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15. Salt Lake City
Population: 184,550
Pro: Spectacular scenery
Con: Less growth than some neighboring cities

Nestled between the Wasatch Mountains in the east and the Oquirrhs in the west, Salt Lake City features 11 world-class ski resorts within an hour of the city. Snow lovers arrive en masse every winter to experience the world-renowned powder.

Entrepreneurs find additional reasons to show up and stay for the longhaul. Businesses with five or fewer employees requiring less than $35,000 instartup capital may apply to Utah's Microenterprise Loan Fund. The county's economic development office offers loans, grants, on-the-job training and free monthly workshops. Salt Lake City is the center of banking and finance for the region, and tourism remains the dominant industry.

While towns to the south, such as Provo, are currently experiencing hotter economic growth, Salt Lake City, the state's capital, offers a more diverse population and additional entertainment amenities, from fine dining to arts and culture. In the summer, skiers make way for hikers, rock climbers and mountain bikers, but the rugged mountains remain the reason for visiting - and sometimes, staying. -Kelsey Abbott

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NEXT: 16. Novato, Calif.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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