Difference between revisions of "Salt Lake City"
Revision as of 21:45, 24 April 2013
Salt Lake City  is the capital and largest city of Utah, with a population of approximately 180,000 (the Salt Lake Metro Area in its entirety has over a million people). It is one of the largest cities in the Southwest region of the United States, although its climate is more similar to the Rocky Mountain region. It lies in the Salt Lake Valley along the Wasatch Front urban corridor, located between the Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west; on the border between the Rocky Mountain and Great Basin geographic regions.
Salt Lake City is well-known as the center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon church), although fewer than half of the city's residents are members. The city is also known as a base for outdoor recreation, including the many nearby ski resorts just east of the city which were thrust into the world spotlight by the 2002 Winter Olympics.
When traveling to the city, knowledge of Salt Lake's famous grid system is a big plus. The entire valley lies on the same grid system. Most major streets are laid out precisely running north-south or east-west. The origin of the grid is located downtown, on the south-east corner of Temple Square. Street addresses are coordinates within the grid system in intervals of 100 every street. For example, one might speak of the intersection of 700 East and 2100 South as either "seventh east and twenty-first south" or "seven hundred east and twenty-one hundred south" (remember that in conversations, locals usually opt for the first one; try not to get confused between say, 7th East and 21st South and 7 East and 21 South, both of which are very different addresses). Addresses are specific numbers, such as 840 South 1300 East ("Eight-Fourty south 13th east"). Downtown blocks are 1/8 of a mile in length, but blocks become more irregularly spaced farther from the city center. Most people will recognize the grid as one they studied in school, with a point of origin and 4 quadrants. After getting used to the system, you will find that it is very easy to navigate and simple to understand, although the streets become more and more irregular the farther south you move. It can also get confusing outside of the Salt Lake Valley, where many cities (whether or not they've grown into each other) often have separate systems, so that a single road that divides two cities may have two different names for the grid systems of the two different cities. A different grid variant is found in the North East corner of Salt Lake City and is known as The Avenues. The Avenues are composed of North-south avenues which are lettered, A through U, while east-west avenues are numbered 1 though 14
Significant neighborhoods in SLC include Downtown, the financial core that's home to Temple Square (the main temple of the Mormon church); Central City, the main residential area of the city, approximately 400 South to 900 South; Sugar House, a commercial/residential district with many funky shops; Federal Heights, an affluent district to the northeast; The Avenues a historical neighborhood with many late 1800 and early 1900 buildings; University, the area surrounding the sprawling University of Utah  campus and the adjacent VA Medical Center, Research Park, and Fort Douglas; East Bench or Foothill, a residential area bisected by the major arterial road Foothill Boulevard between 900 South and I-80; Capitol Hill, an affluent district just north of Downtown topped by the Utah State Capitol building; Rose Park a residential in the northwest section of the city; and Glendale a residential, primarily Hispanic district to the southwest, home to the International Peace Gardens. The benches are the mostly residential, upper-class communities constructed mostly along the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains on the east side of the valley, although they have recently been growing in the southern valley (the low Traverse Mountains) and the western valley (the Oquirrh Mountains). The east side is traditionally more affluent and conservative than the west side, leading to the expected "cultural rivalries" that you find in other cities with clear divides, although this divide is arguably less pronounced in Salt Lake City than in most major cities.
The Wasatch Front is the region located along the western edge of the Wasatch Mountain Range. It stretches from approximately Brigham City on the north to Santaquin on the south, and includes Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Provo. More than two-thirds of Utah's population are located in this region. One thing to realize is that when people speak of Salt Lake City, they are often referring to Salt Lake Valley as a whole, or at least the suburbs adjoining Salt Lake City immediately to the south. Significant suburbs of Salt Lake City include Sandy (in the southern half of the valley), Murray and Midvale (in the center of the valley), West Valley City and West Jordan (large suburbs immediately to the southwest), and Holladay, which although it only contains a small section of the eastern bench area, is often used to define the entire east bench area (often used colloquially with "Cottonwood"). "Millcreek" is used to define areas a little further north on the east bench and adjacent to Salt Lake City and south of I-80.
