7 Sights You Won’t Want to Miss at Salt Lake City’s Temple Square

Attracting approximately five million visitors a year, Salt Lake City’s Temple Square is the most popular destination in Utah. Here are seven sights you won’t want to miss when you visit.

Temple Square sits on ten beautifully maintained acres in the heart of Salt Lake City. During the spring and summer months, the Temple Square grounds are full of colorful flowers and lush lawns. During the holiday season, Temple Square is adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights from Thanksgiving into the new year. Within Temple Square, there are nearly 20 sights related to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Here are seven sights you won’t want to miss when visit.

 

1 – Salt Lake Temple 

The Salt Lake Temple is the worldwide icon of the LDS Church and the crown jewel of Temple Square. More than 40 years of hard work and amazing craftsmanship went into building the Salt Lake Temple. When construction began in 1853, it took four days for each block of stone to be hauled from nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon to the construction site by teams of oxen. When the Transcontinental Railroad was completed approximately 15 years into the project, things got much easier.

The Salt Lake Temple is the crown jewel of Temple Square
The Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to build.

Fun Fact:  The Utah State Capitol was also built from stone quarried in nearby Little Cottonwood Canyon.

While visitors of all faiths and beliefs are welcome to explore Temple Square, only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may enter the neo-gothic temple. So, when you’re done exploring the grounds around the temple, head to the Temple Square South Visitors’ Center.

Related Article:  Ten Things to Note When You Visit the Utah State Capitol

 

Outside the Temple Square South Visitors' Center
As you walk from the Salt Lake Temple to the Temple Square South Visitors’ Center, you’ll pass a serene, clam-shaped fountain and several religious statues like this one.

 

2 – Temple Square South Visitors’ Center

Directly to the south of the Salt Lake Temple is the Temple Square South Visitors’ Center. The South Visitors’ Center focuses on the foundational beliefs of the LDS Church and the Salt Lake City Temple. Several displays show the level of detail and craftsmanship that went into the stone, wood, and other materials used to build the interior and exterior of the temple. But what I enjoyed most was the interactive guide to the temple’s interior and the scale model on display. Since I will never be able to see the inside of the temple in person, these were fascinating alternatives.

Fun Fact:  Temple Square is staffed by young, female missionaries from around the world. Beginning with the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, each sister missionary wears a name tag that includes her country’s flag.

 

3 – Assembly Hall and Nauvoo Bell

The Assembly Hall is a Victorian Gothic-style building with stained-glass windows. Originally designed as a congregation hall, today the Assembly Hall hosts complimentary, hour-long concerts.

The Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City's Temple Square
The Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square

Outside the Assembly Hall is the Nauvoo Bell. The 780 pound Nauvoo Bell was removed from the Nauvoo temple in Nauvoo, Illinois and brought by wagon train to Salt Lake City when the Mormons were forced to flee Illinois due to religious persecution.

Pro Tip:  Free tours of the Temple Square grounds are offered in more than 40 languages. Or, you can follow this self-guided walking tour of Mormon Pioneer history that includes Temple Square and more.

Joyous Moment statue in Salt Lake City's Temple Square
Statues throughout Temple Square celebrate the family, like this one titled Joyous Moment.

 

Mother and son statue in Salt Lake City's Temple Square
And this statue of a mother with her beloved son

 

4 – Salt Lake Tabernacle

The domed Salt Lake Tabernacle is home to the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Tabernacle organ. Completed in 1867, the tabernacle was considered an architectural wonder for the time. Its elliptical (or turtle-like) design makes it possible for a pin dropped at the pulpit to be clearly heard at the back of the hall.  Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright called the Salt Lake Tabernacle “one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world.”

The organ inside the tabernacle
The organ inside the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Fun Fact:  The Tabernacle was also home to the Utah Symphony until Abravanel Hall was constructed in 1979.

Related ArticleNine Things to do in Salt Lake City

 

5 – Deuel Pioneer Log House

Continuing to tour Temple Square in a clockwise fashion, you’ll find the Deuel Pioneer Log House just north of the Family History Library. The first pioneers arriving in the Salt Lake Valley lived in structures like this log home. This specific log cabin was the home of William Henry Deuel.

The Deuel Pioneer Log House in Temple Square
The Deuel Pioneer Log House is just outside the west gate of the Temple Square.

Fun Fact:  The Deuel Pioneer Log House is one of only two surviving log homes built by Mormon Pioneers in 1847.

The west gate to Temple Square.
After visiting the log house, go back through this gate to continue your tour of Temple Square.

 

6 – Temple Square North Visitors’ Center

The Temple Square's North Visitors' Center
Visit the Temple Square North Visitors’ Center to see the Christus statue.

The main attraction in the Temple Square North Visitors’ Center is the 11-foot statue of Jesus Christ known as the Christus. Prominently displayed in a domed room with a celestial backdrop of clouds, stars, and planets, Christus is the work of Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Other famous statues by Thorvaldsen include the statue of Nicolaus Copernicus in Warsaw, Poland and the tomb monument of Pope Pius VII in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

The Christus statue in the Temple Square North Visitors' Center
The Christus statue in the Temple Square North Visitors’ Center. Photo courtesy of LDS.org.

Fun Fact:  Thorvaldsen’s tomb monument of Pope Pius VII is the only work by a non-Catholic inside St. Peter’s Basilica.  Because he was a Protestant and not a Catholic, the church did not allow him to sign his work.

Related ArticleFive Reasons You Need to Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library 

 

7 – Statue of Joseph and Emma Smith

End your tour of Temple Square at the statue of Joseph and Emma Smith. Joseph Smith founded the LDS Church and published the Book of Mormon when he was 24. Joseph Smith married Emma Hale in 1827 and the couple had nine children together. But tragically, only four of their children lived to be adults. Over the next 17 years until his death in 1844, Joseph Smith would have 27 other wives besides Emma.

Statue of Joseph and Emma Smith in Salt Lake City's Temple Square
Statue of Joseph and Emma Smith outside the LDS Church office building in Temple Square.

What about you?

Have you visited Salt Lake City’s Temple Square? Share your experiences in the comments section below!


Salt Lake City's Temple Square is the most visited place in Utah. Here are seven sights you won't want to miss. #saltlakecity #saltlake #utah #visitslc #templesquare    Salt Lake City's Temple Square is the most visited place in Utah. Here are seven sights you won't want to miss. #saltlakecity #saltlake #utah #visitslc #templesquare #temple #angel


 

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3 thoughts on “7 Sights You Won’t Want to Miss at Salt Lake City’s Temple Square

  1. I have never been to Salt Lake City and this square seems outstanding, Sage! Excellent suggestion. How many days would be enough to see all the highlights in Salt Lake City?

    1. I saw an awful lot in 48 hours including: Temple Square, the Beehive House, Antelope Island (Great Salt Lake), and a variety of 2002 Winter Olympic sites. Does that help?

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