14 Great Things To Do in Surprisingly Fun Cedar City, Utah

Cedar City Mural
Downtown Cedar City

Cedar City is located about 250 miles (400 km), 3 hours 20 minutes, south of Salt Lake City along Interstate 15. It is well known for being home to Southern Utah University, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Utah Summer Games.

However, there is so much more to do and see in Cedar City than festivals and games! Cedar City is also home to a state park, historic sites, an eclectic downtown, incredible restaurants, and is a gateway to Brian Head, Zion National Park, and more!

Keep reading to learn all the best places to visit on your next trip to Cedar City!

PlaceLocationDrive time from
Cedar City
Frontier Homestead State ParkDowntown0-5 minutes~$4 per person; under 7 free
Southern Utah Museum of ArtDowntown0-5 minutesFree
Old IrontownWest of Cedar City20 minutesFree
Downtown Cedar CityDowntown0-5 minutesFree
Cedar City Aquatic CenterDowntown0-5 minutes~$4.50-$5/person
Cedar Breaks National MonumentEast of Cedar City45 minutes~$10.00 per person 16 and older
Brian Head ResortEast of Cedar City40 minutesVaries
Utah Shakespeare FestivalDowntown0-5 minutes~$11-$85/person
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs & Dino TracksNorth of Cedar City25 minutesFree
Kanarra FallsNorth of Cedar City20 minutes~$12 per person; permit required
Zion National ParkSouth of Cedar City1 hour~$35/vehicle
St George CitySouth of Cedar City45 minutesvaries
Bryce Canyon National ParkEast of Cedar City1 hour 30 minutes~$35/vehicle
Cathedral GorgeWest of Cedar City1 hour 30 minutes~$5-$10/vehicle

Frontier Homestead State Park

Stagecoach at the Frontier Homestead State Park
Frontier Homestead State Park

Frontier Homestead State Park is located right in Cedar City’s downtown area! This state park is home to a museum with fun hands-on displays, historic artifacts, historic buildings, and more. Telling the history of Utah’s native people, and earliest settlers.

Panning for gold
Panning for Gold at Frontier Homestead State Park

The best part about this state park is that once you go through all the indoor exhibits you get to go outside to explore even more! Some of the fun things include: walking through multiple historic pioneer homes and a replica of a native American pit house, panning for gold, and dressing up as prisoners to stand in a prison cell for fun pictures!

Things to know before you go:

  • It is roughly $4 per person to enter the Frontier Homestead.
  • Hours vary with the seasons. They are as follows: Spring – 9 am to 6 pm, Mon-Sun; Summer – 9 am to 7 pm, Mon-Sun; Fall – 9 am to 6 pm, Mon-Sat; Winter – 9 am to 5 pm, Mon-Sat.

Southern Utah Museum of Art

The Southern Utah Museum of Art is located on the Southern Utah University Campus. This museum is free and open to the public. It features art not only from faculty and students of the school but also from up-and-coming artists from around the country.

The exhibits change throughout the year, so this is a great spot to visit anytime you are in Cedar City!

Things to know before you go:

  • Hours vary depending on the time of year. It is closed on Sundays. June-September it is open 10 am-8 pm and October-May it is open 10 am-6 pm.
  • The Southern Utah Museum of Art is free.

Old Irontown

Structure at Old Irontown
Old Irontown

Old Irontown is a historic site located about 20 minutes west of Cedar City. It is home to the ruins of the Old Irontown, or as it was known then, Iron City. This city was founded in 1868 for the purpose of mining Iron, but after failing to get a decent yield the town was abandoned by the 1876s.

Today you can walk trails around the ruins of the Iron Town, including a beehive-style charcoal oven, a furnace, and foundations of different buildings. There are signs and plaques to read about the old town and the iron industry there.

Things to know before you go:

  • This is a free spot to explore.
  • The trails have very little shade so wear sunscreen and bring water!
  • Check out our recommended gear for hiking.

Downtown Cedar City

Cedar City Movie Theater

Downtown Cedar City is a fun place to walk around, eat, and shop! Take a stroll past the Cedar City mural (pictured at the beginning of the article) and stop in for some pizza at Centro Woodfired Pizzeria! Stroll past the old Cedar Movie Theater and the Union Pacific Railroad Depot, built in 1923. Then stop in for some sweets at Bulloch Drug Store & Soda Fountain, which has been a Cedar City favorite since 1955!

Downtown Cedar is lined with many fun, little shops and boutiques. You can easily spend a few hours wandering around. Also located downtown is the Frontier Homestead State Park (mentioned above), which is well worth a visit!