People who fly into Salt Lake City to visit the national parks and wild terrain of Southern Utah should keep in mind that just because they're in the same state does not mean they are close; in most cases, Las Vegas is actually closer to the parks. Many of them are about a 5 hour drive away from Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake City was settled in 1847 by Brigham Young and his followers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church or the Mormon Church, and whose followers are often called Mormons (originally a derogative term, now accepted and widely-used) or, less frequently (but more officially), Latter-day Saints. The Mormons migrated to the Salt Lake Valley following religious conflicts and violence in the East. The city immediately became a major transit point for people moving westward in the California Gold Rush, and the LDS Church's strong practice of missionary work drew converts primarily from Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia to emigrate to Salt Lake City during the 1850s and 1860s in long "handcart treks", a tradition that is now ingrained in Mormon culture. This migration allowed it to become one of the largest cities in the Old West, although the conservative Church values bucked the typical Old West trend of lawless towns, sheriffs, cowboys, brothels, and rowdy saloons. Pacific Islanders are another group that was significantly recruited by the Church, and Salt Lake City possesses an unusually high Pacific Islander population. The handcart tradition ended with the arrival of the railroad in 1870, which also, with the rise of mining and industry, contributed to the first major influx of "Gentiles" (non-Mormons) into the city.
The "Utah Territory" often clashed with the U.S. government over the LDS Church's practice of polygamy. The most notable clash occurred from 1857-1858 when the government mistakenly believed that Brigham Young, the church leader and governor of the territory, planned to lead a rebellion against the government. The government then sent the military to install their own governor and maintain control over the supposed rebellious colony. Although little actual fighting took place, the event is now known as the Utah War. Brigham Young eventually conceded to their demands, although long fights over the legal status of polygamy continued through the 1880s, with statehood for Utah being denied multiple times and with the federal government passing increasingly harsher anti-polygamy laws throughout the 1870s and 1880s that landed several prominent church officials in jail. In 1890, the LDS Church prophet, Wilford Woodruff, told his members to give up polygamy, a declaration that eventually allowed Utah to achieve statehood, with Salt Lake City as its capital, in 1896.
Although the majority of Utah's residents are still members of the LDS Church (estimates generally range from 60%-70%, although the percentage of practicing members is lower), Salt Lake City itself is less than half Mormon, with some areas (especially areas dominated by ethnic minorities or more artsy areas such as the lower Avenues and Sugarhouse) being lower still.
The climate of Salt Lake City is widely-variable from season to season. It's very dry, averaging from 14-20 inches (350-500 mm) of precipitation per year, much of which falls as snow, which averages from 50-80 inches (125-200 cm) per year. The wide variation is due to the huge elevation changes within the city; the lower amounts are the averages on the valley floor. Summers are hot, long, and particularly dry, while winters are cold and snowy.
Winter (mid-November to early March): Winter is generally a poor time to travel in Salt Lake City, unless you're looking to ski in the nearby ski resorts. Daytime temperatures generally run anywhere from 25°F to 50°F (-4-10°C). Low temperatures are usually below freezing, and on rare occasions can even drop below 0°F (-18°C). Snow falls often, but single snowfalls exceeding about 10 inches (25 cm) are rare. Even when it is not snowing, a phenomenon known as the inversion develops, which traps cold, moist air and air pollutants in the valley, sometimes for weeks on end. This can lead to some of the worst air quality conditions found in the country. The mountains are clear and beautiful during these times, but also quite warm. During an inversion, be prepared for fog on the valley bottom.
Because of the frequency of snow, it takes a very large snowstorm to cripple or shut down the city. Minor snowfalls are basically treated as a daily occurrence in winter, with the city continuing to operate as normal. Generally it takes about 12-15+ inches (30-38+ cm) valley-wide to have a significant effect on the activity of the city, and even more for a citywide shutdown. Despite the frequency of snowfall, it is usually calm (no blizzards are seen in Salt Lake City, unlike in the Midwest or Northeast), and most snowfalls are very light and fluffy (although heavy, wet snowfall can occur). Even though snow is common, there are still far too many people who don't know how to drive in it (often half-jokingly attributed by the locals to transplants from southern California).
Spring (early March to late May): Springs in Salt Lake City are mild, but it is also the wettest and windiest time of year. High temperatures during this time range from about 45°F to 80°F (7-27°C). Low temperatures are cool, and usually still drop below freezing on occasion into April. Although it's the wettest time of year, it's still dry in comparison to many cities in the Midwest or Eastern U.S., and heavy, prolonged rain is rare. Light-to-moderate snowfall can often be found well into April as well. Sunny spring days, which are quite common, offer some of the best weather available in Salt Lake City. However, the snowpack in the mountains usually reaches its peak in early April and doesn't melt entirely until late May or June, so spring is still a poor time to enjoy outdoor summer activities, such as hiking, camping, and boating, in the mountains. However, the ski resorts are usually open until mid-April, and Snowbird is often open longer.
