The local atmosphere in Salt Lake City is basically that of any metropolitan city. However, the problem that most people encounter is the stark contrast between the conservative nature surrounding Salt Lake City and the city itself, which leans toward the left politically speaking. The contrast magnifies the diversity between the Mormon culture and the regular, average people living downtown. Being a mid-sized city provides some of the opportunities found in a big city (only without the headaches), while at the same time providing small-town charm and security.
Most people you meet in SLC are more of the outdoorsy types, whether it be environmentalists who want to conserve the forest or anglers and hunters who want to use it without regulations. There is a lot of diversity on campus and in the city. It's true that the Mormon religion has widely influenced the culture. Do not be surprised if you are asked if you're a "member." This is a common question asked by Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Some non-Mormons feel alienated because they are not members and, unfortunately, are treated differently. However, the majority embraces non-members. Overall, Salt Lake City has a little bit for everyone and is a great place to get a start in any career path.