Beautiful Salt Lake City is nestled between mountains and valley’s in Utah. While it is well-known as the center of the Mormon Church, the city offers much more to visitors and residents. Many people come to this region to explore the outdoors, and a vacation rental in Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, or Murray will give you quick access to the surrounding landscape. For those who enjoy culture and the arts, a stay in Downtown, the Avenues, or Sugar House may be just what you need. Whatever you are searching for, you’ll find it in one of these top 10 best locations to look for your Salt Lake City vacation rental.

1. Downtown

Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City’s downtown area is clean, walkable, and central to many of the most popular tourist sites in the city. A vacation rental here gives you access to plenty of stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues, such as the Capitol Theatre and the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. Temple Square hosts an assortment of festivals throughout the year, and is an excellent place to learn more about the history of the LDS Church. For a fun learning experience, check out the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum or the Clark Planetarium.

2. Sugar House

Walking in Sugar House
Source: Flickr / Edgar Zuniga Jr.

The Sugar House is an eclectic, friendly neighborhood, where you will find small local boutiques and restaurants tucked among the side streets. Local artists set up shop in art galleries along the main street, and you will find some unique treasures here. If you want to spend time outdoors, Sugar House Park has several lakeside biking and walking trails. Stop by here for spectacular views of the Wasatch Mountains that surround the neighborhood.

3. Draper

Shark Tank Tunnel - Living Planet Aquarium

Draper is a quiet, family friendly neighborhood located away from the hustle of the downtown. This community offers plenty of activities for children, and a vacation rental here is sure to keep the little ones entertained. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium houses more than 4,000 creatures and is a must-see for any animal lover. Check out the Boondocks for go-karts, laser tag, and miniature golf, or splash down the water slides at Cowabunga Bay Water Park. Staying here also puts you close to outdoor recreation at Corner Canyon and Bell Canyon.

4. The Avenues/Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill
Source: Flickr / Christine Mahler

The Avenues/Capitol Hill sits above the rest of the city, and a vacation home in this district will give you a gorgeous view of the entire region below that you won’t want to miss, especially as the sun sets. Enjoy a hike up to Ensign Peak Nature Park to see a panoramic vista of the Great Salt Lake and surrounding mountains. Historic homes and buildings line the main streets, and you can tour the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Utah State Capitol Building, and Masonic Temple. In the evening, catch a show at Salt Lake Acting Company.

5. University

dinosaur on a museum
Source: Flickr / William Hanlon

The University district is the perfect place for a vacation home if you are searching for arts and culture. The University of Utah is in this district, and provides the area with a high concentration of museums and other cultural sites. The Natural History Museum of Utah has a large collection of dinosaur bones on display, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts offers excellent exhibits on contemporary art. Be sure to swing by Hogle Zoo to see the lions, or take in a concert at Kingsbury Hall. A diverse mix of stores and restaurants adds to this vibrant area.

6. Fairgrounds

Utah State Fair 2011
Source: Flickr / Carmony123

If you want easy access to both the airport and downtown, stay in the Fairgrounds neighborhood. This laid-back community has several lovely parks that are popular with locals. Spend the afternoon relaxing in Rosewood Park, Jordan River State Park, or Steenblik Park, which contains unique cat sculptures. The Utah State Fairpark hosts several annual events, including the Utah State Fair. If you are visiting in the summer, you won’t want to miss riding the Ferris Wheel or watching the rodeo.

7. Central City

Liberty Park - Salt Lake City, Utah
Source: Flickr / Geoff Alexander

For a mix of both an urban and suburban atmosphere, choose a vacation rental in Central City. At the center of this neighborhood is Liberty Park, Salt Lake city’s largest green space, which has a variety of outdoor activities for all ages. While here, see the peacocks and other bird species living in Tracy Aviary. Nearby, the Gilgal Sculpture Garden offers locals some lively outdoor art and is worth a stop. Central City has a diverse selection of restaurants, such as Thai, Italian, and Indian, so no matter what your taste, you’ll find it here.

8. Sandy

Hot Air Balloons
Source: Flickr / Jeff Harmon

Just south of the city is the suburban town of Sandy, a peaceful community with lots of outdoor options. Golfers have several courses available including those at River Oaks Golf Course and Pebblebrook Golf & Recreation. When the weather is warm, see a performance at the Sandy Amphitheater, with the neighboring mountains as a backdrop. In the summer, the annual Balloon Festival draws visitors to see the brightly colored hot air balloons take to the sky.

9. Holliday/Murray

view from the trailhead at Neff's Canyon. Wasatch Mnts.,Utah, just after a snow storm.
Soure: Flickr / Bryant Olsen

A vacation home in Holliday/Murray provides quick access to Mount Olympus or Neff’s Canyon, two must-see hikes for those looking to push their limits. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a climbing expert to enjoy the outdoors in this district, Murray Park has walking trails, an arboretum, and other family friendly activities. Check out Wheeler Historic Farm to see live demonstrations of a working 19th century dairy farm and get a chance to milk one of the cows.

10. Cottonwood Heights

Cottonwood Canyon
Source: Flickr / Jeremy Taylor

Cottonwood Heights lies between Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and next to many nearby ski resorts. This makes the perfect base for your vacation rental if you plan to spend quality time on the mountains. Head over to the canyons for mountain climbing, fishing, hiking, and much more. Back in town, you’ll find plenty of stores catering to outdoor enthusiasts, such as The Wasatch Ski Connection. After a long day of activity, satisfy your hunger at Lonestar Taqueria or Porcupine Pub & Grille.