Temple Square in Salt Lake City is Utah's most popular tourist destination. Part of its appeal lies in its accessibility: three city blocks in downtown Salt Lake City contain nearly 20 attractions related to Mormon pioneer history and genealogy, including the Salt Lake Temple, the Tabernacle, and the Family History Library. This means that visitors can see all or most of these attractions in a relatively short period of time.
We have outlined a walking tour below, containing what we consider the must-see attractions on and around Temple Square. Click here for a printable map.
Salt Lake Temple
This building is a worldwide icon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the heart of Temple Square. The massive granite edifice was constructed in a neo-gothic style over the course of an astounding 40-year period between 1853 and 1893. The pioneers who settled the valley sacrificed both time and material goods to the building of the temple, which stands as a testament to their faith and devotion. Please be aware that only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are permitted to enter the temple, but all visitors are welcome to peruse the grounds and admire the stunning workmanship of the building and the serene beauty of its immediate surroundings.
South Visitors Center
This building, just south of the temple, contains exhibits on the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and on the importance of family. Here you can also view pictures of the temple interior and a cross-sectional scale model of the Salt Lake Temple. The Visitors Center is staffed by volunteers who answer visitors' questions about the temple or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
From the Visitors' Center, we recommend walking around the Assembly Hall, one of the most ornate and colorful buildings on Temple Square. Built in 1877, the Assembly Hall is used today for free weekend concerts featuring local and international artists. If you happen to visit on a Friday or Saturday evening, be advised that the concerts are free and do not require tickets, although only those eight years of age and older are admitted.
Salt Lake Tabernacle
Home of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Tabernacle, located just north of the Assembly Hall, is an architectural and acoustic wonder. The famous organ at the front of the Tabernacle contains 11,623 pipes, making it one of the largest and richest-sounding organs in the world, and the building was constructed so that even the drop of a pin at the front of the building can be heard throughout the building. The Tabernacle is usually open daily for tours. In addition, the public is welcome to attend choir rehearsals on Thursday evenings and the Music and the Spoken Word broadcasts on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am.
North Visitors' Center
Complete your walking tour of the main Temple Square plaza by stopping at the North Visitors' Center, which offers the same hours of operation as the South Visitors' Center. This building is home to an impressive 11-foot statue of Jesus Christ known as The Christus. Visitors can also view films about Mormon history and beliefs as well as other exhibits and works of art.
Family History Library
From the North Visitors' Center, cross West Temple Street and go south to the Family History Library, which gives visitors access to the world's largest collection of genealogical resources. If you have time, plan to spend an hour or two researching information on your own ancestors; volunteers are on hand to help you through the process if necessary. The Family History Library is open Monday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesday-Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Deuel Pioneer Log Home
North of the Family History Library is the Deuel Pioneer Log Cabin, which gives visitors a glimpse into pioneer life. It is typical of the homes built in the Salt Lake Valley after it was settled in 1847, the very first of which was built nearby by William Henry Deuel.
Church History Museum
Also north of the Family History Library you will find the Church History Museum. The museum is reopening on September 30, 2015 after a year-long renovation. Highlights of the museum include the new “The Heavens are Opened” exhibit about the beginnings and the foundation of the LDS faith, a 220-degree Vision theater experience reproducing the Sacred Grove, interactive exhibits and a collection of historic artifacts richly covering 26 years of history (1820-1846), from the origins of Joseph Smith to the Mormon pioneer exodus to the West. The museum is open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on weekends and holidays 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Located just north of the temple, the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints contains a 21,000-seat auditorium and an 850-seat theater. It also houses an array of artworks that tell about scripture stories, Church teachings and organization, and Jesus Christ. Free, guided tours of the Conference Center are available daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m, and tours of the beautiful rooftop gardens are available April through October. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and during the month of December. During renovation of the Tabernacle, Music and the Spoken Word is recorded here each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (Visitors must be seated by 9:15 a.m.) The Conference Center is occasionally home to other events, so you might want to consider calling (801) 240-0075 for information before visiting.
Church History Library
Just east of the Conference Center is the Church History Library. It was created in 2009 to house records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The building contains materials that chronicle the history of the Church from 1830 to the present day. Many of the historical documents are in storage rooms that are kept at closely monitored temperatures for preservation purposes. Many of these materials are available for you to explore and volunteers are available to assist you.
Relief Society Building
Moving south of the Church History Library you will come to the Relief Society Building, which houses Church offices and a resource center. The Relief Society is the oldest women's organization in the world and an important part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which focuses on the strengthening of home and family. Hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Church Office Building
East of the Relief Society Building is the Church Office Building, the administrative center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which claims more than 12 million members worldwide. Standing at 28 stories, the building dominates the Temple Square-area skyline. Visitors are welcome to come in and take a tour of the building. Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (5:00 p.m. during summer months).
Brigham Young Historic Park
Traveling east across State Street you will enter Brigham Young Historic Park. This small park was once part of pioneer and Mormon leader Brigham Young's farm. During the summer, the park hosts concerts each Tuesday and Friday evening (8:00 p.m. in June and July; 7:30 p.m. in August) as well as Garden Talks on Wednesday evenings (8:00 p.m. in June and July; 7:30 p.m. in August). Seating is provided, but you can also bring blankets or chairs.
Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument
South of Brigham Young Historical Park along State Street is the Mormon Pioneer Memorial Monument, which honors the more than 6,000 pioneers who died crossing the plains between 1847 and 1869. It is also home to the gravesite of Brigham Young, under whose leadership the Mormon pioneers traveled from Illinois to Utah and established a rich society and culture here.
Social Hall Heritage Museum
The Social Hall was where the first residents of Salt Lake City gathered to relax, unwind from their labors, be with friends, and enjoy singing and dancing. Today the remains of this building are preserved in a museum which shows a different side of pioneer life. The museum, located half a block south of the Pioneer Memorial Monument, is open from Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.
On the corner of State Street and South Temple is the Beehive House, Brigham Young's main residence. The mansion has been beautifully restored and serves as a museum offering tours showing what life was like for the Young family back in 1854. Tours are free and available daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., beginning every 10 minutes.
Next to the Beehive House on South Temple is the Lion House, another of Brigham Young's residences. Today the building operates as an event venue with eight banquet rooms and a lovely garden area. It also has a restaurant on the street level called the Lion House Pantry, featuring home-style meals and baked goods. The Lion House Pantry is open Monday-Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Church Administration Building
Moving west along South Temple you will see the Church Administration Building. Although it is not open to the general public, it is worth noting that current leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have their offices in this classical-style building.
Joseph Smith Memorial Building
This walking tour of Temple Square concludes at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, located just west of the Church Administration Building. This stately building, originally constructed in 1911, is dedicated to Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and houses several attractions of interest. With free admission, visitors can view a film called Meet the Mormons at the Legacy Theater. For dates and times, visit the film's website. The building also houses the FamilySearch Center, which offers visitors another opportunity to research the lives of their ancestors with plenty of volunteer help to aid them. Also part of the FamilySearch Center is the Discovery Center, a new and interactive way for people to connect with their family history. Two excellent restaurants, The Roof and The Garden, occupy the top floor of the building, which also offers great views of the Salt Lake Temple other Temple Square attractions and downtown Salt Lake City. For a quick bite, visit the Nauvoo Café located in the lobby level. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is open Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
There are numerous restaurants and cafes on and around Temple Square. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building has two restaurants on its top floor, which are local favorites, as well as a café in the lobby level. The Lion House Pantry serves lunch and dinner daily (except Sundays). For more choices, we recommend the the restaurants and the food court at City Creek Center, which is across the street from Temple Square.