When visitors fly into Salt Lake City International Airport, the vista from the plane provides a beautiful overview of the valley. A lot of it may look like it’s Salt Lake City proper, but actually, as our blog mentions, there’s more to it than just the downtown. In fact, a great portion of what may look like Salt Lake is its next-door neighbor, which is also the second-largest city in the state. This is West Valley, which has a wide swath of society within its borders.
After the longtime dominance of the Native American tribes, the neighborhoods that now make up West Valley were first settled by the Pioneers in the late 1840s. The Granger neighborhood was originally populated by migrants from Wales, with the others following. However, the area didn’t really start to grow until the 1970s. Nowadays, West Valley is home to over 136,000 residents.
The city is made up of four original neighborhoods: the aforementioned Granger, as well as Hunter, Chesterfield, and Redwood. For years it was a primarily agricultural area, and the leftover canals which run through the city, plus a few remaining patches of field, are some of the remaining evidence.
After incorporating in 1980, West Valley’s prominence has only continued to grow. It is primarily known, still, for being home to much of the industrial work in Salt Lake County; indeed, it is home to a wide variety of warehouses, shipping, and manufacturing. West Valley is the base for divisions of international companies, such as UPS. But beyond the delivery services, West Valley is booming for business. The following companies have major offices within its limits: Verizon Wireless, Discover, ADP, Intercontinental Hotels, Zions Bank, Optum, Frito-Lay, and Parker Hannafin. Additionally, the following are headquartered in West Valley City: CR England, a locally-based national trucking firm; USANA Health Sciences, an international health sciences company; Backcountry.com, an outdoor gear retailer; and FranklinCovey, one of the world’s leading consulting firms.
So clearly it’s possible to work in West Valley. How about for living? The area, as mentioned previously, started as a primarily residential zone. Today it is still dominated by quiet streets and classic homes, but winds of change have begun to sweep through.
Some of this began in the run-up to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, for which Salt Lake City was the host. However, the venues were spread around the Wasatch, and this included West Valley. The Maverik Center hosted the hockey events and is currently the home base for the Utah Grizzlies ECHL hockey team. When not frozen, it’s also a popular concert venue, located just off of the UTA TRAX Green Line. The other concert venue in the city is the USANA Ampitheatre, backed up against the Oquirrh Mountain range. The open-air space is loud, raucous, and fun, and hosts events which attract tens of thousands.
Outside of entertainment, West Valley’s city center is experiencing something of a renaissance. TRAX extends to the center of government near 3500 South and I-215, with new housing, hotels, and shops in the area. Just across the street is the Valley Fair Mall, which includes an IMAX movie theater and more local and national businesses. It’s easily walkable and accessible from other areas within the Salt Lake valley, and is growing in popularity due to its location.
West Valley is also known for being one of the most diverse cities in Utah by demographics. It has a strong Latino presence, highlighted by the bevy of local restaurants with cuisine hailing from South and Central America and Mexico, as well as the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.
With all of its numerous changes, West Valley is still a quieter suburb of Salt Lake City, but it is definitely growing and making an impact on the local culture and economy. We at VIP Limousine love serving and visiting the city of “Unity, Pride, Progress.”