Where to Stay in Salt Lake City: 9 Best Areas

Where to stay in Salt Lake City

Are you trying to figure out where to stay in Salt Lake City? The best areas to stay in Salt Lake City for first timers are Downtown, Central City, Avenues – Capitol Hill, Sugar House, and University – Foothill.

If it’s time to saddle up for a trip to Salt Lake City, there’s no shortage of amazing things to see and do in this land of craggy peaks juxtaposed with golden temple spires. 

Called the Crossroads of the West, Salt Lake is famed for its museums, sprawling outdoor parks, great cultural attractions, friendly attitude, and hip food scene.

Of course, mountain views of the Wasatch Range from nearly every corner of the city make a stay in Salt Lake City extra magical.

Like most great American cities, Salt Lake has distinct neighborhoods and outcroppings with their own personalities. Little pockets in and around Salt Lake provide access to specific attractions and “vibes” that help visitors to create custom trips. 

In fact, some areas in Salt Lake stand out as the top spots for hotels and accommodations. Check out the best places to stay in Salt Lake City.

Where to stay in Salt Lake City: Best areas

1. Downtown, where to stay in Salt Lake City for first time visitors

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City: Downtown

Downtown Salt Lake’s identity is centered on the awe-inspiring Temple Square architecture. Most top attractions are located in this area with the Mormon complexes, churches, and museums being the main draw.

While the interior of Salt Lake Temple is not open to the public, visitors can enjoy the stunning grounds and South Visitors Center. 

The nearby Salt Lake Tabernacle is open to the public. In fact, guests wandering in during the daily midday organ recital are likely to hear the tabernacle’s famed 11,623-pipe organ in person!

Other interesting Mormon attractions are the 1880s Assembly Hall, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the older Mormon Tabernacle, the Beehive House, the enlightening Church History Museum, the Church History Library, and the Family History Library.

Don´t miss non-Mormon attractions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the famous Book Wall Mural, the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum, and the Clark Planetarium.

In addition to being a spiritual and historic hub for the city’s large Mormon population, the Temple Square area is also teeming with young professionals taking advantage of the robust business, dining, entertainment, and nightlife scene here. 

Downtown is notably the location of the Vivint Smart Home Arena that serves as the home of the beloved Utah Jazz NBA team.

The Depot concert venue, City Creek Shopping Center, Eccles Theater, and City Library are some of the other great cultural attractions bringing people to the neighborhood. 

Visitors staying downtown will also find a number of boutiques and major retailers

The core of Salt Lake’s eclectic food scene is downtown. The farm-to-table movement is huge here. Guests can dine on meals prepared using ingredients sourced locally from Utah ranchers and farmers crafting homesteads in the wild terrain just beyond city limits. 

Downtown is a great place to stay in Salt Lake City when the goal is to use a mix of walking and public transportation to get around. People booked within a mile of Temple Square feel like they are staying within the heartbeat of the city.

Getting to and from downtown attractions is easy using the light-rail TRAX line. Providing service from downtown to areas throughout Salt Lake, TRAX allows downtown visitors to use Red line service to get to the University of Utah, the Daybreak community, and many more places in a snap. 

The Blue line runs south from downtown through the valley to get to Draper. Beginning at Salt Lake International Airport, the Green line runs through downtown before hitting West Valley City. Trains run every 15 minutes. 

Additionally, Utah is one of the only American cities to have a non-profit bike share program. Greenbikes are easy to hop on when desiring to explore shops, parks, and more. 

Before arriving in the city, download the Greenbike app to find real-time availability at the closest bike station in Salt Lake City or Ogden.


2. Central City, where to stay in Salt Lake City for families

Central City Salt Lake City

Central City is often thought of as the “indie” side of Salt Lake. Famed for its art galleries and under-the-radar music venues, this neighborhood has major character. In fact many of the big attractions that bring tourists to Salt Lake are located here.

This area is great for families as it has a little bit of everything. It has outdoor spaces where the kids can run around and plenty of indoor attractions. Besides, it is very centrally located.

