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Salt Lake's Sugar House: No Sugar, Just Beautiful Streets and Eclectic Shopping

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Salt Lake's Sugar House: No Sugar, Just Beautiful Streets and Eclectic Shopping

The Commons is Sugar House's newest shopping district.

Photo courtesy of Salt Lake City Corp.

Salt Lake City’s Sugar House neighborhood runs from 700 East to 2000 East and from about 1300 South to 3300 South. Sugar House is considered one of the more desirable neighborhoods in Salt Lake City because of its proximity to downtown and the University of Utah as well as its quiet, sycamore-lined streets, lovely old homes and eclectic shopping.

History

Sugar House was settled in 1853. The neighborhood got its name from a sugar mill that was under construction at the time, but the mill never produced any sugar due to problems importing equipment from France. Salt Lake City’s first prison was located in Sugar House.

During most of the 20th century, Sugar House was a popular shopping district, especially for furniture. Businesses, including clothing and shoe stores, music stores, cafes and art galleries clustered around 2100 South and Highland Drive (1100 East).

In the 1980s the area declined, and crime, drugs, graffiti and gangs plagued the neighborhood. Sugar House has undergone major redevelopment in the past 25 years, and that process continues today. New developments in Sugar House are never without controversy, but the Sugar House Community Council has tried to preserve the area’s quaint, old-fashioned “Main Street” feel, distinguishing Sugar House from Salt Lake City’s suburbs.

Demographics

Sugar House has 30,000- 35,000 residents. It’s a relatively young neighborhood, probably due to its proximity to the University of Utah and Westminister College. Sugar House’s residents are mostly middle class with an average household income of $65,000. Most of Sugar House’s adult residents are high school graduates with some college. The area’s crime rates are somewhat higher than the national average.

Homes and Apartments

Sugar House’s old, high-quality homes and quiet, tree-lined streets are some of its major assets. Sugar House homes are expensive, however, especially in the so-called “Harvard-Yale” area (named after two of the area’s main streets). Homes in the Harvard-Yale area command the highest per-square-foot prices in Utah outside of Park City. The south and west parts of Sugar House are less expensive.

There are plenty of apartment buildings in Sugar House, and in many cases larger homes and even schools have been turned into apartments. A nice 2-3 bedroom apartment rents for $800-1100.

Schools

Sugar House has a good selection of quality public and private schools. There are five public elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools: East High and Highland High. East High was featured in Disney’s High School Musical films. One of the most prominent private schools in Sugar House is Rowland Hall St. Marks.

Westminister College, a private liberal arts university, is in Sugar House. The neighborhood is just a couple of miles from the University of Utah, so many Sugar House residents are connected with the university.

Government

Parts of Sugar House are in Salt Lake City, and parts are in South Salt Lake. The Sugar House Community Council is a 25-member, neighbor-nominated board of trustees with significant authority over planning, development and other neighborhood matters.

Shopping

Sugar House has a lot of shopping options. The Sugar House Community Council has generally frowned on big box retail, although there is a ShopKo and large strip mall at 2100 South and 1300 East. Small, unusual antique stores, gift shops, clothing stores, bookstores and coffee shops still cluster around 2100 South and 1100 East, though the new Commons shopping area features some national chains such as Old Navy.

Dining

Fiddler’s Elbow
1063 E. 2100 S.
801-463-9393

This sports bar features 32 beers on tap and 25 TV screens showing every imaginable sporting event. Fiddler’s Elbow serves excellent American comfort food as well as pizza. Fiddler's elbow is famous for its mashed potatoes with extra ingredients mixed in. Entrees are $12-$25.


Michelangelo Ristorante
3005 S. Highland Dr.
801-466-0961

Michelangelo's is an authentic Italian (not Italian-American) restaurant with leisurely service and made-from-scratch pasta. The raviolis and risottos are especially good. Entrees are $12-$30.


Kyoto
1080 E. 1300 S.
801-487-3525

Kyoto is one of Salt Lake’s oldest and most popular Japanese restaurants, featuring good sushi, excellent tempura and popular teriyaki dishes. The atmosphere and kimono-clad wait staff are charming. Portions are enormous, so sharing is a good idea. Reservations are recommended on weekends. Entrees range from $15-$25.

Sugar House Barbecue
2207 S. 700 E.
801-463-4800

Arguably Salt Lake’s best barbecue, served in a casual atmosphere. The baby back ribs are to die for, and the baked beans are excellent. The brisket, smoked turkey and smoked wings are wonderful as well. Entrees range from $8-$19.

Recreation

Recreation opportunities in and around Sugar House are almost too numerous to name. Sugar House Park is one of the city’s largest and most beautiful parks. Other recreation highlights in the area are Hogle Zoo, This is the Place Heritage Park, Tracy Aviary, the Salt Lake City Sports Complex and Nibley Park Golf Course.

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail runs through the foothills east of Sugar House, and Sugar House residents have easy access to Millcreek Canyon. The wooded Wasatch Hollow along Emigration Creek is a wild escape only minutes from city streets.

Events

Sugar House stages an arts festival, including one of the most popular Independence Day fireworks shows in the city, every Fourth of July weekend at Sugar House Park.

Community Information

Sugar House Life Blog
Sugar House Chamber of Commerce
Sugar House Journal
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