Moving to Utah
Depending on where you’re coming from and where you intend to settle down, moving to Utah can either be an easy sidestep in your residency status or the catalyst for culture shock. Whatever the case may be, there’s no denying you’ll be placing yourself smack dab in the middle of one of the most beautiful states in the country with plenty of opportunity to take part in outdoor activities.
Many downtown Salt Lake City neighborhoods have narrow, hilly streets which could prove difficult for some moving companies or rented moving trucks. Get a lay of the land ahead of time so that you won’t be hit with any surprises.
These same downtown neighborhoods have few homes with indoor garages, leading to a shortage of on-street parking that could hinder access for a moving van or truck.
The University of Utah in Salt Lake City only has on-campus housing for 10 percent of its students, meaning that the vast majority of the school’s students live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Fraternity and sorority housing is located just off campus in a section called “Greek Row.” If you’re moving to UT and are headed for Salt Lake City, bear this in mind when choosing where you’ll live.
Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo requires its students to live on campus or in approved off-campus rental units. Although Provo has a high concentration of college students, it’s possible for those moving to Utah to ensure they won’t be settling down near student housing by determining their proximity to approved off-campus residences. Information on BYU approved off-campus housing can be found at CougarHousing.com.
Moving permits aren’t required in Utah.
Weber State University in Ogden has limited on-campus housing. However, the fact that the university has satellite campuses located throughout Davis County means that there are no specific areas of the city where a high concentration of students live. Many live as far south as Farmington and as far north as North Ogden. The layout of streets in Ogden and the high percentage of homes with driveways and garages also makes street unloading of moving trucks a far simpler prospect.
If you’re hiring a moving company, check with the BBB to ensure the party you’re working with is licensed and has no complaints filed against it. Find moving company recommendations by area at BBB.org.
Snow accumulation may hinder your move if you’re moving to Utah during winter, but if you aren’t able to pick and choose the timing of your migration, it’s not impossible. Plan for snow delays between the months of November and February. If you’re carrying out the move on your own, ensure you’re well stocked with winter wear and rubber mats to prevent ice slippages as you’re unloading.
July is typically the hottest month of the year in Utah; plan accordingly by staying hydrated and starting early.
Sundays in Utah offer the lightest amount of roadway and pedestrian traffic, making this the optimum day to complete your move.
Before you move, fill out a change of address form with the USPS to ensure continuity in your delivery of mail.
Check out our downloadable planners and checklists.
Cities and Metro Areas
If you’re someone who’s moving to Utah from a densely populated area like New York City or Los Angeles, you’ll be happy to learn that the traffic—even in populous areas like Salt Lake City—is comparatively light. Sure, there are plenty of traffic jams to encounter during rush hour on weekdays; but when compared with the gridlock in other parts of the country, it may turn out to be refreshingly easy on your clutch leg.
Cost of Living
If you want a real insider’s perspective on the cost of living in Utah, the reality is that now is one of the best times to buy real estate here. Whether you’ve got your heart set on living in the affluent and historic section of Salt Lake City known as The Avenues, or are looking for newer housing developments near great schools for the kids, by running a cost comparison you’ll learn several things. For one, the median price of a home in Utah is $199,000. This isn’t exactly what many would say are rock-bottom rates, but considering the state’s rapid expansion and what you can get for those $199,000, it’s a downright steal.
Highways and Public Transport
Utah’s grid systems make it surprisingly simple to navigate almost any city in the state. If you’re not familiar with the grid system, it might take some getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll wonder how you ever got around elsewhere without it.
The system lays streets out in a grid and names them accordingly, working outward from a central point in the city. Moving to UT, you’ll find most roads on the grid in intervals of 100, as in 100 North, 200 North and so on. Moving south of the central point you’ll encounter 100 South, 200 South, etc. Intersecting streets that move in east-west directions are similarly numbered, so that if you’re tasked with locating the intersection of 400 North and 200 East, as long as you know which direction North lies, you’ll always be able to find your way around.
