Top 5 Concert Venues in SLC


By Oakley Burt, Arts Editor


There’s nothing quite like seeing an artist perform live — the excitement and adrenaline coursing through your veins as you arrive at the venue. Concerts are life-changing, exhilarating and exciting escapes from reality that allow for a deeper connection with the artists and music. The concert venues also play a part in the overall concert experience and the quality and features of a venue can make or break a show. 

Utah’s music scene is full of authentic venues with their own distinct vibes which host artists of different genres. Many of Utah’s popular concert venues are located in the downtown Salt Lake area with other great venues spread across northern Utah. Here is a list of some of the best concert venues in Utah, ranked by their sound quality, lights and atmosphere: 


1.The Depot 

The Depot is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake next to The Gateway. Since its opening in 2006, The Depot has quickly become one of the leading venues for artists touring in the city. When you walk into the venue, it feels like you’ve been transported to the age of rock ‘n’ roll. The aesthetic is reminiscent of the Hard Rock Cafe with dimmed lighting and older, rustic decor. The acoustics are also impeccable — the sounds carry loud and clear throughout the venue, one of the best things about The Depot, alongside the lights. The light shows vary for each artist, but never fail to illuminate the performers. From every angle, the artists are visible to the attendees. The venue consists of four levels and holds 1,200 people at capacity, but the main stage floor holds about 300 to 400 people. The Depot features a wide variety of artists that sell out shows almost every night. 


2.The Great Saltair

The Great Saltair is an outdoor venue in Magna, Utah, on the edges of the Great Salt Lake. The outdoor scenery is fantastic with the lake, mountain views and multicolored sunsets. The Saltair’s outdoor atmosphere is chill and laid back. The venue is standing room only and attendees can watch the shows at the pit area or the grass hill directly behind the pavement and the view of the stage is amazing from any spot. The light shows are mesmerizing and take the performances to the next level through the vibrancy and intensity of colors. The visual displays for every show are eccentric and enrich the concert experience at the Saltair. Many artists tour in Utah for the outdoor venues. When it comes to the best venue to have as a backdrop, The Great Saltair is at the top of the list. 


3.  Vivint Smart Home Arena 

Vivint Smart Home Arena isn’t just the home of the Utah Jazz — it’s also a venue that headlines some of the biggest artists in music. Vivint has become a premier concert venue in Salt Lake. The acoustic quality is top of the line at Vivint. There’s hardly any distortion in their sound system, and the sound echoes up to the nosebleed seats. It can be hard to achieve clear sound in an arena as big as Vivint, but the remodel in 2017 upgraded the sound system. The light shows are incredible and enhance each performance with spellbinding displays paired with vivid and striking colors. The atmosphere at Vivint is full of energy, excitement and happiness. Attending a show at Vivint is an all-encompassing experience, from the enormity of the venue to the stars that perform there. Most recently, artists like the Jonas Brothers and Shawn Mendes have graced the powerhouse venue. 


4. The Complex

The Complex is a multi-venue center in downtown Salt Lake behind The Gateway. The Rockwell, The Grand, Vertigo and Papa Wolf’s Lounge are the venues within The Complex. Each venue ranges in size and capacity, but have similar sound and lighting features. The two most popular and all-ages venues are The Grand and Rockwell. The Rockwell is the largest venue within The Complex and can hold 2,500 people, while The Grand is the second largest holding 850 people. The Rockwell and The Grand both have JBL line array sound systems and LED light fixtures. This professional sound system creates pretty clear audio with minor sound errors. The LED lights compliment the blacked-out interior of the venues. The colors are intense, brilliant and bounce off the black walls creating a beautiful show. The atmosphere in the Rockwell and The Grand is relaxed, but livens up when the artist takes the stage. 


5. In the Venue

This hole-in-the wall venue in downtown Salt Lake is the smallest venue on the list, but draws in hundreds of concert goers. This older venue has a funky vibe due to the quirky layout. In the Venue has a multi-level main floor, but that makes it easy to get a great view from anywhere. The acoustics are great for what the sound system is and it tends to get pretty loud. The sound fills and vibrates through the venue, fully immersing attendees in the show. Its DIY, grunge atmosphere encourages artist and crowd interaction, something that doesn’t happen at every venue. 

Each one of these venues offers a unique experience, and while that experience also depends on what artist is performing, I recommend any of these venues for a good time here in Utah.

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