Salt Lake City is an interesting city. It has a rich history, diverse culture, an eclectic culinary scene, and is surrounded by stunning natural scenery and opportunities for outdoor adventures. In short, Salt Lake City is a must see when exploring the western USA.

But with so many different neighbourhoods and areas to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know which is right for you. Which is why we wrote this guide for where to stay in Salt Lake City.

The Broke Backpacker’s Guide for Where to Stay in Salt Lake City is designed to help you find the best neighbourhood for your needs. So whether you’re looking for the best food, nightlife, or shopping adventures, our guide will help you find the neighbourhood of your dreams.

Let’s jump right into where to stay in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Where to Stay in Salt Lake City

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Salt Lake City.

Best Airbnb in Salt Lake City: Cosy apartment with everything you need!

Cosy apartment with everything you need

What it might lack in space, this property more than makes up for in convenience. With all the amenities you’ll need to keep yourself refuelled and reinvigorated, as well as excellent public transport links, you’ll be able to focus on exploring, not wasting time on chores

Best Apartment in Salt Lake City – Upscale Downtown Condo

Upscale Downtown Condo

Not only is this apartment a great base to go skiing in the winter, it’s also amazing for exploring Salt Lake City thanks to the ideal location. Situated in the heart of Salt Lake’s shopping and restaurant district, you’ll be literally close to absolutely everything. The newly renovated condo has a charming vibe and is part of an old warehouse, so you can expect cool exposed brickwork walls and large picturesque windows. The ones travelling with a car will be pleased to know that there’s a secure parking spot as well.

Best Hotel in Salt Lake City: Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City-East

Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City East

This excellent three-star hotel wins our vote for the best hotel in Salt Lake City because it offers large rooms with comfortable beds. It also provides a variety of services including a luggage storage and concierge services, and guests can enjoy an indoor swimming pool and a terrace. Conveniently located Sugar House, this hotel is close to bars, restaurants and shops.

Salt Lake City Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN SALT LAKE CITY
Central City, Salt Lake City
FIRST TIME IN SALT LAKE CITY

Central City

Central City is a large neighbourhood that is located close to downtown but manages to maintain a more residential feel. Because it boasts everything from historical landmarks to haute couture, Central City is our pick for where to stay in Salt Lake City if you’re visiting for the first time.

ON A BUDGET
Avenues/Capitol Hill, Salt Lake City
ON A BUDGET

Avenues/Capitol Hill

The Avenues and Capitol Hill neighbourhoods overlook the city. These charming and historic districts are home to state landmarks, creative restaurants and a liberal population of students and professionals.

NIGHTLIFE
Downtown, Salt Lake City
NIGHTLIFE

Downtown

Downtown is the epicentre for entertainment because it boasts hundreds of restaurants, bars and clubs, as well as cultural offerings and professional sports venues.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Sugar House, Salt Lake City
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Sugar House

Sugar House is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Salt Lake. It is located south of the city centre and boasts a diverse and progressive group of residents.

FOR FAMILIES
University/Foothill, Salt Lake City
FOR FAMILIES

University/Foothill

The University and Foothill neighbourhoods are located on the eastern edge of Salt Lake City. They sit nestled between the city and the mountains and offer some of the most stunning scenery in the area.

Looking for more details on traveling to Salt Lake City? Check out our EPIC guide to backpacking Utah!

Salt Lake City is a massive and sprawling city with endless things to do. It is the capital and largest city in the state of Utah and boasts a population of more than 200,000 people. It is a lively and vibrant centre with plenty to see, do, eat and experience.

Salt Lake City covers an area of more than 285 square kilometres and is divided into 19 distinct areas. To get a good feel for the city, we recommend you explore at least three or four neighbourhoods, depending on the nature of your visit.

This guide will highlight the best activities and attractions in the five best neighbourhoods in Salt Lake City.

Downtown is the neighbourhood at the heart of the city. It is a boisterous and buzzing district home to world-class restaurants, thriving bars, excellent performance art, and plenty of places to dance the night away.

Travel north from here and you’ll arrive in Capitol Hill/Avenues. A charming neighbourhood bursting with character, this is where you’ll find historic homes and political landmarks, as well as fantastic sights and budget accommodations.

