12. Salt Lake City, Utah
Nestled in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Salt Lake City provides access to life from a variety of perspectives. The capital city of Utah got its start in the 1840s, according to the official Utah State Site, when Mormon settlers came seeking religious freedom. Years of toil created a city that will stand the test of time.
The Salt Lake City pioneers’ descendants retain a commitment to hard work and productivity that leaves the city and its surrounding area a monument to dedication. The University of Utah is considered famous on the world stage for its medical center, especially for cancer research. A very low unemployment rate makes Salt Lake City one of the top cities for grad students, as noted by Business Insider.
Home values are consistent with cities with excellent economic growth. Zillow notes that the most current home value index for Salt Lake City is $247,600, up 7.8 percent in the past year. Rent, however, remains low, at $999 within urban Salt Lake City and $1,100 for the larger Salt Lake metropolitan area.
With a population of a little less than 200,000, but a larger metropolitan area around 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Salt Lake City is big enough to have an excellent night life and cultural center, but small enough to provide access to the outdoors. The city’s website notes that its inhabitants take pride in hundreds of historic buildings, which are maintained with loving care.
Surrounded by the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, as well as the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake, the city is home to hiking, biking, fishing and a variety of water sports. And, the world-famous Sundance Film Festival is only a short drive away, in nearby Park City.
As a whole, Salt Lake City offers a complete package, including lifestyle accompaniments from the conservative to wildly liberal, the arts and outdoors.