Urban amenities and suburban charm meet in East Central,
a large neighborhood in the northern Salt Lake Valley. Although it lies just 2 miles east of downtown Salt Lake City,
East Central has a peaceful residential feeling reminiscent of a much smaller town. The northern section of the neighborhood, which sits adjacent to the University
of Utah, attracts a sizable student population. The southern section, characterized by picturesque bungalows and turn-of-the-century houses,
brings in young professionals and families.
No matter where you live in the neighborhood, East Central provides easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment. The famed ski resorts of Park City lie less than 30 minutes away, and the nearby Wasatch Mountains feature spectacular hiking trails. For people who want short commutes for work and play, East Central perfectly fits the bill.
Schools in East Central
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Restaurants & Nightlife
A number of American and international restaurants operate around East Central, but the highest concentration sits in the area near 900 East and 9th South. Most of the neighborhood's eateries have upscale, cozy atmospheres and youthful vibes.
Transport yourself to Southeast Asia with an order of pad see ew or red curry at Skewered Thai. Other local favorites include the drunken noodles and the pad Thai. Order your food for takeout, or sit outdoors to enjoy a warm Salt Lake City summer evening.
Start with an order of twice-fried French fries with house-made aioli dipping sauce at Mazza, a Middle Eastern restaurant on 900 S. Bring your appetite and a group of friends to sample the Lebanese salad, chicken shawarma, hummus plate and potatoes harra. Don't worry if you have dietary restrictions, as Mazza provides a number of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
When you crave a hearty and filling meal, look no further than The Pie Pizzeria, one of Salt Lake City's favorite pizzerias. Located near the University of Utah, this basement joint sells pizza by the slice or by the pie. Try a cheese pull-apart and the holy shiitake pizza, which comes loaded with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes.
East Central has a limited nightlife scene, so most residents head downtown for live music, packed bars and dance clubs. If you don't want to make the trek, check out the selection of locally brewed beers at the East Liberty Tap House. For a casual evening, enjoy cheap brews while you play a game of pool at X Wife's Place.
History & Culture
Centuries ago, Anasazi people traveled through East Central en route to settlements in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains. Mormon settlers arrived in the mid-1800s and quickly settled the valley, spreading up the hill through East Central when the University of Utah moved onto the adjacent land in 1900. Development occurred quickly in the early 1900s, and many of the neighborhood's homes were built before 1930.
East Central remains a primarily residential area, but residents enjoy easy access to the Chase Home Museum in Liberty Park and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Residents often make the short trek to campus to see shows by the professional Pioneer Theatre Company and student
performing groups. The 9th and 9th Street Festival brings the neighborhood to life with vendors, live music and food booths.
Parts of East Central sit on the steep hill that runs up to the University of Utah, making walking a strenuous activity. Other sections of the neighborhood are very walkable, particularly on north-south streets. Several streets feature dedicated bike lines, while many others offer safe biking. Bike commuters often use 700 East to get north or south.
Drivers have no trouble finding free street parking in East Central. Accessing highways takes time, particularly during rush hours. During times of normal traffic, however, you can get to Interstate 80 in 15 minutes.
If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, East Central provides convenient public transportation options on the TRAX light rail and UTA bus. Both options connect residents to the university and to downtown. You won't find many cabs on neighborhood streets, but multiple companies provide pickup service with a single call. Uber also serves East Central.
With its upscale residential areas and ideal location, East Central has a higher cost of living than Salt Lake City as a whole. Housing costs, in particular, tend to be higher here than in surrounding neighborhoods — but mainly for buyers. The average rental rate for a one-bedroom
apartment in the neighborhood is $748 a month, which sits considerably lower than other areas near downtown.
Over the course of a normal day, you can expect affordable costs for products and services. A pint of beer in an East Central bar comes in at about $5. When you go to fill up your gas tank, you'll be happy to discover that gas prices stay about 9 percent lower than the national average. You can buy a ticket on the bus or light rail system into downtown Salt Lake City
Most shopping options cluster around the intersection of 900 S and 900E, an area commonly referred to by residents as "9th and 9th." Independent stores reign supreme in this area, which prides itself on supporting local businesses. You won't find high-end stores or bargain-basement prices, as most East Central stores fall somewhere in between.
Find the latest feminine fashions at Koo De Ker, a women's boutique situated in a remodeled house. The store carries a selection of classic and trendy pieces that you won't find in a big-box clothing store. Don't be afraid to ask the stylish owner for advice and opinions.
Men and women alike love Hip & Humble, a tiny store packed to the brim with kitchen items, home decor supplies, clothing, accessories and toiletry products. Allow plenty of time to browse, particularly when the store fills up on weekends.
Utah mainstays Smith's and Fresh Market take care of residents' grocery-shopping needs, and a Whole Foods sits just to the west at Trolley Square for shoppers who prefer specialty foods. Get all of the imported supplies for a Chinese or Japanese feast at Oriental Food Market on 700 E, or check out the unusual selection of hard-to-find organic produce and gourmet foods at Liberty Heights Fresh. From August through October, the University of Utah Farmers Market sells vegetables from Utah growers, as well as a selection of artisan products.
Most of East Central features residential areas and small business centers, but a scattered array of free parks enable residents to get out for a breath of fresh air. In the southwestern corner of the neighborhood, Herman L. Franks Park features baseball and softball fields, and a small playground brings in local families. Within the park's boundaries, the Salt Lake Dog Park overflows with pet
owners, who come to let their dogs run free in the off-leash area.
In the northern half of East Central, Inglewood Park, Victory Park and Faultline Park provide playgrounds for younger residents. Both parks also feature water fountains, which keep local runners and walkers hydrated during the hot Utah summers. Many residents make use of Liberty Park, which sits just west of the neighborhood. Exercisers, in particular, love the park for its long running trail and sports facilities. Each year, Liberty Park hosts a live nativity and a Pioneer Day celebration.