October 31, 2023

Things to do in Nauvoo Illinois

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Planning a trip to Nauvoo can seem a little overwhelming, here is a guide. Historic Nauvoo is a great family vacation, and with a little bit of planning it can be a trip for all to love and remember forever.

Here is a "know before you go" post on some different things to keep in mind while planning a trip to Nauvoo.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many different tours that the whole family will enjoy. Not all the Nauvoo sites are owned by the Church, and some do cost money, this post is to educate you on a the many different sites to see in Nauvoo, and hopefully help you plan a trip that you will love.

Nauvoo Temple, Visiting information, and Temple stories

The Nauvoo Temple is the most amazing building, in all of Nauvoo. The Nauvoo Temple is built to be as close to the original Temple as possible. This was done to honor the sacrifices of the early Saints who sacrificed so much to complete the building to receive their covenants before they made the challenging journey to cross the plains. During this journey, so many lives were taken, and the covenants they made in the temple were what the Saints held on to, knowing the promises they made with God would make it possible to live with their families forever.

Attending the Nauvoo Temple, Know before you go If you are planning on attending the Nauvoo Temple on a trip to Illinois this post gives you some information to know before you go, what times are the best times to go, and more.

Fun Facts about the Original Nauvoo Temple. Find out some interesting facts about the original Nauvoo Temple. Learn about how the Nauvoo Temple was built, how it was dedicated, the size, what happened to the Nauvoo Temple after the Saints left Nauvoo and more.

10 Fun Facts about the rebuilt Nauvoo, Illinois Temple. This blog posts will teach you all about the rebuilt Nauvoo Temple. Learn about the painstaking efforts to make the Nauvoo Temple as similar, as possible, to the original Nauvoo Temple. Everything about the rebuilt temple was an effort to rebuilt an exact replica down to the lighting in the Nauvoo Temple.

The Miracle of the Stained Glass Windows in the Nauvoo Temple. The miracles around the Nauvoo Temple are amazing. This blog posts is about the artist doing the stained glass windows of the Nauvoo Temple and how the whole project almost was destroyed, but miraculously the stained glass was preserved to be in the Nauvoo Temple. It is amazing!

Stain glassed Windows in the rebuilt Nauvoo, Temple Getting Christs Face Perfect. The process of getting the artwork perfect in the temples is something many people work months on. This post is about the artist of the Nauvoo Temple painstakingly working to get the face of Christ perfect for the beautiful stained-glass windows in the Nauvoo Temple. Not only did he have to use old glass, to make it as Nauvoo era as possible, but the artist did not have any training on how to draw faces. Through much prayer, he was guided by the Lord on how to get the faces and the whole stained-glass window perfect!

Miracle of the Nauvoo Temple Blue Prints. This is one of my most favorite stories of the Nauvoo Temple. It is so clear that the Lord is in charge of His church and His Temples. This is a story about how the great-grandchildren of the architect of the Nauvoo Temple, William Weeks, brought priceless drawings of the Nauvoo Temple back to the Church. Without these drawings rebuilding the Nauvoo Temple would have been almost impossible. This story is truly amazing!

Sites Near the Nauvoo Temple

Nauvoo Temple Stand, the grove 1 and 2 before the Saints had Churches to gather in, it was common for them to gather in groves of trees. Near the Nauvoo Temple was a large grove the Saints gathered to hear the prophet Joseph Smith teach. One of the most impactful teachings in the Temple Stand Grove was Baptism for the Dead.

Importance of Mulholland Street Nauvoo Illinois. Mulholland Street was prime business street during the time of Joseph Smith, named after Joseph's scribe James Mulholland. It was the street where all gathered to see the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum when they were brought back to Nauvoo, and more.

Tomb of Joseph Smith Museum, Nauvoo Illinois. The Tomb of Joseph Museum is where they think the prophet Joseph Smith was building a tomb for him and his family to all be buried together to raise together in the Resurrection.

Dr. Fosters Mammoth Hotel Site, Nauvoo Sites. The Mammoth Hotel is where they believe the teachings of Eternal Families was first taught to a large group of people. It is close to the Nauvoo Temple.

Nauvoo Expositor Site Nauvoo Illinois. The Nauvoo Expositor Site is where the Anti-Latter-day Saint Newspaper was being published. It is through the destruction of this newspaper where the mob men found permission to kill the prophet Joseph Smith.

