SALT LAKE CITY — While Utahns know all about the Beehive State, there are several misconceptions that could use some clearing up. Here are five common ones:
1. Utah is All Mormon
As of 2017, roughly 62% of Utahns counted themselves as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In some rural areas, that number is closer to 100%. However, in Utah’s most-populous county, Salt Lake County, Latter-day Saints now account for just under 50% of the population.
2. You Can’t Get a Cup of Coffee
Yes, practicing Latter-day Saints do not drink hot beverages like coffee. But there are plenty of “gentiles” (as non-Latter-day Saints are known) and ex-Mormons who do. Coffee shops are plentiful in Utah, and most are open on Sundays.
3. Everything is Closed on Sunday
While many businesses in Utah are closed on Sunday for religious observance, life and commerce goes on. Movie theaters, public attractions like zoos and museums, most shopping malls, restaurants, and ski resorts are open on Sundays. In fact, Sunday is the best day to visit Lagoon, Utah’s wildly underrated amusement park located in Farmington. Lines on Sunday are short for even the most popular rides.
4. There is No Alcohol
No, you will not find private liquor stores in Utah. However, beer and spirits are still widely available. State-run liquor stores are open Monday-Saturday and have a decent selection of your favorite beer, wine, and liquor, including some harder-to-find items. Additionally, the state recently allowed grocery stores, convenience stores, and gas stations to sell “regular” beer (5% ABV), after ditching its antiquated 3.2% beer law. Yes, there are bars, and alcohol is sold in many restaurants.
5. Polygamy is Totally Cool
Technically, polygamy/plural marriage is illegal in Utah. However, it was essentially decriminalized by the state legislature in 2020 to the point where it is now an “infraction” similar to a traffic ticket. Make no mistake about it, there are thousands of polygamist families in Utah. There are also many fundamentalist groups that have split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which practice plural marriage. But polygamy is largely treated as a personal matter and not necessarily something that is flaunted or discussed openly in normal settings.