Best Things to Do in Flagstaff: Flagstaff is probably not what many people imagine when they think of Arizona. Surrounded by ponderosa pines, volcanoes, and even a ski hill, this town is a long way from the desert regions just a couple of hours away.
At an elevation of about 6,900 feet, the weather here is cool and snowy for much of the winter, and the area offers a wide range of things to do, many of which are hard to find in other areas of Arizona. In the summer, Flagstaff is a welcome refuge from the heat of lower-lying areas like Phoenix or Tucson, and many people come here to sightsee, hike, and enjoy the outdoors. At any time of the year.
- 1 What to Do in Flagstaff?
- 1.1 Best Time to Visit
- 1.2 Top Paid Attraction
- 1.3 Best Coffee Shop
- 1.4 Best Free Attraction
- 1.5 Best Place to Take a Photo
- 1.6 Best Breakfast Spot
- 1.7 Best Place to Eat
- 1.8 Best Family Dinner
- 1.9 Best Place to Dine for a Special Occasion
- 1.10 Impress Your Date
- 1.11 Best Place to Shop
- 1.12 Where to Burn a Few Calories
- 1.13 Learn History
- 1.14 Best Live Entertainment
- 1.15 Best Pizza
- 1.16 The Best Place to Go for a Walk
- 1.17 Best Place to Camp
- 1.18 Best Museum
- 1.19 Best Place to Eat Healthily
- 1.20 Best Place to Watch the Sunset
- 1.21 Best Local Taste
- 2 10 Best Things to Do in Flagstaff
- 2.1 Historic Center and Visitor Center
- 2.2 Wheeler Park
- 2.3 The San Francisco Peaks and Arizona’s Highest Point
- 2.4 Heritage Square
- 2.5 The Arboretum
- 2.6 The Geeks
- 2.7 Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course
- 2.8 Wupatki National Monument
- 2.9 Arizona Snowbowl
- 2.10 Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
- 2.11 Lockett Meadow
- 3 Explore the Best Places to Visit Near Flagstaff
What to Do in Flagstaff?
Flagstaff has everything to be considered the tourism capital of Arizona, if not for the splendor of the meddling of the Grand Canyon and Sedona.
The city is nestled at the San Francisco Peaks base and has a cozy town that is perfect for a day stroll and with enough attractions around to spend a weekend full of activities and action.
Best Time to Visit
On weekends. Indeed you are waiting for us to give you a season of the year to visit, but Flagstaff is perfect for visiting at any time of the year. It has perfect temperatures in the spring and summer, beautiful colors in the fall, and snow skiing in the winter. Traffic is most massive on Friday afternoons and Sundays.
Top Paid Attraction
Arizona Snowbowl. The chairlifts are in operation most of the year, providing convenient access to nature (summer) and skiing (in the winter).
Best Coffee Shop
Firecreek Coffee roasts its beans and serves a delicious cup of coffee. But what was it that made Firecreek the best coffee shop? It was their beer taps. Something like a cafe-canteen.
Best Free Attraction
Fort Tuthill County Park: The 413-hectare park with large pine trees features trails, camping and biking areas, and much more. During winter, you can ski and go sledding.
Best Place to Take a Photo
Pose across the street from the Weatherford Hotel and tilt the camera just enough to capture the little tower in the photo background.
Best Breakfast Spot
The burritos at MartAnne’s Burrito Palace are the kings of breakfast.
Best Place to Eat
The Lumberyard Brewing Company’s’ large patio and cool interior are the ideal complement to a rich meal and delicious beer. When you don’t have to order, ask for some chicken wings.
Best Family Dinner
Diablo Burgers offers the perfect menu for families large and small. Order at the counter, then go ahead and choose where to sit at the large tables inside and outside on the patio.
Best Place to Dine for a Special Occasion
Tinderbox Kitchen has food in season, locally harvested, and cooked to perfection. Start your afternoon with a cocktail or wine at Annex that is right next door.
Impress Your Date
Cottage Place Restaurant’s intimate setting fits well with its menu. Just make sure your credit card has enough funds.
