Combining spectacular natural and built environments, Salt Lake is no longer just a gateway to the great outdoors but a welcoming destination with a high cool quotient. The transformation began with the arrival of the XIX Olympic Winter Games in 2002, as the city thawed its reputation as an über-conservative cowboy town with Mormon family values and instead presented a slew of quaint cafes and stylish restaurants. SLC continues to pour millions into development projects and the beautification of their downtown. The town has matured into an urban experience as much as an outdoor one. Of course, the proximity of the Wasatch Range’s stunning canyons and 11,000-foot peaks is the reason many adrenaline junkies travel and move here. The city ranks #22 for Parks & Outdoors and #27 for Culture.