Cedar City is the largest city in Iron County, Utah, United States. It is located 250 miles (400 km) south of Salt Lake City, and 170 miles (270 km) north of Las Vegas on Interstate 15. It is the home of Southern Utah University, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Summer Games, the Simon Fest Theatre Co., and other events. As of the 2010 census the city had a population of 28,857, up from 20,257 in 2000. As of 2019 the estimated population was 34,764.
The presence of prehistoric people in the Cedar City area is revealed by rock art found in Parowan Gap to the north and Fremont sites dated to A.D. 1000 and 1300. Ancestors of the present-day Southern Paiute people met the Domínguez–Escalante expedition in this area in 1776. Fifty years later, in 1826, mountain man and fur trader Jedediah Smith traveled through the area exploring a route from Utah to California.
Cedar City was originally settled in late 1851 by Mormon pioneers originating from Parowan, Utah, who were sent to build an iron works. The site, known as "Fort Cedar" or "Cedar City", was equidistant from vast iron deposits 10 miles (16 km) west and coal resources 10 miles (16 km) east up Cedar Canyon, but was named after the abundant local trees (which are actually junipers instead of cedar). Two companies of men led by Henry Lunt reached the fort site in a blizzard on November 11, 1851, making that date the official founding.