Where To Stay in Salt Lake City, Utah: Top 6 Best Areas

Welcome to my insider guide choosing where to stay in Salt Lake City – best areas to stay in Salt Lake City. Read on as I show you the best of Utah’s capital.

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah in the USA’s West, has a population of 200,000 with the greater metropolitan area an additional million. Brigham Young and fellow Mormons founded the City in the mid-19th Century, to escape persecution. To this day, it remains the religious centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons.

Its development over the years came about initially because of mining and the railroad. More recently tourism developed because of the recreational possibilities in the region as a whole.

Best Areas To Stay in Salt Lake City: Tips & Info

Salt Lake City International Airport is a major base for Delta Airlines. The airport has direct connections with Canada and Mexico as well as a few with European cities. In addition, the domestic timetable makes the City very accessible to travellers.

Amtrak and Greyhound also serve the City. Utah borders Nevada to the west that itself borders California. The distances involved in driving in the USA make flying the best and quickest way to get around. 

Salt Lake is laid out on a grid and once you understand that, you will find it easy to get around if you are driving. Bus and commuter rail systems add to the convenience of the City. 

Winters can be cold in Utah so the bulk of tourists wait for spring and summer to visit Salt Lake City. That said, the region appeals to skiers who can use the City for their base because of its excellent facilities. As the weather improves, so do the outdoor opportunities that Salt Lake City can offer, including hiking, biking, camping, and sailing on Great Salt Lake.

There is something for every budget in Salt Lake City. Those making it a base for outdoor pursuits will find popular hostels. They are places where they will meet like-minded people and possibly make new friends. Well-known hotel chains also have a presence in Salt Lake City, including Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton and Hilton.

Utah has quirky liquor laws but you will find alcohol readily available and plenty of different alternatives for eating. The local newspaper has regular restaurant reviews if you are new to the City.

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Where to stay in Salt Lake City: 6 Best Areas to stay in Salt Lake City

The metropolitan area is worth considering because of the quality of the transport infrastructure, places like Ogden and Provo are no more than half an hour to the west of the City. However, there is plenty to appeal to tourists wanting to make their base more centrally in the City. Here are some ideas to consider.

Best areas to stay in Salt lake city map

1. Downtown, where to stay in Salt Lake City for nightlife

Where To Stay Salt Lake City: downtown

Downtown is the heart of Salt Lake City, its oldest district and laid out in a grid with Temple Square at its centre. The administrative and business districts here as well define Downtown as the heart of Utah itself.

It predates the City’s foundation with the plan intending to create a town of 20,000 people. Brigham Young’s arrival was in 1847, over a decade later. The discovery of silver changed things dramatically. Downtown earned the nickname ‘’Whisky Street’’ for obvious reasons. 

Locals began to move out to suburbs from the 1970s and that changed the character of Downtown. Some of the old buildings were demolished as a revitalisation programme modernised Downtown towards the end of the 20th Century.

Salt Lake Temple and the Mormon Tabernacle dominate Temple Square. The Tabernacle Choir is an institution while Capitol Theatre hosts everything from ballet and opera to Broadway shows. City Creek Center is the most impressive mall in the whole of Utah. 

The revitalisation programme included the beginnings of mostly singles and couples moving back into Downtown to fill apartments and condos. That reinforced the size of the market for bars and restaurants. Music venues are plentiful and the famous NBA side Utah Jazz play Downtown.

There are plenty of places to stay in Downtown. They range from 5-star luxury to bed and breakfast places. As a result of satisfying every budget, Downtown is a real mix of people on a daily basis. The winter season is quieter but remember the popularity of winter sports. 

Even if you have travelled for some time and want to sleep after flying into the airport, there is a shuttle service and a rail system from there. You can be in a Downtown hotel half an hour after reaching the Arrivals Hall. 