Summer (late May to mid-September): Summer in Salt Lake City is long, dry, and hot. High temperatures during this period range anywhere from 80°F to 105°F (27-41°C). Humidity is very low and nights are usually comfortable. Although a very dry season, powerful Pacific storms can sometimes impact the city as late as early June, prolonging the wet season and keeping temperatures cooler. Mid-June through early July in particular is very dry. From mid-July to mid-September, the monsoon affects Utah, bringing fairly frequent evening thunderstorms to the city. Although sometimes these thunderstorms are very powerful, bringing hail, lightning, and street flooding, they're usually relatively short-lived. Sometimes the humidity is so low that the rain doesn't even reach the valley floor. However, even a "dry" thunderstorm in the valley often drops heavy rain and even hail in the mountains. If you can avoid the thunderstorms, summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities in the mountains. The snow is long-gone by the end of June, and temperatures rarely reach above 80°F (27°C), even during the heart of summer.
Autumn (mid-September to mid-November): Autumn is the best time to visit Salt Lake City. It's usually drier and warmer than spring. Temperatures are comfortable, ranging from 45°F to 80°F (7-27°C) during the daytime. Powerful Pacific storms begin impacting the state by mid-October, but are usually infrequent. Although storms can again start dropping snow in the mountains, the snowpack usually doesn't begin building until November. The first light snowfall and overnight freezing temperatures in the valley usually occur by the beginning of November, and by mid-November, snowfall and cold temperatures should be prepared for. The leaves on the trees reach their brilliant peak color in the mountains in mid to late September and about a month later in the valleys.
Salt Lake City International Airport (IATA: SLC), 776 North Terminal Drive, ☎ +1 801 575-2400 (toll free: +1 800-595-2442), . Located on the western edge of the city. It serves as Delta Air Lines mid-country hub, with over 120 daily departures for Delta alone. Hotel shuttles and taxis connect the airport with downtown. UTA  buses offer an inexpensive $2 ride from the airport to downtown. It has direct international flights to various cities in Mexico and Canada, as well as to Paris and Tokyo.
Airport #2. Located to the southwest of the city in West Jordan, this serves as a regional airport for smaller, private aircraft.
Interstate 80 slices through the city east-to-west, passing the airport and meeting Interstate 15 west of Downtown. I-80 continues east into the Wasatch Mountains and eventually Wyoming (this route can be closed due to winter weather), and west across the desert to Nevada. I-15 slices through the city and its suburbs north-to-south down the center of the valley, providing access across the entire Wasatch Front, reaching St. George and eventually Las Vegas far to the south and entering eastern Idaho to the north. Interstate 215 provides a loop around the city, providing access to many of its suburbs and running near the airport. U.S. Highway 89 enters from the north parallel to I-15. The new Legacy Parkway runs parallel to I-15 from the north and connects to I-215, providing an alternative to travel into/out of Davis County. Otherwise, there are few routes into the valley due to geographic constraints, although all of the suburbs fit nicely into the grid system of Salt Lake City. Traffic jams are relatively rare, although they can occur, especially along I-15 during rush hour.
Amtrak, 340 S 600 W (Salt Lake Intermodal Hub), . Salt Lake City is served by the California Zephyr, Amtrak's Chicago-San Francisco train. The westbound train (#5) arrives daily at 11PM and departs at 11:30PM; the eastbound train (#6) arrives daily at 3:05AM and departs at 3:35AM.
FrontRunner, . A commuter rail line running between Pleasant View (just north of Ogden) and the Salt Lake Intermodal Hub. Service currently runs every half-hour on weekdays and every hour on Saturdays. One-way fares range from $2.50-5.50 depending on how far you travel. A future extension south to Provo is planned by 2013.
When navigating the city, it is important to have a knowledge of the unique and simple grid system that the city is based on. (See the description under Understand).
