy. Vehicles emit more than half. That's why the focus is on vehicles.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
18,941 posts, read 50,107,081 times
Reputation: 16910
It's not just LDS, it's any group in a majority or near majority. Hispanic vs. Non-hispanic. Not much trouble for African Americans in SLC b/c there are so few of them. Not much prejudice for Jews, again so few of them.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Evanston, Illinois & Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia
278 posts, read 104,411 times
Reputation: 437
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinema Cat View Post
One reason Utah is so cheap is that it isn't hindered by crazy environmental regulations.
Utah's environmental laws and regulations rank near average. They are neither lax, nor abnormally restrictive. I think the state could be a lot better with addressing its air quality. The state is less affordable than the national average overall, and housing affordability is markedly worse than the national average.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinema Cat View Post
Refineries and mines provide good jobs for blue collar men, with families to support. This enables them to be productive taxpayers, rather than minimum wage workers or welfare recipients.
Utah has never had an abundance of blue collar jobs. It also has been losing blue collar jobs at a faster clip than most other states.

Utah ranks No. 2 among states losing the most blue collar jobs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinema Cat View Post
I live in Santa Monica, CA, but have considered moving to Seattle, Portland, or Salt Lake City. I prefer the rainy weather in Seattle and Portland, but I like SLC's more conservative politics.

I hope you're not another California liberal who's escaping the disaster liberals have brought to California, only to import those same liberal "green" policies to SLC?

If I move to SLC, I'll reinforce its conservative voting base. I wouldn't move to SLC only to destroy it.
I am not sure that Salt Lake City itself is much more conservative than the cities of Seattle or Portland. It has a pretty liberal atmosphere, and it is a Democratic Party stronghold. The city is one of many that is choosing to voluntarily honor the Paris Agreement. Salt Lake County is competitive between both parties. As for the state, Utah's conservative politics are markedly different than the conservative politics of the conservative Southern states or even surrounding Mountain West states.

Utah often fares poorly on metrics used by conservative/right-leaning think tanks. Libertarian-leaning think tanks often harshly criticize Utah for having a supposedly "planned economy" and more limits on personal freedom. However, Utah typically fares exceptionally well on metrics evaluating family stability, income equality, and economic mobility.

The tone of the politics is more genteel than pretty much any other state (not that that is saying much). It is much more communitarian. The demographic cohesion of the state plays a big role in fostering this, as well as the history of the faith tradition of the majority. Utah is markedly more pro-immigrant and pro-refugee than other conservative states. No matter what you think of the successes or failures of Utah's effort to combat homelessness, at least it is trying. That is much more than one could say for most other states, regardless of political makeup. One could also point to the strained relationship between Utahns and Utah politicians, and Bannon, Trump, et al., but that has been thoroughly discussed.

In summary, Utah is not a right-wing paradise. Get that out of your mind. Also, despite the polarized atmosphere nationally, I think most people still care more about the character of an individual than their particular politics.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:53 PM
 
239 posts, read 339,872 times
Reputation: 672
Backing up Hiruko 100%.

I always laugh at out of staters who plan to someday move here who attack residents who already live here for not being conservative enough in the way they fantasize Utah to be.
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Old 12-07-2017, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
19,587 posts, read 18,913,041 times
Reputation: 8383
Quote:
Originally Posted by cedarite View Post
Backing up Hiruko 100%.

I always laugh at out of staters who plan to someday move here who attack residents who already live here for not being conservative enough in the way they fantasize Utah to be.
I agree completely.
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