The state capitol building with its beautiful grassy lawns and cherry trees, sits at the top of the hill. To the east is The Avenues, one of the most coveted neighborhoods in Salt Lake. To the west is The Marmalade, one of the funkiest historic neighborhoods in Salt Lake. The LGBT-friendly Marmalade, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, is named for the many fruit trees in the neighborhood—quince, pear and cherry. Part of a larger neighborhood called West Capitol Hill, steep hills and curvy streets take it out of the strict grid system, houses tend to be quirky, in a huge variety of architectural styles and sizes. Diverse and artsy folks are at home here. On the other side of the Capitol, The Avenues is also a charming older neighborhood, but tends to be a little more conventional than The Marmalade; streets are laid out and named alphabetically and (slightly confusingly) on a numbered system different from the city’s main grid. Architecture in both areas is a mix—Victorian houses, brick bungalows and framed cottages with some modern and mid-century mixed in. Generally, houses in the upper Aves are more expensive than those in the lower Aves, but small cafes and shops tucked in between the houses make this a supremely walkable neighborhood. The Avenues and The Marmalade straddle City Creek Canyon, a piece of national forest with hiking trails and abundant wildlife—mule deer, turkeys, eagles, bears and mountain lions. (Oh my!)
Who Lives There?
Median household income: $81,488
Median age: 39.2
Black/African American: 2.51%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.69%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.76%
Some other race: 3.06%
2+ Races: 3.30%
What’s the Rent?
Median home price: $800,000
Median rent for one bedroom: $1,365
Where Do You Eat?
Arlo’s chef-owner Milo Carrier hasn’t stopped cooking since he was 16 years old, his wife Brooke Doner explains. “His mom was very egalitarian with chores,” she says, chuckling. “If Milo cooked he didn’t have to help clean up.” Their restaurant Arlo opened in the space where Em’s used to be on Capitol Hill and has become a city favorite.
Where Do You Drink?
When David Morris, the owner of Piper Down and Ice Haus bought the space that was once Jam in the Marmalade, a fun but poorly named LGBTQ bar, he wanted to maintain the inclusive vibe. He thought, “Bikes. Who doesn’t like bikes?” And built a bike-themed bar and patio as a welcoming space: Handlebar. During COVID, Morris installed firepits and burly heaters on his patio to create a place for those of us who just weren’t into going indoors quite yet but were so ready to get out of our homes.
Where Do You Play?
This is a not-so-hidden gem of our city. The road and trails that meander up City Creek Canyon were prophetically set aside to protect the valuable watershed and remain blessedly undeveloped. Within minutes, the hikers, bikers and walkers who populate the canyon are out of the city, spotting wildlife while closing their fitness rings.
Best New Neighbor
KRCL is the soundtrack to life in Salt Lake. On Saturdays, you can set your watch by the programming schedule that starts with Saturday Breakfast Jam and concludes with Smile Jamaica, which is your signal to wrap up the yard projects and crack a beer. KRCL finally moved from its longtime home way, way out on North Temple into the city proper to a location on the Marmalade’s southwestern flank. We take this as a good sign that the quirky community station will keep up its eclectic mix of music, community support and activism. Salt Lake wouldn’t sound the same without it.
Best Place to Read
Rising from a failed construction project on 300 West, the City Library’s Marmalade Branch isn’t new but has fulfilled its promise to become a gathering space and community resource for what is once an old and new neighborhood. Once surrounded by empty lots, the library is now flanked by rising apartment and condo towers that will soon welcome residents who will enjoy the library. That’s the plan anyway.
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