Obviously, this is the first step in any visit to the Utah Shakespearean Festival. There are three or four productions per day on the stages of the Adams Shakespearean Theatre and the Randall L. Jones Theatre on the Southern Utah University campus. Tickets range from $21 to $68, depending on the day and the seat location. This year’s summer season runs through Sept. 4, and includes MacBeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, The 39 Steps, Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations. Visit Bard.org for a full schedule, tickets and more festival information.
Get a Room
The Utah Shakespearean Festival is an economic boon to the community, and all manner of hotels and bed-and-breakfasts offer special deals for fest-goers. Check out the festival’s lodging page (Bard.org/visit/lodging) to find out where to get a deal somewhere close to the action. Note: Campus dorm housing is no longer available.
Get Some Grub
With 64 years of doing business in Cedar City, Sullivan’s must be doing something right. And that something is a menu of heart-attack/hangover breakfasts perfect for getting a jump on a full day or for recovering from a late night. Ranging in price from $5 to $10, you can get hearty fare like biscuits and gravy, omelets and the “Shepherd’s Breakfast” (hash browns topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, sausage and two eggs). Lunch and dinner are also worth checking out, and Sulli’s has a full liquor license and is open until 10 p.m., making this one of Cedar City’s few “late” dining options. 301 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-6761, SullivansCafe.com
La Casa Don Miguel
This charming little joint on Cedar City’s Main Street isn’t kidding with its name—it is literally located in a brightly painted little old house converted into a place serving authentic, fresh Mexican fare. The décor inside is nice enough, but a shady table under the trees in the backyard is perfect for summer. The menu has everything you’d expect, done in a traditional style, and the house-made salsas they bring to your table with chips are perfect complements to the straightforward house margaritas. 453 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-6855
Garden House of Cedar City
If you’re looking for something more luxurious or romantic, the Garden House fits the bill and is within easy walking distance of the Adams theater. A Victorian house converted into a restaurant, the Garden House boasts an expansive yard and old stone patio both filled with tables, as is the interior. The menu is full of steaks, pastas and seafood, as well as fresh soups daily. 164 S. 100 West, Cedar City, 435-586-6110
Get a Drink
There are bars in Cedar City, in case you need a cocktail and don’t want to do your drinking in a restaurant with a full liquor license. Mike’s Tavern (90 W. Hoover Ave., 435-867-5990) has a full liquor and beer selection, is within spitting distance of the festival and features a clientele ranging from ranchers to college kids competing on the karaoke mic. A few blocks away, Toadz (432 N. 100 West, 435-867-8988) has a full bar as well, a couple pool tables and deejays spinning dance music on the weekends. And if you’d rather settle in with a homegrown cocktail next to the pool at your hotel, the Cedar City liquor store (1580 S. Providence Center Drive, 435-586-1644) is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Get Some Culture
This coffee house offers proof that you can find both caffeine and late-night entertainment in heavily LDS Cedar City. It opens early for your coffee fix—7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. on Sunday—and books occasional music shows throughout the year. And every Thursday night during the Utah Shakespearean Festival, it turns into a cabaret around 10 p.m., with actors from the festival descending on the coffee shop to sing, dance, do comedy, recite poetry—you name it. It’s a great way to diversify your entertainment options while in Cedar, and to meet some of the acting company, if you can recognize them in something besides Elizabethan attire. 19 N. Main, Cedar City, 435-867-5333, GroovinAtTheGrind.com
Tim and Lisa Cretsinger packed up their record store in Oregon a decade ago and set up shop in Cedar City, sensing a college community ready to bloom. Since then, they’ve spearheaded the annual Groovefest music festival, created their own record label and found a number of touring and local musicians venues to play in Cedar. It would be a much quieter (and less fun) town without Groovacious, which also happens to be one of the best record stores in Utah, if not the entire West. 173 N. 100 West, Cedar City, 435-867-9800, Groovacious.com
The Festival Experience
While seeing a couple of plays a day might be enough for some, the festival offers all manner of “extras” that can fill your days between curtain calls and greatly enhance your Shakespearean experience. Backstage tours show how an ornate production comes together, through the costumes, props, scenery and lights, while literary seminars led by Shakespearean scholars (often joined by directors and actors) every Tuesday through Sunday at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. offer chances to discuss the play you saw the night before with experts and fellow audience members. There are also seminars specific to acting, props and costumes, as well as short play orientations before each show. And you won’t want to miss The Greenshow, a mix of Elizabethan music, storytelling, dance and food on the grounds surrounding the Adams Shakespearean Theatre every night at 7 p.m. Bard.org/Visit
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Cedar Breaks is a natural amphitheater stretching more than three miles across and plunging more than 2,000 feet from the rim, which sits at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet. A hiker will encounter a stunning array of wildflowers early in the summer, and critters ranging from marmots to mule deer to porcupines. Bristlecone pines older than 1,600 years old dot the landscape, which is similar to nearby Bryce National Park but not nearly as crowded. And it’s only 20 miles east of Cedar City on Utah Highway 14, making it an easy jaunt any time during a festival trip. NPS.gov/cebr
Zion National Park
You already know than Zion National Park is one of the most stunning places on the planet, but did you know it’s a short hour drive from Cedar City to the west park entrance? And that also means you’re within an hour of The Bit & Spur in Springdale— open 5-11 p.m. daily, so dinner there is an option before an evening show or after a matinee. Is it worth it? Absolutely, whether delving into some of its signature Mexican burritos or chile verde, or going for steak, salmon, chicken or pasta. 1212 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, 435-772-3498, BitandSpur.com
You can also get outdoors without ever leaving the Cedar City limits. A system of biking and walking trails along the Cedar River and on the city’s perimeter already exist, and there’s a movement to connect the existing trails with a series of new traffic-free corridors to create a “riverwalk loop.” It’s not there yet, but there are enough pieces in place to offer a rejuvenating walk or ride right outside your hotel room door.