The 10 Best Things to Do in Cedar City, United States

January 8, 2018 Janette Largent

Just a couple of hours north of Las Vegas lies an oasis called Cedar City. Home to Southern Utah University, and close to a number of scenic national parks, this charming and compact city offers visitors a great home base for exploring the area. Golf, skiing, biking and other outdoor recreational activities abound. In the summer, mountain bikers flock to the Brian Head Peak Activity Center, for challenging runs and spectacular scenery. Also called the "Festival City," Cedar City plays host to a number of prestigious film, theater and art festivals throughout the year (the summer Shakespearean Festival is one of the more well-known fetes), making anytime a great time to visit.
Restaurants in Cedar City

1. Utah Shakespeare Festival

351 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720-2470 +1 435-586-7878
Excellent
90%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 482 reviews

Utah Shakespeare Festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival produces the work of Shakespeare and other classic playwrights in three spaces at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts in Cedar City Utah. Plays, orientations, seminars, Greenshows, classes, camps, and tours complete a Festival experience.

Reviewed By Scarehaircare - South Jordan, Utah

I honestly wondered if my teams would get into watching Midsummer Nights Dream. But they were laughing along with the rest of the audience. Even my daughter with Down syndrome was laughing hysterically at some of the visual jokes. The physicality and comedic timing of the performers was incredible. There is a cliff notes lecture of the evenings plays you can attend prior to the performances that helps to prep your teens with the storyline and characters they will see. The day after the performances the festival offers an morning lecture where the audience can talk about the play they viewed and ask questions or share thoughts. My teens were hesitant to go to the play but admitted that they enjoyed it.

2. Cedar Breaks National Monument

State Highway 143, Cedar City, UT 84720 +1 435-586-9451
Excellent
76%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 989 reviews

Cedar Breaks National Monument

A smaller version of Bryce Canyon, this 2,500-foot deep basin filled with strange limestone formations in a vivid array of colors and hues offers breathtaking views on a five-mile drive along the rim. This naturally formed amphitheater has guided walks in the summer and a few designated hiking trails.

Reviewed By CrankingChick - Tucson, Arizona

We have been to Cedar Breaks on two separate visits 30 years apart, and we love it there. The vibrant vermilion "hoodoo" rock formations are very similar to those at Bryce Canyon National Park, but are concentrated in a smaller area. Cedar Breaks is less well-known and therefore less crowded than Bryce Canyon. I don't think that the commercial tour buses visiting "The Mighty 5" parks stop there, possibly because the roads to get there (Utah State Routes 14 or 143) are curvy two-lane mountain roads. The park is compact; you can spend as little as 30 minutes if you just want to peek at some overlooks, or as much as 1-2 days if you want to camp and hike. We spent about 2.5 hours there to visit all the overlooks and take a hike. The elevation at Cedar Breaks is over 10,000', so the temperatures are much cooler up there than in the surrounding valleys. The park is prone to winter weather, and the scenic access road (Utah State Route 148) is typically closed from late-October through mid-May. [Note that winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiliing are permitted but facilities are closed; see website.] Unless you're planning to visit in summer, I strongly suggest checking the park website to make sure it's open. It was September both times we visited. The first time we went it was the end of the month and the park was open but it was 29 degrees, windy and snowing! On our recent trip, we visited on a Tuesday morning about the second week of the month. There were rain showers in the forecast and it was cool, but pleasant for hiking.

There is not a lodge or restaurant at Cedar Breaks. There's a campground that is open in summer, other than that the closest services are at Brian Head ski area (4-5 miles), Cedar City (20-25 miles), and Duck Creek Village (about 15 miles). We stayed at Cedar City and drove up the mountain on UT14 through Cedar Canyon first thing in the morning. It was a very scenic drive - I wish we had waited until the sun was a little higher in the sky because the canyon was still somewhat shaded by the surrounding mountains. This route passes Cedar Canyon Overlook about 17 miles east of Cedar City, where the Bristlecone Pine Trail leads .3 mile one-way to a panoramic view south toward Zion National Park (not wheelchair accessible).

The scenic access road for Cedar Breaks is UT148, a 7.5 mile, two-lane paved road that runs north-south between UT14 and UT143. It skirts the eastern rim of the massive bowl-shaped amphitheater and leads to 4 overlooks of the enchanting hoodoos below. The visitor center is located at the southern end of the road at Point Supreme Overlook, where visitors are expected to show NPS passes or pay the entrance fee ($6/person, age 15 and under free). It's typically open 9:00am-6pm, providing maps, information, souvenirs and restrooms. The overlooks are all worth the time to stop, offering different vantage points of the amazing geologic formations. Walkways are short, paved and suitable for wheelchairs.

