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Flagstaff and Northern Arizona Resources and Activities

Updated on May 2, 2017
Flagstaff forest
Flagstaff forest | Source

A Collection of Articles and Information About Flagstaff and the Surrounding Area

I'm originally from New England, but this eastern transplant has come to love life in and around Flagstaff, Arizona. So I tend to write about it a lot.

Here, I've put together my growing collection of articles and other sources of information about the area. I hope these resources will be helpful to you if you're planning a visit to Flagstaff and other nearby points of interest, like Grand Canyon National Park for example, or if you're new around here.

A Visitor Poll

Have You Been To Flagstaff?

See results
THE flag staff
THE flag staff | Source

There's Something For Everyone in Flagstaff

Are you a hiker, a mountain biker, an art-lover? Is a day at a museum and a tasty Thai or Mexican or Himalayan meal what you're looking for? How about a free festival and then an evening of live music and dancing? You can find all that and more in this small city on historic Route 66.

Find out where to go for fun, good food, fitness, and fine lodging in....

Do You Like To Dance?

Salsa, swing, two-step, ballroom -- there's all of that and more in Flagstaff.

Find out where you can go for lessons, many of which are free or for a small suggested donation, and fun social dancing around town.

Read The Local Paper

Visit the Arizona Daily Sun website for the latest Northern Arizona news and events.

Live Outdoor Entertainment

Listen to live music in Heritage Square
Listen to live music in Heritage Square

During the warmer months--generally, May through September--it's not hard to find something to entertain you in Flagstaff's local outdoor venues and even on city streets. Pictured here is an ensemble playing for those hanging out in Flagstaff's "outdoor living room," Heritage Square, where there are often free concerts and other events, like family-friendly evening movies and free dance lessons.

Wheeler Park, located downtown near City Hall and the west-side Public Library, is another popular venue for free outdoor entertainment and festivals.

And, if you don't mind paying for fresh air entertainment, you can check out the concert schedule at the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill.

Downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Arizona Snowbowl
Downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Arizona Snowbowl | Source

There's Plenty To Do When the Mercury Drops, Too

Fun winter activities around town

Just because the daylight hours grow shorter and the temperature gets colder, Flagstaff doesn't roll up its sidewalks.

Find out what you can do and where when the snow falls in Flag.

A snowshoe outing with longtime Flagstaff resident and volunteer guide, Jack Welch: Exploring Picture Canyon

Snowshoeing in Flagstaff
Snowshoeing in Flagstaff

That's Jack on the left in the plaid shirt. Jack is very active in the Flagstaff community. In addition to writing a guest column for the Arizona Daily Sun, his work with the Flagstaff Biking Organization and other volunteer activities, Jack organizes and leads group walks, hikes, and snowshoe outings in various locations around Flagstaff on both weekdays and weekends. For more information and a schedule, you can email Jack at adillo@aol.com.

Find Out What's Going On Around Town

Flagstaff 365

Vintage Flagstaff

Some of the 180 photos in this book come from the personal collections of authors James E. Babbitt, a descendant of a pioneer Flagstaff family, and John G. DeGraff III, a collector of historical photographs of the area. Other photos are courtesy of the Arizona Historical Society, Babbitt Brothers Trading Company, the Northern Arizona Pioneers Historical Society, and Northern Arizona University. They combine to tell the story of early Flagstaff.

Coconino National Forest and the San Francisco Peaks
Coconino National Forest and the San Francisco Peaks | Source

Explore The Largest Ponderosa Pine Forest In The World

In and Around Flagstaff

In this article, I highlight a number of species that make the Coconino National Forest their home.

Enjoy The Trails And The Fresh Mountain Air

I'm a guidebook junkie. And I like to have actual books in my hand rather than electronic copies, because I like to flip through the pages, looking for new adventures and looking back at others I've already done, some more than once. I also like to make little notes on the pages.

Here's a good one for the Flagstaff area that's currently sitting on my shelf, well worn.....

Flagstaff Hikes, Revised 6th Edition; 97 Day Hikes around Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff Hikes, Revised 6th Edition; 97 Day Hikes around Flagstaff, Arizona

Each hike described in this frequently updated book features a color map and photo, as well as GPS coordinates, directions to the trailhead, a description of the hike, an elevation change graph, a difficulty and mileage graph and information on the best times to hike and how crowded you can expect the trail to be.

 
Slate Mountain Trail, Flagstaff
Slate Mountain Trail, Flagstaff | Source

Beautiful Dayhikes

From easy to moderate and strenuous

Flagstaff Public Art
Flagstaff Public Art | Source

The Art Scene Is Alive And Well In Flagstaff

Between a myriad of galleries around town--particularly in the downtown area, on the NAU campus, and at the Coconino Center for the Arts--lots of outdoor public installations, arts and crafts festivals, a popular First Friday Art Walk event each month, art shows at Lowell Observatory, and an annual Open Studios event, Flagstaff has plenty to satisfy the art enthusiast.

Learn more about....

Public Murals Are Popular In Flagstaff - Here's one from the Absolute Bikes building, seen from Route 66

Absolute Bikes mural on Route 66 in Flagstaff
Absolute Bikes mural on Route 66 in Flagstaff

This mural was created in 2007 by mountain-biker and artist, Lyle Motley.

It took Lyle two months to complete the mural, which is loaded with fun details, like the bandaids on the biker's knee and elbow.

