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Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utahmarker. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. Salt Lake City has a population of 181,698 as of July 1, 2008, making it the 125th largest city in the United States. The Salt Lake City metropolitan area spans Salt Lakemarker, Summitmarker and Tooele countiesmarker, and has a total estimated population of 1,115,692 as of July 1, 2008. Salt Lake City is further situated in a larger urban area known as the Wasatch Front and is part of the Salt Lake City-Ogdenmarker-Clearfieldmarker CSA that has an estimated population of 1,717,261. The total estimated population of the Wasatch Front (Salt Lake CSA and Provo MSA) is 2,196,755 as of July 1, 2008.

The city was founded in 1847 as Great Salt Lake City by a group of Mormon pioneers led by their prophet, Brigham Young, who fled hostility and violence in the Midwestern United States. They extensively irrigated and cultivated the arid valley and faced persecution from the U.S. government for their practice of polygamy, which was abandoned in 1890. Today, Salt Lake City is still home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, also known as the Mormon Church). According to data from the LDS Church, the State of Utah, combined with IRS and Census Bureau estimates, Salt Lake Countymarker was 53% LDS in 2004, as reported in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Mining booms and the construction of the first transcontinental railroad initially brought economic growth, and the city was nicknamed the Crossroads of the West. Salt Lake City has since developed a strong outdoor recreation tourist industry based primarily on skiing. Salt Lake City was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics and is the industrial banking center of the United States.


Before Mormon settlement, the Shoshone, Ute, and Paiute had dwelt in the Salt Lake Valley for thousands of years. At the time of the founding of Salt Lake City the valley was within the territory of the Northwestern Shoshone; however, occupation was seasonal, near streams emptying from Canyons into the Salt Lake Valley. The land was treated by the United States as public domain; no aboriginal title by the Northwestern Shoshone was ever recognized by the United States or extinguished by treaty with the United States. The first US explorer in the Salt Lake area is believed to be Jim Bridger in 1825, although others had been in Utah earlier, some as far north as the nearby Utah Valley (the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776 were undoubtedly cognizant of the Salt Lake valley). U.S. Army officer John C. Frémont surveyed the Great Salt Lakemarker and the Salt Lake Valley in 1843 and 1845. The Donner partymarker, a group of ill-fated pioneers, had traveled through the Great Salt Lake Valley in August 1846.

The first permanent settlements in the valley date to the arrival of the Latter-day Saints on July 24, 1847. They had traveled beyond the boundaries of the United States seeking an isolated area to practice their religion, away from the hostility they had faced in the Eastmarker. Upon arrival, President of the Church Brigham Young is recorded as stating, "this is the place", after seeing the area in a vision. They found the broad valley empty of any human settlement.

Four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young designated the site for the Salt Lake Temple, intended to be the third temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to replace the abandoned Kirtland Templemarker in Ohio and Nauvoo Temple in Illinois.

Constructed on Temple Squaremarker, in the center of the city, the temple took 40 years to complete, being started in 1853 and dedicated on April 6, 1893. These delays meant that temples in St. George, Logan and Manti were completed before the Salt Lake Temple The temple has become iconic of the city and is its centerpiece. In fact, the southeast corner of Temple Square is the initial point of reference for the Salt Lake Meridian, and for all addresses in the Salt Lake Valley.

Part of Main Street 1890
The Mormon pioneers organized a new state called Deseret and petitioned for its recognition in 1849. The United States Congress rebuffed the settlers in 1850 and established the Utah Territory, vastly reducing its size. Great Salt Lake City replaced Fillmoremarker as the territorial capital in 1858, and the name was subsequently abbreviated to Salt Lake City. The city's population swelled with an influx of religious converts, making it one of the most populous cities in the American Old West.

Disputes with the federal government ensued over the widespread Mormon practice of polygamy. A climax occurred in 1857 when President James Buchanan declared the area in rebellion after Brigham Young refused to step down as governor, beginning the Utah War. A division of the United States Army, commanded by Albert Sidney Johnston, later a general in the army of the Confederate States of America, marched through the city and found that it had been evacuated. This division set up Camp Floyd approximately 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the city. Another military installation, Fort Douglasmarker, was established in 1862 to maintain Union allegiance during the American Civil War. Many area leaders were incarcerated at the territorial prison in Sugar Housemarker in the 1880s for violation of anti-polygamy laws. The LDS Church began their eventual abandonment of polygamy in 1890, releasing "The Manifesto," which officially suggested that members obey the law of the land (which was equivalent to forbidding new polygamous marriages inside the U.S. and its territories, but not in Mormon settlements in Canada and Mexico). This paved the way for statehood in 1896, when Salt Lake City became the state capital.

Men lounging outside saloon & Chinese laundry, 1910
The First Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 at Promontory Summitmarker on the north side of the Great Salt Lakemarker. A railroad was connected to the city from the Transcontinental Railroad in 1870, making travel less burdensome. Mass migration of different groups followed. Ethnic Chinese (who laid most of the Central Pacific railway) established a flourishing Chinatown in Salt Lake City nicknamed "Plum Alley," which housed around 1,800 Chinese during the early 20th century. The Chinese businesses and residences were demolished in 1952 although a historical marker has been erected among the commercial buildings which have replaced Plum Alley. Immigrants also found economic opportunities in the booming mining industries. Remnants of a once-thriving Japantown - namely a Buddhist temple and Japanese Christian chapel - still remain in downtown Salt Lake City. European ethnic groups constructed St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in 1874, the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedralmarker in 1905 and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleinemarker in 1909. This time period also saw the creation of Salt Lake City's now defunct red-light district that employed 300 courtesans at its height before being closed down in 1911.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an extensive streetcar system was constructed throughout the city with the first streetcar running in 1872 and electrification of the system in 1889. As in the rest of the country, the automobile usurped the streetcar and the last trolley ran in 1945. Rail transit was re-introduced when TRAX, a light rail system, opened in 1999.

The city's population began to stagnate during the 20th century as population growth shifted to suburban areas north and south of the city. Few of these areas were annexed to the city, while nearby towns incorporated and expanded themselves. As a result, the population of the surrounding metropolitan area greatly outnumbers that of Salt Lake City. A major concern of recent government officials has been combating inner-city commercial decay. The city lost population from the 1960s through the 1980s, but experienced some recovery in the 1990s. Presently, the city is losing population again (though that of the metro area continues to grow), having lost an estimated 2 percent of its population since the year 2000.