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Cedar City Aquatic Center

Cedar City Aquatic Center is a fun place to swim and play any time of the year as it is indoors! Float around the lazy river, play and splash on the playground, zip down the water slides, do laps in the lap pool or relax in the hot tub. They also have a gym available for use.

Things to know before you go:

  • There are different hours for open swimming, lap swimming, and water walking. Open swim is Monday-Friday 4:30 pm-8:30 pm, Saturday 12:00 pm-6:00 pm.
  • The center is closed on Sunday.
  • You can host gatherings and parties here, contact the center to book.
  • Children 3 & under, or anyone not potty trained, must wear a swim diaper and plastic cover.
  • Prices for the center are as follows: Adults 18-62 ~$5.00, Youth 4-17 ~$4.50, Senior 63+ ~$4.50, Toddler 0-3 Free with paying adult, Military 10% off with ID. Check the website for current pricing.
  • You can also purchase memberships or punch passes, a 10-punch pass is ~$41, and a 20-punch pass is ~$79. Check the website for current pricing.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

View at Cedar Breaks
Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument is an incredible place to visit. Located east of Cedar City, it takes about 45 minutes to drive there. The National Parks Website describes Cedar Breaks perfectly:

Crowning the grand staircase, Cedar Breaks sits at over 10,000 feet and looks down into a half-mile deep geologic amphitheater. Come wander among timeless bristlecone pines, stand in lush meadows of wildflower, ponder crystal-clear night skies and experience the richness of our subalpine forest.

The park is open year-round, but is difficult to access from October – May. However, you can ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile up to Cedar Breaks in the winter when the roads are rough or completely closed.

During the Summer the road is open and you can drive right up to the overlook, no need for hiking!

Cedar Breaks Overlook
Cedar Breaks Overlook

For us, this is a must-stop near Cedar City, especially when you pair it with Brian Head Resort, which is a great stop any time of the year!

Brian Head Resort

Sitting at the top of Brian Head Mountain
Sitting on the top of Brian Head Mountain
Chair Lift at Brian Head
Chair lift at Brian Head

Brian Head is right near the Cedar Breaks National Monument and is known for its ski slopes but it also hosts fun events and activities all summer long! You can ride the lift to the top, watch live music, ride the zipline, tube the hill, do archery, play disc golf, or enjoy the climbing wall and bungee trampolines.

Of course, you can’t forget about the hiking and mountain biking trails around the resort! Brian Head is an incredible destination year-round.

Things to know before you go:

Utah Shakespeare Festival

Probably what Cedar City is most known for is its Shakespeare Festival. This amazing festival takes place every summer at Southern Utah University.

The Festival was founded in 1961, with its first shows hitting theaters in 1962. It began due to summer tourists visiting nearby National Parks needing more evening activities. One actor decided to start up a theater! This new festival drew the crowds into Cedar City businesses and has continued to do so ever since.

Today, the festival draws in huge crowds and takes place on the SUU campus. The shows are held in three separate theaters, all within the Beverly Taylor Sorensen Center for the Arts. Shows take place every June through October. Grab your tickets by phone, online, or in person at the ticket office.

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs & Dinosaur Tracks

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Petroglpyhs

A short 25-minute drive to the north of Cedar City brings you to Parowan Gap! This area not only features incredible rock walls covered in petroglyphs, markings from Spanish Explorers and 19th-century pioneers but also a dinosaur track site.

It has been highly speculated what the petroglyphs may mean, but no one can be quite sure! But there are interpretive signs at this site that help explain some theories behind them! Wander both sides of the road to look at all the petroglyphs.

Another couple miles further down the road is the dinosaur track site. It is marked by a sign and a small parking lot. Follow the trail around the tracks. Each track is clearly marked with a metal post so they are easy to spot!

Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracks
Parowan Gap Dinosaur Tracks

Things to know before you go:

  • There is a decent-sized parking area with a bathroom at the petroglyph site.
  • No real hiking is needed for the petroglyphs or the dinosaur tracks, just wander around and see them!

Kanarra Falls

Slot Canyon going to Kanarra Falls
Slot Canyon going to Kanarra Falls

Kanarra Falls is one of those iconic must-do Utah hikes! Featuring desert landscapes, slot canyons, and waterfalls! Located to the north of Cedar City, it is only a short 20-minute drive to the falls which are near the town of Kanarraville.

The hike is 3.7 miles out and back. Once you reach the first waterfall, you can scale the ladder and climb over a few boulders to get to the second falls. The canyon narrows the further you get in. Do not go beyond this second waterfall.

