Basking in the sunny climate of Utah's Dixie
St. George, named for an early Mormon apostle, is known as "Utah's Dixie" because of its temperate climate. In fact, early pioneers once grew cotton here. St. George is the business and cultural center for southwest Utah. The city includes Red Cliffs Mall, the only shopping mall in Utah outside of the Wasatch Front.
St. George was founded as a cotton mission in 1861 under the direction of Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), part of a greater church effort to become self-sufficient. While the early settlers did manage to grow cotton, it was never produced at competitive market rates; consequently, cotton farming was eventually abandoned.
The pioneers planted mulberry trees throughout the valley to be used to feed the silkworms that they used to produce silk. The last line of these trees exists on Pomegranate Way in Bloomington.
St. George's trademark is its geology; red bluffs make up the northern part of the city with two peaks covered in lava rock in the city's center. The northeastern edges of the Mojave Desert are visible to the south, and the Pine Valley Mountains loom over the city to the north and northwest.
The city is a major gateway to nearby Zion National Park. Four other national parks are a short drive from St. George.
Several very popular Utah state parks are located in the St. George area. Because of the area's mild climate, many outdoor activities are popular year-round at these parks. Sand Hollow offers a reservoir for boating, water sports and fishing, sandy beaches, a very nice picnic area and campground, plus sand dunes where you can ride ATVs. Snow Canyon offers beautiful red rock scenery, hiking trails, a sand dune, a campground and picnic area. Quail Creek has a reservoir that is popular for boating, water sports and fishing. It has a nice campground and picnic area. Gunlock includes a reservoir for boating, water sports and fishing, and an area for primitive camping.
Mild winters make St. George ideal for golf year round—10 of Utah's best courses are located in the community and its number of courses per capita is one of the highest in the country.
St. George is home to many parks and recreation areas, as well as over 65 miles of urban walking/biking trails.
The Huntsman World Senior Games and St. George Marathon, the 13th largest marathon in the country, are annual events attracting thousands in October. The St. George Ironman Triathlon and the Fall Fuel Fest featuring Nitro Circus are newer annual events.
The warm climate influenced the development of spas with five notable ones in the St. George area.
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm displays some of the oldest and best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. Dinosaur tracks were discovered on the farm in February 2000, and it has become quite an attraction. The site is still in the early stages of scientific study—so far more than 3,500 tracks have been found within a 10-acre area. Many of the tracks were made by Dilophosaurus-like dinosaurs and are 13 to 18 inches long. There are also many smaller tracks and researchers have identified skin prints and impressions made by tail drags and swimming movements. One of only five sitting dinosaur impressions in the world is located on the main tracksite within this museum.
The tracks date back 195 million years ago to the beginning of the Jurassic Period.
St. George is home to several museums and art galleries, including the St. George Art Museum, the Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum and the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. The city is home to the Southwest Symphony Orchestra and Southern Utah Heritage Choir. The St. George Arts Festival occurs each spring, and the city sponsors an Art in the Park and a Concerts in the Park series offering a variety of music and bands at Vernon Worthen Park each summer season.
Major venues include the St. George Opera House and Dixie State University, which is home to Burns Arena, Cox Auditorium and O.C. Tanner Amphitheater. An older historic venue offering a local music scene is the Electric Theater located on historic Tabernacle Street.
Tuacahn Amphitheater features shows and concerts throughout the season in an outdoor setting backed by the red cliff walls of Snow Canyon. The 1,920-seat amphitheater is the jewel of the Tuacahn Amphitheatre and Center for the Arts, located on an 80-acre parcel at the base of Padre Canyon.
For More Information:
St George Area Chamber of Commerce
Utah Travel Council