The city has experienced significant demographic shifts in recent years. Hispanics now account for approximately 22% of residents and the city has a large gay community. There is also a large Pacific Islander population, mainly made up of Samoansmarker and Tongansmarker; they compose roughly 1% of the population of the Salt Lake Valley area.

Salt Lake City was selected to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995. The games were plagued with controversy. A bid scandal surfaced in 1998 alleging that bribes had been offered to secure the city for the 2000 games location. During the games, other scandals erupted over contested judging scores and illegal drug use. Despite the controversies, the games were heralded as a financial success, being one of the few in recent history to profit. In preparation major construction projects were initiated. Local freeways were expanded and repaired, and a light rail system was constructed. Olympic venues are now used for local, national, and international sporting events and Olympic athlete training. Tourism has increased since the Olympic games, but business did not pick up immediately following them.

Salt Lake City hosted the 16th Winter Deaflympic games in 2007, taking place in the venues in Salt Lake City and Park Citymarker, and Rotary Internationalmarker chose the city as the host site of their 2007 convention, which was the single largest gathering in Salt Lake City since the 2002 Winter Olympics. The U.S. Volleyball Association convention in 2005 drew 39,500 attendees.


Salt Lake City is located at . The total area is 110.4 square miles (285.9 km²) and has an average elevation of 4,327 feet (1,320 m) above sea level. The lowest point within the boundaries of the city is near the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake, and the highest is Grandview Peak, at .

The city is located in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley surrounded by the Great Salt Lake to the northwest and the steep Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges on the eastern and western borders, respectively. Its encircling mountains contain many narrow glacially and volcanically carved canyons. Among them, City Creek, Emigrationmarker, Millcreek, and Parley's border Salt Lake City proper.

The Great Salt Lakemarker is separated from Salt Lake City by extensive marshlands and mudflats. The metabolic activities of bacteria in the lake result in a phenomenon known as "lake stink", a scent reminiscent of foul poultry eggs, two to three times per year for a few hours. The Jordan River flows through the city and is a drainage of Utah Lakemarker that empties into the Great Salt Lake.

The highest mountaintop visible from Salt Lake City is Twin Peaksmarker, which reaches 11,330 feet (3454 m). Twin Peaks is located southeast of Salt Lake in the Wasatch Range. The Wasatch Fault is found along the western base of the Wasatch and is considered overdue for an earthquake as large as 7.5. Catastrophic damage is predicted in the event of an earthquake with major damage resulting from the liquefaction of the clay- and sand-based soil and the possible permanent flooding of portions of the city by the Great Salt Lake.

The second-highest mountain range is the Oquirrhs, reaching a maximum height of 10,620 feet (3,237 m) at Flat Top. The Traverse Mountains to the south extend to 6,000 feet (1,830 m), nearly connecting the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains. The mountains near Salt Lake City are easily visible from the city and have sharp vertical relief caused by massive ancient earthquakes, with a maximum difference of 7,099 feet (2164 m) being achieved with the rise of Twin Peaks from the Salt Lake Valley floor.

The Salt Lake Valley floor is the ancient lakebed of Lake Bonnevillemarker which existed at the end of the last Ice Age. Several Lake Bonneville shorelines can be distinctly seen on the foothills or benches of nearby mountains.


The city, as well as the countymarker, is laid out on a grid plan; Most major streets run very nearly north-south and east-west. There is about a fourteen to fifteen minute of arc variation of the grid from true north. The grid's origin is the southeast corner of Temple Squaremarker, the block containing the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the north-south axis is Main Street; and the east-west axis is South Temple Street. Addresses are coordinates within the system (similarly to latitude and longitude). One hundred units are equal to 1/8th of a mile (200 m), the length of blocks in downtown Salt Lake City. The streets are relatively wide, at the direction of Brigham Young, who wanted them wide enough that a wagon team could turn around without "resorting to profanity." These wide streets and grid pattern are typical of other Mormon towns of the pioneer era throughout the West.

Though the nomenclature may initially confuse new arrivals and visitors, most consider the grid system an aid to navigation. Some streets have names, such as State Street, which would otherwise be known as 100 East. Other streets have honorary names, such as the western portion of 300 South, named "Adam Galvez Street" (in honor of a local Marine corporal killed in action) or others honoring Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., César Chávez. These honorary names appear only on street signs and can be used in postal addresses.

In The Avenuesmarker neighborhood, north-south streets are given letters of the alphabet, and east-west streets are numbered in 2.5 acre (10,100 m²) blocks, smaller than those in the rest of the city.

Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, planned the layout in the "Plat of the City of Zion" (intended as a template for Mormon towns wherever they might be built). In his plan the city was to be developed into 135 lots. However, the blocks in Salt Lake City became irregular during the late 19th century when the LDS Church lost authority over growth and before the adoption of zoning ordinances in the 1920s. The original blocks allowed for large garden plots, and many were supplied with irrigation water from ditches that ran approximately where modern curbs and gutters would be laid. The original water supply was from City Creek. Subsequent development of water resources was from successively more southern streams flowing from the mountains to the east of the city. Some of the old irrigation ditches are still visible in the eastern suburbs, or are still marked on maps, years after they were gone.


See also: Buildings and sites of Salt Lake City, Utah - Neighborhoods and areas
Salt Lake City has many informal neighborhoods. The eastern portion of the city has higher property values than its western counterpart. This is a result of the railroad being built in the western half as well as scenic views from inclined grounds in the eastern portion. Housing is more affordable on the west side, which results in demographic differences. Interstate 15 was also built in a north-south line, further dividing east and west sides of the city.

The west side of the city has historically been a working-class neighborhood, but recently the more affordable nature of the area has enticed many professionals to the neighborhood. For example, the small, increasingly trendy Marmalade District on the west side of Capitol Hillmarker, once considered seedy as few as 5–10 years ago, was heavily gentrified and is now thought of as an eclectic and desirable location. During the 1970s and 1980s, gang activity was also centered in the western neighborhoods of Rose Parkmarker, Poplar Grove, and Glendalemarker.

Sugar Housemarker, in southeastern Salt Lake City, has a reputation as a liberal neighborhood and until recently possessed a district of locally-owned specialty and niche shops on the corner of 2100 South and 1100 East. The stores that once occupied the street have recently moved to new locations to make way for a condominium and office complex, although the developers have stated that they wish to maintain the character of the area, and retail shops will be allowed at street-level once the complex is completed. Despite these assurances, residents have been very vocal in their concerns that the neighborhood will lose its unique eclectic appeal and have panned what they call the destruction of one of the few locally-owned business districts in the valley.

