The most wonderful time of the year is almost here and we’re excited to turn on the Christmas lights on Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah! They go on the day after Thanksgiving (November 28) to kick-off the holiday season. The lights bring people from all over the world so its a fun and bustling time here! To help you make the most out of your experience, we have a few tips to help you plan out your Temple Square visit.
Christmas Lights Schedule
Even though you can see Christmas lights all around the downtown area, the main attraction is Temple Square. The Christmas lights turn on every day at 5:30 pm (or when it gets dark) and stay on until 10:00 pm. On December 11-13, the lights will stay on until 11:00 pm due to the Tabernacle Choir Christmas concerts and until 12:30 am on New Year’s Eve.
Temple Square Holiday Performances
There are always free performances on Temple Square but in December, concerts and performances are taken to a whole new level! A variety of local groups – from schools, to church choirs, to bands – perform daily at six different venues – the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, North Visitors’ Center, Assembly Hall, Tabernacle, Church Office Building and Family History Library. Check out the program guide for performances that are happening on the night you come visit here.
Walking around the grounds to see the lights is an amazing experience, but you’ll need more than warm hearts to survive the cold weather. When it gets too cold, make sure you spend some time inside checking out the North Visitors’ Center’s beautiful Christmas trees. Then, head over to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for more jaw-dropping decorations and grab delicious hot chocolate from the Nauvoo Café express line. If you want to stay warm while still enjoying the snow, the Lion House Pantry has just what you need – hot chocolate and fresh baked cinnamon rolls or brownies in their garden (heat lamps included).
Another must-see Christmas attraction on Temple Square is the life-sized Nativity set on the lawn in front of the North Visitors’ Center, where you can gather to listen to the story of the birth of Christ. Other enchanting Nativity sets on Temple Square include one at Main Street Plaza in the middle of the reflection pool and the ethnic nativities on the Church Office Building plaza. Besides the twinkling lights on the trees, the ethnic nativities are surrounded with paper lanterns that have the word “Peace” printed on them in several different languages.
Downtown can be very busy at night during December, so make sure you get here early to find a parking spot. Parking is available for free on the street with meters packaged up with a bow, complimentary of the city – these go quickly though. You can also find inexpensive parking at City Creek. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building parking garage is another option and it ends up being free if you get a validation after dining in one of their restaurants. You can always avoid parking lots and take the TRAX for convenience – both the Blue and Green lines go through the downtown area. Visit the UTA website for schedules and fares.
With these few tips, you will be more than ready to enjoy a memorable Temple Square Christmas Lights experience. Remember to hashtag your visit with #TempleSquareLights2014 when you post your pictures on Instagram! Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about what’s happening on Temple Square in December.