Best Place to Shop
Before you enter the Black Hound Gallerie, let your kids sample the Bigfoot Barbecue, located downstairs. Hounds items – clothing, books, household items, and novelty items – are fun, and several are risky.
Where to Burn a Few Calories
Climb, climb, and swing from the trees’ heights on the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. The routes become more difficult as you progress. Those who finish the course earn a bracelet, which almost makes all your weariness worth it.
Visit Riordan Mansion State Historic Park to learn about brothers Timothy and Michael Riordan, two Donald Trumps from the past, who were key players in developing Flagstaff. In addition to two identical houses connected by a meeting room, the 13,000-square-foot mansion offers a glimpse into the city’s past.
Best Live Entertainment
Stroll through downtown Flagstaff on a Friday or Saturday night, and you’ll find all kinds of live music, bands, and people playing instruments. The best place to visit is the “Green Room,” which also has karaoke, comedy, and trivia nights.
Go to Pizzcletta, which specializes in handmade pizza that wins fans and awards.
The Best Place to Go for a Walk
It is impossible to choose just one place. But a good option is Sandys Canyon, off Lake Mary Road. It is easy to get to, most people can walk it, and it has a great combination of grasslands.
Best Place to Camp
You will find many primitive sites in the forest along Forest Road 151 north of the city. The dirt road is accessible to most vehicles unless it’s rainy.
The Museum of Northern Arizona offers exhibits dedicated to the Colorado Plateau’s history and culture, with an extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts.
Best Place to Eat Healthily
Locals love the plant-based dishes at Whyld Ass. A rooftop area allows you to eat outside.
Something you probably didn’t know: In 2001, Flagstaff was named the world’s first city with a dark sky by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Best Place to Watch the Sunset
Hart Prairie offers an unrivaled horizon look. The last rays of the sun illuminate the wildflowers.
Best Local Taste
The best beers are made at Historic Brewing Company. The winery, which is open to pets, is the perfect place to meet local people.
10 Best Things to Do in Flagstaff
The mountain town atmosphere makes it a very welcoming place for Arizonans who want to escape the heat.
Surrounded by natural attractions, monuments and the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world, it is a privileged place for sports and outdoor adventures, from hiking and camping to skiing.
Flagstaff is also home to the University of Northern Arizona, making it a student center. Whether driven by the student population or for other reasons, it is home to a surprising number of microbreweries.
Historic Center and Visitor Center
Historic downtown Flagstaff is centered around the old railroad and station, where the visitor center is located.
The center is packed with information and resources about Flagstaff, Route 66, and further afield in Arizona. It is the perfect starting point for your trip, whether it’s to stay on-site or visit the Grand Canyon, about 2 hours away.
Connected to the visitor center is the Amtrak ticket office in operation, as the station is in use.
The historic center is also a vibrant area to explore, dotted with shops, restaurants, and bars.
A short walk from the visitor center will take you to Wheeler Park, an open green space with many trees, right in the heart of the community.
Not only is it a lovely place to come and relax with a book or enjoy a picnic, but it also regularly hosts events such as park races or weekend art festivals such as Hullabaloo and Art in the Park.
The park is a hub of activities in the summer and a wonderland in winter in the cold months.
The San Francisco Peaks and Arizona’s Highest Point
Just north of Flagstaff, the San Francisco Peaks volcanic range now contains 6 of Arizona’s tallest peaks.
There are nearly 30 walking trails in the district for those wanting to escape into nature, with various experience levels and offering stunning views of the surrounding area.
The Lava River Cave Trail takes you through a hollow tube of lava over a mile long formed thousands of years ago in the latest volcanic eruptions.
Another popular route is the Humphreys Summit Trail, which not surprisingly takes you to the highest point in all of Arizona for unrivaled views. However, it is considered to be difficult, so be prepared.
It doesn’t matter when you visit us; surely something is up
In 1998 a group of five locals realized their vision of a central meeting place in the city.
You can continue to support your business and help with ongoing maintenance and development by purchasing an engraved brick added to the plaza!
Explore the Flagstaff Arboretum Living Museum, featuring more than 2,500 high-elevation plant species exhibited in various gardens, greenhouses, and natural habitats within 200 acres of grounds.