Just northeast of Downtown is The Avenuesmarker, a neighborhood outside of the regular grid system on much smaller blocks. This area is a Historical District that is nearly entirely residential, and contains many historical Victorian era homes. The Avenues are situated on the upward-sloping bench in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, with the earlier built homes in the lower elevation. The Avenues, along with Federal Heightsmarker, just to the east and north of the University of Utahmarker, and the Foothillmarker area, south of the University, contain gated communities, large, multi-million dollar houses, and fantastic views of the valley. Many consider this some of the most desirable real estate in the valley.

In addition to larger centers like Sugar House and Downtown, Salt Lake City contains several smaller neighborhoods, each named after the closest major intersection. Two examples are the 9th and 9thmarker (located at the intersection of 900 East and 900 South Streets) and 15th & 15th (located at the intersection of 1500 East and 1500 South Streets) neighborhoods. These areas are home to foot-traffic friendly, amenities-based businesses such as art galleries, clothing retail, salons, restaurants and coffee shops. During the summer of 2007, 9th and 9th saw sidewalk and street improvements as well as an art installation inspired by the 9 Muses of Greek myth, thanks in part to the 9th and 9th Merchants Association.

Many of the homes in the valley date from pre-World War II times, and only a select few areas, such as Federal Heights and the East Bench, as well as the far west side, including parts of Rose Park and Glendale, have seen new home construction since the 1970s.


The climate of Salt Lake City is characterized as a semi-arid steppe climate (Köppen BSk), with four distinct seasons. Both summer and winter are long, with hot, dry summers and cold, snowy winters, and with spring and fall serving as brief but comfortable transition periods. The city receives 16.50 inches (419 mm) of precipitation annually. Spring is the wettest season, while summer is very dry. Snow occurs on average from November 6 to April 18, producing a total average of 62.7 inches (159 cm).

The primary source of precipitation in Salt Lake City is massive Pacific storms that move in from the Pacific Oceanmarker along the jet stream from approximately October through May. Particularly cold storms have brought measurable snow as early as September 17 and as late as May 18. The nearby Great Salt Lake can help enhance rain from some of these storms and produces lake-effect snow approximately 6 to 8 times per year, some of which can drop excessive snowfalls. It is estimated that about 10% of the annual precipitation in the city can be attributed to the lake effect. After the Pacific train of storms has shut off and the jet stream has retreated far to the north during summer, the primary source of precipitation is afternoon thunderstorms generated by monsoon moisture moving up from the Gulf of Californiamarker during mid-to-late summer. Although rainfall can be heavy, these storms are usually scattered in coverage and the dry weather often causes the rain to evaporate before ever reaching the ground (virga). The remnants of tropical cyclones from the East Pacific can very occasionally make their way into the city during September and October. The remnants of Hurricane Olivia helped bring the record monthly precipitation of 7.04 in (179 mm) in September 1982.

Salt Lake City features large variations in temperatures between seasons. During summer, there are an average of 56 days per year with temperatures of at least 90 °F (32 °C), 23 days of at least 95 °F (35 °C), and 5 days of 100 °F (38 °C). However, low humidity makes these temperatures feel comparatively comfortable; average daytime July humidity is 22%. Winters are quite cold but rarely frigid, frequently remaining below freezing. There are an average of 127 days that drop to or below 32 °F (0 °C), and 3 days at or below 0 °F (-18 °C). There are also an average of 26 days with high temperatures at or below freezing. The record high temperature is 107 °F (42 °C), which occurred first on July 26, 1960 and again on July 13, 2002, while the record low is -30 °F (-34 °C), which occurred on February 9, 1933.

During mid-winter, strong areas of high pressure often situate themselves over the Great Basin, leading to strong temperature inversions. This causes air stagnation and thick smog in the valley for several days to weeks at a time and can result in the worst air-pollution levels in the U.S., reducing air quality to unhealthy levels. Aside from occasional heavy snows in winter, severe weather is very rare. However, an F2 tornado did hit downtown on August 11, 1999, killing 1 person, injuring 60, and causing $170 million in damage. It was the first tornado fatality in Utah in 115 years (and only the second in history).


At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 80.6% White (67.3% non-Hispanic White alone), 4.0% Black or African American, 1.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.7% Asian, 1.5% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 9.4% from some other race and 2.0% from two or more races. 21.5% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

37.0% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. 18.5% of the population was foreign born and another 1.1% was born in Puerto Rico, U.S. Island areas, or born abroad to American parent(s). 27.0% spoke a language other than English at home.

As of the census of 2000, there are 181,743 people (up from 159,936 in 1990), 71,461 households, and 39,803 families residing in the city. This amounts to 8.1% of Utahmarker's population, 20.2% of Salt Lake Countymarker's population, and 13.6% of the Salt Lake metropolitan population. Salt Lake City proper covers 14.2% of Salt Lake County. Salt Lake City is more densely populated than the surrounding metro area with a population density of 643.3/km² (1,666.1/sq mi). There are 77,054 housing units at an average density of 706.4/sq mi (272.7/km²).

The Salt Lake City-Ogdenmarker metropolitan area, which included Salt Lakemarker, Davismarker, and Webermarker counties, had a population of 1,333,914 in 2000, a 24.4% increase over the 1990 figure of 1,072,227. Since the 2000 Census, the Census Bureau has added Summitmarker and Tooelemarker counties to the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, but removed Davis and Weber counties and designated them as the separate Ogdenmarker-Clearfieldmarker metropolitan area. The Salt Lake City-Ogden-Clearfield combined statistical area, together with the Provomarker-Oremmarker metropolitan area, which lies to the south, have a combined population of 2,094,035 as of July 1, 2008.

There are 71,461 households, out of which 27.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% are married couples living together, 10.2% have a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% are other types of households. Of the 71,461 households, 3,904 were reported to be unmarried partner households: 3,047 heterosexual, 458 same-sex male, and 399 same-sex female. 33.2% of all households are made up of individuals, and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48, and the average family size is 3.24.