Best Hotels in Downtown Salt Lake city

Grand America Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in Downtown Salt Lake city. It is 10 minutes’ drive from the University of Utah. The hotel features a full service spa and provides iPod docking station in every room. Grand America Hotel rooms include bathrobes, slippers and marble bathroom. The rooms also feature 24-hour room service and a balcony.

Little America Hotel Salt Lake City this mid-range hotel is 5 minutes drive from Temple Square. The hotel offers an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, on-site boutique shops and an award-winning Sunday brunch.

Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Downtown / The Gateway this affordable hotel features an outdoor pool and a spa, this hotel is 5.5 mi from Hogle Zoo. Free Wi-Fi is provided in each guest room. A business center and a fitness center are offered at Downtown Salt Lake City Hyatt Place.

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2. Central City, the best area to stay in Salt Lake City for first time visitors

Central City is the link between Downtown and the neighbourhood known as Sugar House, more of that area later. It is another area of infinite variety with plenty of shopping, good cuisine and open spaces.

Talking of cuisine, one place, The Park Cafe, you will find a waiting list for breakfast if you arrive after 9 am. Other places are just as impressive later in the day with plenty of different kinds of cuisine from Japanese to Middle Eastern to local favourites.

Liberty Park offers the chance of exercise whether you want to walk, jog, or bike. Trees around the lake provide welcoming shade in the heat of the day in the summer months. The McClelland Trail is well-used, heading down into Sugar House.

Trolley Square in the north of this neighbourhood gets its name from the time Salt Lake had a trolley system. Go into the large ‘’barn’’ if you want to see its use today; small shops and restaurants. 

Tracy Aviary is something for all the family. Its highlight is Andy, a huge Andean condor, while flamingos and hornbills are additional attractions. Gilgal Gardens has sculptures to see and if you are in the centre of Salt Lake City and want the best sunset, go to Faultline Gardens.

You can enjoy live music in places like Urban Lounge and the Tower Theatre, which has plenty of movies and hosts the Sundance Film Festival. If it’s raining and you want to be indoors, pick a movie. All in all, there is plenty to do if you make Central City your base.

You can get budget accommodation in Central City with plenty of 2 and 3 star hotels. 

Best Places to Stay in Central City

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City, an IHG Hotel is just 10 minutes’ walk from Temple Square, this modern design hotel in Salt Lake City offers in-room spa services and an on-site restaurant. Each guest room is equipped with a flat-screen TV.

Kaison’s Condo is located in Salt Lake City, 1.7 mi from The Tabernacle and 0.7 mi from Trolley Square, Kaison’s Condo offers free WiFi and air conditioning. Featuring free private parking, the apartment is in an area where guests can engage in activities such as hiking, skiing and fishing.

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3. Avenues/Capitol Hill, charming & historic neighborhoods in Salt Lake city

Where To Stay Salt Lake City: Capitol Hill

This area above Downtown and Central City has an atmosphere all of its own. Visitors and locals can enjoy artisan coffee and craft beers, great local cuisine and historic bed and breakfast accommodation.

Utah has a conservative reputation but this district in Salt Lake City is famously liberal. 

In this neighbourhood you will find everything from a Japanese spa to a theatre company, Salt Lake Acting Company. Its trails are great, all year around. And if you love architecture, there is plenty to enjoy. It includes the State Capitol Building, the Masonic Temple and the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

Despite the City’s association with the Mormons, there is a significant Catholic population as well. The Cathedral is under the patronage of St. Mary Magdalene with the building starting in 1900 and taking a decade to complete. It gets a listing on both the Utah Register of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Capitol Building, also on the National Register, is on 5 floors, was begun in 1912 and finished four years later. Its initial cost was $2.7m and the renovation early this century, $260m. Its dome is almost 300 feet high and its elevated position makes it a notable city landmark.

The Masonic Temple is the third landmark here. The Egyptian Revivalist style makes it quite special and it has been in constant use since opening in 1927. The oldest mansions in Salt Lake City are here, and its oldest grave, that of Mary B. Wallace, a young girl buried in the City Cemetery in September, 1847.

