Top Religious Sites Walking Tour, Salt Lake City

Top Religious Sites Walking Tour (Self Guided), Salt Lake City

As home to the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), it's only expected for Salt Lake City to have many Mormon religious buildings. However, despite the LDS Church holding a large influence, the city is culturally and religiously diverse as well as being the site of many cultural activities. Take this self-guided tour to explore Salt Lake City's beautiful and diverse places of worship.
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Top Religious Sites Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Top Religious Sites Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Salt Lake City (See other walking tours in Salt Lake City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: tamara
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Salt Lake Temple
  • Cathedral of the Madeleine
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral
  • Former First Church of Christ Scientist
Salt Lake Temple

1) Salt Lake Temple (must see)

The centerpiece of Temple Square, this beautiful neo-gothic edifice took 40 years to build at the direction of then Church President, Brigham Young, and has withstood the test of time since being dedicated in 1893. The granite-like quartz monzonite was quarried in Little Cottonwood Canyon, 22 miles south of the site, and was then laboriously hauled by oxen, stone by stone, until the railroad became operational in 1869. Oriented towards Jerusalem and incorporating a host of symbolic designs and decorations, many of which are visible on the exterior, it remains the largest LDS temple by floor area (253,015 sq-ft / 23,505.9 m2). Its massive presence is a marvel, considering there was no electricity, no computers, nor any other artificial means used during construction. The stone masonry is so precise, there is not even mortar between the stones! And then to think the pioneers built this huge edifice in the middle of a desert guided by faith is just awesome.

As with all LDS temples, only qualifying members of the LDS faith can enter the building (used primarily for marriages, baptisms for the dead, religious ritual instruction, and meetings of the First Presidency and of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), but visitors can walk around the exterior and enter other historic structures nearby. During the winter months the beauties of the world-famous flower beds are replaced by nativity displays and millions of Christmas lights strung through all the trees on Temple Square, making it a hugely popular destination for visitors and locals alike.

As noted by the scholars, "Brigham Young was almost sole author of one of the most important chapters in the history of the American West." When the first group of pioneers, led by Young, entered Immigration Canyon overlooking the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, Young (who had been ill and was bedded in a covered wagon) rose long enough to gaze out over the valley and famously declared "This is the right place. Drive on." Those with him clearly understood that he was talking about his vision of where the Latter-Day Saints were to settle. It should be noted that Church leaders and members alike felt that settling in Utah (near the Rockies) would fulfill Isaiah 2:2 - "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house [temple] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."

Perhaps among Young's greatest visible accomplishments was his initiation of the construction of the world famous Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle on Temple Square, and the incredible construction of a system of miles and miles of irrigation canals that fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 35:1 "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose."

One of the best (and free!) views of the edifice (and of Temple Square) is from the atrium and inside of The Roof restaurant, located on the top floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a short walk and elevator ride directly to the east.
Cathedral of the Madeleine

2) Cathedral of the Madeleine (must see)

While most people are aware that Salt Lake City serves as Mormon headquarters since 1847, the Catholics have their own very old church right in the heart of downtown, the land gifted to them by the Mormons and the structure built largely by Mormon volunteers. Completed in 1909, the Cathedral of the Madeleine retains most of its original Neo-Romanesque exterior, whereas the colorful interior displays Spanish Gothic style details. Along with dramatic stained-glass windows, ceiling murals, icons and altar, the contemporary Stations of the Cross are particularly wonderful and surprising, brimming with images of both the American Southwest and classic religious iconography.

The Cathedral holds several services during the week (morning and afternoon), including a high mass on Sundays, and is also a venue for artistic events, particularly musical ones, serving as the performance home for its Choir School of international reputation. There is no cost to visit, but try avoiding the daily services if you wish to walk freely throughout.
First Presbyterian Church

3) First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City was founded in 1873. The current church building was constructed in 1903. The red sandstone building is a landmark on South Temple Street with beautiful stained-glass windows.

Walter E. Ware designed the Gothic Revival structure, with its low square tower and patterned on the cathedral church of Carlyle, England. The exterior was built of locally quarried red butte stone with hard stone trim. First occupied in 1905, the congregation substantially enlarged, renovated, and modernized it in 1956.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as a contributing building in the South Temple Historic District.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral

4) St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral

St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Salt Lake City is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Utah in the Episcopal Church in the United States. Built in 1871, it is the third oldest Episcopal Cathedral in the United States and the oldest continuously used worship building in Utah. It was designed by noted architect, Richard Upjohn, in the Gothic Revival style. On September 22, 1970, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The original cornerstone was laid in 1870 under the supervision of Bishop Daniel Sylvester Tuttle with funding from Episcopalians in New York and Pennsylvania. The Cathedral was consecrated on May 14, 1874. A fire in 1935 gutted the sanctuary, but the church was rebuilt following the original design. The early Episcopal Church left its mark in the community such that by 1880, members of the church had established Saint Mark's School for Boys, Rowland Hall School for Girls, and Saint Mark's Hospital.

In addition the Cathedral is often used for musical events and the Cathedral hall has been used for many Civic events over the years. In 2005 construction began on a new Cathedral Center that opened in early 2007. This space includes the Dean's hall that provides a meeting and dining area for up to 300 people. There are also offices, meeting and other space that serve the Cathedral and community that it reaches out to in many ways.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Former First Church of Christ Scientist

5) Former First Church of Christ Scientist

In July 1891 several Christian Scientists came to Salt Lake City to organize a branch church and This led to the formation of the first Utah congregation, which later became First Church of Christ Scientist in Salt Lake City, incorporated on August 27,1891.

In 1897 the local members voted to build their own church located at 352 East 300 South. The church building, designed by local architect, Walter E. Ware, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, was built in 1898 of brick and Utah Kyune sandstone. After being completely paid for, it was dedicated on November 27, 1898.

The former First Church of Christ Scientist in Salt Lake City is a historic structure that, on July 30, 1976, was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today the church building is no longer listed as a Christian Science Church in the Christian Science Journal. After being used for a time by Anthony's Fine Art and Antiques, the building is once again being used as a church: Iglesia La Luz del Mundo.

Walking Tours in Salt Lake City, Utah

Create Your Own Walk in Salt Lake City

Create Your Own Walk in Salt Lake City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salt Lake City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Pioneers Trail

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Historical Buildings Tour

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In 1847, four days after the scouting team had first arrived in this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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