In the city the population is spread out with:
  • 23.6% under the age of 18
  • 15.2% from 18 to 24
  • 33.4% from 25 to 44
  • 16.7% from 45 to 64
  • 11.0% who are 65 years of age or older

The median age is 30 years. For every 100 females there are 102.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 101.2 males.The median income for a household in the city is $36,944, and the median income for a family is $45,140. Males have a median income of $31,511 versus $26,403 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,752. 15.3% of the population and 10.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 18.7% of those under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Large family sizes and low housing vacancy rates, which have inflated housing costs along the Wasatch Front, have led to one out of every six residents living below the poverty line.

Less than 50% of Salt Lake City's residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a much lower proportion than in Utah's more rural municipalities; altogether, LDS members make up about 62% of Utah's population.

The Rose Parkmarker and Glendalemarker sections are predominantly Spanish-speaking with Latinos accounting for 60% of public school-children. The Centro Civico Mexicano acts as a community gathering point for the Wasatch Front's estimated 300,000 Latinos, Mexican President Vicente Fox began his U.S. tour in the city in 2006. Bosnianmarker, Sudanesemarker, Afghanimarker, Bantu, Burmesemarker and Russian refugees have settled in the city under government programs. The large Pacific Islander population, mainly Samoanmarker and Tonganmarker, is also centered in the Rose Park, Glendale, and Poplar Grove sectors. Most of Salt Lake City's ethnic Pacific Islanders are members of the LDS Church though various Samoan and Tongan-speaking congregations are situated throughout the Salt Lake area including Samoan Congregational, Tongan Wesleyan Methodist, and Roman Catholic.

Salt Lake City has been considered one of the top 51 "gay-friendly places to live" in the U.S. The city is home to a large, business savvy, organized, and politically supported gay community. Leaders of the Episcopal Church's Diocese of Utah, as well as Utah's largest Jewish congregation, the Salt Lake Kol Ami, along with three elected representatives of the city identify themselves as gay. These developments have attracted controversy from socially conservative officials representing other regions of the state. A 2006 study by UCLAmarker estimates that approximately 7.6% of the city's population, or almost 14,000 people, are openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual, compared to just 3.7%, or just over 60,000 people, for the metropolitan area as a whole.

In 2007 Salt Lake City was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the most vain city in America based on the number of plastic surgeons per 100,000 and their spending habits on cosmetics, which exceed that of cities of similar size. The city was also found to be the 8th most stressful.

A 2008 study by Men's Health and Women's Health magazines found Salt Lake City to be the healthiest city for women by looking at 38 different factors, including cancer rates, air quality and the number of gym memberships.


Recreational tourism in the Wasatch Mountains is a major source of employment
The modern economy of Salt Lake City is service-oriented. In the past, nearby steel, mining and railroad operations provided a strong source of income with Silver King Coalition Mines, Geneva Steelmarker, Bingham Canyon Minemarker, and oil refineries. Today the city's major industries are government, trade, transportation, utilities, and professional and business services. The city is known as the "Crossroads of the West" for its central geography in the western United States. As a result, Interstate 15 is a major corridor for freight traffic and the area is host to many regional distribution centers.

Local, state, and federal governments have their largest presence in the city proper itself, and trade, transportation, and utilities also take up a significant portion of employment, with the major employer being the western North America Delta Air Lines hub at Salt Lake City International Airportmarker. Equally significant are the professional and business services, while health services and health educational services also serve as significant areas of employment. Other major employers include the University of Utahmarker, Sinclair Oil Corporation, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Downtown Salt Lake City in 2008
Besides its central offices, the LDS Church owns and operates a profit division, Deseret Management Corporation and its subsidiaries, which are headquartered in the city. Other notable firms headquartered in the city include AlphaGraphics, Sinclair Oil Corporation, Zions Bancorporation, Smith's Food and Drug (owned by national grocer Kroger). Notable firms based in the metropolitan area include Arctic Circle Restaurants, FranklinCovey, and Metropolitan Salt Lake was also once the headquarters of Kentucky Fried Chicken (the first ever KFC is located in South Salt Lakemarker), American Stores, the Skaggs Companies, and ZCMI, one of the first-ever department stores; it is currently owned by Macy's, Inc. Former ZCMI stores now operate under the Macy'smarker label. Suburban Salt Lake was also the first location for Sears Grand (at the Jordan Landingmarker shopping center in West Jordanmarker).

Since Utah is one of seven states that allow the establishment of commercially-owned industrial banks, the vast majority of industrial banks in the U.S. have established their headquarters in the Salt Lake City area. High-tech firms with a large presence in the suburbs include e-Bay, Unisys, Siebel, Micron, L-3 Communications and 3M.

Other economic activities include tourism, conventions, and major suburban call centers. Tourism has increased since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and many hotels and restaurants were built for the events. The convention industry has expanded since the construction of the Salt Palacemarker convention center in the late 1990s, which hosts trade shows and conventions, including the annual Outdoor Retailers meeting and Novell's annual BrainShare convention.

In 2006, the largest potato producer in Idahomarker, the United Potato Growers of America, announced that it would re-locate its headquarters to Salt Lake City, citing its need for a large international airport, being that Salt Lake City International is the 22nd busiest in the world in terms of combined freight and passengers. The announcement led some members of the Idaho legislature to propose legislation changing the state license plate, which currently reads "Famous Potatoes".
Skyscrapers in Downtown
In 2005, it was found the downtown area was experiencing rapid population growth. The number of residential units in the central business district has increased by 80% since 1995, and is forecast to nearly double in the next decade. The City Creek development of the LDS Church will be adding 300 units in its first phase including the . tall City Creek condominium tower, Allen Millo Associates currently has two projects under construction and two more planned, all 200 units have been sold before construction of a seven-story condominium planned by Wood Property, a residential tower is planned for Trolley Square, and this is after the recent completion of the Northgate Apartments and 12-story condominiums at Gateway with two more buildings finished nearby and the Liberty Metro apartments near Library Square.

Office vacancy rates are low in the downtown region. In response, two new large buildings are being constructed. The first is eight stories and located in the Gateway District, while the second will be 22 stories high and is currently under construction on Main Street. In addition, the historic Walker Bank Building is currently undergoing major renovations that will enable it to achieve Class A office space status. Construction of the Gateway District, light rail, and planned commuter rail service have supported the revival of downtown.

Law and government

Since 1979 Salt Lake City has had a nonpartisan mayor-council form of government. The mayor and the seven councilors are elected to four-year terms. Mayoral elections are held the same year as three of the councilors. The other four councilors are staggered two years from the mayoral. Council seats are defined by geographic population boundaries. Each councilor represents approximately 26,000 citizens. Officials are not subject to term limits. The most recent election was held in 2007.

