Five More Ways that Salt Lake City is Weird

Salt Lake City is a strange city, unlike other cities I have been to. I have already documented several of the odd things about Salt Lake City in previous posts here, here, and, again, here, and thought I had been comprehensive…


  • Salt Lake City cops really hate jaywalking

I have literally walked down Main Street in Salt Lake City at 11pm without seeing a single cop; however, if you try to cross one of the extremely wide Salt Lake City streets against a crosswalk signal, they will be all over you as if they predicted your street-crossing crime using a Minority Report precog.

Alert the patrol cars – that kid is thinking about jaywalking!

  • The homeless shelter is right across from the mall.

I’m as big a supporter of homeless shelters as the next guy, but there is something disconcerting about rounding the corner on the way to the upscale, outdoor mall only to be confronted by dozens of homeless people. I mean, how are shoppers supposed to relax in the mall’s Brazilian steakhouse after making grueling choices about t-shirts at Abercrombie and Fitch with a constant reminder of the unfortunate in plain sight?

  • Guy running out of consulate doesn’t even seem odd.

Jim and I were walking back from the homeless shelter/upscale mall region of SLC when a guy comes running out of the Peruvian Consulate clutching a laptop. It was like a scene out of a movie; if the guy had passed the laptop on to one of us just before he was gunned down by mysterious assassins, the scene would have been complete. Here’s the thing – Salt Lake City is so weird that we didn’t even stop walking! That’s right – in Salt Lake City, guy sprinting out of foreign consulate with possibly sensitive digital information does not merit a double take. In our defense, on the same block, police were interviewing a crying woman and an ambulance was picking someone up from the German bread company. Those didn’t merit double takes either.

  • There is no separation between the ghetto and nicer parts of town.

In any city there can be a fine line between an area in which you feel safe and an area where the sense of unease that you are experiencing seems genuine and not just a product of low-level suburban racism. In many cities, those areas can be a block or two apart. In Salt Lake City, they are often right next door to each other. You can pass the check-cashing pawnshop with bars on the window and travel 10 feet to stand in front of the Ferrari dealership. I’m not sure if this is because there are no truly unsafe parts of SLC or if they designed the city by letting a five-year-old playing Sim City handle the urban planning.

  • Many Mormons in Utah really dress like your mental image of a Mormon.

We all know that Mormons wear the white shirt/tie uniform while proselytizing, but what do they wear in their native environment? As it turns out, often the same thing. At the upscale mall/homeless shelter, we not only saw a father and his 8-year-old son wearing the shirt-tie uniform, but there was a tie store that advertised matching father-son ties, successfully cornering that niche market.

While we didn’t actually see this, it isn’t too far off. The Mormons in Salt Lake have aggressively embraced that stereotype.





















One thought on “Five More Ways that Salt Lake City is Weird

  1. Pingback: The last AP World History Reading in Salt Lake City | Endless Odyssey

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