Ladder by the first falls
Ladder by the first falls
Second Falls
Second Falls

Things to know before you go:

  • To visit you must purchase tickets in advance (they sell out!). They are ~$12 a person and are non-refundable.
  • NEVER enter a slot canyon when there is a chance of rain or has been recent rain. Flash floods are a major risk in slot canyons.
  • Bring your ID with you to check in for your hike.
  • You will be partially hiking in a creek. The water can be cold in the spring and in the fall! Wear appropriate shoes and possibly neoprene socks.
  • There are bathrooms at the trailhead.
  • This is a watershed area, so make sure to pack out all garbage and do not go to the bathroom along the trail!

Where to Eat in Cedar City

Cedar City has a small-town vibe but has been rapidly growing in recent years. Along with that growth, many chains and fast-food restaurants have popped up. But Cedar City does have some great restaurants that we think are well worth the visit!

Centro Wood-Fired Pizza

Centro Wood Fired Pizza has to be my favorite restaurant in Cedar City! I love a good Margherita pizza, and you can definitely get that here! But you honestly cannot go wrong with any of their pizzas. You can even build your own! Their appetizers and salads are also great, we have never had a meal here that we did not enjoy.

All American Diner

This is THE spot to grab a burger, fries, and a milkshake in Cedar City. You won’t just find good food here, but also good prices! And the countless good reviews speak for themselves.

This is definitely a great spot to bring the family for a meal. Breakfast is served all day!

Bunnisa’s Thai Cuisine

If you are a Thai food fan, this is a stop for you! The chef is Thai and the food is to die for!

I love a good pad see ew, spring rolls, and mango sticky rice any day. It is so nice to know there is a good Thai food spot in Southern Utah.

Don’t let the building scare you away, the inside is clean and the staff is friendly and welcoming!

Bowman’s Cowboy Kitchen

Bowmans Cowboy Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from their sit-down restaurant. They offer everything from steaks and prime rib to burgers & French toast!

They definitely do not skimp on portions here! Make sure to grab some hickory fries if you visit!

Where to Visit Near Cedar City

Cedar City is a great jumping-off point for many great Utah destinations. Listed below are some of our favorites.

Zion National Park

Middle Emerald Pools in Zion
Middle Emerald Pools, Zion National Park

Zion National Park is Utah’s most visited National Park, home to the popular Angel’s Landing and the Narrows hikes. Its towering red rock canyons are truly incredible to see up close.

This park is about an hour south of Cedar City.

We have travel itineraries for Zion National Park, as well as articles and videos about the park, that will help you have a successful trip to Zion.

Fees are ~$35/per vehicle and the pass is good for 7 days.

St. George

Red Reef Trail in Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
Red Reef Trail, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area

St. George is a destination for many travelers from Northern Utah, as well as those visiting from out of state. With Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow State Park, Pioneer Park, and Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, it is an outdoor lovers’ playground.

St. George is located about 45 minutes south of Cedar City.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
People hiking in Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is one of Utah’s Mighty Five! One of the five National Parks in Utah and definitely not one to be overlooked!

It has towering red hoodoos and breathtaking trails! Every time we looked up or turned a corner while at this park, we were amazed!

If you venture down into the hoodoos at Bryce, be prepared for a climb back out. Even though it may be challenging, the climb is definitely worth it to walk amongst the hoodoos.

We feature many articles about Bryce Canyon here on our website.

Bryce is about an hour and a half east of Cedar City.

Entrance Fees are ~$35/per vehicle, the pass is good for 7 days.

Cathedral Gorge

Cathedral Gorge State Park is located an hour and a half west of Cedar City in Nevada!

This unique state park features some incredible towering spires that you can walk through and explore. It is an incredible geologic area that is simply amazing to behold. It is well worth the drive out!

There is camping available here along with bathrooms, a regional visitors center, a four-mile loop trail, and a one-mile connector trail to explore the park.

Entrance fees are ~$5 for residents, and ~$10 for non-residents (per car).

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

As mentioned earlier, Zion and Bryce National Parks are relatively close to the Cedar City area. A trip to Southern Utah is not complete until you have visited one or both of them. Many visitors like to visit these areas but they are huge! They often wonder what they should see and what they should do when visiting.

The planning can be overwhelming and frustrating.

Lucky for you, we have you covered. Most travelers want to visit the most popular sites, yet still try to avoid the crowds. We have detailed itineraries for Zion and Bryce. Both itineraries will give you a step-by-step game plan so you can get to the best places at the right times!


ZION TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Zion National Park, check out our  Zion Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Don’t miss all that Zion has to offer including Emerald Pools, Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, and Kolob Canyons

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat in and near Zion National Park

GREAT CITIES TO STAY OR CHECK OUT: Learn where to stay or camp when visiting Zion and explore some amazing cities nearby including St. George, Kanab, and Cedar City

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out if you need a reservation and how to use the shuttle system as well as if you can drive in Zion, which entrance to use, and how to avoid crowds

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Zion National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Zion YouTube Playlist


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