The city has elected Democratic Party mayoral candidates since the 1970s. Councilors are elected under specific issues and are usually well-known. Labor politics play no significant role. The city has two elected openly gay women and an openly gay man, representing the city in the State House and Senate, respectively.

The separation of church and state was the most heated topic in the days of the Liberal Party and People's Party of Utah, when many candidates would be LDS Bishops. This tension is still reflected today with the Bridging the Religious Divide campaign. This campaign was initiated when some city residents complained that the Utah political establishment was unfair in its dealings with non-LDS residents by giving the LDS Church preferential treatment, while LDS residents perceived a growing anti-Mormon bias in city politics.

The city's political demographics are liberal and Democratic. This stands in stark contrast to the majority of Utah where Republican and conservative views generally dominate.
Elected officials of Salt Lake City as of 2008
Official Position Term ends
Ralph Becker (D) Mayor 2011
City Council members
Carlton Christensen 1st district 2009
Van Blair Turner 2nd district 2011
Eric Jergensen 3rd district 2009
Luke Garrott 4th district 2011
Jill Remington Love 5th district 2009
JT Martin 6th district 2011
Søren Simonsen 7th district 2009

The city is home to several non-governmental think-tanks and advocacy groups such as the conservative Sutherland Institute, the gay-rights group Equality Utah, and the quality-growth advocates Envision Utah. Salt Lake hosted many foreign dignitaries during the 2002 Winter Olympics, and in 2006 the President of Mexico began his U.S. tour in the city and Israel'smarker ambassador to the United States opened a cultural center. President George W. Bush visited in 2005 and again in 2006 for national veterans' conventions, both visits of which were protested by then-Mayor Rocky Anderson. Other political leaders such as Howard Dean and Harry Reid gave speeches in the city in 2005.


In 1847 pioneer Jane Dillworth held the first classes in her tent for the children of the first LDS families. In the last part of the 1800s, there was much controversy over how children in the area should be educated. LDS and non-LDS could not agree on the level of religious influence in schools. Today, many LDS youths in grades 9 through 12 attend some form of religious instruction, referred to as seminary. Students are released from public schools at various times of the day to attend seminary. LDS seminaries are usually within walking distance of public schools and are located on church-owned property.

Because of high birth rates and large classrooms, Utah spends less per student than any other state yet simultaneously spends more per capita than any state with the exception of Alaskamarker. Money is always a challenge, and many businesses donate to support schools. Several districts have set up foundations to raise money. Recently, money was approved for the reconstruction of more than half of the elementary schools and one of the middle schools in the Salt Lake City School District, which serves most of Salt Lake City proper. There are twenty-three elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools (Highland, East, and West, with the former South Highmarker being converted to the South City campus of the Salt Lake Community Collegemarker), and an alternative high school (Horizonte) located within the school district. In addition, Highland has recently been selected as the site for the charter school Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts (SPA), while Salt Lake City proper also holds many Catholic schools, including Judge Memorial High School. Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School, established in 1867 by Episcopal Bishop Daniel Tuttle, is the area's premier independent school.

The Salt Lake City Public Librarymarker system consists of the main library downtown, and five branches in various neighborhoods. The main library, designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, opened in 2003. In 2006, the Salt Lake City Public Library was named "Library of the Year" by the American Library Association.

Postsecondary educational options in Salt Lake City include the University of Utahmarker, Westminster Collegemarker, Salt Lake Community Collegemarker, BYU Salt Lake Centermarker, Eagle Gate College, The Art Institute of Salt Lake City and LDS Business College. There are also many trade and technical schools such as Healing Mountain Massage School and the Utah College of Massage Therapy. The University of Utah is noted for its research and medical programs. It was one of the original four universities to be connected to ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet, in 1969, and was also the site of the first artificial heart transplant in 1982.


Museums and the arts

Salt Lake is home to several museums. Near Temple Squaremarker is the Church History Museum. Operated by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the museum contains collections of artifacts, documents, art, photographs, tools, clothing and furniture from the history of the LDS Church, which spans nearly two centuries.

The University of Utahmarker campus is home to the Utah Museum of Fine Artsmarker as well as the Utah Museum of Natural Historymarker. West of the university, located at the Gateway Districtmarker near downtown, is the Clark Planetariummarker, which also houses an IMAX theater. Also in the Gateway District is Discovery Gatewaymarker, a children's museum.

Other museums include the Utah State Historical Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers Memorial Museum, Fort Douglas Military Museummarker, and the Social Hall Heritage Museum.

On December 5, 2007, the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance announced that a two-block section of downtown south of the planned City Creek Centermarker is planned to become a new arts hub. This will include renovations to two theaters already located in the area, as well as a new theater with a seating capacity of 2,400 and increased space for galleries and artists. The opening of the new facilities are anticipated to coincide with the opening of the City Creek Center in 2011. The site of the $81.5 million theater was officially revealed and attempts to secure funding began. However, the plans for the theater have come under criticism, especially from nearby smaller theaters that host off-Broadway tours who claim that such a theater cannot be supported and that it will negatively affect their business.

Performing arts

Salt Lake City provides many venues for both professional and amateur theatre. The city attracts many traveling Broadwaymarker and off-Broadway performances which perform in the historic Capital Theater. Local professional acting companies include the Pioneer Theatre Companymarker, Salt Lake Acting Company, Hale Center theater, and Plan-B Theatre Company. The Off Broadway Theatre, located in Salt Lake's historic Clift Building, features comedy plays and Utah's longest running improv comedy troupe, Laughing Stock.

Salt Lake City is the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, founded in 1847. The Choir's weekly program, called Music and the Spoken Word, is the longest-running continuous network broadcast in the world. Salt Lake City is also the home to the Utah Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 1940 by Maurice Abravanel and has become widely renowned. Its current director is Keith Lockhart. The orchestra's original home was the Salt Lake Tabernaclemarker, but since the 1990s has performed at Abravanel Hallmarker in the western downtown area. Salt Lake City area is also home to the award winning children's choir, The Salt Lake Children's Choir. The Choir was established in 1979 and is directed by Ralph B. Woodward.

The University of Utah is home to two highly-ranked dance departments, the Ballet Department and the Department of Modern Dance. Professional dance companies in Salt Lake City include Ballet West, Rire Woodbury Dance Company (which celebrated it's 45th anniversary season in 2008/2009) and Repertory Dance Theatre. RWDC and RDT both call the Rose Wagner Theater home.