We parked at Point Supreme and checked out the overlook and visitor center, then followed the paved trail across the road to the campground and picnic area where we connected to the newly-paved Sunset Trail. This path winds through alpine meadow, evergreen and aspen trees to the Sunset View Overlook. There were wildflowers all along the way, and we were enchanted by the friendly golden-mantled ground squirrels that were scurrying everywhere. It was quiet in the morning - we only saw one other couple the whole way. The walking distance from the visitor center to Sunset View is about 2-2.5 miles round trip. There are some gradual grades but it's suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. Before setting off to hike, you should be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, shortness of breath, fatigue). Go slow and drink plenty of fluids. Note that pets are only allowed on the paved trail between the visitor center and campground.

Two additional hiking trails are available in the park (not wheelchair accessible). The Ramparts Trail starts at Point Supreme parking lot and leads along the rim to Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook for views of the amphitheater and bristlecone pine trees (4 miles round-trip, steep grades). The Alpine Pond Trail is a 2-mile loop with trail heads at Chessmen Ridge Overlook on its south end and along the scenic drive on its north end (about a mile north of Chessmen).

After enjoying our hike and all the overlooks at Cedar Breaks, we ventured just about a mile north of the North View Overlook to Brian Head Peak (see separate reviews of Brian Head Peak Observation). This attraction is not part of the National Monument but is right next to it and well-worth the time! Access is via Forest Road 047 which is a dirt and gravel road that climbs steeply around the edge of the mountain peak for 2.7 miles to an elevation of 11,307' for spectacular views of 3 states. After consulting the rangers at Cedar Breaks about road condition, we attempted this drive in a low-clearance 2WD car. The views were worth it, but the road was quite rough and rutted and we had to go very slow.

From Brian Head we set out eastward for Panguitch and Bryce Canyon via the Patchwork Parkway scenic drive (UT143) through the Dixie National Forest; see separate reviews of "Brian Head-Panquitch Lake Scenic Byway".

3. Dixie National Forest

Cedar City, UT +1 800-733-5263
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 283 reviews

Dixie National Forest

A two-million acre national forest replete with natural wonders, "The Dixie" has deep canyons, fascinating rock formations, mountains, lakes and towering ponderosa pines. Visitors can hike, fish, camp or simply immerse themselves in the natural beauty.

Reviewed By CrankingChick - Tucson, Arizona

Dixie National Forest covers a huge area of public land in southwestern Utah and includes some of its best-loved attractions. The forest is divided into four diverse districts: Pine Valley, Cedar City, Powell and Escalante. [Note that while this Tripadvisor page has Dixie Forest listed under Things to Do in Cedar City, only the Pine Valley and Cedar City Districts are close to that town.] We had the pleasure of taking a road trip through the area for several days in mid-September. The weather was perfect that time of year and the scenery was spectacular! Dixie has something for everyone: pine and aspen forest, lakes, rocky canyons, waterfalls, alpine mountain peaks, historic sites, and colorful rock formations. There are many opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, bicycling, fishing, horseback riding, skiing and OHV and back-country touring. We didn't experience any bad traffic congestion, and the only crowds of tourists we encountered were at Bryce Canyon*. Don't be in a rush when traveling this area; the roads are two-lane with some sections of grades and mountain curves.

(* indicates Tripadvisor has a separate review page for this attraction)

After visiting the north rim of Grand Canyon* and Zion National Park*, we stayed overnight at Cedar City. From there we took the scenic drive east into the forest on Utah State Route 14, which climbs steadily through the sandstone cliffs of Cedar Canyon and past the the coral-striped ridges of Blowhard Mountain to Cedar Canyon Overlook. There, the Bristlecone Pine Trail leads .3 mile one-way to a panoramic view south toward Zion National Park (not wheelchair accessible, but there were views from the road). We drove State Route 148 north and spent the morning hiking and enjoying the overlooks at Cedar Breaks National Monument* and Brian Head Observation Point*. Next we followed State Route 143, the Patchwork Parkway Scenic Byway (listed on Tripadvisor as "Brian Head-Panguitch Lake Scenic Byway"), east through the aspen trees passing lava fields and Panguitch Lake. It was sad to see the aftermath of the devastating Brian Head fire last summer, but fortunately some of the forest survived the blaze. After eating lunch in Panguitch, where the whole town center is a historic district, we took US89 south to Highway 12 Scenic Byway* and headed east. This incredibly beautiful route passes through the stunning Red Canyon*, where we stopped at the visitor center and hiked among splendid orange rock formations. We spent the entire next day exploring the renowned Bryce Canyon National Park* before pressing eastward on Highway 12. It ventures through more awesome scenery as it passes through sections of Dixie Forest and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument*.

This part of the country is rich with amazing, extraordinary landscapes, and it's easy to see why it has been preserved for everyone to enjoy. We have taken numerous road trips all over the U.S. and this territory remains one of our utmost favorite regions.

