Moving to Utah is a huge transition, and you may be feeling overwhelmed. Not to worry, as a two-time Utah transplant I’ve got some pro tips to help you out.
The best thing to do when adjusting to Utah is educate yourself. Learn about the unique culture of Utah. Talk to locals. Tour Temple Square. Visit a local outdoor sports store and learn about the best ski resorts and outdoor spots. Attend Comic Con to witness Utah’s nationally rated ‘nerd’ culture firsthand, and prep for Sundance Film Festival, hosted throughout the Salt Lake area. Pick up a copy of City Weekly, a free print newspaper with content every Thursday, for a local guide to all things Salt Lake.
Explore Salt Lake City, especially if you moved to an outer suburb like Ogden, Bountiful, or Provo. Moving from out of state to a smaller outlet of Salt Lake City, can feel alienating and lonely. You might feel like it’s hard to meet people, but taking day trips to the city really helps open your eyes to the beauty, diversity, and social events nearby. Using the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) assets like Trax and Frontrunner, you can get in and out of the city quickly without worrying about driving or parking. Biking is also popular transportation here and the city is particularly bike friendly.
You’ll also find that exploring Salt Lake City brings you closer to terrific local restaurants, art galleries, museums, boutiques, shopping, and general city vibes. The city is cleaner than most cities you’ll visit and features beautiful neighborhoods like The Avenues, Sugarhouse, and the Capitol Hill District. Enjoying the sights and experiences of Salt Lake City is crucial to adjusting happily to life in the Beehive State.
Join a Meetup group. Solidarity is not to be underestimated. It’s notoriously difficult to make friends after college, especially when relocating. No matter how you came to be in Utah, it’s going to be hard to make new friends, and the easiest way to overcome that challenge is by joining a social group. Meetup groups are a great way to find people with common interests, whether it’s a book club, cooking class, hiking party, or general mixers, you can find it on Meetup.
No doubt if you’ve relocated to Utah you’ve come face to face with some bias stereotypes and the inevitable, “Are you a Mormon?” questions. Don’t panic, but there is some truth behind Utah’s reputation. There are certain cultural rules you may not have encountered elsewhere. A large population of young people are married with families, the state controls the sale of alcohol, gambling is outlawed, and the majority of the population are quintessential outdoorsy types. Keep in mind though; Utah has a lot more to offer than stereotypical clichés about the Church and mountain loving hippies.
Among the natural beauty of Utah you’ll find five national parks and dozens of state parks. The outdoor lifestyle plays a leading role in Utah recreation with most people hiking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, or otherwise adventuring in the great outdoors. Besides the epic scenery and diverse outdoor activities, Salt Lake City is a surprisingly fluid place, boasting an unexpected foodie scene, shopping districts, arts culture, and parks, notably Liberty Park, Sugarhouse Park, and Memorial Grove Park.
Another unexpected benefit of Utah is the proximity to attractions, cities, and travel destinations. Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Denver are just a few hours away. A quick drive north will take you to Bear Lake, a terrific place to boat, swim, kayak, or camp, filled with eclectic food stands and beach culture. Plus, some of the most famous National Parks are within road trip distance like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
As a transplant, the best thing to do for yourself is acknowledge that it’s going to be difficult at first, as a big change always is, but if you give yourself some time to learn, explore, and make connections, you will fall in love with Salt Lake City and Utah