Another unique performing arts company in Salt Lake City is Another Language Performing Arts Company, founded int 1985 by Elizabeth and Jimmy Miklavcic. Another Language developed the interdisciplinary telematic performance form called InterPlay.

Music scene

The city has a local music scene dominated by blues, rock and roll, punk, and emo groups. There are also many clubs which offer musical venues. Popular groups or persons who started in the Wasatch Front area or were raised and influenced by it include The Almost, The Brobecks, Meg and Dia, Royal Bliss, Shedaisy, The Summer Obsession, Josh Rosenthal and The Used. In 2004 over 200 bands submitted tracks for a compilation by a local music zine, SLUG ("Salt Lake Underground"). The 18-year-old free monthly zine trimmed the submissions to 59 selections featuring diverse music types such as hip-hop, jazz, jazz-rock, punk, and a variety of rock and roll.

Movies and television

Many films, music videos, commercials, and TV shows have been recorded in the Salt Lake metropolitan area. They include: SLC Punk!, Touched by an Angel, Everwood, Big Love, "Bonneville", Dawn of the Dead, Drive Me Crazy, Forever Strong, High School Musical, High School Musical 2, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Unaccompanied Minors, Dumb and Dumber, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Independence Day, Poolhall Junkies, The Brown Bunny, The World's Fastest Indian, The Way of the Gun, Carnival of Souls, The Amazing Race 8, and The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights". In 2006 it was revealed that Dan Brown, the author of The DaVinci Code, was in the city studying the symbols on the Salt Lake LDS Temple and the Salt Lake Masonic Templemarker, among other historical buildings, for inclusion in an upcoming book.


The Olympic flame burns at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Although the city is often stereotyped as a predominantly LDS city, it is culturally and religiously diverse. The city is the location of many cultural activities. A major state holiday is Pioneer Day, July 24, the anniversary of the Mormon pioneers' entry into the Salt Lake Valley. It is celebrated each year with a week's worth of activities, including a children's parade, a horse parade, the featured Days of '47 Parade (one of the largest parades in the United States), a rodeo, and a large fireworks show at Liberty Park.First Night on New Year's Eve, a celebration emphasizing family-friendly entertainment and activities held at Rice-Eccles Stadiummarker at the University of Utah, culminates with a fireworks display at midnight.

The Greek Festival, held the weekend after Labor Day, celebrates Utah's Greek heritage and is located at the downtown Greek Orthodox Church. The 3-day event includes Greek music, dance groups, Cathedral tours, booths and a large buffet. Attendance ranges from 35,000 - 50,000.

The Utah Arts Festival has been held annually since 1977 with an average attendance of 80,000. About 130 booths are available for visual artists and there are five performance venues for musicians.

Salt Lake City also hosts portions of the Sundance Film Festival. The festival, which is held each year, brings many cultural icons, movie stars, celebrities, and thousands of film buffs to see the largest independent film festival in the United States. The headquarters of the event is in nearby Park Citymarker.

Beginning in 2004, Salt Lake City has been the host of the international Salt Lake City Marathon. In 2006 Real Madrid and many of the nation's best cyclist had engagements.

Salt Lake City has begun to host its own events in the last few years, most notably the Friday Night Flicks, free movies in the City's parks, as well as the Mayor's health and fitness awareness program, Salt Lake City Gets Fit.

Salt Lake City was host to the 2002 Winter Olympics. At the time of the 2002 Olympics, Salt Lake City was the most populated area to hold a Winter Olympic games. The event put Salt Lake City in the international spotlight and is regarded by many as being one of the most successful winter olympics ever.

At Dream Theater's Salt Lake City show, Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. signed a proclamation making July 30, 2007 "Dream Theater Day" in the state of Utah.


Salt Lake City has many diverse media outlets. Most of the major television and radio stations are based in or near the city. The Salt Lake City metropolitan area is ranked as the 31st largest radio and 36th largest television market in the United States.

Print media include two major daily newspapers, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News. Other more specialized publications include In Utah This Week, Salt Lake City Weekly, Nuestro Mundo of the Spanish-speaking community, QSaltLake and The Pillar for the LBGT community. There are a number of local magazines, such as Wasatch Journal (a quarterly magazine covering Utah's arts, culture, and outdoors), Utah Homes & Garden , Salt Lake Magazine (a bimonthly lifestyle magazine), CATALYST Magazine (a monthly environmental, health, arts and politics magazine), and Salt Lake Underground (SLUG), an alternative underground music magazine.

KTVXmarker signed on the air as Utah's first TV station in 1947 under the experimental callsign W6SIX. KTVX is the oldest TV station in the Mountain Time Zone and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. It is the current ABC affiliate.KSL-TVmarker, the NBC affiliate, has downtown studios at "Broadcast House" in the Triad Center office complex. KSL is operated by a company owned by the LDS Church. KUTVmarker is Salt Lake City's CBS affiliate. KSTUmarker is the area's Fox affiliate. KUCWmarker is the CW affiliate and part of a duopoly with KTVX. KJZZ-TVmarker is an independent station owned by Utah Jazz owner, Larry Miller and broadcasts Jazz games. KJZZ-TV also carries newscasts produced by KUTV.

Because television and radio stations serve a larger area (usually the entire state of Utah, as well as parts of western Wyomingmarker, southern Idahomarker, parts of Montanamarker, and eastern Nevadamarker), ratings returns tend to be higher than those in similar-sized cities. Some Salt Lake radio stations are carried on broadcast translator networks throughout the state.

Salt Lake City has become a case of market saturation on the FM dial; one cannot go through more than about two frequencies on an FM radio tuner before encountering another broadcasting station. A variety of companies, most notably Millcreek Broadcasting and Simmons Media, have constructed broadcast towers on Humpy Peak in the Uinta Mountains to the east. These towers allow frequencies allocated to nearby mountain communities to be boosted by smaller, low-powered FM transmitters along the Wasatch Front.

Sites of interest and city architecture

Salt Lake City is the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and has many LDS-related sites open to visitors. The most popular is Temple Squaremarker, which includes the Salt Lake Temple and visitors’ centers that are open to the public, free of charge. Temple Square also includes the historic Tabernaclemarker, home of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The modern LDS Conference Centermarker is across the street to the north. The Family History Librarymarker, the largest genealogical library in the world, is located just west of Temple Square. It is run by the LDS Church and is open to the public and free of charge. Adjacent to Temple Square is also the Eagle Gate Monument.

