Living in Central City, Salt Lake City

Central SLC

Central City is a great choice for those who want to enjoy the action of downtown Salt Lake City at a lower cost than actually living there. Surrounded on all sides by Salt Lake City’s best features, residents are never far from whatever the mood calls for.

Central City is Salt Lake City’s largest neighborhood in terms of population, and is skewed toward a younger populace. Students, recent graduates, and young professionals all contribute to Central City having the city’s heaviest concentration of singles.

This neighborhood is best for those who prefer not to commute by car, and who want to take full advantage of Salt Lake City’s low crime rate and affordable housing market.


  • Mix of high-end and affordable housing
  • Adjacent to downtown
  • Easy access to public transit


  • High-traffic streets
  • Densely populated means less peace and quiet

Cost of Living

Central City is Salt Lake City’s most densely populated neighborhood, with a strong mix of single-family and multi-family homes. The average cost of living here falls under the citywide averages for both renters and buyers. This doesn’t tell the whole story, though, since you’ll find both the cheap (one-bedroom rentals for $700/month) and the pricey (huge condos creeping toward $1 million).

The Zillow Home Value Index (a more precise median number) is $179,400 (vs. the $240,800 SLC average), putting Central City firmly in the bottom half of Salt Lake City neighborhoods in terms of home prices. It holds the same ranking in Zillow Rent Index as well, with a score of $1,251 (vs. the $1,385 SLC average).

Public Schools for Central City Residents

Elementary Schools

Bennion Elementary

Lincoln Elementary 

Wasatch Elementary

Middle Schools

Bryant Middle School

Clayton Middle School


High Schools

East High School

Highland High School

Getting Around

This neighborhood is a commute-hater’s dream, thanks to its amazing location. Central City has the city’s highest proportions of bicycle and public transit commuters, and only narrowly misses the top spot for walk commuters.

  • Car:Commuting by car to get downtown is easy, and although city traffic can get a bit hairy during rush hours, it still shouldn’t take more than 8–10 minutes to make the drive.
  • Transit:Public transit commuters will have a fairly easy time, with several bus lines that either go directly downtown or connect with the light rail. Getting downtown using transit will take about 20–25 minutes.
  • Walking:The possibility of a walking commute will depend on where you are in this large neighborhood and how far you’re willing to go. Residents could find themselves anywhere from 100 yards to two miles away from downtown. The longest walk would be about 30 minutes.
  • Bike:Bicycle commuters are in the perfect place here. Even from the farthest reaches of Central City, a commuter can make it to the heart of downtown on a bike in about 15 minutes. As a bonus, the ground is almost completely flat through the entire neighborhood.


Word may not have gotten out yet, but Salt Lake City has an amazing restaurant scene. And in Central City, you’re right in the thick of it. There are tons of options.

Forage – Those looking for something a bit fancier would do well to try Forage, an elevated dining experience, in both palate and price. Forage’s claim to fame is using a farm-to-table (or forage-to-table) strategy along with some creative culinary skills to make unique dishes not to be found elsewhere in the city.

Gourmandise the Bakery – How French is Gourmandise? Well, the head pastry chef’s name is Jean Jacques Grossi, and he studied his art for years across France before moving to Salt Lake City. The pastry selection is rivalled in its tastiness only by the amazing lunch menu.

Pig & a Jelly Jar – “Pig” is one of Salt Lake City’s favorite comfort food restaurants. They use fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, in everything from their waffles to their cage-free eggs. It’s open for breakfast and lunch every day, plus dinner on weekends.

Moochie’s Meatballs and More – Even before it was featured on The Best of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Moochie’s had a well-earned reputation for the best East Coast sandwiches in the city. The Philadelphia native who started it knows how to make the perfect cheesesteak and meatball sandwiches.

The Bayou – It’s named for its Cajun menu, but it’s famous for its beer. The Bayou has hundreds of beers available, including all of the local microbreweries’ best concoctions on tap. This is a perfect one-stop shop to try out all the flavors of the city.

Cafe Rio – 400 South is home to a lot of chain restaurants, but one stands out. Mexican-food legend Cafe Rio now has 80 locations in 11 states, but it’s a Utah original and the locals still adore it.


Shoppers all over Salt Lake Valley come into Central City for Trolley Square, a mall with tons of history. Some of the most distinctive stores and businesses in the city can be found here, like Weller Book Works and the Steampunk Spectacle.

Unlike some areas, Central City lets its residents tailor their grocery shopping according to their preference, with markets that run the gamut from the everyday Smith’s Marketplace to the trendy Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.


Urban Lounge – Rather than a bar that sometimes has live music, Urban Lounge is a music venue first, where you can also grab a drink. A robust lineup ensures that you’ll get your music fix whichever night you decide to come by.

Bar-X / Beer Bar – Bar-X has been a local institution for nearly a century, but underwent a facelift in 2010. Then after an investment from Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, its companion, the next-door Beer Bar, opened in 2013. And the two have been a force ever since.

The Tavernacle – The Tavernacle is a dueling piano bar with a fun little chip on its shoulder from being close to the famous (and dry-as-a-bone) Mormon Tabernacle. Karaoke nights round out its entertaining weekly lineup.

Central City Photos

About Craig Hanks

Craig Hanks
Craig is a Salt Lake City-based writer who has moved more times than he cares to count. He tried living out of state a couple times, but SLC irresistibly pulled him back in.