4. Frontier Homestead State Park Museum

635 N Main St, Cedar City, UT 84721-6179 +1 435-586-9290
Excellent
58%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 147 reviews

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum

Discover the pioneer and early industrial history of Cedar City, Iron County, and southwest Utah through an extensive horse-drawn wagon collection, historic buildings, Paiute native camp, sawmill and replica blast furnace. Enjoy many hands-on activities and interpretive programs throughout the year, including Sheep-to-Shawl, Archaeology Day, Iron Mission Days, cemetery tours, and Christmas at the Homestead.

Reviewed By murfinva - Newport News, Virginia

Can't beet the price. The Frontier Homestead traces the history of Cedar City. Lots of historic items. The museum hall has a lot of vehicles, art exhibits and a weaving exhibit. The back yard includes a restored house and a exhibit on iron mining and processing. Definitely a view from the past. Staff are very pleasant and helpful. The small admission is well worth the visit. Exhibits also included native American, old farming and trade machinery, carriages and wagons. A must see stop while in Cedar City.

5. Adams Shakespearean Theatre

351 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720-2470 +1 800-752-9849
Excellent
92%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 70 reviews

Adams Shakespearean Theatre

The Adams Shakesepearean Theater, one of the venues of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, hosted its last performances in 2015. The Utah Shakespeare Festival now performs in three spaces, near the same location. the Engelstad Theater (a 900 seat outdoor replica of Shakespeare's Globe theater), the Randall L. Jones theater (an indoor, 750 seat space), and the Eileen and Alan Anes Studio Theater (a 200 seat studio performance space).

Reviewed By moijadore - Washington DC, District of Columbia

This historic theater is now closed because it is not up to code. It is scheduled to be demolished. A new multi-million dollar venue is being constructed scheduled to open for the 2016 season.

6. Cascade Falls

None, Cedar City, UT
Excellent
44%
Good
49%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 54 reviews

Cascade Falls

Reviewed By David L - Murray, Utah

This is a short hike with some great rewards for not-a-lot of effort. The views to the south show the drainage into Zion National Park in the distance. The falls are interesting, but nothing spectacular. Trail is OK for kids, but keep close watch toward the falls end.

7. Southern Utah Museum of Art

13 S 300 W, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720 +1 435-586-5432
Excellent
66%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 46 reviews

Southern Utah Museum of Art

The Southern Utah Museum of Art, on the campus of Southern Utah University, features the artwork of regional artists known for their landscapes, faculty and student artists from the SUU Department of Art + Design, as well as emerging and distinguished artists from around the country. Strengths of the nearly 2,000-object permanent collection include the body of work by Jimmie Jones that exemplifies his notable career in the region, as well as a robust collection of prints featuring well-known artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Salvador Dalí, Katsushika Hokusai, Thomas Hart Benton, and others. Part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, which also includes the Utah Shakespeare Festival, SUMA is free and open to the public.

Reviewed By TimoniumBob - Timonium, Maryland

This is a new museum on the campus of SUU. Handsome architecture, limited collection but what they have is worth seeing, docents helpful. We drove from Panguitch and saw Cedar Breaks Monument along the way which makes the trip well worth while. Eat in a...MoreWe are thrilled to hear you enjoyed your visit to Cedar City and SUMA. Thank you for your review. We hope you will revisit soon.

94 W Center St, Cedar City, UT 84720-2558 +1 435-586-4850
Excellent
90%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 28 reviews

Artisans Gallery

Reviewed By TessHa094 - Salt Lake City, Utah

This gallery has a mix of art: handprinted black and white images (very hard to find examples of this that are done well); oils, woodblock, sculpture...a wide variety. The mix also includes a variety of price points, for the serious collector down to the person looking for a travel memento.

The gallery owner is knowledgeable about the different processes and types of work in his gallery, and he adds a great deal to your understanding and appreciation of your purchase. He also works with the artists to make sure you find what you like. We wanted a bigger edition of an item, and he contacted the artist and arranged it. Great customer service.

We stop every time we come down just to see what's new!

9. Cedar City Aquatic Center

2090 W Royal Hunte Dr, Cedar City, UT 84720-1883 +1 435-865-9223
Excellent
65%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27 reviews

Cedar City Aquatic Center

Reviewed By behindeverycloud - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Traveling but still want to work out? This is the place! Completely clean! 4.50 a person! Excellent and friendly staff. Just a beautiful facility with a great work out room and excellent pools! Ample locker room, too! Life guards and desk staff very kind young people! The water slide was my first and it was so much fun!!

10. Coal Creek Trail

Cedar City, UT 84720
Excellent
64%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Coal Creek Trail

Reviewed By EllenBread

This trail is part of a trail system that goes through Cedar City and up into Cedar Canyon with a vista of a lovely waterfall thanks to melting spring snows. Numerous information plaques add interest to the trail. Several benches along the trail provide places to rest of just enjoy the view. We walked up into the canyon to the 3.5 mile marker near the falls but the trail went beyond.

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