The city is very car-friendly due to wide, straight roads and the fact that they're laid out in a simple grid orientation. Although the streets become much more irregular in the suburbs, the grid system maintains itself pretty well within the boundaries of the city (although the east bench makes straight grid-oriented roads impossible, evidenced by the northwest-to-southeast orientation of Foothill Boulevard). Although the grid becomes more irregular the farther away from the city center you move, the numbering system remains consistent, and even named streets have their corresponding "grid number" listed below the name of the road on the street sign. The grid system means that you can easily reach almost every major road from almost every other major road. Car travel is also simplified by the fact that only one major one-way street pair exists in the city (500 South and 600 South).
Salt Lake City is well-served by freeways, with Interstate 15 running straight north-south through the city, running straight past downtown. I-15 through the city is 10 lanes with 2 High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes (more commonly known as "carpool lanes"). I-80 briefly merges with I-15 just west of downtown, and continues west past the airport and east past the Sugarhouse neighborhood, passing a major shopping district and running through a major residential area. I-215 runs through the west part of the city, directing traffic into the city from the western neighborhoods and the northern and southern suburbs. It intersects with I-80 just west of the airport. State Route 201 (often referred to as "SR 201", the "201 freeway", "21st South Freeway", or just the "201"), heads west from I-80's southern merge point along the border with West Valley City, although it mostly serves residents looking to come into or go out of the city. The interchange where the three freeways come together on the border with South Salt Lake is known as the "Spaghetti Bowl".
Although the roads are generally wide and spacious and generously laid out in a grid pattern, the geography of the valley forces transportation to be very north-south oriented, and this can cause severe traffic congestion on all major roads. The worst traffic is seen on I-15 north into Davis County, where rush hour traffic jams are a common sight, throughout the surface roads, especially in the heart of downtown and in the central and southern parts of the city. The Legacy Parkway was recently completed into Davis County and connects with I-215 in the far northern part of the city. This has significantly alleviated traffic during rush hour going into and out of Davis County.
Utah has many drivers on its roads from many different surrounding states and various countries. For the most part, you will find most western US drivers' styles consistent with other urban and rural locations. However, Utah drivers are somewhat known for being more prone to cutting people off and aggressively changing lanes. While driving in any location, the best advice is to safely follow the flow of traffic, whether it is faster in the city or slower in the country, obey all traffic laws, and be patient and courteous to other drivers.
Utah drivers also generally know how to drive in snow, although like anywhere there are still plenty of people who don't (particularly transplants from sunnier locations).
The Utah Transit Authority (UTA), +1 801 743-3882  operates an extensive bus system that reaches the entire Wasatch Front, with the most extensive coverage in and around Salt Lake City. Every light rail (TRAX) station in Salt Lake City is connected by several bus routes. Only the most important routes operate during nighttime hours, Sundays, and holidays, although even nighttime routes will often end service around midnight. In winter, service to the four ski resorts located in the Cottonwood Canyons to the east, in the Wasatch Range, is provided. Standard one-way fares are $2.25. A day pass (which is good for both bus and TRAX rides) is $5.50, and most of downtown is a free fare zone for all UTA service (bus and light rail).
Another good way to get around the city is on UTA's light rail system, or TRAX . There are three separate lines, Red, Blue and Green. The Blue and Green lines begin at the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub, which is also used by Amtrak, Greyhound, FrontRunner, and UTA buses. These two lines head past EnergySolutions Arena and Temple Square before turning south on Main Street through Downtown. The Blue Line continues south through South Salt Lake, Murray, Midvale, and ends at the Sandy Civic Center at about 10000 South. The Green Line splits off around 2100 South and heads west into West Valley City. The Red line serves the University of Utah on the east bench, coming down 400 South to Downtown before joining the Blue line, which it follows south to Murray before spliting west into West Jordan and South Jordan. Standard fares for all light rail lines are $2.25 one-way, $4.50 round-trip, and $5.50 for a day pass (which includes bus and light rail service). Downtown is a free fare zone for all UTA bus and light rail lines. An Airport line is also under construction and is expected to be completed by 2013.
Salt Lake City offers trails and routes through the city and around the city for bicyclists of all ages. It is legal to cycle on the sidewalk in all but the central blocks of the city; sidewalks tend to be wide and (except for the center of the city) with few pedestrians. State law requires sidewalk riders to signal audibly when they do overtake pedestrians. Many of the major attractions of the city are accessible by bicycle, and it is easy and quick to get out to the zoo or the university by bike.