You will find plenty of options for accommodation in Avenues/Capitol Hill ranging from budget priced to top quality hotels.

Best Hotels near Capitol Hill

Ellerbeck Bed & Breakfast Ellerbeck Bed & Breakfast provides accommodations, a restaurant, a bar, a shared lounge and a garden. Both WiFi and private parking are available at the bed and breakfast free of charge.

The Anniversary Inn – South Temple is a Victorian-style mansion, The Anniversary Inn-South Temple delivers a signature breakfast to each room daily. Guests receive cheesecake and sparkling cider upon arrival.

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4. Sugar House, a lively area to stay in Salt Lake city

Sugar House got its name from the sugar beet planted by the early settlers in this part of Utah. That was a century and a half ago. These days, Sugar House is a lively neighbourhood within a large city. It lies towards the southern boundary of Salt Lake City.

You will find a host of bars and restaurants in Sugar House, and shopping to satisfy any visitor. There is a move to encourage everyone to buy locally and the variety of things on offer makes that very practical. 

However, the highlight in many people’s eyes is the Sugar House Park that offers plenty of opportunity to walk and jog. Check out Hidden Hollow Nature Walk that offers shade even on the hottest of days. 

The views of the Wasatch Mountains from the Park are certainly worth your having a camera with you. The large pond attracts birdlife, and some residents. You can actually stay there yourself because there are pavilions for rent.

It is a pleasure just to walk around Sugar House with its small bungalows in streets that are lined with trees. Westminster College is on 1300 East in Sugar House. Its reputation for fine athletes, primarily winter sportsmen, matches any college in the Country.

Sugar House is an excellent base for visitors wanting a ski holiday so it attracts visitors to the City all year around. There are places to stay right next to the Park if you wish with different recreational options through the months of winter when the pond freezes over.

Best Hotels in Sugar House

Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City-East is located in Salt Lake City in the Utah region, 8.7 mi from The Tabernacle and 3.1 mi from Utah s Hogle Zoo. Among the facilities at this property are a shared lounge and a business center, along with free WiFi throughout the property.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Salt Lake City Sugar House is in a prime location in the Sugar House district of Salt Lake City, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Salt Lake City Sugar House is located 6.2 mi from The Tabernacle, 3.7 mi from Utah Museum of Natural History and 3.7 mi from Trolley Square. Featuring a fitness center, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom.

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5. University/Foothill, best area to stay in Salt Lake city for nature lovers

Where To Stay Salt Lake City: University

The neighbourhood around any university tends to be full of life and this applies within Salt Lake City as well. It is north of Sugar House and has equally fine views of the Wasatch Mountains. Sunset is a great time to be there with a camera.

Those enjoying the outdoor life are certain to enjoy the recreation options this neighbourhood provides. The trail above the university campus is very popular with locals and visitors. It stretches from the beginning of the district until it reaches City Creek Canyon. 

Other trails are available and all are suitable for hiking, jogging, and biking. One of them starts at the Natural History Museum which is worth a visit. The emphasis is naturally on Utah. The Rio Tinto Center housing the exhibits belongs to the University. There are in excess of 1.6m exhibits available for research covering geology, biology, anthropology, and culture. 

Another place worth spending some time is Red Butte Park that also acts as a concert venue during the summer. Kingsbury Hall on the University Campus does likewise and is open to the public.

You will never go hungry in University/Foothill. From breakfast time onwards, you have plenty of diners happy to welcome you. Ruth’s Diner dates back to just after World War II, the second oldest in the State, with its Mile High biscuits and jam a ‘’must.’’

Budget accommodation is available and University/Foothill also has some hotels belonging to national chains such as Hampton and Marriott.

Best Hotels in University/Foothill

Salt Lake City Marriott University Park The Salt Lake City Marriott provides spacious guest rooms with tea and coffee service. The in-room media include 27-inch cable TVs with premium movie channels.