In 2004, the Salt Lake City main library received an Institute Honor Award for Architecture by the American Institute of Architectsmarker. and features a distinctive architectural style. The roof of the building serves as a viewpoint for the Salt Lake Valley. The Utah State Capitolmarker Building offers marble floors and a dome similar to that of the building that houses the U.S. Congress. Other notable historical buildings include the Thomas Kearns Mansion (now the Governor's Mansion), City and County Buildingmarker, built in 1894, the Kearns Building on Main Street, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedralmarker, built in 1874, and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Madeleinemarker, built in 1909.

Near the mouth of Emigration Canyon lies This Is The Place Heritage Parkmarker, which re-creates typical 19th century LDS pioneer life. Hogle Zoomarker is located across the street from the park. The city's largest public park, at over , Liberty Parkmarker features a lake with an island in the middle and the Tracy Aviary. The park is home to a large number of birds, both wild and in the aviary. Red Butte Garden and Arboretummarker, located in the foothills of Salt Lake features many different exhibits and also hosts many musical concerts. Jordan Park is home to the International Peace Gardens. The Bonneville Shoreline Trailmarker is a popular hiking and biking nature trail which spans ninety miles through the foothills of the Wasatch Front.

The Olympic Cauldron Park, located at Rice-Eccles Stadiummarker, features the Olympic Cauldron from the games, a visitor's center, and the Hoberman Archmarker. The Olympic Legacy Plaza, located at the Gateway Districtmarker, features a dancing fountain set to music and the names of 30,000 Olympic volunteers carved in stone. The Utah Olympic Parkmarker, located near Park City, features the Olympic ski jumps, as well as bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton runs. Today, the Olympic Park is used for year-round training and competitions. Visitors to the park can watch the various events that occur and even ride a bobsled. The Utah Olympic Ovalmarker, located in nearby Kearnsmarker, was home to the speed skating events and is now open to the public. Other popular Olympic venues include Soldier Hollow, the site of cross-country skiing events, located southeast of Salt Lake near Heber Citymarker.

Salt Lake City is in close proximity to several world-class ski and summer resorts, including Park City Mountain Resortmarker, Deer Valleymarker, Altamarker, and Snowbirdmarker. The resorts cater to millions of visitors each year and offer year-round activities.

Salt Lake City is also home to a few major shopping centers. Trolley Squaremarker is an indoor and outdoor mall with many independent art boutiques, restaurants, and national retailers. The buildings housing the shops are renovated trolley barns with cobblestone streets. The Gateway Districtmarker, an outdoor shopping mall, is the city's newest major shopping center and has many national restaurants, clothing retailers, a movie theater, the Clark Planetariummarker, the Discovery Gatewaymarker, a music venue called The Depot, and the Olympic Legacy Plaza.

On October 3, 2006, the LDS Church, who owns the ZCMI Center Mallmarker and Crossroads Mall, both on Main Street, announced plans to demolish the malls, a skyscraper, and several other buildings to make way for the $1 billion City Creek Centermarker redevelopment. It will combine several new office and residential buildings (one of which will be the third-tallest building in the city) around an outdoor shopping center featuring a stream, fountain, and other outdoor amenities, and is expected to be completed in 2011. Sugar Housemarker is a neighborhood with a small town main street shopping area and numerous old parks. Sugar House Parkmarker is the second largest park in the city, and is host to frequent outdoor events and the primary Fourth of July fireworks in the city.

Sugar House
Other attractions in or within close proximity to Salt Lake City include the Golden Spike National Historic Sitemarker (where the world's first transcontinental railroad was joined), the Lagoon Amusement Parkmarker, the Great Salt Lakemarker, the Bonneville Salt Flatsmarker, Gardner Historic Village, one of the largest dinosaur museums in the U.S. at Thanksgiving Point in Lehimarker, and the world's largest man-made excavation at Bingham Canyon Minemarker.

Sports and recreation

Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, are popular activities in the Wasatch Mountains east of Salt Lake City. Eight ski resorts lie within 50 miles (80 km) of the city. Altamarker, Brightonmarker, Solitudemarker, and Snowbirdmarker all lie directly to the southeast in the Wasatch Mountains, while nearby Park Citymarker contains 3 more resorts. The popularity of the ski resorts has increased nearly 29% since the 2002 Winter Olympics. Summer activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, and other related outdoor activities are popular in the mountains, as well. The many small reservoirs and rivers in the Wasatch Mountains are popular for boating, fishing, and other water-related activities.


Salt Lake City is home to the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA), who moved from New Orleansmarker in 1979 and play their home games in EnergySolutions Arenamarker. They are the only team from one of the four top-level professional sports leagues in the state. They have been one of the most successful teams in the regular season during the last 25 years, making the playoffs in 22 of them, but have yet to win a championship.

Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer was founded in 2005, initially playing at Rice-Eccles Stadiummarker at the University of Utahmarker before the soccer-specific Rio Tinto Stadiummarker was completed in 2008 in the suburb of Sandymarker after undergoing nearly 2 years of funding difficulties and controversy. The city has also played host to several international soccer games, with the US as the home team (due to the partisan support when playing Latin American teams). Arena football expanded into the city in 2006 with the Utah Blaze of the Arena Football League. They recorded the highest average attendance in the league in their first season. They won their first MLS championship by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy at the 2009 MLS Cup.

There are also two minor league teams located in the city. The Salt Lake Bees, a Pacific Coast League Triple A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, play at Spring Mobile Ballparkmarker and were established in 1994 as the Buzz. Their name was changed to the Stingers in 2002 and to the Bees, a historical Salt Lake City baseball team name, in 2006. The Utah Grizzlies hockey team of the ECHL were established in 2005, replacing the previous Grizzlies team that existed from 1995 to 2005 in the IHL and, later, the AHL. They play at the E Centermarker in the neighboring suburb of West Valley Citymarker.

Utah lacks a professional football team of its own, and college football is very popular in the state. The University of Utahmarker and Brigham Young Universitymarker both maintain large followings in the city, and the rivalry between the two colleges has a long and storied history. Despite the fact that Utah is a secular university, this is sometimes referred to as the Holy War because of BYU's status as an LDS university. They both play in the Mountain West Conference of the NCAA's Division I and have played each other 90 times since 1896 (continuously since 1922).

