10 Pros and Cons of Living in Utah


The Beehive State is a great place to live for those who enjoy outdoor activities and spending time in nature. From bouldering in Zion National Park and skiing in the mountains to wandering the Bonneville Salt Flats and small-town charm, you’ll never be tired of what Utah has to offer. So whether you’re considering buying a home in American Fork or renting an apartment in Herriman, here are the pros and cons of living in Utah to help you decide if this state is right for you.

Utah welcome sign

The pros of living in Utah

1. The scenery is stunning 

Utah is home to many widely known national parks and landscapes, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Arches National Park. You can also find the Bonneville Salt Flats, a unique and otherworldly landscape famous for photoshoots for any occasion. Whether you love hiking, camping, or enjoying the views, Utah’s scenery is incomparable.

2. The outdoor opportunities are endless

Utah is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding at one of the many resorts in the state, like Park City Mountain Resort or Snowbird. During the summer, you can raft down the Green River, mountain bike in Moab, or hike to your heart’s content at national parks. There are also many monuments to explore, such as the Golden Spike National Historic Site and the Dinosaur National Monument.

Zion National Park

3. You can enjoy all four seasons in this state

Utah has four distinct seasons, a significant pro for those who love experiencing all that nature offers. From the beautiful fall foliage to the fresh powder of winter, you’ll experience both while living in Utah. Spring and summer in the state are also lovely, with temperate weather perfect for enjoying all the state’s outdoor activities.

4. Utah’s public transportation system is efficient and well-built 

Although Utah is a largely suburban and rural state, it has excellent public transportation options for those who live in or near the cities. The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) operates buses and light rails in Salt Lake City and other parts of the state. This makes it easy to get around without a car. The UTA also offers an electric bike share program, making exploring Utah’s cities and towns easier.

Transportation in Salt Lake City

5. Utah has an affordable rental market

The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Salt Lake City is $1,887, cheaper than in popular metros like Los Angeles, where a two-bedroom apartment averages $3,850. This makes Utah an affordable place to live for those who are renting. Here are some of the cheapest cities to rent in Utah

The Cons of Living in Utah

1. The air quality isn’t the best

Although Utah’s air quality has improved in recent years, it remains a problem during the summer and winter. The state’s topography and the inversion layer significantly contribute to poor air quality, where warm air traps cold air and pollutants near the ground. The elderly, children, and those with respiratory problems are particularly at risk of the adverse effects of air pollution.

Poor air quality also contributes to haze and smog, obscuring views of the state’s beautiful scenery during the summer months. If you are considering moving to Utah, research the air quality of the area you plan to live.

2. Utah is full of uninhabited areas

The state of Utah is mainly rural, with much of the land being uninhabited. This can be a pro or a con depending on your perspective. Utah’s rural areas are a paradise for those who enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of cities. However, the state’s vastness can also be daunting while driving to and from different cities. 

Vast road in Utah

3. Strict liquor laws

Utah has some of the strictest liquor laws in the nation. The state does not allow alcohol sales in grocery stores and only provides a limited number of liquor licenses. Alcohol sales are restricted to certain hours and days. These laws make it challenging to find places to buy alcohol. The state also has a “private club” system, which requires patrons to become members of certain clubs such as restaurants or bars to purchase alcohol. The membership fee is around $5-$10. 

4. You’ll need a car to get around 

Although Utah has great transit in metropolitan areas, Utah is still a large state. It’s ranked as the 12th largest state, and you’ll need a car to get around to explore the various popular landscapes and far popular cities. If you’re looking to get from the state’s capital to a popular city like St. George (which has easy access to Zion National Park), you can expect the travel time to be around 4 hours by car.

5. Summer droughts can be rough in Utah

Utah is a desert state, and summers are arid. Drought affects farmers and gardeners, as irrigation is necessary to keep plants alive during the hot, dry months. Wildfires are also a concern during Utah’s dry summers. The state is at risk for wildfires every year, and they cause extensive damage to property and natural resources. So looking to fireproof your home is essential.

The droughts also contribute to the state’s air pollution problem. Lack of rain means less air movement to disperse the pollutants. The state has implemented water conservation measures to combat the effects of summer drought. These measures include restrictions on watering lawns and landscaping. If you are considering moving to Utah, be ready to follow water conservation guidelines during the state’s dry summers and to prepare your home for drought.

Pros and cons of living in Utah: Bottom line

Utah is a beautiful state with plenty to offer its residents. There are many pros to living in Utah, from the great outdoors to affordable housing. However, there are also some cons to consider, such as air pollution and strict liquor laws. Weigh the pros and cons carefully as you decide whether Utah is the right place for you to call home.

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