People often don’t quite know what to make of Utah. And for good reason! It’s semi-arid, high desert with forested mountain ranges and world-class snow — which seems contradictory in and of itself. It used to be covered in water, and now it’s covered in national parks and amazing sites. It’s home to the annual Sundance Film Festival and the Red Bull Rampage competition. The biggest city is Salt Lake City. But beyond that, not many folks are clear on what Utah has to offer.
I reached out to Monica Dennis, a property consultant at Utah’s Cityhome Collective. CHC is a home-grown boutique realty and design firm that is head-over-heels in love with everything about Utah, and they seemed like a good place to start when looking for Utah’s hidden gems. (After all, they did coin the #lovewhereyoulive hashtag…)
40 Miles North of SLC
Ogden is nestled up against the Wasatch foothills and manages to preserve its small-town feel amidst explosive growth. Monica attributes that to “job growth and relatively lower prices than other regions of the state. The median home price is $250k,” she says, which includes “many historical Victorian and Prairie-style homes.”
Saloman outdoor gear and Klymit sleeping bags have claimed Ogden as a vital outpost, along with notable companies like Conoco, Browning Arms Company, GOODE Ski Technologies, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and more. Besides Weber State University, the Ogden school system continues to grow and even hosts a school of science and the arts.
Ogden’s charm isn’t only in its rapidly growing job market, though. “Historic 25th Street houses numerous restaurants, pubs, art galleries, independently owned businesses, and a summertime farmers market,” Monica says. Ogden also draws thousands of music fans from all over the state every summer with their open-air Ogden Twilight concert series.
Then consider that Odgen is close to mountain trails, bouldering, several waterfalls, as well as Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski resorts. It’s moments from the Great Salt Lake, Antelope Island and several other nature and wildlife preserves. Ogden contains a 5-acre Dinosaur Park. And Lagoon–Utah’s premiere amusement park–is just a few minutes south via the highway.
28 Miles South of SLC
Recently nicknamed “Silicon Slopes,” Lehi and the surrounding area is defining itself as a tech hub in the West and “an economic powerhouse within the state.” Monica says, “As tech companies continue to sprout up, move to, and expand in Lehi, they bring jobs and out of state buyers. The median home price is $380k, with the majority of homes built after 2000.”
Companies like Nu Skin, SkyWest Airlines, Vivint Smarthome and Solar, Adobe, Ancestry.com, Oracle, Younique, Blender Bottle, Jane.com, Micron, Intel, Workfront, DigiCert, and many more call Lehi home. Because the population is young, transitory, and family-focused, the education system is springing up to meet those needs.
Lehi is on the north shore of Utah Lake and near Thanksgiving Point, a draw for families interested in historically based activities and attractions. The Saratoga Hot Springs are located on the south side of the city, and a quick drive into the mountains will get you to Mt. Timpanogos’ famous cave, hikes, and mountain goat populations. And the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is a quick jaunt up the highway (near Utah’s only IKEA store).
Heber City, Utah
45 Miles Southeast of SLC
“The Heber Valley is a growing market with a small town, mountain feel. The median home price is $525K, while developers are building eastward and southward where land is still available.” Monica predicts that Heber City will continue to grow as Park City home prices skyrocket — Heber City is close enough to amenities to be comfortable, but far enough to escape price competition and maintain that remote mountain environment.
The Heber Valley is famous for scenic fly fishing in the streams feeding and exiting a number of reservoirs along the Provo River. According to Monica, “Heber City has a 25:1 ratio of fish to people.” It also offers easy access to Park City’s three ski resorts: Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, and Canyons Resort. Not only that, but the Heber Valley is home to a unique Utah winter sport: skijoring
St. George, Utah
300 Miles Southwest of SLC
“St. George is a popular city for in- and out-of-state retirees,” Monica says, due to the temperate climate, high number of sunny days per year, and pleasantly dry, flat landscape. However, she points out that the St. George market is growing rapidly as “buyers are also drawn to the absence of crowds, smog, and traffic of larger cities.” With home prices averaging $354k and many subdivisions exclusive to seniors only, St. George has a very different vibe than the rest of Utah. “If you’re looking for a stunning modern home nestled up against the red rocks of Snow Canyon, be sure to check out Entrada subdivisions,” Monica says.
The city is open and still developing enough to benefit from the “visually stunning red rocks and dramatic canyons” of southern Utah. Monica is quick to point out that despite the high population of retirees, St. George offers unprecedented access to the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and countless national monuments, conservation areas, preserves, and state parks. Visitors and locals alike enjoy mountain biking, desert and canyon hiking, rappelling and canyoneering, horseback riding, golf courses, camping and boating along the Virgin River, and multiple opportunities to learn about the native cultures historic to the area.