It's really a great area to live! You didnt mention if you like outdoor activities but this area has it all for you. If you like the mountains and all associated with them then they are in your backyard and you can be in the heart of pinetrees in 15-30 minutes. If you like desert sandstone then southern Utah has it for you and you are only about 4 hours from that too.
Now thats the recreation...on to the culture..... Yes, its a bit of a different culture than the rest of the US but not as drastic as the "reputation" would lead you to believe. Yes, you can get a drink in the state...yes, there are bars...yes, there are strip clubs if you would like. I guess we do have a few odd liquor laws such as wine and alcohol has to be purchased at a state liquor store (which are closed on Sundays) but you can get beer and other similar drinks at any grocery store or convienence store. The majority of the state is LDS (Mormon) but there are all other religions with churches spread throughout the state and if you are going to live close to SLC there are many to choose from too.
Weather in the summer is usually in the 90's with about 5 days above 100 while winters are usually in the 30's with the occasional cold snap where it gets below 0 or the occasional warm spell when it gets to 50-60 too. If you like to snow ski you are only about 30 minutes from the slopes which is a nice bonus too.
I lived in SLC for 3 years before moving back out to the east coast just over a year ago.
I agree with Kyle on several points: The scenery in Utah is fantastic. It's a paradise for outdoorsy people who enjoy hiking, camping, exploring, etc. Also, the skiing can't be beat. If you live in or around the downtown SLC area, you are literally 30 minutes away from some great slopes (Alta and Brighton immediately spring to mind).
The "Culture" as Kyle put it, does take some getting used to. Drinking and liquor laws aside, the social atmosphere was something I never really got used to. I'm a single guy (non-LDS) and around SLC, single folks (older than 23) are few and far between. I was the only single guy at work, and found it difficult to find other singles to go out with and have fun. In other words, the "meat market" leaves a lot to be desired
One nice thing about SLC is the location. You're a day's drive from Tahoe/Reno, Vegas, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, etc.
I suppose, if you're married and don't mind having to travel a bit to find a TON of REALLY NEAT stuff to see/do, it's a no-brainer. As for me, personally, I'm glad to be back on the East Coast - the college sports out there stink compared to good ol' ACC and SEC Action
Sugarhouse is a suburb that's just slightly south of the downtown area, but north of the I-80 corridor.
Sugarhouse is somewhat unique in that of all the SLC suburbs, it ranks as one of the top "alternative" areas - i.e. the least "Salt Lake City"-ish. It's a bit more urban than other suburbs, but with a character all its own.
As much as SLC has a very conservative (LDS) reputation, there is a rather strong counter-culture movement as well (have you ever seen the movie "SLC Punk"?). Sugarhouse is an area where much of the younger, hipper crowd tend to congregate.
Before I left SLC, I did some freelance work for a company whose office was located in Sugarhouse - right above a place called "Wizards and Dreams" where one could buy various "decorative glass sculptures" and other such items that are known by many names
One nice thing about SLC is that there isn't a whole lot of traffic (compared to most major cities) and there are a lot of suburbs near the downtown area that are nice and quiet (I had a house in Taylorsville and it was great) with easy access to pretty much anywhere.
As with any city, it's often very hard to judge one "site unseen". Sugarhouse is but one of many suburbs, each with their own qualities. Generally speaking (and this is a big generalization), the farther south and east you go, the nicer it gets. Murray, Midvale, Sandy, South Jordan, Cottonwood, etc. are all nice areas with gorgeous views of the Wasatch mountains.
sounds like paradise compared to pennsylvania. not only do we have the state run liquor stores, but we also only have state licensed beer distributors, which are not open on sunday, and where you can only buy beer by the case (no six packs). Not sure of the logic of that. Lets see, the state will only let me buy a case of beer, so I guess they want me to get really drunk.
Lived here all my life and no plans on leaving. Now is your job in Sugar House, cus you can live any where with in the SL valley and be in sugar house within 25min. I live farther southwest in West Jordan. Lots of new subdivisions compared to sugar house area which is older homes (early1900-1950ish).
The part of the liquor law that IS unique to Utah is that if you want to go to a bar and drink, you need to be a "member" No bar hopping here.
Beer and alcohol. Only under 3.2% is available in grocery stores. If you want a higher percentage, you need to go to a state run liquor store which taxes them heavily (Corona Extra, $1.95/each).
But, that's very easy to get around, if you know what to do. It just confuses the out of staters, which is probably what our Legislature wanted!
A few other thoughts. Mass transit is pretty good here. In the SL valley, we have light rail, and it's very accessable. If you need to do a commute, try to be near a leg of it.
Outdoors is nothing short of incredible. That's what keeps me here. Everything - waterskiing, snowboarding, hiking, snowshoeing, atvs, camping - you name it, we've got it. Our house in the valley is less than 45 minutes from 5 different world class ski resorts.
Sundays. If you like to go out on Sundays, you'll hate it here. Nearly EVERYTHING closes early on Sundays, or doesn't open at all.
NO, not all the singles here are Gay or Mormon. But as a rule, most people here are Mormon or not. Not too many in between. That's not to say they don't play well together - just to say that it's usually a clear delineation between the two.
It is a great place to live, very safe, and a great place to raise a family, if that's your inclination.
On the bar, all you need to do is ask if someone will "sponsor you." That takes care of the membership deal. They tightened up the restrictions a while back, but it's still no big deal.
In state alky. If one were to buy beverages in wendover or evanston (80 minute and 50 minute drive, respectively) and accidentally bring them back to SLC, technically it would not be legal. I of course could not advocate such behavior.
In all honesty, with wine or spirits, it's usually not worth it to buy it elsewhere, as the markup is not as drastic. Beer however is sometimes a different story, as some of us cannot find our favorite brews here in the state.
LOL, there are the ins and outs of the Utah State liquor laws!
Not unique to Utah at all. Here in parts of north Texas, many counties are dry with the one exception being private clubs, so to drink anywhere you need a Unitcard, which essentially makes you a member of the private club at any restaurant in the county
The liquor laws here ARE unique - I was very involved with their recent revision.
With a private club, there are 2 memberships - a temporary (2 week), and a year. Temp allows you in, but you cannot sponsor others in. You need a year card for that.
That membership gets you only into *that* club. Next bar you go to, you need to buy another.
If there are people with you, and you are the membership holder, and you leave - they must leave also, or buy another membership.
No more than 1 oz of alcohol in any mixed drink. The exception are those alcohols labelled "flavorings" - i.e. peach schnapps, etc. So if you want to get a rum and coke strong, you're screwed. If you want to get a long beach iced teah, you end up getting 4-5 shots, because the other shots are only "flavoring" and not "primary alcohol."
No doubles. You can only order a "sidecar" and put it in the drink yourself. This makes for a very expensive scotch on the rocks.
At midnight, if you have a pitcher of beer in front of you, the waitress must collect it - at that time, you can have no more than 16 oz of beer in front of you. If you have 3 friends in the bathroom, their beer will be collected as well. 16 oz PER PERSON in attendance.