Several major streets offer bicycle lanes and signed shared roadways, but some of these are too narrow and can place bicyclist in the "car-door zone." In some cases it may be easier to cycle on an adjacent quieter street heading the same direction. Navigation is easy, and if the street you are on looks too busy, there is always an alternative street to choose. The wider streets in the city centre don't make it any easier for cyclists, as they are just taken up with extra car lanes, and are just extra lanes to get across when turning. Roadway cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as cars.
There are some off-road paths and mountain bicycling trails, following the Jordan River south from I-80 is a well developed path, but a little desolate in parts. City Creek Canyon is open to bicycles only some days. The Salt Lake City Green Bikeways Map  provides detailed bicycle route information about these routes and trails.
Bicycles are permitted on all UTA  buses, TRAX and Frontrunner trains. All bus routes have bike racks except for the ski routes and para-transit (on-demand bus service). Bicycle lockers may also be rented from the UTA at several stations. In addition a new Bike Transit Center opened Sept. 2010 at the Downtown Inter-modal hub which features bike rentals and a repair shop.
In Spring 2013, the SLC Transportation department launched a short-term bike rental program for the downtown area called GreenBike. 
+1 801 240-2534, . Visitor centers and assembly buildings are generally open daily 9AM-9PM. Free admission.
Located in the heart of downtown, Temple Square is the most visited location in Utah. The square serves as the world headquarters of the LDS Church and the main attraction is the Church’s Salt Lake Temple, but there are a host of other facilities, including museums, libraries, gardens, restaurants and assembly facilites.
There are numerous missionaries speaking many languages to help to show you around the temple grounds. There are two visitor centers, one at the northwest corner of the square and another at the corner of South Temple and Main Streets, both with numerous exhibits and video presentations explaining the Mormon faith. There is a free tour from the airport for connecting passengers, weather permitting. Note that non-Mormons are not permitted inside the Temple itself, and even Mormons are not permitted inside the Temple unless they hold a church-issued permit known as a "Temple recommend".
Temple Square also contains several LDS administrative and assembly buildings. The Tabernacle, a unique oval-shaped domed building just west of the temple that serves as the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is open for guided tours as well as viewings of organ recitals and Thursday rehearsals and Sunday "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcasts of the choir. On the southwest corner of the square, the Victorian-Gothic style Assembly Hall is open for self-guided visits and hosts concerts Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30PM. The LDS Conference Center, across the street from the north side of the square, contains a lot of LDS-related art and architecture as well as a series of waterfalls and carefully-groomed gardens on the roof of the structure. You can also go to the top of the Church Office Building (M-F and Saturdays in summer 9AM-4:30PM), one of the tallest buildings in the city, which offers great views of the area.
The southeast corner of the square is home to a number of historic buildings, including the Beehive House (daily 9AM-9PM), a former residence of city founder Brigham Young open for free guided tours, the Lion House, another former residence of Brigham Young that is now operated as a restaurant, and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a former grand hotel which today holds a number of meeting and dining facilities, public computers for genealogical research and a theater showing free church-produced films.
Temple Square springs into overdrive twice a year when the LDS church holds its semiannual General Conference, an event that attracts tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. Another popular event is the "Christmas Lights at Temple Square." The LDS Church maintains beautiful gardens year-round that are worth seeing if you see nothing else.
Salt Lake City is a major hub for recreational activities of startling variety.
Summer activities, such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing, fishing, boating, etc are also popular, as the mountains around Salt Lake City provide outdoor opportunities of all kinds. A 10-15 minute drive provides access to dozens of canyon trails for hiking and mountain biking. Red Butte Gardens and the surrounding area, and City Creek Canyon are popular with locals. In addition, SLC is a 5-hour drive away from the major national parks and unique, striking desert sandstone terrain of Southern Utah.
There are several world class ski resorts accessible within minutes of SLC. Ski Areas in both of the Cottonwood Canyons are served by UTA buses. Park City, the main venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics, is a 40 minute drive up Parley's Canyon. They are famous for the light, fluffy snowfalls caused by the low humidity and the dreaded lake-effect. In addition, some of the heaviest snowfall in the nation occurs in the Wasatch Mountains.
Arts and cinema
Salt Lake City has always had a love affair with live theater, and several historic buildings were playhouses in the 1930s. Two professional companies maintain a full performance season:
There is an active improv comedy community , including several standing weekly or monthly performances. Salt Lake City is also home to Wise Guys Comedy Club, which features touring stand up comedians.
