Located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City historic Temple Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah and world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Free tours of Temple Square are available in 30 languages by native-speaking guides. The 35-acre area draws millions of visitors from all over the world because of its renowned research libraries, cultural activities and historic buildings. The centerpiece of the square is the majestic Salt Lake Temple, which took 40 years to build. While the temple is not open to the public, visitors can go in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, which was built in 1867. The Tabernacle seats 2,900 people and hosts a variety of religious and community events, including its role as the home of the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Choir’s rehearsals are open to the public.
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There are two visitors’ centers on Temple Square where people can learn more about Latter-day Saint beliefs through exhibits and films. The North Visitors’ Center features an 11-foot replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue. Exhibits at the South Visitors’ Center include a scaled model of the Salt Lake Temple, providing a glimpse inside the historic building.
West of Temple Square, people interested in learning more about genealogy flock to the Family History Library, the largest library of its kind in the world. There is also the Church History Museum, which tells the history of the worldwide Church through educational exhibits and programs. Both of these buildings are free and open to anyone. Those interested in learning more about Mormon history may also visit the Church History Library, which is located northeast of Temple Square.
To the east of Temple Square is the 28-story Church Office Building, which was built in 1972. This is the tallest building in Salt Lake City and visitors can go up the observation deck for a beautiful view of the area. Next to the Church Office Building is the classical-style Church Administration Building, which was built in 1917. This building houses the offices of current Church leaders and is not open to the public.
A favorite with visitors is the century-old Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which was formerly the Hotel Utah. This grand old building welcomes the public to its three restaurants and multiple banquet rooms and provides office space for Church employees. Visitors can also enjoy a free film entitled Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration, about the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
North of Temple Square sits the 21,000-seat Conference Center, which is one of the largest auditoriums in the world. This building, which was finished in 2000, is used for the Church’s general conference, which is held twice a year and broadcast worldwide. The Conference Center also hosts a variety of concerts and performances, including the popular Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concerts. Another favorite holiday tradition on Temple Square is the annual display of Christmas lights.
Visitors to Temple Square can step back in time at two nearby homes built in the mid-1800s for Church President Brigham Young and his family. Free tours are offered at the Beehive House, while a restaurant in the Lion House serves up home-style cooking.
Travelers who have layovers at the Salt Lake International Airport can take a free shuttle to Temple Square and take a tour while they are waiting for their flight.