Having fun after dark in a national park usually means communing with your campfire, tent, and sleeping bag. Catching an intriguing ranger program, staring in wonder at the enormity of the star-strewn sky above, and possibly roasting marshmallows for s’mores (mm…s’mores) can definitely be part of your evening’s entertainment in a place like Zion National Park. I’ve passed some great nights that way myself, and loved every moment of them.
But in a park like Zion, you have the unusual option of entertaining yourself in a less rustic way. The bustling little burg of Springdale is smack at Zion’s main (south) gate, and it serves up nighttime delights in the form of restaurants, movies, beer gardens, and more. And St. George is a genuine city (well, by national park standards, that is) only a hop, skip, and a jump to the west. There, you can find even more dining, drinking, and other human-powered entertainment.
Here are some excellent options for enjoying your evening after a day’s great hike.
Choices of Food You Don’t Have to Cook Yourself
Toss back a beer. Wolf down a slice of pizza. Mingle with the other hordes of happy hikers and even take in some live music on a summer night. Location: Springdale.
Mm, Mexican food. And Margaritas. And a huge beer menu. And great reviews. Stop by to catch sunset from their patio, check out the art on their walls, and shoot some pool. Try the sweet potato tamales paired with that great Polygamy Porter and call your Zion trip a success. Location: Springdale.
They’re not kidding about the view. It’s majestic. They’re also home to the Zion Canyon Brewing Company, which puts out tasty brews like the Virgin Stout and A Kickin’ Bitter Extra Special Bitter Ale. Oh, the food’s pretty good too. Location: Springdale.
This is a classy little place with delicious food. Bonus: it’s in Ancestor Square, a walking historic area with cute shops perfect for après-dessert strolling. Location: St. George.
Really big movies. Air-conditioned. Right outside Zion Canyon National Park’s entrance. Really cool. Location: Springdale.
As in, the Bard’s plays, at an award-winning venue. Best of all? Their outdoor theater is dubbed by experts as one of the few in the world to be a near-replica of the original Globe Theater in England where William Shakespeare’s plays debuted back in the 16th century. North of Zion in Cedar City, off of I-15.
Catch the Doobie Brothers. Michael Martin Murphy. Tarzan. Thriller. Next year, Grease. They serve dinner, too. Location: Just outside St. George.
Their Twilight Concert Series runs through summer. Pretty great venue surrounded by Zion’s cliffs. Location: Springdale.