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PIPE ORGANS OF
TEMPLE SQUARE

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

General Information for Visitors

Those coming from outside the area have four options: airplane, bus, train, or car.

Airplane Travel to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City International Airport is about a 15- to 20-minute drive from Temple Square. Taxis, limousines, buses and shuttles provide airport service to anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley and to local ski resorts. One-way taxi fare from the airport to downtown is approximately $13.00. All major car rental agencies are represented at the airport. The following eleven major air carriers have service to the Salt Lake City International Airport:

Bus Travel to Salt Lake City

The Greyhound Bus Lines terminal is one block west of Temple Square, at 160 W. South Temple Street. For fare and schedule information, call 1-800-231-2222, or visit their website at www.greyhound.com.

The Utah Transit Authority operates commuter bus service to downtown Salt Lake City from the following points outside the Salt Lake metropolitan area: American Fork, Ogden, Orem, Payson, and Provo. For fare and schedule information, call 1-888-RIDE-UTA (1-888-743-3882) or visit the UTA website at www.rideuta.com.

Train Travel to Salt Lake City

The Amtrak station is located at 320 S. Rio Grande, which is approximately 7 blocks from Temple Square (3½ blocks west and 3½ blocks south). For reservations and schedule information, call 1-800-872-7245, or visit www.amtrak.com.

Automobile Travel to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is located at the crossroads of I-80 and I-15. For up-to-date information on highway driving conditions visit www.utahcommuterlink.com.

FROM SALT LAKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:

Upon leaving the airport, bear to the left towards I-80 eastbound. Just after the highway splits, watch for the North Temple Street exit, which veers off to the right. Continue straight on North Temple approximately 3½ miles to West Temple Street (which is the next street after 200 West). Turn right onto West Temple Street. Temple Square is directly on your left.

FROM NORTHERN UTAH AND IDAHO:

Take I-15 south to Utah highway 89 (Beck Street—exit 315). Proceed south on highway 89 (which eventually becomes 300 West) until you reach North Temple Street. Turn left onto North Temple and drive 2 blocks to West Temple Street. Turn right onto West Temple Street. Temple Square is directly on your left.

FROM PARK CITY AND EASTERN UTAH (VIA I-80):

Take I-80 westbound to where the highway merges with northbound I-15.  (Sometime before the State Street exit, you will need to get into the left lane). After merging onto I-15, watch for the 600 South exit (about 1½ miles from the I-80 junction).  Take 600 South eastbound and drive about 4 blocks to West Temple Street. Turn left onto West Temple Street and go 6½ blocks. Temple Square will be on your right.

FROM SOUTHERN UTAH:

Take I-15 northbound to the 600 South exit. Take 600 South eastbound and drive about 4 blocks to West Temple Street. Turn left onto West Temple Street and go 6½ blocks. Temple Square will be on your right.

FROM WESTERN UTAH (VIA I-80):

Take I-80 eastbound. Soon after the 5600 West exit, you will see signs for North Temple Street/City Center. Take this exit, and stay on North Temple Street for approximately 3½ miles to West Temple Street (which is the next street after 200 West). Turn right onto West Temple Street. Temple Square is directly on your left.

No parking is available on Temple Square. We recommend the following parking options:

  1. Crossroads Plaza, directly south of Temple Square, has a large parking garage. Parking is $1.00 per hour for the first hour and $2.00 per hour for each additional hour with a maximum parking fee of $10.00 per day. Evening parking is $5.00. Two hour parking validations are available with a minimum $10 purchase in the mall, and parking is free all day Sunday. Enter the parking garage from either 50 South West Temple Street (northbound on West Temple), or 25 West South Temple (eastbound on South Temple).
  2. "The Parking Place," at 260 West South Temple Street, is a little more distant than the above two garages, but has ample space. The parking fee is $5.00 per day.
  3. There is a limited amount of metered parking available on the streets near Temple Square, but most metered spaces have a 2-hour limit Monday through Saturday, and finding an empty space requires more than a little luck. You should therefore plan to park in one of the above facilities unless you a) are lucky enough to find a metered space and b) are only going to stay for an hour or two.  (Meters are in effect Mondays through Saturdays, with the exception of holidays, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., although visitors are allowed two hours of free parking on Saturdays.)
Salt Lake City Weather

Winter daytime temperatures in the Salt Lake Valley are usually above freezing, and snowfall is possible, although accumulation is not as heavy as in Utah's world-famous mountain ski resorts. The average daily high temperature is 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2 C); the average daily low temperature is 19 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 C). (Mountain areas may be as much as 20 F cooler). For current weather conditions in Salt Lake City, call the National Weather Service Salt Lake office at 801-524-5133, or visit their website. For current highway conditions, call 801-964-6000.