The famed Trolley Square shopping center is where locals and tourists come to shop from designer stores and major brands. 

Liberty Park is also tucked within Central City. Once a grist mill and farm, this lush and polished park offers 80 acres occupied by walking/running paths, paddle boats, playground rides, picnic spots, and a small amusement park for kids. 

In the winter, Liberty Park is where city residents gather to tube or sled in the snow-covered mounds! 

Also housed within Liberty Park is the famed Tracy Aviary. This 9-acre aviary offers access to birds from around the world in a beautifully curated botanical environment.

Many people consider Gilgal Sculpture Garden to be the highlight of Central City. Containing a collection that includes 12 sculptures and 70 stones engraved with scriptures and poems, this living garden is considered visionary in its execution of combining art and the natural environment. 

For those seeking to go deeper into Salt Lake’s art scene, the Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts tucked within Central City is a must-see attraction.

Central City offers a mix of business, boutique hotels and appartments. Light rail lines 703 and 704 pass through Central City.


3. Capitol Hill and Avenues, where to stay in Salt Lake City in an upscale charming area

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City: Capitol Hill

The hill rising from the skylines of Central City and downtown is an upscale charming residential area home to a hidden world full of coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and other establishments oozing with this neighborhood’s delightfully offbeat character.

This is also one of the best neighborhoods for views in Salt Lake City! Enjoy a little hike that ends with panoramic views at Ensign Peak Park

For those seeking even more fresh air, City Creek Canyon above Memory Grove is a beautiful spot for trekking. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is full of running and biking trails where dogs are welcomed. 

The Cathedral of the Madeleine, the Pioneer Memorial Museum,  the Masonic Temple, and the beautifully restored Victorian homes round out the list of things to do while soaking in the neighborhood. 

Of course, Capitol Hill is home to the Utah State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion.

As Utah’s political center, the area around Capitol Hill and Avenues is home to a number of high-end hotels. In addition, visitors can find many charming bed-and-breakfast hotels. Light rail 704 runs directly to Capitol Hill.


4. Sugar House, where to stay in Salt Lake City for nightlife

Where to stay in Salt Lake City: Sugar House

Did somebody ask for indie vibes with sprawling mountain views? Defining Salt Lake’s trendy side, Sugar House sweetens a visit to the city with a great collection of breweries, bars, and nightclubs. In fact, this is Salt Lake’s top nightlife spot. 

The neighborhood gets its soul from the brightly painted Victorian homes that can feel more grounded than the newer, slightly “cookie-cutter” architecture throughout the rest of the city.

While hanging out among Salt Lake’s creative crowd at the galleries, independent boutiques, and thrifting paradises in Sugar House is fun, it’s a trip to Hidden Hollow Nature Walk that will really make you fall in love with the neighborhood. 

A pond-centric park built on the grounds of a former prison, Hidden Hollow Nature Walk is a 3-acre naturalistic park offering picnicking spots and shaded trails within a unique ecosystem consisting of wetlands, riparian forest, and groves. 

This is a great place to stay in Salt Lake City when looking for smaller, eclectic hotels that offer a neighborhood feel instead of a corporate touch.


5. University/Foothill, where to stay in Salt Lake City for museums 

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City: University

This is the best place to stay in Salt Lake City to be close to museums! Many of Salt Lake’s best museums and cultural attractions are grouped together in the University/Foothill neighborhood. 

When looking for hotels, focus specifically on the Foothill Cultural District that consists of a cluster of attractions and destinations situated around Foothill Boulevard. 

This is the place to stay when planning a trip to visit Hogle Zoo, the Fort Douglas Military Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Butte Gardens and Arboretum, and the Natural History Museum of Utah. 

The sweeping views offered by the neighborhood create an inviting environment for outdoor exploration.

Runners and bikers delight in the Bonneville Shoreline trail on the hill just above the university campus. Following the trail, it’s possible to span the entire length of the neighborhood surrounding the university before picking up a longer trail leading to City Creek Canyon in the downtown area. 