Old Pioneer Cemetery this old pioneer cemetery in Nauvoo is a beautiful cemetery with many well known people from Church History.

Carthage Jail

Background of Carthage Jail learn about what led up to the death of the prophet Joseph Smith. How he ended up going to jail, and what occurred while he was in prison. This all comes from the first hand account of John Taylor.

Visiting Carthage Jail, Know Before You Go. Carthage Jail is a very big tourist attraction in the summer. There are large groups arriving all the time. Learn about when the best time to go would be.

Sites on the Way to Carthage

Joseph Smith Farm Site. Joseph Smith had his own farm, not near his home. He did work his own farm and had other people work it also, because of his many duties as prophet, he outsourced many different things. Joseph Smith's farm was important to him and his family.

The Big Field, Nauvoo Illinois The large amounts of immigrants arriving in Nauvoo every week, created a need for more food and housing. One of the ways the new Saints were provided for was The Big Field, where they all worked together to grow food.

Nauvoo City Tours, done by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has combined locations throughout Nauvoo and created seven different tours for all to enjoy. The tours of the LDS sites are done by missionaries both young and older, and all give great information to help history come alive in the homes and shops of Nauvoo. All the tours of the LDS owned buildings are free, and can take a couple days to get through all of them.

The missionaries finish giving tours around 5:00pm. Look over the whole list of Nauvoo sites and prioritize what you and your family will benefit from and plan accordingly. The time does go quickly with lots to see and do.

1. The Temple City Tour

The Temple City Tour: The Temple City tour consists of three different homes. The first home in the tour is the home of William and Caroline Weeks Home. William Weeks was the architect of the Nauvoo Temple. On display in the William Weeks Home are some of the original drawings of the Nauvoo Temple.

The second home on the tour is the Edward and Ann Hunter Home. The Edward and Ann Hunter Home you learn about the baptism proxy revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith.

The last stop on the temple tour is William and Esther Gheen Home. The Gheen family sacrificed much to follow the prophet, and ended up being the great-great Grandparents to the prophet Spencer W. Kimball.

2. The Homes of the Apostles

Touring the Apostles homes in Nauvoo is a great look into the past. With wonderful stories of the history told by the missionaries, the feelings of faith and fortitude are powerful in the homes of the apostles tour. The tour takes you through three different homes in the area, with great information at each stop.

The first stop on the Apostles home tour is the home of Orson and Marinda Hyde. This home is special because the Saints of Nauvoo built this home for Orson and his family while Orson was serving a mission.

The next stop of the Home of the Apostles Tour is the Heber and Vilate Kimball home. This home is the home that started off the restoration of the site in Nauvoo. This beautiful home was left behind with no buyer when the Saints were kicked out of Nauvoo, and years later a family member purchased the home and restored it for the family to enjoy. This started the rebuilding of many different homes in Nauvoo.

The last home on the Homes of the Apostles Tour is the Wilford and Phebe Woodruff Home. Wilford Woodruff only lived in his Nauvoo Home 64 days before the exodus from Nauvoo began. This home is a representation of the hope the Saints. Wilford Woodruff became the fourth prophet of The Church and left a powerful legacy.

Jennetta Richards Grave, Nauvoo Sites. Jennetta Richards was the first person to be baptized from Europe. She died young, and her grave is on the side of the road near the apostles homes.

3. Relief Society Foundations:

Hyrum and Sarah Grange Kimball Home

Lucy Mack Smith Home: Lucy Mack Smith Nauvoo Home is a special home restored for all to see the importance of Joseph Smith's mother on the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ on earth again. They show where the mummies of the Pear of Great Price were on display and much more!

Women's Garden: This Women's Garden was built after the only statue representing the Relief Society in Nauvoo was in disrepair. This beautiful garden represents the circles of the lives of women, and how every different era shapes the women and all around her sphere.

4. Main Street Trades:

The Main Street Trades teach about the different ways the pioneers built their community and could make Nauvoo blossom, by working together. The people of Nauvoo learned new skills and talents to help their families and ultimately helped the town grow to be one of the biggest towns in Illinois of the day, rivaling Chicago.

