Tons of Things to Do Around Cedar City, Utah
By Susan Cathleen Wentz
If you are looking for a unique, multi-faceted vacation experience, look no further than Cedar City, Utah, which is nestled cozily near the towering mountain peaks of Southern Utah. Cedar City is the principal city in Iron County. This Southern Utah paradise not only boasts of its outdoor recreation offerings, whether it’s winter or summer, it is awash in cultural attractions as well.
Here is a just a sampling of the fun in store in Iron County:
Cedar Breaks National Monument
This wonder of a geologic amphitheater formed from colorful red rock offers a gorgeous vista from outlooks at 10,000 feet above sea level and has brought tourists from all over the world.
There is a fascinating variety of activities available at Cedar Breaks. Hike along comfortable, tree shaded trails or along the amphitheater rim if you’re looking for a spectacular view. A 26-site campground at the monument offers ranger-led education programs during the summer months.
The park also hosts a series of star-gazing events called Star Parties as well as a Wildflower Festival during the summer months.
Brian Head Resort
This winter resort opened to skiing buffs in the winter of 1964-65, starting out as a one chairlift operation. The resort has grown exponentially and offers more than just skiing (that includes night skiing). Snowboarders now shoot down Brian Head’s many runs, and the those who are a little squeamish about skiing or snowboarding can enjoy a tamer downhill experience at two tubing parks.
Additionally, Brian Head provides skiers and snowboarders with two progressively challenging terrain parks created to help beginning to advanced hotdoggers improve their skills.
Winter sports buffs can lodge at several hotels at the resort or enjoy the many hotels and motels in Cedar City and Parowan (the small town located near the foot of Highway 143 leading to Brian Head).
Utah Summer Games
One of the premier events in Cedar City is the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games, headquartered at Southern Utah University. However, many of the 40 sporting competitions that make up the Summer Games are scattered throughout many locations in Iron County.
The Summer Games Mission Statement says it all:
“Celebrating excellence in the human spirit and healthy lifestyles through extraordinary sporting events and competition.”
Amateur athletes with a wide range of skill levels come from throughout the western United States to test their mettle every June. An average of 9,600 athletes participate each year, attracting 50,000 spectators and recruiting 1,000 dedicated volunteers.
One of the high points of the Utah Summer Games is the Opening Ceremonies. This fantastic spectacle celebrates the participating athletes while presenting an engaging show with special entertainment and a spellbinding fireworks display.
Utah Shakespeare Festival
The Utah Shakespeare Festival, which is affiliated with Southern Utah University, has been delighting theater goers for more than 50 years now. The Tony and Emmy Award winning festival begins in late June and extends throughout the summer and into the fall.
The Festival produces the great Shakespeare classic plays such as “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “MacBeth,” and so many more. It has also staged performances of beloved musicals such as “Mary Poppins” and “Les Miserables.” Community members and theater guests can also enjoy rollicking music and dance presentations fondly known as “The Greenshow” before all evening performances during the summer.
A complete listing of the plays for the Festival’s 2019 Summer and Fall seasons, and related events, is available on its website.
Neil Simon Festival
Believe it or not, the Utah Shakespeare Festival is not the only theater game in Cedar City during the summer. The Neil Simon Festival presents the delightful works of the beloved American playwright while presenting other American plays and honoring American theater by encouraging the work of aspiring new American playwrights with its annual New Play Contest. For information about the 2019 Neil Simon Festival, go to simonfest.org.
This is only a small sampling of the great times awaiting you in Cedar City, Utah. The area also boasts the annual Paiute Restoration Pow-Wow, bicycle and hiking trails winding through Cedar City, the Cedar City Heritage and Livestock Festival, and so much more. For a complete rundown of all the activities Iron County holds out to visitors, check out the website for the Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau
Photo credits: Taming of the Shrew (Photo by Karl Hugh, copyright Utah Shakespeare Festival, 2015); Cedar Breaks National Monument (Courtesy of Cedar City•Brian Head Tourist Bureau); Brian Head Resort (Photo by Louis Arevalo); Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies March of the Athletes (Courtesy of Cedar City•Brian Head Tourist Bureau)
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