Top Things to Do in Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is an amazing town just an hour and a half from the Grand Canyon, two hours from Phoenix, 50 minutes from Sedona, and packed with things to do.
I recently got to explore downtown Flagstaff for a day and found that there were tons of day hikes, breweries, and free options stuffed into this quiet getaway.
Whether you are looking to escape the heat of Phoenix and Scottsdale for some snow (see details on Snowbowl below), have some extra time while visiting the Grand Canyon, or simply want to slow down the pace by renting a cabin, Flagstaff has something for everyone. The chill pace, cozy streets, and picturesque setting make for a weekend or day trip worth taking.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN FLAGSTAFF
Historic Route 66
This famous (infamous?) highway runs through the heart of old Flagstaff, complete with historic signs letting you know you’ve seen something special.
San Francisco Peaks
You won’t be able to miss this volcanic mountain range just around Flagstaff city proper. It looms in a protective way around the town and is home to the tallest summit in Arizona, Mt. Humphreys, and Arizona Snowbowl (more on both of these below).
SO CUTE. That’s all I can say. Old downtown Flagstaff is just so stinkin cute. It’s totally walkable, spanning just a few blocks, and has a ton packed into this space. There are so many art galleries, yoga spots, restaurants, gear shops, and more down here. Especially of note are:
- Flagstaff Visitor Center/Amtrak Station: This station that is still functional (trains run through town almost constantly, as well as some that run to the Grand Canyon). The building itself is cute, has a very old southwest feel to it, and is worth a stop in to talk to the friendly staff and pick up some brochures if you want some more ideas of what to do with your day.
- Phoenix Avenue Route 66 Mural: Just beside the Visitor Center, on the back of Lumberyard Brewery (more on that below in the “Drinking” section) is an amazing mural that captures the rise (and fall) of Route 66 by two local artists.
- The Sound of Flight Mural: this is the largest mural in Arizona and is located on the east side of the Orpheum Theater (great for those cold days when you just want to see a movie!), this mural has a beautiful goal of depicting “the infinite potential of human imagination, inspiration and bravery”- to see more about this mural check out its site.
Northern Arizona University Campus
Home to the Lumberjacks, NAU’s campus is one of the highest in elevation in the US and is surrounded by the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world! It’s a beautiful campus with fun students, worth a stroll if you have some time!
Museum of Northern Arizona
This is a quaint museum dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Native American artifacts and natural history of Northern Arizona. It’s a relatively small museum, but offers plenty of events such as happy hours and kids programs.
This is one of the oldest observatories in the US and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965. It’s even been names one of the World’s 100 Most Important Places by TIME. Why? Well, for one reason, this is where Pluto was discovered. NBD. They offer guided tours and evening programs and is especially great to visit in winter.
Although Snowbowl is known for its skiing and snowboarding, you can enjoy Snowbowl at all times of year. From disc golf courses to the scenic chairlift rides, this is a fun family stop and great for those looking for some winter adventure in Arizona!
HIKES NEAR FLAGSTAFF
Get excited about hiking in Coconino National Forest on the Mt. Elden Lookout Trail! This is not a particularly easy hike, it usually takes about 2.5 hours and is considered “strenuous,” but if you’re up for it it will provide awesome views of the Flagstaff area.
Enjoy the tallest point in Arizona! This 5.5 mile (one way) trail will take you among the San Francisco peaks. It’s a steep climb and takes 8-10 hours, but you’ll see why Native Americans consider this area sacred. You might even see the Grand Canyon on a clear day!
Fat Man’s Loop
Looking for an easier trail? Fat Man’s Loop is for you! At the base of Elden Lookout Trail (listed above), this is a hike with only a few steep sections, but that still offers scenic overlooks of Flagstaff. It only takes about an hour and a half, so it’s perfect for a quick afternoon hike!
DRINKING IN FLAGSTAFF
What can I say, Flagstaff is a university town sort of in the middle of nowhere…you know what that brings? Breweries. New ones seem to pop up every season, but for now, here are the tried and true breweries of Flagstaff:
Lumberyard Brewing Co.
I’m going to have to admit that I’m biased and that this is my favorite brewery in Flagstaff. The food is amazing, I love the option of indoor or outdoor seating, and obviously the beer is good. Honestly haven’t had one that I didn’t like, and I might have tried a lot of them…This is definitely a staple spot in Flagstaff you should enjoy!
Flagstaff Brewing Company (aka “Flag Brew”)
This is a small brewpub in the heart of Flagstaff that also has a coffee shop! They make small batches of a few beers at a time on premise and are another staple in downtown Flagstaff.
Mother Road Brewery
This is a fun place! I love the atmosphere and the complimentary pretzels 😉 You can actually see the beer being made in the brew house next door and have plenty of outdoor space as an option to hang out in as well!
Dark Sky Brewery
This place is crazy- they try to introduce a new beer every week! There are plenty of options and plenty of food, not to mention a cool, modern space to enjoy while here!
Beaver Street Brewery
Beaver Street Brewery actually has a restaurant, a seasonal beer garden, and a more bar like location called “Brews and Cues.” They are located right next to each other and offer the same beer selections, just with different atmospheres!
If you are really into trying out these breweries there are other ways you can see them instead of just walking in:
1.Book the Alpine Pedaler
A 4- to 8-person bicycle to do a 2-hour pub crawl all over Flagstaff.
2.Experience the Flagstaff Brewery Trail
You can print out (or pick up at the visitor center) a “passport” and check off each destination as you explore Flagstaff! Bonus! You even get a pint glass at the end!
Well there you go! A start to all you can do in Flagstaff! This list is by no means exhaustive, I hope to be able to add to it as I spend more time exploring this town, but I hope it gives you an idea of the fun you can have there!
Have activities or places you think should be on here? Any new breweries I should know of? Let me know in the comments!