  • Stoddard Tin Shop (Tour starts here)
  • Browning Gun Shop
  • Taylor Home Printshop
  • Post Office
  • Riser Boot and Shoe Shop
  • Calvin and Sally Pendleton Home and Schoolhouse

5. Pioneer Life- learn about everyday life of the early Saints by touring the "Pioneer life" buildings. These buildings are full of fun and historical information about the early Nauvoo era, and how they kept their small town growing and flourishing.

  • Cultural Hall (Tour starts here)
  • Lyon Drug Store
  • Scovil Bakery
  • David and Patty Sessions Home
  • Pastimes Pavilion
  • Family Living Center
  • Wagon Ride Tour
  • Carriage Ride
  • Oxen Experience

More Sites

Aaron and Polly Johnson It was from the dock of Aaron and Polly Johnson that Joseph Smith tried to escape from the mob after the destruction of the printing press.

Exodus to Greatness Monument

Brigham and Mary Ann Young's Home

Nauvoo Visitors Center

Seventies Hall

Web Blacksmith and Wainwright Shop

Trail of Hope

Community of Christ Tour of Joseph Smith Properties

The Community of Christ owns many of the Joseph Smith Properties in Nauvoo. They do charge to tour the properties but it is only 5$ a person and they do a great job with the tours. They keep to factual information and are very kind about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The tour starts at the side of the Red Brick Store, and this is where tickets for the tour are sold.

The first stop is the Joseph Smith Homestead. Many amazing Church History accounts happened in Smith Homestead. This was the home Joseph lived in while in Nauvoo, and miracles followed Joseph Smith everywhere he went. One of the most amazing miracles was The healing of Malaria. Also, Emma Smith's contributions to the work at the homestead.

The Smith Family Cemetery. The Smith Family Cemetery is where Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Emma Smith were buried along with Lucy Smith and more. This post explains what happened to the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith after the martyrdom, and how they all ended up in the location they are now.

The Mansion House. The Mansion House was used as a Hotel for the people visiting Nauvoo. There were many people of importance who visited the Mansion House. The Mansion House also was used to display the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith after their deaths. Over 10,000 people came through the Mansion house to see the bodies of their fallen prophet and his brother.

The Nauvoo House. The Nauvoo House was under construction when the Prophet Joseph Smith died. THe Nauvoo House was meant to house large groups of Saints arriving in Nauvoo every week. The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were secretly buried in the basement of the Nauvoo House. Emma and her second husband finished the house and lived there for a time. Now it is used to rent out to youth groups.

Ending the Tour in the upstairs of the Red Brick Store. The re-built redbrick store is the location of the organization of the Relief Society, translating the Pearl of Great Price, important meetings and fun community gatherings all happened in the Red Brick Store. Joseph Smith, and the presiding Bishop of the Church, Newel K. Whitney, had offices in the Red Brick Store.

Lesser Known Nauvoo Sites Near Joseph Smith Properties

Foot of Main Street Nauvoo Illinois. The water levels of the Mississippi Rives have changed since the days of Joseph Smith. Many fun activities and documented moments with the prophet happened at the Foot of Main, right next to the Nauvoo House and the Joseph Smith Homestead.

Joseph Smith Platform in Nauvoo Illinois. a platform was built for the prophet to speak to the Nauvoo Legion before he was killed in Carthage. It was directly across from the Mansion house. The Governor of Illinois also used the platform to address the Saints after the prophet Joseph Smith was killed.

Joseph Smith's Brick Stable Site. Joseph Smith had a large stable of which he was very proud. It was close to his properties.

Nauvoo Survey Stone. The survey stone makers how the early Saints set up their city. This stone is next to the Joseph Smith homestead.

Nauvoo Pageants

Pageants in Nauvoo: The Nauvoo Pageant and British Pageant. There are two pageants that run during the month of July in Nauvoo, the British Pageant and the Nauvoo Pageant. This blog posts gives a summery on both.

The Nauvoo Pageant. The Nauvoo Pageant has been a well talked about pageants for many years, well loved by all. If you are interested in watching the Nauvoo Pageant this post explains more.

The British Pageant in Nauvoo Illinois. The British Pageant is not as well known but is an amazing performance teaching about the first missionaries in Europe and their converts.

Country Fair, before Nauvoo Pageant. The Celebrations start before the Nauvoo Pageant, with the County Fair. Pioneer dancing and activities for the whole family.

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