Club Sport League Venue Established Championships
Utah Jazz Basketball National Basketball Association EnergySolutions Arenamarker 1974 (moved to Utah in 1979) 0
Real Salt Lake Soccer Major League Soccer Rio Tinto Stadiummarker 2005 1
Utah Blaze Arena football Arena Football League EnergySolutions Arenamarker 2006 0
Utah Grizzlies Ice hockey ECHL E Centermarker 1995 (current incarnation in 2005) 0
Salt Lake Bees Baseball Pacific Coast League Spring Mobile Ballparkmarker 1994 0



Utah State Capitol Building.
State Street begins at the structure.

Salt Lake City lies at the convergence of two cross-country freeways; I-15, which runs north-to-south just west of downtown, and I-80, which connects downtown with Salt Lake City International Airportmarker just to the west and exits to the east through Parley's Canyon. I-215 forms a 270-degree loop around the city. The Legacy Parkway, a controversial and oft-delayed freeway, opened September 2008, heading north from I-215 into Davis Countymarker along the east shore of the Great Salt Lakemarker. Travel to and from Davis County is complicated by geography as roads have to squeeze through the narrow opening between the Great Salt Lake to the west and the Wasatch Mountains to the east. Only four roads run between the two counties to carry the load of rush hour traffic from Davis County.

Salt Lake City's surface street system is laid out on a simple grid pattern. Road names are numbered with a north, south, east, or west designation, with the grid originating at the southeast corner of Temple Squaremarker downtown. One of the visions of Brigham Young and the early settlers was to create wide, spacious streets, which characterizes downtown. The grid pattern remains fairly intact in the city, except on the East Bench, where geography makes it impossible. The entire Salt Lake Valley is laid out on the same numbered grid system, although it becomes increasingly irregular the farther into the suburbs you move. US-89 enters the city from the northwest and travels the length of the valley as State Street (with the exception of northern Salt Lake City).

Public transportation

Salt Lake City's mass transit service is operated by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and includes a bus system, light rail, and a commuter rail line. The light rail system, called TRAX, consists of two lines originating downtown at the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hubmarker; one line, which opened in 1999, heads south to Sandymarker and the other, opened in 2001, splits east to the University of Utahmarker. Daily ridership averages 45,400 (as of the second quarter of 2008), significantly above original projections, and is the eleventh-most ridden light rail system in the country, but also the fourth-most ridden system by mile. The system has a total of 28 stations, 17 of them being located in Salt Lake City proper. The commuter rail system, FrontRunner, opened on April 26, 2008 and extends from the Intermodal Hub north to Pleasant Viewmarker.

UTA plans to complete four additional TRAX lines (one of which will connect to the airport), as well as FrontRunner south to Provomarker, by 2014 as part of its FrontLines 2015 project. These extensions were made possible by a sales tax hike for road improvements, light rail, and commuter rail that was approved by voters on November 7, 2006. In addition, a $500 million letter of intent was signed by the Federal Transit Administration for all four of the planned TRAX extensions in addition to the FrontRunner extension to Provo. FrontRunner South and three of these four TRAX lines are currently under construction, with the other expected to begin construction in 2009.

UTA's bus system extends throughout the Wasatch Front from Brigham Citymarker in the north to Santaquinmarker in the south and as far west as Grantsvillemarker. UTA also operates routes to the ski resorts in Bigmarker and Littlemarker Cottonwood Canyons during the ski season (typically November to April). Approximately 60,000 people ride the bus daily, although ridership has reportedly declined since TRAX was constructed.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Salt Lake Citymarker, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicagomarker and Emeryville, Californiamarker. Greyhound Bus Lines serves Salt Lake City as well, providing access north-to-south through Utah along the I-15 corridor. Both of these stations are located at the Intermodal Hub.

Air transportation

Salt Lake City International Airportmarker is located approximately 4 miles (6 km) west of downtown. Delta Air Lines operates a hub at the airport, serving over 100 non-stop destinations throughout the United States, Mexicomarker, and Canada, as well as Parismarker and Tokyomarker. SkyWest Airlines operates its largest hub at the airport as Delta Connection, and serves 243 cities as Delta Connection and United Express. The airport is served by 4 UTA bus routes, and a light rail line should serve the airport by 2012. A total of 22,029,488 passengers flew through Salt Lake City International Airport in 2007, representing a 2.19 % increase over 2006. The airport currently ranks as the 21st busiest airport in the United States in terms of total passengers and is consistently rated #1 in the country in terms of on-time arrivals and departures as well as featuring the second-lowest number of cancellations. There are two general aviation airports nearby; South Valley Regional Airportmarker in West Jordanmarker and Skypark Airportmarker in Woods Crossmarker.


Salt Lake City is increasingly interested in promoting bicycle transportation. Quite a few city arterial streets have bike lanes, and the City has published a bicycle map . The bicycle map shows bike lanes, on-road routes, multi-use trails, and mountain biking trails.

One popular bicycling and walking route is the loop around City Creek Canyon , on Bonneville Boulevard. The city has designated the road as one lane only (one-way) for motor vehicles, turning the other lane over to two-way bicyclists and pedestrians. City Creek Canyon road itself is closed to motor vehicles on odd-numbered days during the summer. Bicycles are prohibited on even-numbered days.

Bicycles are permitted on buses, on Trax, and on the Frontrunner trains. There is no charge for bicycles, and there are no rush-hour restrictions. However, there is a limit on the number of bicycles on each bus or train. Folding bicycles may be brought on board Amtrak's California Zephyrr with service to Salt Lake City. Non-folding bicycles must be boxed and checked into the train's baggage car; however, not all stops along the route offer access to checked baggage.

Sister cities

Salt Lake City has several sister cities/towns, including:

Country City/Town County / District / Region / State
Boliviamarker Oruromarker Oruro Departmentmarker
Irelandmarker Thurlesmarker County Tipperarymarker
Italymarker Turinmarker Piedmont
Japanmarker Matsumoto Nagano Prefecturemarker
Philippinesmarker Quezon Citymarker National Capital Regionmarker
Taiwanmarker Keelung City Taipei County
Ukrainemarker Chernivtsimarker Chernivtsi Oblast
Brazilmarker Manausmarker Amazonasmarker
Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker Sarajevomarker Sarajevo Cantonmarker

Notable residents

See also


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  2. 2008 Census Population Estimates at the CSA- and MSA-level available here:
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  82. Bikes on UTA transit services.
  83. Online Directory: Utah, USA (2005). Sister Cities International.


External links

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