Head southeast and you’ll arrive in Central City. Located close to downtown, this neighbourhood boasts a more residential feel. It has great shopping, plenty of sightseeing, and a great selection of places to eat and drink.

Continue travelling south to Sugar House. One of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, Sugar House is also one of the coolest because of its laidback atmosphere, its hip cafes and restaurants, and its exciting arts scene.

And finally, on the eastern edge of the city is the University/Foothill neighbourhood. These neighbourhoods are an excellent choice for families because they are close to nature as well as museums, art galleries and animal attractions.

Still not sure where to stay in Salt Lake City? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

The BEST Travel Backpack?!

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite travel backpack is the Osprey Aether (comes in 55 – 85 litre sizes).

View on Osprey View on REI

Salt Lake City’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look, in more detail at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Salt Lake City, Utah.

#1 Central City – Where to stay in Salt Lake City first time

Central City is a large neighbourhood that is located close to downtown but manages to maintain a more residential feel. Because it boasts everything from historical landmarks to haute couture, Central City is our pick for where to stay in Salt Lake City if you’re visiting for the first time.

This is also a great place to stay if you’re keen to sample a good variety of American food. Tucked throughout this urban district is a good selection of new-American restaurants that serve delicious and innovative dishes that will have your mouth watering will leave you wanting more!

Central City, Salt Lake City

Best Airbnb in Central City: Cosy apartment with everything you need!

Cosy apartment with everything you need

What it might lack in space, this property more than makes up for in convenience. With all the amenities you’ll need to keep yourself refuelled and reinvigorated, as well as excellent public transport links, you’ll be able to focus on exploring, not wasting time on chores

Another great Airbnb in Central City: Cozy & Curated Downtown Basement Studio

Cozy and Curated Downtown Basement Studio

When you think of basement apartment, you wouldn’t think of anything extremely pleasant, would you? Luckily, this cozy studio is the complete opposite! The basement Airbnb is one of the cutest we’ve seen in the city, and although it’s literally in the ground, it’s super bright and welcoming thanks to a floor window. The space is super modern and decorated with an eye for detail. Since it’s only a small place, you won’t find a fully equipped kitchen, but there’s enough to cook a tasty meal with. The only downside is the bathroom, which is just a bit small but still incredibly clean.

Best Apartment in Central City – Upscale Downtown Condo

Upscale Downtown Condo

Not only is this apartment a great base to go skiing in the winter, it’s also amazing for exploring Salt Lake City thanks to the ideal location. Situated in the heart of Salt Lake’s shopping and restaurant district, you’ll be literally close to absolutely everything. The newly renovated condo has a charming vibe and is part of an old warehouse, so you can expect cool exposed brickwork walls and large picturesque windows. The ones travelling with a car will be pleased to know that there’s a secure parking spot as well.

Best Hotel in Central City: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

While this is definitely not the cheapest hotel you can find in the city, this place surely offers quite a bit of bang for your buck! The 4-star hotel has everything you would expect from a luxury place. Charming suites of all sizes, a gym, a very fancy on-site restaurant, and much more. It’s located just 10min from Temple Square, which puts it in an ideal location to explore the city. If it’s in your budget range, you should definitely consider staying here!

Things to See and Do in Central City

  • Eat American fare at Park Café.
  • Enjoy a few pints at Desert Edge Brewery at the Pub.
  • Explore the sculptures at Gilgal Gardens.
  • Go for a stroll in lush and lovely Liberty Park.
  • Indulge at Tulie Bakery.
  • Kickstart your day at Even Stevens Sandwiches.
  • Sample locally sourced foods at the East Liberty Tap House.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth at Mrs Backer’s Pastry Shop.
  • See more than 100 colourful local and exotic birds at the Tracy Aviary.
  • Try the chicken and waffles at Pig and a Jelly Jar.
  • Wander through the historic Trolley Square.

#2 Avenues/Capitol Hill – Where to stay in Salt Lake City on a budget

The Avenues and Capitol Hill neighbourhoods overlook the city. These charming and historic districts are home to state landmarks, creative restaurants and a liberal population of students and professionals.

A can’t miss for political junkies is a trip to the Utah State Capitol. Home to the chambers and offices of the Utah State Legislature, visitors can tour the capitol building and immerse themselves in political history.

