Every town on the Jersey Shore has a distinct personality.
One summer, we landed in Wildwood because of our interest in neon signs and mid-century architecture.
The thing that attracted us to Wildwood were the dozens of mid-century motels still standing, though sadly, many have been razed to build condos.
There are three distinct towns on the barrier island: North Wildwood, Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest — where the greatest concentration of mid-century modern resorts still operate. The motels, are themed, with Vegas-like neon signs, plastic palm trees, and fantastical architecture.
Doo Wop Motels in Wildwood Crest
In Wildwood Crest, which is the family-oriented southern stretch of beach, you’ll find the Jolly Roger, the Astronaut, the Apollo, the Gondolier, the Safari, the Aztec, the Tangiers, the Viking, and many others.
The architectural style is known as Doo Wop, Googie, or Populuxe. These terms describe the kitschy style of Wildwood’s 200 motels built in the 1950s and 1960s.
If you can look beyond the chain restaurants, you will find that Cedar City, Utah has its funky side.
Most people come to Cedar City for ready access to the National Parks of southern Utah.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is a stunning park just outside of town, and Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park are within striking distance. The outdoor recreation opportunities are outstanding, whether hiking in the spring, summer and fall, or skiing, snowboarding, and tubing in the winter.
What to Do in Cedar City
Beyond the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, Cedar City boasts some fun cultural events. Cedar City calls itself Festival City USA, so check before you go to see if any special events are happening.
Cedar City’s most famous festival is the Utah Shakespeare Festival held every summer on the campus of Southern Utah University. This professional theatre festival hires equity actors and features contemporary productions as well as traditional Shakespeare plays performed in a replica of the Globe Theatre.
The best kept secret about the Shakespeare Festival is the free outdoor pre-show entertainment called the Greenshow.
The Greenshow is an re-creation of Elizabethan street theatre, with period refreshments and a crafts fair to boot.
There is also a post-show Cabaret every Thursday night throughout the summer season. Company members from the festival put on a variety show at The Grind coffeehouse on North Main Street.
Acts include singing, dancing, instrumental music, impressions, skits, improv games, magic tricks, poetry, bird calls, and juggling.
Off the Cuff Comedy Club
On Friday nights, check out the local comedy and improv club, Off the Cuff. Many of the performers are students in the theatre department at Utah State University.
Historic Cedar Theatre
Another great year round venue is the Historic Cedar Theatre. Movie tickets are just $3 for children under 12, and $4 for adults. This theatre was established in 1914, and restored in 2012, bringing some vitality to the downtown area.
Kannaraville Slot Canyon
Twelve miles south of Cedar City is is a beautiful slot canyon and a popular hiking area. The Kannarville slot canyon offers waterfalls, slides, and beautiful red rock scenery. You can find details of the hike here.
Where to Eat in Cedar City
The Centro Pizzeria serves just one kind of food but does it very well. The fresh ingredients are straight from that morning’s farmers’ market and the pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven. The food here reminded me of the famous Two Amy’s in Washington, DC.
Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain
If it’s lunchtime, you can get ice cream for dessert at the old-fashioned soda fountain in Bulloch drugstore in the center of town. There are not too many traditional soda fountains left, so I am always happy to find one.
Where to Stay in Cedar City
Cedar City has dozens of chain hotels, but if you are looking for a bargain, Priceline is your best bet. I always cheek Hotwire first, to get a sense of general availability.
Our favorite place to stay is the Best Western Town & Country Inn in the center of town. We’ve gotten this hotel on Priceline for $38 to $48 per night.