I lived in Salt Lake City for ~15 years and have now been living in the Salt Lake Metro/Valley for almost three. That amounts to a combined total of almost 20 years living in this beautiful region. Not that I’m a Salt Lake City expert, but living here has given me enough experience to know when someone is talking BS about this part of the world.
Which is where this video on the Top 10 Reasons Not to Visit Salt Lake City from the YouTube channel From Here to There comes in. Besides the narrator’s grating voice, which makes watching any of his videos an absolute chore, most of the reasons he lists are absolute exaggerations and downright lies about this part of the country.
So if you’re curious about Utah–and Salt Lake City specifically–and even want to visit someday, make sure you read this post where I debunk (most of) his nonsensical reasons NOT to visit SLC with facts from an actual resident.
10. The homeless
According to him, SLC’s homeless situation ISN’T as bad as LA’s or Seattle’s, but “it looks bad.” He also alleges you’ll find makeshift tent cities ANYWHERE in SLC, which is not only false, but also one of the dumbest things anyone can say about SLC, considering it’s a lie.
“Surprisingly, this wasn’t always the case!” It still isn’t, you dummy.
No, the city’s homeless situation doesn’t even look bad as steps have been taken to ensure they’re better taken care of. And most of the homeless are seen in the downtown area near one specific park. Ever since a shelter was moved out of that sector, though, their presence was drastically reduced. Even towards the end he states there are supposedly ~2,000 homeless people in the Salt Lake area, which neither means the situation looks bad or that you can find makeshift tent cities anywhere.
9. Winter inversions
While the inversion IS a true phenomenon that you’ll find most often in the lower elevations (i.e., closer to downtown and in the little towns north and south of downtown)–meaning not in neighborhoods and sectors that overlook the valley–people here don’t wear face or surgical masks to shield themselves from the inversion as he states.
And because he just loves to tout his own ignorance, he goes on to claim that the air quality in SLC (a city surrounded by mountains that help trap its pollution soup-bowl-style for a few months each year) is worse than that of Chicago, which is essentially at sea level, and Dallas, which is mere hours away from the sea.
Oh, and Park City, one of the MANY places you can go to escape the inversion (even though he makes it seem like it’s the only one) is about 20-30 minutes away from SLC–not his 40 minutes.
8. It gets hot in the Summer
Yes, we’re in a desert, “Sherlock”; it gets hot. But our dry Summer heat beats the South’s unbearably year-round humid heat any day. (Just ask my husband, a native Alabamian who doesn’t miss its heat at all.)
No, the sun won’t “literally eat you alive.”
7. Liquor laws
This one’s funny b/c we could care less about alcohol. Don’t get me wrong: we’re Catholic and so we could choose to drink anytime if we wanted to. But we hate it: we hate how it tastes, how most seem to rely on it for “fun,” everything. We’re better off without it so we don’t care what the city does about it.
Actually, I take that last bit back: I do wish our liquor laws weren’t so stringent, mostly because I’m aware of how liquor sales affect our tourism, bars, and restaurants, and I think that if our liquor laws were less mormon, it’d help our already-great economy.
6. The (mormon) “church” controls the state
This one is a tough one for non-Utahns to understand or be OK with, but even as a new transplant back in the day, I appreciated this and still do.
I credit mormons with keeping our state SO clean, well-managed, and economically strong. These are things I can’t complain about because when I go to other places, I’m always amazed, for instance, at how much litter there’s on the streets, how many homeless people abound, and how weirdly they’re being managed.
And don’t even get me started on the extent to how Democratic governors and mayors are taking advantage of their citizens in those states because it’s astounding and nothing a Utah governor/mayor could ever get away with.
What he says in the video, though, isn’t true (notice a pattern?). No, non-mormons don’t feel like the government is trying to baby us or limit our access to things they deem are bad for us. I bet there are a few disgruntled residents who feel this way, but they must like living here overall or they’d have moved out.
Sherlock also noted that things close relatively early here, that our streets are “dead” by 10PM, and that the bus stops running at ~midnight to “discourage drunk driving” but forgot to note that ride-sharing services are available practically 24/7.
5. It’s isolated
It’s not. I mean, sure, LA is 12 hours away, Phoenix is ten hours away, and Denver is, I believe eight hours away. But Las Vegas is just ~five hours away (oddly, I’ve always enjoyed Vegas even though I neither gamble nor drink), and if you like hiking or winter sports, those are just less than an hour away from downtown–some are 20-30 minutes away from many suburbs! And several neighborhoods even have trails that not so many know about, making hiking and biking even more accessible.
He IS right about two things, though:
- SLC is “very close to so much gorgeous nature,” including all our unbeatable national parks.
- But it’s also very far from the ocean, which bums me out sometimes. However, unlike what he says in the video, fortunately, we DO have numerous lakes (besides just the two that he knew about).
4. You need a car
Most of what he claimed here is true. Having your own car around here just makes life much easier.
But then he goes on to say that traffic around rush hour isn’t that bad because we don’t “have as much traffic as other similarly sized cities,” which is comically untrue. It may not be California-level bad, but if you get on I-15 Northbound in the morning, prepare for a lengthier commute. The same is true for I-15 Southbound in the afternoon.
And to complicate matters a little more, don’t forget about some pockets within I-15 that don’t abide by that general rule: Basically, if you live north of SLC, you’ll have a tough time going Southbound on I-15 in the mornings (and Northbound/back home in the afternoons).
My husband’s described these I-15 trends to be as bad what he’s encountered in Atlanta!
Here he goes from saying that even though our roads are good and have few potholes, there’s always construction going on and we don’t have “as much traffic,” as if one thing couldn’t explain the other: Couldn’t our roads be good BECAUSE they’re constantly getting worked on, maintained, or widened? (Hint: Yes. I found it funny he didn’t see this.)
Instead of improving our roads, he argues, the government should spend that money on our public schools. But I’d argue he’s wrong.
2. Bad schools
He states our tax dollars are poorly spent, our teachers are the lowest paid in the country, and the 23:1 student-teacher ratio is among the worst in the country. Oh and Utah also spends “the least amount per student each year.”
However, he fails to mention how efficiently that money may be being spent because throwing more money at something doesn’t always make it better. Just because the national average for funds spent per student are much higher than Utah’s may not necessarily mean that our students are the worst in the nation. (Hint: they’re not. So perhaps states that spend more but aren’t doing as well should learn a thing or two from us.)
Also, extracurriculars being limited doesn’t mean that parents can’t be parents and take care of that themselves.
1. Expensive and rising home prices
I’ve heard this for many years and I’m so happy we bought our home when we did, just before prices began to rise. In fact, homes in our neighborhood are now easily $80-100K higher than they were just a few years ago.
However, he claims that salaries in general haven’t kept up with the rise in home and rent prices, which is an exaggeration. I mean, sure, someone in my field may not see their salary rise as much year-to-year (esp. if their employer doesn’t feel like offering competitive salaries), but software developers like my husband and others in the tech industry are among those who aren’t complaining: they not only make at least six figures each year, but can also afford the higher-valued home.
He also states SLC’s median household income is around $45,900, which is 15% below the national average. But just like with his other generalizations, Sherlock’s missing one key point here: The cost of living in the SLC area isn’t as high as it is in many other parts of the country. (For a bit of anecdotal evidence, grocery shopping in Hawaii shows you that your money doesn’t go as far as it would in Utah.)
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Well, that was my take on some random guy’s reasons to not move to Salt Lake City. Tell me what you thought, what you agreed or disagreed with, what you think of Utah, or even whether you live in Utah and have other reasons to either move here or not.