These two neighbourhoods are also great for budget travellers because you’ll find a good selection of affordable accommodations, including a delightful hostel and a variety of B&Bs and rental apartments.

Avenues/Capitol Hill, Salt Lake City

Best Airbnb in Avenues/Capitol Hill: Cheap Private Room with Twin Bed

Cheap Private Room with Twin Bed 1

lf you’re not too fussed about having a lot of space and luxury, this budget Airbnb in the perfect place for you. The simple bedroom is equipped with a twin bed and a little desk (ideal if you’re a digital nomad). The rest of the house is shared with the host. Speaking of, the host Ricky is known to be super helpful and kind to his guests. Downtown and Central City are just a mile from this home, which increases its value even further. It’s the perfect budget place for broke backpackers!

Best Budget Apartment in Avenues/Capitol Hill: Charming 1-BR Apartment

Charming 1BR Apartment

Want a bit more privacy than hostels can offer you but you have to watch your budget? This affordable 1-bedroom apartment is the ideal home for you. Located close to Capitol Hill, you’ll be in walkig distance to public transport and Downtown Salt Lake City. The cool place has exposed brickwork walls and overall a very charming vibe. You’ll find everything you might need here, including a small but fully equipped kitchen (the only thing that’s missing is a dishwasher), a super clean bathroom and a living area with a Smart-TV.

Best Bed & Breakfast in Avenues/Capitol Hill: Ellerbeck Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Ellerbeck Mansion Bed and Breakfast

This bed and breakfast is ideally located for sightseeing. It allows for easy access to Temple Square and the Utah State Capitol Building, and there are lots of restaurants and cafes nearby. This B&B has six comfortable rooms, and satisfying breakfast is available.

Best Bed & Breakfast in Avenues/Capitol Hill: The Anniversary Inn – South Temple

The Anniversary Inn South Temple

We absolutely love this property because it’s comfortable, convenient and offers a tasty and satisfying breakfast. Just two minutes from the Masonic Temple, this hotel is set in the heart of the city and is close to shops, restaurants and cafes. It has themed rooms, free wifi, and its very own golf course!

Things to See and Do in Avenues/Capitol Hill

  • Catch a performance by the Salt Lake Acting Company.
  • Dig into savoury Indian fare at Saffron Valley East India Café.
  • Dine at Avenues Bistro.
  • Drink lattes at Alchemy Coffee.
  • Eat tasty American dishes at Avenues Proper.
  • Explore City Creek Canyon.
  • Marvel at the Cathedral of the Madeleine.
  • Sip a coffee at Café on 1st.
  • Take a walk through Memory Grove Park.
  • Tour the Utah State Capitol Building.
  • Visit the Masonic Temple.
  • Wander through Governor’s Mansion.

#3 Downtown – Best area to stay in Salt Lake City for nightlife

Downtown is the epicentre for entertainment because it boasts hundreds of restaurants, bars and clubs, as well as cultural offerings and professional sports venues. One of the most exciting neighbourhoods in the city, Downtown wins our vote for where to stay in Salt Lake City for nightlife because there’s so much to see, do, and experience after dark.

Love to eat? Well, look no further. This vibrant neighbourhood is packed with creative and innovative offerings showcasing tastes and flavours from around the world. So no matter what you’re craving, you’ll find something delicious to snack on in lively Downtown Salt Lake.

Downtown, Salt Lake City

Best Airbnb in Downtown: Luxurious Downtown Condo

Luxurious Downtown Condo

Why not treat yourself a little bit while you’re visiting Salt Lake City? This Airbnb Plus is the perfect home if you want to be close to all the cool nightlife options and busy streets, but also enjoy a good nights sleep and a bit of luxury. There’s nothing this condo can’t offer you – an incredibly stylish living area, enough space for 5 guests, a BBQ rooftop area, a gym and so much more. Not convinced yet? Maybe the massive Flatscreen TV will change your mind… in case you need a day in to cure your hangover!

Best Hotel in Downtown: Quality Inn Salt Lake City

Quality Inn Salt Lake City

This charming and cosy motel is located in downtown Salt Lake City. It is within walking distance of great bars and clubs, and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby. This hotel has 113 recently refurbished rooms each outfitted with excellent amenities. Guests also have access to an on-site gym.

