Last night we visited the Temple Square Lights in SLC. It was very busy, but it usually is, so if you plan to go–be prepared! There will be a lot of people, so keep your kids close. The earlier in the season you go, the better. And avoid weekends at all costs!
None of us had been to Temple Square during Christmas for at least the last 10 years so we didn’t know what to expect. We hoped to see the Visitor’s Center, take a carriage ride, and see the Christmas lights. We were prepared to pay for parking, which cost $6 on the lot west of the Conference Center, but another time we parked at City Creek for FREE. We also packed the boys’ snow clothes after we nearly froze to death at the Alpine Nativity. From there, we walked 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 crossed the street to the Temple Square Lights and that’s where it began to get quite crowded. The grounds were 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. 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 (Personally, I thought he looked a little shipwrecked, but to each his own). We really enjoyed all the lights on display over here.
We liked 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 (if you can). 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.