Once named the “Gateway to the Parks,” Cedar City, Utah has always been a main hub for its surrounding National Parks. Settled in 1851 by the pioneers, then named Cedar Fort, became the establishment of an iron works. Although iron is no longer mined in Cedar City, its rich history is still being taught at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. The Museum now features a horse-drawn wagon collection, Paiute native camp, sawmill, and replica blast furnace. These items help the museum to tell the story of the pioneers and there are a lot of hands-on activities to enjoy.
Also known as the “Festival City,” Cedar City has lots to offer to those interested in theatrical and cultural offerings. Each year the city hosts the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The festival produces eight must see shows each summer and fall. Several of the plays are written by William Shakespeare himself or by one of his contemporaries; however, the festival also produces many other plays as well. Also hosted at the festival is two weeks of playwrights and every evening a thirty-minute greenshow. The greenshow is underneath the whispering pines and offers lots of Elizabethan pastries. All the shows are a must see.
Another excellent festival is the Annual Neil Simon Festival. Produced right in the heart of downtown Cedar City, the festival is now on its 12th operating season. The festival produces several shows each summer and has become a tradition for all ages.
Groovefest is another famous summer activity. Started in 2000 by the Cretsingers, they wanted to share the art of music with those around them. The festival is now a seven day celebration including: Groovekids, LitFest, Campfire Concert in the Canyon, kick-off and after hour concerts, two days of free music, art, food and so much more. The Groovefest is dedicated to American Music and you will be able to find genres such as: Blues and folk, Bluegrass, Country Western, Americana, Jazz and Jam. Found at the Main Street Park this is a must see for everyone.
First opened in 1897 and named Branch Normal School, the commissions knew that Cedar City would be a great place to locate their new school. Since then the school has taken on several names, but in 1991 it became home of Southern Utah University. Now home to more than 7,000 students, Cedar City has continued to pursue its longevity of excellence in education. With now more than 100 acclaimed programs, more than 18 of them are bachelor and master programs. Students attend Southern Utah University because it can still offer them small classes and personalized education.
Cedar City and Southern Utah University are also home to the annual Utah Summer Games. Games such as: running, baseball, basketball, cycling, golf, gymnastics, and soccer are a few of the more competitive sports. However, you won’t be disappointed to find sports such as equestrian, bass fishing, karate, and table tennis, but the list just keeps going. The opening ceremonies include an athlete march, lighting of the torch and a never forgetting entrance of someone special. They pull out all of the stops for these games and you will enjoy every bit of it! The Utah Summer games also features one of the best firework shows in the whole state, making the open ceremonies a must see.
Featuring one of the best car shows in Southern Utah, Cedar City shuts down its main street to present the July Jamboree Car Show. Including lots of amazing cars, vendors, live bands and some great food. This car show is spot on and has something for the whole family to do.
Cedar City is still the “Gateway to the Parks” and is only a short driving distance to Zion National Park, Kolob, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks and the famous Brian Head Resort. And if you’re in the mood for a quant little town, then you must check out Duck Creek. A 30-minute drive up cedar mountain, it’s a great day trip. You can enjoy the scenic drive and some fun little shops. The resort town also has lots of rentals and is only a short drive to Brian Head.
The best-kept secret is located downtown on Historic Main Street. Open since the 1950s, Bulloch Drug Store offers the most amazing ice cream soda fountain. The soda fountain offers Ironport or sarsaparilla and they make the best milk shakes, ice cream sodas, malts, banana splits and of course sundaes. Did I mention that they have the most amazing candy? They are also the only place that still offers “penny candy!” Wood ‘N Lace Place and Comforts of Home have some of the cutest accessories and home décor in town. You will not be disappointed if you visit Bulloch Drug Store.
Other activities that makes Cedar City your next vacation are: The Cedar Livestock and Heritage Festival, Cedar city Half Marathon, Great American Stampede, Tour of Utah, and so much more. So come enjoy the scenic views, the theatre, the festivals and all that Cedar City has to offer.