Best Hotel in Downtown: Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites – Salt Lake City

Crystal Inn Hotel and Suites Salt Lake City

The Crystal Inn is our recommendation for where to stay in downtown Salt Lake City because of its excellent location near restaurants, cafes and bars. This three-star hotel boasts air-conditioned rooms, an indoor swimming pool and a sauna. There’s also a gym and a golf course.

Best Hotel in Downtown: Little America Hotel Salt Lake City

Little America Hotel Salt Lake City

Located at the heart of Salt Lake City, this is one of our favourite hotels because it is close to shops, eateries and bars. It has comfortable rooms with large bathrooms and modern amenities. There’s also a swimming pool, fitness centre and sauna on-site.

Things to See and Do in Downtown

  • Choose from a great selection of beers at Squatter’s Pub & Beers.
  • Don’t miss the chance to dine at Bruges Waffles and Frites.
  • Drink, eat and enjoy a great night out at Whiskey Street.
  • Eat tasty American dishes at Copper Onion.
  • Enjoy cocktails at Bar X.
  • Grab a snack at The Rose Establishment.
  • Indulge at the very cool Copper Common bar.
  • Marvel at the Utah Opera and Ballet West at the Capitol Theatre.
  • Sample local craft beers at Red Rock Brewing Co.
  • Sip a glass of wine at BTG Wine Bar.
  • Visiting in summer? Check out the Twilight Concert Series in Pioneer Park
Need some extra energy?
Power Adapter

One of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.

Buy your travel adapter on Amazon now.

#4 Sugar House – Coolest place to stay in Salt Lake City

Sugar House is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Salt Lake. It is located south of the city centre and boasts a diverse and progressive group of residents. Known for its walkability and its fun and friendly atmosphere, Sugar House is a fantastic place to while away an afternoon. It has tons to offer, including shops, galleries, restaurants and bars, so you’ll never have to look very far for somewhere hip to hang out.

This neighbourhood is also famous for its local-first mentality. If you’re looking to shop at a big box store or high-street boutique, you’ll have to go elsewhere. Instead, Sugar House is home to mom-and-pop shops and unique boutiques where you can find one-of-a-kind and local items.

Sugar House, Salt Lake City
source: Ladanifer (shutterstock)

Best Airbnb in Sugar House: Amazing Value Townhouse

Amazing Value Townhouse

Not often do you come across a fully 5-star rated Airbnb in Salt Lake City. Which makes this incredible townhouse even more special. Not only has it received the best reviews possible, it’s also brandnew and modern! With enough space for 4 people, it can fit a group of friends or a small family, but also isn’t too big if you’re just a solo traveller looking for a great value home. You can fire up the BBQ on your patio, or pack your skis and head to the slopes if you’re visiting during the colder months – the Airbnb has incredibly easy access to the I-80 and I-15 freeways.

Best Hotel in Sugar House: Extended Stay America – Salt Lake City – Sugar House

Extended Stay America Salt Lake City Sugar House

This two-star hotel is your best bet for budget accommodations in Sugar House. It offers comfortable apartments with air conditioning and private bathrooms. This property also boasts laundry facilities, a BBQ area and a golf course. Guests can enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant or at one of the eateries nearby.

Best Hotel in Sugar House: Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City-East

Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City East

This excellent three-star hotel wins our vote for where to stay in Sugar House because it offers large rooms with comfortable beds. Guests can also enjoy an indoor swimming pool and a terrace. Conveniently located in Salt Lake’s hippest neighbourhood, this hotel is close to bars, restaurants and shops.

Best Hotel in Sugar House: Ramada by Wyndham Salt Lake City Hotel

Ramada by Wyndham Salt Lake City Hotel

The Ramada by Wyndham Hotel is a great base for your time in Salt Lake. It is centrally located in Sugar House and offers easy access to eateries, cafes and bars. Rooms come complete with air conditioning, tea/coffee facilities and free wifi. There’s also a fitness centre and restaurant on-site.

