Best of the Beehive 2022: Southwest Utah

Us northerners may turn up our noses—it’s not entirely wrong to call St. George the Florida of Utah—but there’s a reason that the area is growing so fast (like, top of the nation fast). It’s hard to beat the year-round sun, world-class outdoor activities and—for now—relatively affordable real estate. Washington County is still plenty religious and conservative, but there’s more to the area than cookie-cutter suburban families. There are college students at Utah Tech University (recently renamed from Dixie State University to plenty of local uproar), out-of-state transplants looking for California sunshine at Utah prices and snowbirds fleeing from bitter Wasatch Front winters. Plus, Southwest Utah is a go-to tourist destination for Salt Lakers looking for a desert escape just a short road trip away.  

Who Lives There?

Median household income: $59,989
Median age: 38.1
White: 88.5%
Hispanic/Latinx: 12.8%
Black/African American: 0.8%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 1.4%
Asian: 0.9%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.8%
Some other race: 4.4%
2+ Races: 3.2%

What’s the Rent?

Median home price: $558,000
Median rent for one bedroom: $1,070

Where Do You Eat?

It ain’t fancy, but away from the throngs of tourists in Ancestor Square, the family-owned Tom’s Deli has been quietly serving the city’s best lunch since the ’70s. Order anything with pastrami on sourdough bread with a side of homemade potato salad. There are a few tables that tend to fill up during the lunch rush, but the best thing to do is pack up for a picnic on the way to your next outdoor adventure.

Where do You Play?

Every summer, the small college town of Cedar City welcomes more than 100,000 theatergoers for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. This Tony Award-winning professional theater produces (no surprise) top-notch Shakespeare productions, along with contemporary plays, family-friendly musicals and free outdoor concerts. The 2022 season includes King Lear, All’s Well That Ends Well and The Tempest, along with Sweeney Todd and The Sound of Music.

Where Do You SHOP?

The heart of the city’s small but charming downtown, St. George’s walkable Main Street is the place to go for independent, quirky retailers. Fuel up before your shopping spree at Bear Paw Cafè, with awesome pancakes and hot chocolate worth ordering even in 110-degree heat. Get pre-owned antiques, fine art and coins at Annie’s Vintage Garden and Main Street Antiques and your next poolside read at The Book Bungalow. While you’re in the area, stop by the St. George Tabernacle, a historic building constructed by early Mormon settlers. (It’s open to the public for concerts and community events, not just religious services.) 

Welcome to the neighborhood! View all of Best of the Beehive 2022: Neighborhood Edition. And while you’re here, subscribe and get six issues of Salt Lake magazine, your guide to the best of life in Utah.

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