Kingsbury Hall, on the University of Utah Campus, features touring national plays, musicals, and other special performances. Red Butte Gardens  has a popular summer concert series in their amphitheater. The state-run event calendar Now Playing Utah lists touring acts and special events .
Movies are a passion for Salt Lakers, as Utah has served as the backdrop to many Hollywood blockbusters and Salt Lake is home to many film festivals (sure, you've heard of Sundance, but there are many more). The Salt Lake Film Society  runs two movie theaters showing only independent and foreign films, and special screenings of classic films. They also provide screenings for the Sundance Film Festival in January. The Tower Theatre on 876 East 900 South was built in 1921 and is the oldest Salt Lake theater still in operation. The Broadway Centre Cinemas on 300 South and 111 East are within walking distance of downtown hotels.
For many years, Utah has experienced a very low unemployment rate, however wages are less than the national average and have not kept up with the steady rise in housing and food costs.
Utah is an "employment at will" state where it is legal to fire an employee for any reason. In Utah, an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) frequently does not include equality for homosexuals. The best employment and job security is with larger national companies which have an active policy of non-discrimination.
Fry sauce is a Utah specialty. What is it? Fry sauce is a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise (and other seasonings depending on what restaurant is making it) eaten on French fries. Fry sauce was created many years ago by the local fast food restaurant Arctic Circle and has since spread to the rest of Utah, as well as eastern Idaho. Almost any local (and many chain) restaurants will serve this tasty pink concoction. For more on Arctic Circle locations see: Arctic Circle Restaurants 
The local newspaper, City Weekly, has a comprehensive restaurant list on their website, including reviews (see "Cope").
Utah liquor laws
Utah's liquor laws are known as one of the more peculiar things about the state. Liquor is sold only in state-owned stores which can cost more than in other states - but are neat, clean and always well stocked. In fact, the wine stores are brimming with a surprising selection of wines. "Near-beer" (3.2% alcohol by weight/4% alcohol by volume, as opposed to the standard 4-6% alcohol by volume) replaces the usual brew, which is available in stores and restaurants. "Full strength," or, "Strong Beer," is available in bars and liquor stores. Also, state law prohibits the serving of more than 1.5 ounces of alcohol as the primary liquor in a mixed drink. This used to be circumvented with the purchase of a "sidecar" (a separate shot of liquor), but the laws have recently been amended. Secondary alcoholic flavorings may then be added to a mixed drink as the recipe requires.
Although liquor laws in Utah are more strict, they are not impossible. There are several kinds of establishments to know about:
Crime: Compared to other major cities in the nation, Salt Lake City has relatively low violent crime rates but relatively high rates of property crime. Pioneer Park and the nearby homeless shelter is a popular hangout for drug dealers and should probably be avoided at night. (Recent implementation of surveillance cameras in the park has forced some activity southward and eastward, to Washington Square and Library Square.)
The west-central and northwest areas of the valley tend to have more crime and gang-related activity, and the downtown areas heading east and south are now experience a high volume of drug-related and robbery activity. Car break-ins are common, even in "safe" neighborhoods; park in well-lit areas, lock up, and store valuables out of sight. For specific and current statistics on crime rates, visit the local police website .
Adjacent West Valley City (on the west) and South Salt Lake (on the south) have high-crime neighborhoods. Visitors should exercise caution in any unfamiliar area.
Weather: The weather is generally mild and has few extreme weather events. It can become fairly hot during the summer, but humidity levels are low, while winter can see the occasional major, crippling snowstorm. "Black ice" is a particular hazard for motorists during winter storms.
A temperature inversion, where cold heavy air locks warm light air in the valley, are frequent in the winter months and can last for several weeks. During an inversion, the valleys quickly fill up with dense smog that leads to unhealthy air quality and becomes a hazard for those with asthma or other respiratory problems. Strenuous outdoor activity should be avoided during an inversion. Inversions only occur in the valleys and none of Utah's ski resorts experience temperature inversions.
Free wi fi access is available throughout the Downtown area and provided by many local restaurants and hotels.
The Salt Lake City Main Library  at 210 East 400 S in Downtown (+1 801 524-8200, open M-Th 9AM-9PM, F Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 1PM-5PM) has computers available for use. Visitors without a library card can use the express computers on the first floor or the free wireless. There are also five branch libraries - for these, visitors can register for an Internet Access Card (bring your picture ID); there is no wireless access at the branch libraries yet.