October 2023 general conference is nearly here, and Latter-day Saints everywhere are looking forward to hearing inspired messages from Church leaders. With limited seating due to construction on Temple Square, many will be watching the event virtually from around the world. But if you’re one of the lucky few headed to downtown Salt Lake City to attend conference and aren’t sure what to do in between sessions, never fear. Whether you’re looking to to check out something new or just want to treat yourself for a minute, we have some suggestions that will fit the bill.
Visitors who have tickets are welcome to wander the many exhibits and galleries in the Conference Center during conference weekend. Unfortunately, the third-floor observation deck, the rooftop gardens, and both the Conference Center film that plays in the main auditorium, as well as the Salt Lake Temple orientation film, will not be open in the Conference Center during conference weekend, but they will be available for viewing during regular Conference Center hours.
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Searching for something educational that will keep both kids and parents entertained? You might want to try out the Church History Museum, open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday during conference weekend. Exhibits highlight historical artifacts, art, films, interactive media, live demonstrations, and activities for children of all ages. Admission is free.
In the mood for a little shopping during conference weekend instead? Stop by the Deseret Book Flagship store in City Creek on Family Friday, September 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., to receive 10 percent off your purchase (platinum members receive 20 percent off). While there, meet the founder of Kneaders and get a copy of her newly released cookbook! Colleen Worthington, founder of Kneaders, will host a special meet-and-greet at 6:00 p.m.! Come enjoy one of her famous fruit tarts and receive a coupon for a free loaf of Kneaders bread with each cookbook purchase.
The store will have extended hours on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Deseret Book flagship store in Salt Lake City also features an art and a home décor section unique to this location. And if you need a minute to rest, the store’s Sweet Retreat section offers BYU Creamery Ice Cream for the perfect pick-me-up.
Or if you can't make it to the flagship store, come to any Deseret Book location for that same 10 percent of your purchase and to join in on an incredible number of giveaways! Each store will start their giveaways in the evening for fabulous products such as: a Kneaders cookbook, Kate Lee art prints, fiction novel Along a Breton Shore, tickets to the nativity marketplace, and more! It's an all-day celebration of great books, uplifting music, and beautiful artwork.
If you’d rather escape the crowds for a minute, you might want to check out the Brigham Young Historic Park, open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily. The open-lawn park sits just across the street from the Church Office Building to the east on State Street and North Temple. According to Church News, City Creek, which the pioneers used for irrigating crops when they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, flows through the park. In 1995, the park was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley as “a refuge from the rush and hurry of the city … where the weary may sit and rest with the soft music of moving water” and “an oasis for contemplation and reflection.”
Want to get your feet wet with some family history? Give yourself the ultimate experience at the Family History Library, open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday during general conference weekend. The Family History Library is closed on Sundays.
At the library, you can access millions of records, talk to experts, and discover your family history. And if it’s your first visit to the library, FamilySearch has some tips on what to keep in mind before you go, including looking at your family tree, creating a FamilySearch account, deciding what areas to focus on, and gathering information about your family. Check out these tips and more at FamilySearch.org.
Visit Temple Square
Visitors can go inside both the Assembly Hall and the Salt Lake Tabernacle during conference weekend, although tours will not be available. Visitors are also welcome to walk the grounds—and the architecture of these two buildings is certainly worth taking note of.
For instance, according to a Church News interview with Emily Utt, historic sites curator for the Church History Department, the Assembly Hall was built in the late Victorian Gothic Revival style. It inspired the design of two other sister buildings—the Provo Tabernacle, which is now the Provo City Center Temple, and a tabernacle in Coalville, Utah. Irregular pieces of stone that couldn’t be used for the Salt Lake Temple were instead used for the Assembly Hall and were brought together by expert stonemasons. And while most of the Gothic spires are pointed, the second spire to the right of the north-facing door is flat because it was originally a chimney.
There are also fun facts to know about the exterior of the Tabernacle while you’re there. According to ChurchofJesusChrist.org, a bridge-builder named Henry Grow used a lattice trust design for the Tabernacle so the roof could span 150 feet without center supports. Additionally, the Tabernacle was built by hand and materials were local except for the glass, bolts, nails, and other metal parts which were imported.
Other quick stops to make while you’re visiting these two buildings include the seagull statue and the bell on Temple Square, which was originally donated by the British Saints for the Nauvoo Temple. You can learn about the history of the bell at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Journals will begin shipping in November.