A Survival Guide for Utah Newcomers

Utah is definitely an interesting place to live, and if you live out of state you probably know it for its M&Ms (Mountains & Mormons), but really, this state has a lot of other things that it is known for, and these things can be pretty hard to navigate and understand if you are from out of state. Have no fear newcomers, this survival guide will help you adapt to Utah's quirky traits and even quirkier citizens. 

First of all, let’s talk food.

Many states are known for their foods: Illinois has deep dish pizza, New York has Bagels, etc. However, Utah is known for several different foods that many other states have never even heard of.

First of all, there’s fry sauce. No, I don't mean barbeque sauce or ketchup, I mean fry sauce. Everyone in Utah knows what fry sauce is, and they treat it like liquid gold. Fry sauce is basically just Ketchup and Mayo mixed together, but it is served at every restaurant in Utah, and if you are new to the state, you need to try it.

Next up is funeral potatoes. These delicious and must-try cheesy potatoes are served at every family gathering, church event, and holiday. They are even served on the 24th of July: Pioneer Day (yes, this is a Utah holiday, and if you move here, you better celebrate).

Another popular food served at every family gathering is Green Jell-O, and sometimes it even has pineapple chunks in it. Yeah, it’s a weird thing. Utah consumes more of this jiggly dessert than any other state in America, so newcomers better get used to it.

Finally, one of the weirdest foods in this state is scones. I know what you're thinking: “Scones?, we have those in my home state,” but I promise, you don’t. Scones are a totally different thing in Utah. They are basically just stretched out dough that is fried, and they serve as a great base for honey butter (exactly what it sounds like)--another Utah favorite.


Now that you are an expert on Utah’s strange delicacies, let’s talk winter. Utah is known for having the “greatest snow on earth,” so if you are going to move here, or you are experiencing a Utah winter for the first time, here are some things you will need to know.

Unlike many of its southwest companions, Utah doesn't stop school for snow. Even if there is a foot of new snow overnight, you better grab a shovel, because you are still expected to go to class.

Also, Utah also only has two seasons: Winter and Construction. The whole state seems to be under some kind of construction during Spring, Summer, and Fall, so you can pretty much expect a traffic delay year round, whether it's because of snow or construction. It's a fantastic thing (not really).


However, these traffic delays won't be your only problem on the road. You should be more worried about the cars next to you, because Utah drivers are crazy. They are overly courteous, and they expect all drivers to be, so don't be surprised if a Utahan pulls out onto the road in front of you when you are about 20 feet away from them. Yeah, you better get your brakes checked regularly, because you will be using them a lot. Utah drivers also have no idea what the little stick next to their steering wheel is: it's called a turn signal folks, and it's there for a reason, so please don't hesitate to use it. Seriously, it might be better for you to just use public transportation.

Another unique thing about Utah is its religion. More than 60% of Utahans are Mormon. Instead of finding a Starbucks on every corner, like you do in every other state, in Utah, you find a Mormon church on every corner. They are seriously on every other block. Because the state has so many Mormon people, everything is closed on Sunday, the day of rest, so you better get all of your errands done on Saturday. Also, because Mormon people are so conservative, you hardly ever hear swear words in Utah. Mormons tend to use alternate swear words like ‘frickin,’ ‘shoot,’ and ‘oh my heck!’ (yes that is a real thing that people say). One last thing you should know about the Mormons in this state, is that they all get married super young, so dating in this state is difficult. People think it is crazy if you are 25 without children and a spouse, so newcomers beware, and if you do date, you should know that many Utah parents give their children unique names. This includes names like Kayden, Brynlee, Braxten, or Cohyn. Just a heads up.


Finally, if you are new to Utah, you should know that Utahns have interesting ways of saying many words. The Utah accent can be pretty difficult to understand because they tend to leave the ‘T’ out of many words, and also change the vowel sounds in everyday words. Here is a list that should help:

Milk = Melk

Mountain = Mow’un

Creek = Crick

Knife = Narf

Heel = Hill

Pillow = Pellow

Fork = Fark

Wash = Warsh

They even do this with the names of restaurants and cities:

Hurricane, UT = Hurrken, UT

Layton, UT = Lay’en, UT

Chipotle = Chipoletay


All jokes aside, even though Utah can be pretty quirky, it is really a great place to live. I highly recommend moving here for anyone who likes skiing, hiking, hunting, exploring, or just being with great people. This state is exceptional and it is a wonderful place to live. I am unbelievably grateful that I decided to move to this beautiful state for college, and I will probably start my family here. Utah is amazing and anyone who has never been here should really visit. Just use this article as a guide for the state’s many unique quirks.


Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6