Swaddee Thai, downtown Flagstaff
Swaddee Thai, downtown Flagstaff | Source

Where to Eat

From the best burgers in town to the best international cuisine and the best pizza, you'll find all that and more here, along with a place to rate the food and the service at each restaurant.

And if you it's eating outdoors you prefer....

Here are some local restaurants we recommend....

The Visitor Center and train station in downtown Flagstaff
The Visitor Center and train station in downtown Flagstaff | Source

Visit the Heart of Downtown Flagstaff

Downtown changed a lot in the seven years I was gone, between 1996 and 2003. It not only looks a lot nicer, but it's also the hub of activity, including cultural events, First Friday Art walks, festivals, a farmer's market, several parades throughout the year, and more. Here, you'll also find an eclectic array of shops and restaurants, public parks, one of two public libraries within the city, and City Hall.

And in the center of downtown, there's also a popular place to hang out and watch free, live entertainment, paint, eat, chat with friends, people-watch, read or just sit and relax. Find out more about....

The Weatherford Hotel In Historic Downtown Flagstaff

The Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff
The Weatherford Hotel in Flagstaff

The Weatherford Hotel opened its doors to the public on January 1st, 1900, and, during the next century, the building went through a number of changes. It once housed Flagstaff's first telephone exchange company, then a number of restaurants, a theater, a radio station, and a billiard hall. The building has survived fire, world wars, and a planned demolition. Today, The Weatherford Hotel is more than just a place to stay; it's a downtown destination, offering fine and casual dining and live entertainment. The hotel is also the sight of the annual Pine Cone Drop on New Year's Eve.

Flagstaff, Then And Now

This book was a gift from our real estate agent when my husband and I bought our first home in Flagstaff, and, years later, it still occupies a prominent place on our coffee table.

Flagstaff: Past & Present
Flagstaff: Past & Present

Written by Flagstaff icons Richard and Sherry Mangum, who, for 15 years, dressed in period costumes and led popular historic walking tours in the downtown area, this book contains a lot of the content of those tours and much more, including the history of Flagstaff and a number of stories about colorful local characters and events. The then-and-now format and photos gives readers a look at today's landmarks as they once were.

 

Take A Self-Guided Tour Of Historic Downtown

This paperback includes a fold-out cover map to help guide you on a three-quarter-mile walking tour of downtown Flagstaff, covering 34 historic buildings.

The historic Museum Club on Old Route 66 in Flagstaff
The historic Museum Club on Old Route 66 in Flagstaff | Source

See What's Along (And Near) Historic Route 66

Did you know this is the highest city on the "Mother Road"?

Here I'll show you some of what you can see and do along this remaining section of the route as it passes through this small city at 7,000 feet.

Visit the Home of the Expanding Universe

Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the United States, founded in 1894 by astronomer Percival Lowell. Lowell welcomes more than 70,000 visitors each year, offering guided tours and views of the night sky through the original 24-inch Alvan Clark Telescope and other telescopes at the Mars Hill site.

Inside The Clark Dome At Lowell Observatory

Clark Telescope at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff
Clark Telescope at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff

The Observatory's original 24-inch Alvan Clark Telescope is used today for public education. Built in 1896 at a cost of $20,000, this telescope was assembled in Boston and then transported by train to Flagstaff.

A view from the South Bass Trail in Grand Canyon
A view from the South Bass Trail in Grand Canyon | Source

Flagstaff Is Just An Hour And A Half From Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places on earth. I,ve worked there as a guide and have done quite a lot of hiking below the rim. These are three of my favorite hikes in the National Park....

Grand Falls during a monsoon season flood
Grand Falls during a monsoon season flood | Source

A Great Day Trip and Beautiful Drive From Flagstaff

Grand Falls, located along the Little Colorado River on the southwest corner of the Navajo Reservation is amazing, whether it%u2019s running low or high. It's about a 45-minute (30-mile) drive from Flagstaff, some of which is on dirt roads which are accessible to passenger cars. More information and photos here....

The Wave in northern Arizona
The Wave in northern Arizona | Source

Two More Incredible Natural Wonders in Northern Arizona

Explore the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

Located in extreme north-central Arizona and southern Utah is the Paria Canyon - Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. This remote desert landscape is filled with geological gems, some front and center and some hidden and more difficult to get to but WELL worth the effort.

Here are two of my favorite places off the beaten path....

If you'll be paying us a visit the Flagstaff area, I suggest taking a look at the

Northern Arizona Travel Guide.

© 2010 Deb Kingsbury

Comments Or Questions About Flagstaff And Northern Arizona?

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    • groovyfind profile image

      Samantha Devereux 7 years ago from Columbia Mo

      One of my favorite vacation spots!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I once drove 'through' Flagstaff - that was the extent of my knowledge about the area until I read this interesting 'tour in words and pictures' of Flagstaff and Northern Arizona. I HAVE visited Phoenix many times; does that count? Seriously, I remember emailing you yesterday to comment on the record-setting snowfall your area has received in the past week or so and, as many of us are unfamiliar with Arizona past the desert, sunshine and heat statistics , asked what elevation Flagstaff was in. By reading this story, I now know that the answer to my question is -- 7,000 feet! A story both interesting and educational. I enjoyed my 'visit' to Flagstaff through your writing.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 7 years ago from Canada

      Great job; I'd like to visit Flagstaff.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Wonderful information and enjoyed your pictures. I have a food niche lens you might enjoy.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Excellent resource on Flagstaff. This is an area I would love to visit, but even if we were to win the lottery big time now, time is running out unfortunately. Nicely done, blessed.

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