In the earliest days of the Church the temple was the center of everything. Besides being the place of worship and gathering, it was also at the center of the business district. From Temple Square, Church office buildings rose up with the most extensive genealogy library in the world. Zions Bank still stands just outside temple grounds. And, because from earliest days, Mormons strove to be self-sufficient they created their own mercantile which today, is known as ZCMI. Until the last fifty years no building could tower above the temple so that it's beacon of light could be seen far and wide.
The Temple continues to be the center of church activity. In recent years, an old hotel called the Hotel Utah was refurbished and turned into a banquet and reception center. I recently had the opportunity to tour the building. The lobby is filled with ornate stained glass and depiction of early Mormon life. On the tour I was kindly escorted to the top floor to view the temple grounds. It is a lovely view. The top floor also houses meeting rooms where the hierarchy of the church meet with visiting diplomats from other countries.
The common visitor is not allowed in the Temple itself, that requires a temple recommend from the church elders. However, within the visitors center many displays give a glimpse into the layout of the temple. This is a tour not to be missed if you visit Salt Lake City. And remember: the streets are laid out by numbers according to their distance from the temple. With mountains to the east and flat land and water to the west even the most directionally challenged person can find their way in Salt Lake City.