When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham Young, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), proclaimed, “Here we will build a temple to our God.” That place eventually became known as Temple Square, the centerpiece of which is the Salt Lake Temple—the largest Mormon temple in the world.
Located in downtown Salt Lake City, Temple Square is the world headquarters of the LDS Church, as well as Utah’s number-one tourist attraction, drawing millions of visitors each year. In addition to the architecturally impressive temple, the 35-acre (14-hectare) complex includes the tabernacle and its 11,623-pipe organ, two visitor centers, and a museum called the Beehive House, about Brigham Young and his family.
Those with an interest in genealogy won’t want to miss the Family History Library, the largest of its kind in the world. By bike, trolley, or hop-on hop-off bus, most Salt Lake City sightseeing tours stop at Temple Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Temple Square is a must-see for all first-time visitors.
- Explore the grounds on your own or opt for a guided tour with an organ recital or Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance.
- The Salt Lake Temple itself isn’t open for tours, but the grounds are.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes; attractions are spread out across 35 acres.
- All facilities in Temple Square are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
While the easiest way to reach Temple Square is by car, it’s also possible to take the green or blue TRAX line to either the Temple Square or City Center stop. There are also shuttles from Salt Lake City International Airport that stop at the square.
When to Get There
Temple Square is open daily throughout the year. If possible, plan to visit for a scheduled organ recital or Mormon Tabernacle Choir performance. Live outdoor concerts take place throughout summer, and in winter millions of lights adorn the square and its many holiday-related tableaus.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
A small choir that first performed in 1847 has grown into one of the world’s top music groups. The choir comprises 360 volunteer members who regularly perform a range of spiritual, popular, classic, and contemporary music in the tabernacle. They typically perform each Sunday morning, but Thursday evening rehearsals are also open to the public.