There’s plenty of public transportation to take advantage of if you’re moving to Utah, starting with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), which is a robust transit system that extends from the city of Provo, 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, all the way to Ogden, which lies 40 miles north of Salt Lake City. There’s also an extensive light rail system operated by the UTA, which includes TRAX. TRAX can take you to stations throughout Salt Lake City. The FrontRunner commuter train serves the area from just north of Ogden to Salt Lake City. Expansions further south to Provo are currently in development.
Regardless of whether or not you have work lined up when you’re moving to Utah, it’s always good to have a ready resource for finding employment. The Department of Workforce Services is invaluable in that regard, and is the main hub for finding jobs in Utah. If you’re interested in taking advantage of the additional career benefits that come with state employment, the Utah Department of Human Resource Management is a useful portal to finding government jobs in Utah.
If your first introduction to Utah came by way of watching the 2002 Winter Olympics on TV, you may have the mistaken impression that moving to UT will require you to develop a thick, year-round skin. While it’s true that Utah has what’s been called “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” and Salt Lake City sees an average of 60 inches of snow per year, that doesn’t mean that summers here can’t be warm—and possibly warmer than what you may be used to. There are even areas of Utah that rarely, if ever, see snow, in particular those that lie on the southern end of the state near the Arizona and Nevada borders. On the southern end of the state, St. George sees on average only three inches of snow each year. During the hottest month of the year, July, temperatures statewide average between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Utah is also known for sometimes wild temperature fluctuations, in great part owed to the low humidity and high elevation.
If the fact that Utah has one of the highest literacy rates in the nation is getting you excited about enrolling your kids in a great school, you’ll find plenty to choose from. Here’s a breakdown of the highest rated schools in the state.
Top 5 Best Elementary Schools (with 100 or more students)
- Fox Hills Magnet School (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Morningside Magnet School (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Cleveland Elementary (Cleveland, UT)
- Canyon Crest School (Provo, UT)
- Bonneville School (Salt Lake City, UT)
Top 5 Best Middle Schools (with 100 or more students)
- Mapleton School (Mapleton, UT)
- Westside School (Springville, UT)
- John Hancock Charter School (Pleasant Grove, UT)
- Renaissance Academy (Lehi, UT)
- Salt Lake Arts Academy (Salt Lake City, UT)
Top 5 Best High Schools (with 100 or more students)
- Castle Valley Center (Price, UT)
- Intech Collegiate High School (North Logan, UT)
- Gunnison Valley High (Gunnison, UT)
- Piute High (Junction, UT)
- Kanab High (Kanab, UT)
Utah is also home to several notable higher education schools as well. Brigham Young University (also known as BYU) is located in Provo and is the third-biggest private university in the country. It’s also the country’s largest religious university, with 98 percent of students belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City is also home to the University of Utah (commonly referred to by residents as the U of U), a public university that recently ranked 124th in a listing of the best colleges in the country. Its campus is where you’ll find the famous Huntsman Cancer Institute, a research center and hospital.
When it comes to college sports rivalries, there are few as intense as that which exists between the U of U’s Utes and the BYU Cougars, leading to some of the most intensely followed sporting events in the state. Weber State University in Ogden is home to roughly 25,000 students and also boasts an active athletic program that’s propelled the Weber Wildcats to participation in NCAA Division I competition along with the Utes and the Cougars.
The following government websites provide all the information you’ll need to know when moving to Utah, covering everything from driver’s licensing to taxes.
- Visit Utah State Tax Commission to find information about state taxes and fees.
- With the Utah Driver License Division you can find out where to go to update your driver’s license. Note: In Utah, driver’s licenses aren’t handled at the DMV office like they are in some states.
- Visit the Division of Motor Vehicles for the registration of cars, trucks and motorcycles.
- Utah State Parks is a great resource for registering off-highway vehicles like ATVs, boats and snowmobiles.
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