If you’ve heard of Salt Lake, you’ve likely heard of Temple Square. This recognizable center for the buildings of worship are located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake and serve as the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people visit Temple Square every year to marvel at the pristine architecture and beautifully manicured gardens. Salt Lake’s original founders actually labeled the city streets based on their distance from the Temple, which is why you’ll see street names like “North Temple” and “South Temple." Other corresponding street names are a numbered grid, also showcasing the distance from the Temple—200 South (signifying two blocks south of the Temple), 300 South (signifying three blocks south of the Temple), 400 South, 500 South—you get the idea. Salt Lake was mapped and created with this building in mind, making it not just a place of worship, but one of historical significance as well. 

Temple Square consists of not just the Temple itself, but a five-block area with a number of experiences for visitors to explore, like the FamilySearch Library, Church History Museum, and Salt Lake Tabernacle, just to name a few. However, starting in 2019, Temple Square began a major structural renovation, closing much of the grounds for an estimated four to six years - but there are still plenty of things to see and do! 

Why are they renovating the Temple? 

The main reason for renovating is to add seismic and structural reinforcement, as well as to enhance accessibility for members with limited mobility. If you have time, we highly suggest reading more about this incredible seismic design and the complicated process to strengthen the Temple’s base structure. 

What can you still see as a visitor to Temple Square?

  • The Conference Center—now serves as the primary guest experience, hosting various tours, exhibits, and experiences to visitors. A highlight is to check out the rooftop garden and get terrace views of the Salt Lake Temple. 
  • The Salt Lake Tabernacle—home of the famous Tabernacle Choir and the larger than life 11,623-pipe organ. You can even listen to live organ recitals every Monday-Saturday at noon, free to the public.
  • The Church History Museum—is open and currently hosts a beautiful new Minerva Teichert exhibit. The exhibit includes interactive audio kiosks that feature Teichert, a 20th century painter, talking about different parts of her life as a mother and an artist. 
  • The FamilySearch Center—perfect for a genealogy buff, or for anyone curious about their family history, at this library you can access millions of records, and can easily discover your own family's past. 
  •  The Church History Library and Archives—is a state-of-the-art facility designed to collect and preserve materials about the Church, its history, and its members.
  • Welfare Square—(a slight drive from Temple Square but still a part of the experiences offered) is a location to care for those in need. You can tour the facility, learn about the Church’s welfare program, and even sample foods made for those in need. 
  • The Humanitarian Center—(a slight drive from Temple Square but still a part of the experiences offered) established in 1991 to prepare charitable supplies for shipping worldwide including clothing, quilts, hygiene kits, school kits, and emergency medical modules. Tours begin on the hour and last for forty five minutes. 
  • Plaza Near the Church Office Building—in June, portions of the plaza near the Church Office Building reopened for limited access. You can access this from the west side of State Street during regular Temple Square hours.

 

What is currently under renovation? 

  • The North Visitors’ Center— the North Visitors’ Center was demolished and will soon be a peaceful garden area near the Temple. 
    Expected reopening: 2024
  • The South Visitors’ Center—also demolished, now it will be a building called the South Pavilions, which will house a cut-away model of the Salt Lake Temple above ground. 
    Expected reopening: 2026
  • The Beehive House and Lion House—are currently undergoing renovations to provide an updated guest experience and to address structural deficiencies.
    Expected reopening: 2025

 

  • The Assembly Hall—after the North Visitors’ Centers is complete, work will begin on an area near the Assembly Hall, updating landscaping and removing portions of the wall in the area.
    Expected reopening: one year after North Visitors’ Center completion
  • The Joseph Smith Memorial Building—is undergoing renovations to provide updated restaurants, elevators, and guest experiences.
    Expected reopening: 2025
  • Main Street Plaza and the full plaza area near the Church Office Building—although there is limited access to the plaza near the Church Office Building, when the plaza fully reopens, it will display ninety one international flags. 
    Expected reopening: end of 2023

What is the timeline for reopening? 

In 2019 the project was originally said to take four years, however, the renovation has taken longer than anticipated. Due to the delicate nature of dealing with pioneer-era buildings, the current timeline for a completion date is sometime in 2026. You can read more about this adjusted construction timeline of Temple Square here.

Although much of the square is undergoing transformation at the moment, Temple Square is still a wonderful place to visit, rich with history and intriguing historic tours—all of which are free to the public! To visually see which areas are closed for renovation, and which are open, check out this construction map of Temple Square.