University Guest House & Conference Center is l ocated on the University Of Utah campus, this hotel offers a fitness center onsite. Salt Palace Convention Center is 15 minutes’ drive away. Grab and go breakfast options are provided daily.

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6. Sandy, best area to stay in Salt Lake city in winter

Some visitors prefer to stay away from the centre of a city and in the case of Salt Lake City, that can be a place like Sandy. Sandy is within Salt Lake County but it is actually a separate incorporated city. It is close enough to Salt Lake City to simply blend in. The local Salt Lake soccer sides actually play in the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.

Sandy is a developing area with emphasis being placed on the environment. The Wasatch Mountains look down on Sandy which was formerly home to Indian tribes spending their time between Bear and Utah Lakes. Settlers arrived in the 1860s and stayed because of the availability of land. 

This city has development plans that will see it seem like a few small villages under one umbrella and linked with a good public transport system. It is easy to get to the middle of Salt Lake City on public transport if you have not rented a car. Likewise, you will find bars and restaurants locally if you wish,

Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy has five exhibit halls, several meeting rooms and plenty of car parking spaces. It is an ideal place for all types of events. It cost $46m when it opened in 2000.

The Bell Canyon Hiking Trail is above Sandy and rarely busy. You will pass a reservoir, an impressive waterfall and in general get great views of Salt Lake Valley. Sandy is a great base if you are looking to hike and explore the many trails local to Salt Lake City.

A significant number of winter visitors to Salt Lake City choose Sandy as their base. As a result, it is a place that locals share with visitors twelve months a year.  There is quite a choice of accommodation including national chains such as Hilton, Hampton, Best Western, and Hyatt. 

Best Hotels in Sandy

Best Western Plus Cotton Tree Inn is just off I-15 and a 20-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City. It features a daily buffet breakfast with waffles, eggs, potatoes and more. There is also a fitness center overlooking an indoor pool.

Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Sandy Offering an outdoor pool, Hyatt House Salt Lake City/Sandy is in Sandy. Free WiFi access is available. All rooms featured mountain views and a full kitchen.

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What Is the Best Area to Stay in Salt Lake City?

Downtown tops the list of areas to stay in Salt Lake City. You will be in the heart of things in Downtown while still being able to get anywhere in the region quite easily. If you are looking for luxury, Grand America Hotel*** is a good place to consider. If 3-stars are sufficient for you, look at Homewood Suites by Hilton***.

What Is the Nicest Part of Salt Lake City?

Sugar House receives plenty of recommendations as both a place to live and a place to stay when visiting Salt Lake City. It is a trendy area with good nightlife, a lovely park, formerly prison grounds and nature walks as well.  Springhill Suites by Marriott*** is 3-star accommodation that will put you in the heart of this attractive neighbourhood.

Is it Safe to Walk around Salt Lake City at Night?

Physical crime is rare in Salt Lake City although it makes sense to take precautions as you would in any city. There are some areas to avoid such as Rio Grand or Pioneer Park that is west of Downtown. Salt Lake is a well-lit city so there is no reason to put yourself in any personal danger.

Is Salt Lake City Walkable? 

You will enjoy walking around in Salt Lake City and have few problems doing so. Some neighbourhoods are more walkable than others. Public transport’s availability means you can plan your day and only walk when it is suitable. 

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Conclusion

Salt Lake City is known worldwide as the home of the Mormons but it is also a significant tourist destination unrelated to religious beliefs. Its location in the west of the USA is largely away from large population areas.

As a result, the majority of visitors come for outdoor recreation. From spring onwards, hikers, joggers and bikers have plenty of trails to follow and a great natural environment to enjoy. Winter sports attract others so Salt Lake City is never without visitors. 

You will find a good infrastructure within the City in terms of accommodation, public transport, bars and restaurants. Its local airport connects people from far and wide to Salt Lake City.

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