Things to See and Do in Sugar House

  • Dance the night away at Club Karamba.
  • Eat fresh and tasty food at The Dodo Restaurant.
  • Enjoy drinks at the Sugarhouse Pub.
  • Explore the lush landscapes of the Sugar House Park.
  • Get off the beaten path and explore the Hidden Hollow Nature Area.
  • Hang out at the Campfire Lounge.
  • Indulge in savoury and delicious food at the Sugarhouse Barbeque Company.
  • Sample the Polygamy Porter and other local brews at Fiddler’s Elbow.
  • Sip a coffee at Sugarhouse Coffee.
  • Try local craft beers at the Wasatch Brew Pub at Sugarhouse Crossing.

#5 University/Foothill – Best neighbourhood in Salt Lake City for families

The University and Foothill neighbourhoods are located on the eastern edge of Salt Lake City. They sit nestled between the city and the mountains and offer some of the most stunning scenery in the area. These neighbourhoods offer quick access to the Wasatch Mountains and its canyons, as well as to the city, which is why they are our pick for where to stay in Salt Lake City for families.

But there’s more to the University and Foothill areas than nature and hiking! Visitors to these neighbourhoods can also enjoy world-class museums and art galleries, as well as animal adventures and picnics in the park.

University/Foothill, Salt Lake City

Best Airbnb in University/Foothill: Massive 5-BR Family House

Massive 5BR Family House

Got a group or family of more than 10 people and all of you want to stay together? Say no more, just check out this MASSIVE Airbnb. Offering space for up to 15 people – yup, you heard right – you can even bring some extra friends along! It’s the ultimate family home or getaway for a ski weekend in Salt Lake City. And if you’re visiting during the summer months, there’s just as much to explore. You’ll be in a great location close to many attractions, nightlife venues and restaurants, but still tucked away far enough to enjoy a peaceful and quiet stay.

Best Apartment in University/Foothill: Fabulous Family Apartment

Fabulous Family Apartment

This newly renovated top floor apartment with beautiful craftsman style is a great option for all families visiting Salt Lake City. Located close to the University of Utah, you’ll be guaranteed a quiet and safe neighborhood, but you can still reach all other parts of the city by foot or public transport. The apartment sleeps 6 people, split up over one normal bedroom and one bedroom with two bunk beds, so even bigger families can stay together. You’ll find everything you need in this place, from ski storages and a fully equipped kitchen to a Smart-TV and much more. On top of that, it’s also one of the most affordable family homes in the area.

Best Hotel in University/Foothill: University Guest House & Conference Center

University Guest House and Conference Center

The University Guest House is a modern three-star hotel – and our pick for where to stay in the University/Foothill neighbourhoods. It offers wonderful views and allows for easy access to the downtown, Central City, and all of Salt Lake City’s top attractions. Rooms are outfitted with contemporary amenities and there are laundry facilities and a fitness centre on-site.

Best Hotel in University/Foothill: Salt Lake City Marriott University Park

Salt Lake City Marriott University Park

This hotel is conveniently located in Salt Lake City. It is close to well-known attractions and landmarks and is within a short distance of plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. This hotel has more than 200 recently refurbished rooms, a Jacuzzi and an indoor swimming pool.

Things to See and Do in University/Foothill

  • Be amazed by the displays at the Natural History Museum of Utah.
  • Browse the exhibits at the Fort Douglas Military Museum.
  • Catch a performance at Kingsbury Hall.
  • Explore a pioneer village at This Is The Place Heritage Park.
  • Lace up your boots and head into the hills to explore the forests and natural scenery surrounding Salt Lake City.
  • Root for the home team at the Jon M. Huntsman Centre.
  • See an incredible collection, from ancient artefacts to contemporary pieces, at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
  • See more than 1,100 animals from around the world, including zebras, lions and giraffes at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is often thought of as a quiet and slow city, when in fact, it’s the opposite. The capital and largest city in Utah, Salt Lake City is bursting with historic landmarks and cultural attractions, as well as innovative and delicious culinary offerings, a diverse craft beer scene, and lots of independent and high street shopping. No matter what you’re into, there’s something for every traveller in Salt Lake City.

To recap; Avenues Hostel is our pick for the best hostel because it offers comfortable rooms at a great price.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City-East in Sugar House gets our vote for the best hotel because it has large rooms, comfortable beds and amazing on-site amenities.

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.

Want to support the site? We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Want to know how you can show your support – find out here!

For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support.