By Jasen Lee, Deseret News --The Wasatch Front has long been considered a hidden gem for travelers to the West, but a recent travel magazine article indicated that Utah's secret is apparently getting out.

The December issue of Travel and Leisure magazine showed Salt Lake City ranked among the "top 5" in 12 categories, including No. 1 in "cleanliness," "safety" and "winter/Christmas" getaway. The state capital ranked No.2 in the "affordable getaway," "affordable hotels" and "family vacation" categories.

Visitors also ranked Salt Lake No. 2 for its bevy of tasty hamburgers under the local specialties category.

"Whether it's a meeting and convention destination or a tourism destination, Salt Lake does extremely well," said Shawn Stinson, communications director for Visit Salt Lake. "It's cost and value driven."

The magazine ranked 35 cities in eight major categories and numerous sub-categories after asking travelers and residents to rate the destinations. While Salt Lake City ranked 15th in the overall category, it fared quite well in several of the "quality of life" and "people" sub-categories.

For example, SLC ranked No.3 for "public parks and access to the outdoors," in addition to coming in No. 4 for "peace and quiet" and "public transportation and pedestrian-friendliness." Salt Lake ranked fifth for attractiveness of its people, friendliness and for being athletic/active, the survey stated.

Utah's largest city landed in several other top-10 categories as well. On the downside, Salt Lake ranked at or near the bottom when it came to "cocktail hour," "wild weekend" and "singles/bar scene."

Overall, Stinson said the various positive ratings in high-profile categories indicate the area's rising standing among the nation's top travel destinations.

"The fact that a prestigious publication like Travel and Leisure (has recognized us)," he said. "We've gone far beyond hitting the radar, we've now actually taken our rightful place in what people's perception of what Salt Lake is all about."