Where to stay in Salt Lake City first time: Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Salt Lake City as a first-timer can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find safe places to stay in Salt Lake City for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Salt Lake City for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Salt Lake City and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Salt Lake City is the capital and largest city of the state of Utah in the United States. It is situated in the Salt Lake Valley, between the Wasatch Range and the Oquirrh Mountains.

The city is named after the nearby Great Salt Lake, which is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The lake is known for its high salinity, which allows people to float easily.

Salt Lake City is known for its proximity to outdoor recreational activities. The nearby mountains provide opportunities for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor adventures. Several ski resorts are located within a short drive from the city.

The city has strong ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as the Mormon Church. It was founded in 1847 by a group of Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young.

Salt Lake City is home to various museums, theaters, and galleries. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Museum of Natural History, and the Utah Symphony are among the cultural institutions in the city.

The city is served by the Salt Lake City International Airport. It also has a light rail system called TRAX and a commuter rail system known as FrontRunner.

Is Salt Lake City safe to visit?

Yes, Salt Lake is generally a safe city for tourists to visit. Like any mid-size city, you will encounter homeless people and panhandlers, simply walk past and avoid interaction.

If you exercise basic common sense, you should be fine. This includes being aware of your surroundings, avoiding walking alone at night (opting for Uber/Lyft instead), and trying to travel in a group after dark.

Downtown is one of the safest areas for visitors to book accommodations. This area is where most of the action happens. You’ll have easy access to shops, restaurants, nightclubs, bars, breweries, and theaters. 

Where to stay in Salt Lake City for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Salt Lake City for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Salt Lake City, Sugar House, and Salt Lake City International Airport. 

Downtown Salt Lake City is the most popular area to stay, as it is the heart of the city, home to many hotels, restaurants, and attractions. It’s generally safe, with easy access to public transportation.

Sugar House is known for its charm and has a variety of shops, cafes, and parks. It’s a safe and trendy area, attracting both locals and tourists. You can find a few accommodations in this area, but less options compared to Downtown. 

During my trip to Salt Lake City, I stayed at Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City in Downtown SLC. It was a beautiful hotel located close to everything, 10 mins walk like The mall, the Temple, and many bars. My room was clean and large with a beautiful view.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Salt Lake City for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Salt Lake City first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Salt Lake City first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Salt Lake City, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Salt Lake City have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

3 Safe areas to stay in Salt Lake City for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Salt Lake City

Downtown Salt Lake City is a popular choice for tourists due to its central location and easy access to many points of interest. It is a vibrant and diverse area with a mix of business, entertainment, and cultural attractions. 

Temple Square is the heart of the city and is home to the Salt Lake Temple, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and other historic buildings owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The square is beautifully landscaped and often hosts events.

Near Temple Square is the City Creek Center, a large, modern shopping and dining complex. It offers a mix of high-end and mainstream stores, as well as various restaurants and entertainment options.

Another place to shop is The Gateway, an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, where you can find a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

You’ll have easy access to The Utah State Capitol in Capitol Hill, providing stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains. The Capitol Building is open to the public and offers guided tours.

Downtown SLC is home to the Eccles Theater, s prominent venue for performing arts, hosting Broadway shows, concerts, and other live performances.

While not directly in downtown, Liberty Park is a short distance away and offers a relaxing escape with walking paths, a lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

In terms of safety, downtown Salt Lake City is generally safe for tourists. However, it’s always wise to take standard precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, securing valuables, and using well-lit and populated areas, especially at night.

Best places to stay in Downtown Salt Lake City for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Grand America Hotel, 5-star hotel centrally located in Downtown Salt Lake City, on South Main Street, 10 mins drive from the  University of Utah. Within walking distance all sorts of shops and restaurants. Easy access to  free bus and tram rides. The hotel has 2 swimming pools, 2 restaurants, parking, and a fitness center. 

Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Salt Lake City, 5-star hotel in a prime location, in central Salt lake City, 5 min walk to the shopping district. Easy access to The Tabernacle, Salt Palace and Family History Library. It has an outdoor swimming pool, a business center, and very good breakfast. Good base for car-free travelers.