Due to the presence of medical and research buildings that attract global visitors, the University/Foothill neighborhood has a small offering of hotels and short-term rentals. Prices can be steep. Light rail 703 makes stops on the university campus.


6. Sandy, best place to stay in Salt Lake City for hiking

Sandy, Utah

For travelers looking for places to stay just outside of Salt Lake City, Sandy is a beautiful community. A former mining town, Sandy has a city center called The Cairns that is a fully walkable, transit-oriented space providing an easy commute into Salt Lake. 

It is very easy to get to Salt Lake City on public transport.

Many people make detours to Sandy specifically to hike the stunning Bells Canyon Trail.

Other attractions worth seeing include the Sandy Amphitheatre, RioTinto Stadium, Mount Olympus, and the Shops at South Town

While Sandy has a smaller number of hotels compared to Salt Lake, it’s much easier to find budget accommodations.


7. Park City, one of the largest ski resorts in America 

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City: Park City

Standing on its own with tourism power, Park City is a picture-perfect mountain town located 40 minutes outside of Salt Lake. Many consider it to be the best place to stay in Salt Lake City without actually staying in Salt Lake City. 

This stunning community is framed by the Wasatch Range. Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and communities full of ski villas attract celebrities and influencers from around the world. In fact, many celebrities and personalities make their full-time homes here.

Park City’s Utah Olympic Park famously hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics

While Park City is known as one of the best ski attractions in the United States, even someone who has never picked up a pole can enjoy the beautiful Park City Main Street Historic District lined with restaurants and high-end shops.

While Park City doesn’t exactly provide a bargain on hotel rates in exchange for staying further out from Salt Lake, the area does allow guests to stay at lodges, villas, or cabins instead of feeling congested in the city. 

Rates outside of the ski season can be very reasonable.


8. Provo, great place to stay for outdoor activities

Where to stay in Salt Lake City: Provo

A land of high peaks and beautiful views, Provo offers an escape to a land where nature meets industry like no place else on the planet just 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. Like the rest of Salt Lake’s suburbs, Provo is framed by the majestic Wasatch Range. 

While the views can make it seem like you’re in the middle of nowhere, Provo is consistently ranked as one of the best cities for business. This adds to the live-hard, play-hard approach to life that locals take while taking advantage of the incredible trails that surround them.

Much of Provo’s culture revolves around Brigham Young University. The school’s 560-acre campus is home to the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum and the BYU Museum of Paleontology. 

Top outdoor attractions to see while staying in Provo include Bridal Veil Falls, Provo Canyon, and Rock Canyon. The nearby Provo River provides opportunities for tubing and rafting.


9. Ogden, affordable accommodation and a great spot for families

Where to stay in Salt Lake City: Ogden

What’s the scene like in Ogden, Utah? While often overshadowed by some of the glitzier ski towns of Utah, Ogden has recently emerged as a trendy destination. 

Its location just 45 minutes from Salt Lake by car makes it a good choice when looking for a place to stay in Salt Lake City between the skyline and the ski trails.

As the unofficial gateway to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Nordic Valley, Ogden can be a great place to stay when looking for hotel rates outside of the circle of elite resort towns. 

What’s more, Ogden is a great spot for families because it balances the typical dining and shopping opportunities found in ski villages with some top-tier educational attractions!

It’s easy to build up a satisfying itinerary with a little bit of something for everyone by planning trips to Hill Aerospace Museum, the Utah State Railroad Museum, the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, and Cold Springs Trout Farm.

Adults in the travel party will love Historic 25th Street. The former home of Prohibition-era speakeasies, this vibrant stretch of the city now houses terrific eateries, galleries, and shops. 

When the mood for fresh air and wild views hits, it’s worth making an excursion to Waterfall Canyon near Ogden. This 2.4-mile trail takes you through steep, rocky terrain to reach a bubbly waterfall within the mountain.


Photos: Shutterstock

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