Visiting the lights at Temple Square during Christmas time is a tradition for many in Utah. We love walking around the grounds and enjoying the holiday spirit in this beautiful place. After visiting a few times, we have gathered a few tips for visiting Temple Square Lights.
Many nights will be busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the lights. There will be a lot of people, so keep your kids close. The earlier in the season you go, the better. And avoid weekends if possible.
We try to squeeze in a lot of adventures into one evening when we visit. We enjoy The Temple Square Lights, but also the City Creek Lights, the Conference Center lights, the Macy’s Candy Windows, and the giving machines in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
We were prepared to pay for parking, but we found out that if you park at City Creek, it’s FREE for the first two hours. We also packed the boys’ snow clothes after we nearly froze to death at the Alpine Nativity. We also walk to the Conference Center where the trees were all done up with lights. The boys liked the fountains and waterfalls, too, even in the winter.
We didn’t see anyone else walking around the Conference Center lights. The crowds are usually right on Temple Square, but the grounds are beautiful, though. The trees are covered in lights! They also have a Nativity story read directly from the scriptures. Lights shine on the shepherds, the manager, and the wise men in the area between the North Visitor’s Center and the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle was open, and the kids marveled at the organ. The best part, though, was the Assembly Hall. We climbed the steps and sat in the balcony to listen to the Salem High School Choir (actually, any choir would have been nice, but these kids were great!). The boys were entranced, or maybe just glad to be warming up inside. We listened to the entire 25 minute show.
The highlight of this trip is east of the Temple Grounds. There are huge light trees in the plaza and a second Nativity. This one features baby Jesus in the middle of the reflecting pool surrounded by floating lights. We really enjoyed all the lights on display over here.
We like this adventure, and in a way, it was fun to be around all those people. The price was right–FREE (based on your parking spot). Everyone in Utah needs to see the Temple Square Lights at least once in their life, so you if you haven’t been–go soon!
You can also visit the Temple Square Visitor’s Centers, the Beehive House, and The Church History Museum–these places are all indoors so they are perfect for warming up on cold nights. Make sure to check their hours before going.
Tips for Visiting Temple Square Lights:
- Dress for the weather. We put our boys in snow pants, boots, scarves, gloves, and lots of warm items. We also layer up a lot, too. But if it’s going to be warmer, you won’t need all the layers, especially if you go in and out of the buildings.
- Go early in the evening. We arrived downtown around 4:45. We got all layered up, and then walked through City Creek, watched the fountain, and eventually walked over to Temple Square a little after 5:00. The lights were already on, but the crowds weren’t too bad. By the time we left an hour later, it was twice as busy.
- Park at City Creek. The first two hours are free, so you can usually see the lights in that amount of time. And even if you spend another hour, it’s only $2. If you arrive early, you should be able to find a spot. The parking garage gets full later on.
- Be Prepared for crowds. No matter when you go, it will be busy. Talk with your kids about staying with you and go slow so you can enjoy being together as a family, even though that can be hard when you are fighting through tons of people.
- Visit the Conference Center lights to the North of Temple Square, and walk across the street to the South to see City Creek’s light and dancing fountain while you are there. They are super close and worth a visit.
- Stop by the Macy’s Candy Windows when you walk from City Creek over to Temple Square. They are so fun to see, and we love the creative use of candy.
- Make sure to catch the Nativity just north of the tabernacle. It plays every 10 minutes or so.
- If you do get cold, pop into one of the Visitors Centers or walk to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building an visit the Light the World Giving machines.
- There are free concerts in the Assembly Hall. Make sure to go check out the local schools who are performing.