Mid-range ($$): Little America Hotel Salt Lake City, popular 4-star hotel in downtown SLC, short Uber ride from Temple Square. 25 mins walk to all restaurants, pubs, and the City Creek Mall.It features both an indoor/ outdoor pool, clean spacious rooms, and the gift shop.

Mid-range ($$): Marriott Salt Lake City Center, 4-star hotel in the heart of SLC, 10 mins walk from  Salt Palace Convention Center, two blocks from the mall and restaurants. It has modern rooms, a fitness center, and an indoor pool. Good base if you’re on a business trip.

Budget ($): Homewood Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City Downtown, 3-star accommodation in downtown SLC, offering suites with full kitchens, an outdoor pool, 24-hour front desk, family rooms, and a free daily breakfast. Within walking distance to the Amtrak Station, the Light Rail stop, and the Convention Center.

Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express Salt Lake City Downtown, an IHG Hotel, 3-star hotel in good location in Downtown SLC, 5 mins walk from Salt Palace Convention Center, 15 mins walk from Temple Square. Good base to see Utah Jazz basketball game.

Budget ($): Hampton Inn Salt Lake City Downtown, 3-star hotel in the city center of Salt Lake City, featuring an indoor heated pool, free breakfast, a mini market, and a 24-hour front desk. Also 24 hour complimentary tea and coffee at the lobby.


2. Sugar House

Sugar House is a charming and popular neighborhood in Salt Lake City known for its tree-lined streets, historic architecture, and a vibrant atmosphere. It is located southeast of downtown Salt Lake City and is considered one of the city’s trendier and more eclectic areas. 

Sugar House Park is a centerpiece of the neighborhood. It offers walking trails, sports fields, playgrounds, and a pond. The park is a great place to relax, have a picnic, or engage in outdoor activities.

Sugar House has a diverse range of shops, boutiques, and locally-owned stores. The area is also known for its variety of dining options, including cafes, restaurants, and bars. The Sugar House Shopping Center is a popular destination for those looking to explore local businesses.

The S-Line streetcar runs through Sugar House, providing convenient transportation options and connecting the neighborhood to other parts of the city.

In terms of safety, Sugar House is generally considered a safe and walkable neighborhood. Like any urban area, it’s advisable to take standard precautions to have a safe visit.

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City in Sugar House:

Budget ($): SpringHill Suites by Marriott Salt Lake City Sugar House, 3-star hotel located in the Sugar House district of Salt Lake City,  offering comfortable guest rooms, a sun terrace, a 24-hour front desk, and a fitness center. It has free parking which is a bonus for those who drive.

Budget ($): Home2 Suites by Hilton Salt Lake City-East, 3-star hotel located on South Foothill Drive, next to Walmart, near Sugar House area. Easy access to a nearby shuttle bus stop to get to the mountains.


3. Salt Lake City International Airport

Staying near Salt Lake City International Airport can be convenient, especially if you have an early morning or late-night flight.

Salt Lake City International Airport is the primary airport serving the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. It’s a major hub for domestic and international flights and is located about 6 km west of downtown SLC.

Best places to stay in Salt Lake City near airport:

Budget ($): Tru By Hilton Salt Lake City Airport, 3-star hotel located on N Jimmy Doolittle Road, close to the airport (10 mins way). The hotel offers free airport shuttle, free parking, breakfast, and 24-hour front desk.

Budget ($): Homewood Suites By Hilton Salt Lake City Airport, 3-star hotel near SLC airport (7 mins away). It has an indoor pool, BBQ facilities, free shuttle service, free parking, a shared lounge and a business center.

Budget ($): Hyatt Place Salt Lake City Airport, 3-star hotel close to SLC airport, offering an indoor swimming pool, free airport transfer, and comfortable rooms with private bathrooms.


In conclusion, Downtown Salt Lake City, Sugar House, and Salt Lake City International Airport are the best places to stay in Salt Lake City for first-timers and tourists. Downtown is overall the best base in the city as it is the heart of the city and it offers the widest range of accommodations for all budgets.

You can continue reading about other destinations in USA in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Salt Lake City. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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