Take an educational tour or guide yourself on the trails. The butterfly house is a favorite, especially with children, and you may even get a chance to see one emerge from its cocoon.
A few kilometers from the city, its opening season runs from May to October, and if you are lucky, you can attend a special event such as a plant sale, a concert, or a festival.
For an afternoon of adventure 15 to 60 feet above the ground, visit Extreme Adventures Flagstaff. You can enroll in a course led by a qualified instructor and find your way safely through a superior field with more than 70 obstacles. If you’d rather go flying on the most extensive zip line in the western United States, that option is available as well. The zipline is self-guided, but you will be provided with extensive safety training before starting on your own.
Despite the many outdoor and adventure options in Flagstaff, the weather is not as reliable as in the rest of Arizona, where you can count on the sun 300 days a year.
In wet weather, it’s nice to have some indoor options, like the Geekery gaming experience.
Tucked away in a strip mall near the university, the family-friendly game store invites enthusiasts and casual gamers to multiple events throughout the week or play with friends.
As well as offering good space for teens, it has a great selection of games for sale and you are sure to find something exciting and new to play.
Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course
For a day full of adventure among the trees, go through Arizona’s only high ropes and the only zip line.
Conquer your fear of heights or get an adrenaline rush while suspended among the ponderosa pine, or down one of the many zip lines.
Located in Forthill Country Park, “FLG X” aims to provide fun and physical challenges in a safe environment for a satisfying bonding experience between you and your group.
Wupatki National Monument
The Wupatki National Monument covers a large grassland area on the Colorado Plateau north of Flagstaff and is home to some fascinating and well-preserved American Indian ruins. The collection of peoples that extends over the monument offers a small glimpse into a way of life that existed and thrived here in the 1100s to 1200s. The Wupatki Village was in a strategic position and was the main commercial center of various cultures. The impressive structures, which in some cases are two or more stories high, are made of stone and mud.
The numerous sites within the Wupatki National Monument include the Wukoki People, Wupatki People, Lomaki People, and Nalakihu and Citadel Villages. If you arrive from the north end of the monument, one of the first places you will arrive at is Nalakihu and Citadel Pueblos.
Located on the side of an ancient volcano known as the San Francisco Peaks, the highest elevation in this ski area is 11,500 feet. Views from here stretch out over the flat plateau to distant cinder cones and beyond to the Grand Canyon. You are often looking at land of grass and trees rather than fields of snow, especially in the spring.
The top of Snowbowl is for intermediate to advanced skiers and guests, mainly because it is steep. These storms are often predicted well in advance so that bulldogs can plan accordingly. Outside of storms, the hill has extensive snowmaking facilities and offers well-groomed trails. Arizona Snowbowl has many characters and characters; it is not unusual to see the strange skier dress up or even play a musical instrument as they glide through the most extreme terrain.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
The fascinating scenery around the sunset crater offers exciting trails through the volcanic aftermath of three different lava flows.
It takes its name from the pinkish-red coloration around its rim, the crater formed after an eruption 900 years ago.
Visit the visitor center to learn about the volcano’s formation and how the eruption affected the ecology of the area, then step outside or use an indoor viewing platform to see the effects for yourself.
The Inner Basin Trail begins in the meadow full of flowers in the spring, green with new leaves in the summer, and turns a vivid yellow as the ash trees’ leaves change.
However, the magnificent views are present throughout the year, as the San Francisco loom peaks behind the aspen stands and the occasional clearings that often attract wildlife.
When one day is not long enough, several camping spots are on the site for those who stay overnight.
Explore the Best Places to Visit Near Flagstaff
- The Grand Canyon: If you have time for a day trip, don’t miss the opportunity to see this spectacular site. In less than two hours, you can enjoy the sights and sites of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
- Best of Arizona: For inspiring ideas for traveling around the state, check out our top-rated attractions and best places to visit in Arizona and our articles on Best Arizona Tours. Most visitors to the state will visit or transit one of the two main cities. If so, check out our features on things to do in Phoenix and Tucson.