1693 wrote:What are your favorite things about Utah/SLC?
I love the outdoors--hiking, skiing (though I can't usually afford to do that), camping, etc. It's incredibly accessible--from Salt Lake City, you're within an hour or so of national forests, innumerable hiking trails, eight excellent ski resorts, mountain biking trails, climbing areas, etc. Within a few hours' drive, there are five national parks and 30-something state parks.
Salt Lake City is, for me, about the perfect size--it's small enough that crime isn't much of a concern (outside of a few areas that are well away from both campus and the main downtown area) and it's very clean and easy to get around, but it's big enough that, despite the legislature's best efforts, there's a decent bar scene, quite a few good restaurants, places to shop and hang out, lots of concerts, etc. If you want specific recommendations on any of the above just ask.
Also, kinda OT but just curious, how big of an impact does the Mormon culture have on day-to-day life? Also, are there any Jewish people in the area? Just curious, thanks
Someone asked me a similar question via PM a while back, here's what I sent him:
"It's really not all that bad. I'm not LDS, and I've lived here since I was 7 and have traveled around quite a bit as well (so I have a large frame of reference), and I don't have an issue. I would stay out of Utah County, where BYU is; the county is something like 90% LDS, as opposed to Salt Lake County which is just over 50% and Salt Lake City which is less than 50%. You'd probably see some bias there, and possibly in some of the backwater small towns as well (plus, Utah County is just boring as hell unless you're going there to hike). Outside of that though it's really not an issue in terms of hiring. Mormons are ridiculously good at networking, particularly through BYU, so there will be some positions that are taken by "a nice young man in my son-in-law's ward" before they announce an open position, but in terms of getting a job you apply for I really haven't seen much that makes me think there's any widespread bias going on.
Culturally, it's about the same--if you live in Utah County, it's possible that you'll meet families who won't socialize with you or your family. Mostly this is just because their social lives revolve around the church, but some of it's definitely exclusionary. There's a lot less of that than there used to be though, and in Salt Lake County and particularly Salt Lake City nobody really cares. The worst I ever got was when my family lived in the suburbs (Sandy to be specific) we'd occasionally get invited to church or offered Books of Mormon by our friends, but none of them were hyper-aggressive about it. Downtown Salt Lake especially is quite non-Mormon--my parents have more gay neighbors than Mormon neighbors. You'll probably be visited by missionaries at least once or twice; most of them are pretty chill and will leave if you politely tell them you're not interested. Some of them are even interesting to talk to on occasion if you're into that sort of thing. A few will be jerks, but they're offset by the really reactionary non- and ex-Mormons who never shut up about how much they hate Mormons (read the Salt Lake Tribune's online comments and you'll see what I mean). Mostly though people are surprisingly friendly here, regardless of religion.
Really, the most obnoxious part of being non-Mormon in Utah is the legislature. They're around 80% LDS (compared to probably 60% of the Utah population as a whole) and many of them tend to vote lockstep with their religious beliefs--hence the idiotic liquor laws. Things are lightening up though; the size and political savvy of Salt Lake's gay community has gotten some of them to back off that issue, and now that the really anti-alcohol head of the Utah Senate is retiring, we're hoping some of the dumber booze laws will go by the wayside. The legislative session is always kind of a pain though.
All in all, I love it here, even as a non-Mormon. The annoyance of the legislature and the occasional religious-inspired weirdness is more than offset by how beautiful it can be and how much there is to do if you know where to look. I would highly recommend finding a place in downtown Salt Lake, at least for your first residence; it's a world away from living in the burbs."
As far as Judaism specifically I don't know much, but you could check out the Wagner Center, right next to the U's campus: http://www.slcjcc.org/