Salt Lake City Lingo and Lore

Before you go to Salt Lake City, UT, learn the lingo and be in the know.

By: Annie Cutler


Temple Square: The square block that encompasses the Salt Lake City LDS Temple. It’s the central point from which the city’s street system extends from.

TRAX: Part of the city’s mass transit. The light-rail system currently runs through the metro area. It recently expanded to the southern parts of the Salt Lake Valley and construction is underway for a line to the Salt Lake International Airport.

Spaghetti Bowl: Used to describe a network of highway interconnects (Interstate 15, Interstate 80, and State Route 201) that looks like spaghetti in a bowl when viewed from overhead.


Valley: Refers to the entire urban area known as the Salt Lake Valley.

Beehive: Utah is nicknamed The Beehive State. Residents relate the beehive symbol to industry and pioneer perseverance.

Lake stink:Two to three times a year residents will smell a foul odor in the air much like rotten eggs. It results from the metabolic activities of bacteria in the Great Salt Lake.


Inversion: The weather phenomenon where air (and particulate matter) in the “bowl” below the city’s surrounding mountains is trapped beneath the thermal layer above, causing poor air quality. Middle of winter and peak of summer tend to be the worst months for inversion.

Lake effect: Lake effect happens when cold air travels over a relatively warm body of water, picks up the moisture, and dumps it in the form of snow. The Great Salt Lake makes the city a prime location to see lake-effect snow.


LDS: Used to refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Now you see why it’s shortened.)

U: University of Utah. (Rivals Brigham Young University)

Y: Brigham Young University (Rivals University of Utah)

UTA: Abbreviation for Utah Transit Authority. They oversee the state’s mass transportation.

PC: Abbreviation for Park City. It’s a popular town and travel destination on the back side of the Wasatch Mountains, and home to the Sundance Film Festival. Many Salt Lake residents will spend their weekends there to enjoy the outdoors and get out of the city.

SLC: Abbreviation for Salt Lake City, of course.    

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