Health and Comfort Issues

First-time visitors to Salt Lake City need to keep two things in mind: the altitude and the arid desert environment.  To avoid the three "D's" (discomfort, dizziness and dehydration), remember to:

  • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 quarts per day)
  • Avoid strenuous activity if you are unaccustomed to high altitudes
  • Bring and use lotion and lip balm
Best Views of Temple Square

Those who are not satisfied with seeing and hearing the organs on Temple Square and who wish to return home with breathtaking panoramic photos of the Square have a number of options. Following is a listing of a number of vantage points for those desiring a birds' eye view of the area.

Church Office Building, 26th Floor Observatory

Pro:

  • Tallest building in Salt Lake City
  • Free admission

Con:

  • Limited hours of access
  • Closed Sundays; closed Saturdays between Labor Day and Memorial Day
  • Views to the south are limited

Best Western Plaza Hotel, 13th Floor

Pro:

  • Unobstructed view of entire square

Con:

  • Hotel management may frown on visitors who are not registered guests
  • Windows sometimes streaked, making for poor photos

Joseph Smith Memorial Building, 10th Floor

Pro:

  • Unobstructed view of entire square
  • Free admission
  • Open all day, six days a week
  • Two restaurants on same floor with same view

Con:

  • Closed Sundays
  • Small viewing area (unless one considers restaurants)

Conference Center, Roof Gardens

Pro:

  • Landscaped gardens

Con:

  • Still under construction; not yet open to the public
  • Lowest of all vantage points listed on this page except for Borders Books & Music

Borders Books & Music Cafe

Pro:

  • You can eat and read with Temple Square visible just outside the window

Con:

  • Lowest of all vantage points listed on this page

Ensign Peak

Pro:

  • Highest vantage point of all on this page
  • Fresh air, sunshine, and exercise
  • Great views of the entire Salt Lake Valley, the Wasatch mountain range, Davis County (to the north), and the Great Salt Lake

Con:

  • Fairly strenuous hike
  • Not recommended in winter or when storms are threatening

Those who enjoy the great outdoors as much as great organs might want to try this pleasant hike which combines fine views of the downtown Salt Lake City area with historical interest. On Monday, July 26, 1847, two days after arriving in the valley, Brigham Young and eight other men scaled a small peak directly north of the area where they were planning to settle. The stated purpose of the climb was to have a look at the area to which President Young had led the Saints. Church historian George A. Smith later wrote, "While they were fasting and praying daily on the subject [the migration west] President Young had a vision of Joseph Smith, who showed him the mountain that we now call Ensign Peak, immediately north of Salt Lake City, and there was an ensign fell upon that peak, and Joseph said, 'Build under the point where the colors fall and you will prosper and have peace.' (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [Liverpool, England: F. D. Richards, 1854-1886], 13:85.) Ensign Peak also inspired Joel H. Johnson to pen the words to the beloved Mormon hymn, "High on the Mountain Top" (Hymns, [Salt Lake City: Corporation of the President, 1985], No. 5; music by Ebenezer Beesley).

The trail is less than ½ mile long (.47 mile, or 760 meters, to be a little more specific), and incorporates a rise in elevation of 398 feet (121 meters). The elevation at the top of Ensign Peak is 5,416 feet (1.65 km) above sea level, which puts it 1,089 feet (332 meters) above the meridian marker at the southeast corner of Temple Square. The trail is moderately steep, consisting mostly of dirt and some rock. Hikers should wear comfortable shoes with good tread and fairly thick soles, and should also be sure to bring water. There are no rest room facilities at the trail head.

The less athletically inclined can take the short, paved trail (about 300 feet long) to Vista Mound, which is situated beneath Ensign Peak, although the view of Temple Square is inferior--one can only see the top of the Salt Lake Temple and nothing else.

To get there from Temple Square, drive north on State Street until the road comes to a "T" directly in front of the State Capitol building. Turn right and follow East Capitol Blvd. around the east side of the capitol building. Stay on East Capitol for a little more than a mile, turning left onto Ensign Vista Rd. The trailhead is at a small park on the right hand (north) side of the street. (The street address of the park is 147 Ensign Vista Rd.)

Other Sources of Information for Visitors
  • Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau (90 S. West Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84101-1406; phone: 801-521-2822; fax: 801-355-9323; e-mail: slcvb@saltlake.org): This is the best source for detailed information on food, lodging, and sightseeing in the Salt Lake City area.
  • Utah Travel Council (300 N. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84114; phone: 1-800-200-1160; fax: 801-538-1399): An excellent source for sightseeing opportunities throughout the state of Utah.
  • CitySearch Utah: An online guide to arts and entertainment, restaurants, movies, sports, and tickets in Utah.

This site is maintained by Richard Elliott, who is solely responsible for its content.
This is not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page,
the author accepts no responsibility for any loss or inconvenience which may occur
due to changes or other inaccuracies.
©2000 Richard Elliott
(This page was last updated on 23 September 2003 )

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