Temple Square and Mormon Sites
Easily Salt Lake City’s most famous attraction, Temple Square (between North and South Temples Sts., 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) has a special meaning for Mormons: It is the Mecca or the Vatican of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brigham Young chose this site for Temple Square in July 1847, just four days after arriving in the valley.
Nearby, Young built his private residences; the tabernacle, visitor centers, museums, and a host of other buildings that play a role in LDS church administration also line the streets around Temple Square. You’re welcome to visit most of these buildings, which provide an excellent introduction to the LDS religion and Utah’s early history.
Temple Square Historical Tour
Guides greet you at the gates of the square and offer an introduction to Salt Lake City’s pioneers, the temple, the tabernacle, Assembly Hall, and historic monuments. The free 40-minute tours begin every 10 minutes during the summer season and every 15 minutes the rest of the year (usually 9 a.m.–9 p.m.). Custom group tours can be scheduled in advance.
Points of interest, which you can also visit on your own, include the Seagull Monument (commemorating the seagulls that devoured the “cricket” plague in 1848); a bell from the abandoned Nauvoo Temple; sculptures of Christ, church leaders, and handcart pioneers; an astronomy observation site; and a meridian marker (outside the walls at Main and South Temple Streets) from which surveyors mapped out Utah.
Although tour leaders don’t normally proselytize, the tours do give the guides a chance to witness their faith.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition