Things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona

Spring flowers, cool summers, fall colors and incredible skiing. These are generally not what people expect when they visit Arizona — but they’re here! Whether you’re searching for an uncomplicated, two-day escape or the holiday vacation of a lifetime, Flagstaff changes any visit into a Northern Arizona adventure.

Offering numerous restaurants, one of a kind attractions, and exciting night spots, Flagstaff’s small-town appeal offers big-town enjoyment. From festivals and forest paths to culture and clean air, Flagstaff is year-round excitement.

Golf Flagstaff

Golf at Forest Highlands. Photo (cc) by SearchNetMedia.

For those who crave recreation in the great outdoors, Flagstaff offers downhill and cross country skiing, climbing, hiking, backpacking, biking, horseback riding and fishing. Or, for golf lovers, head to the greens with two private and one public golf course. Indoor Flagstaff recreation includes bowling alleys, amusement centers, ice and roller-skating rinks and a climbing center. With every age group in mind, and an abundance of recreation venues and activities offered, you’ll find year-round fun for every visitor.

The Arboretum at Flagstaff features more than 2,500 plant species representing everything from high desert to alpine tundra. Located at 7,150 feet above sea level, The Arboretum is committed to helping visitors appreciate the completely unique environment of the Colorado Plateau. Visitors may explore 200 acres of gardens and natural habitats, smell the lovely fragrances of herbs, see a wildflower meadow in all its dazzling color, or find a secluded bench to enjoy a view of the famed San Francisco Peaks.

Lowell Observatory

The Alvan Clark Dome at Lowell Observatory.

Lowell Observatory, founded in 1894, is a non-profit astronomical research and educational outreach institution located one mile west of Flagstaff on Mars Hill. For visitors, the Observatory features a science center, telescope viewing, exhibits, daytime guided tours, shows in the McAllister Space Theatre, safe viewing of the Sun, an astronomy gift shop and multimedia programs.

In 1930, astronomer and observatory founder Percival Lowell assigned young researcher Clyde Tombaugh the job of performing a systematic search for the mysterious “Plantet X”, which he was certain existed beyond the planet Neptune. Clyde identified Pluto, which was named the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto’s classification stood for 75 years, until the International Astronomical Union decided on a new definition of “planet” which does not include Pluto. Pluto is now classified as a “dwarf planet”, a class distinct from “planet”.

Flagstaff is also brimming with informative and cultural destinations. The entire region is really a living anthropology and geology class, with ancient Native American ruins and breathtaking panoramas at the Wupatki and Walnut Canyon National Monuments. You’ll want to view the award-winning permanent exhibit “Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau” at the Museum of Northern Arizona. The Pioneer Museum provides a peek at what daily life was like for the first settlers of the area, and features a 1929 Baldwin locomotive in its collection.

Downtown Flagstaff is among the most well-known Flagstaff, Arizona destinations because it’s a wonderful place to walk and take in the refurbished, historic buildings. Along traditional 1890s streets, you’ll come across a variety of apparel boutiques, unique bookstores and outdoor outfitters. Art galleries make available all types of arts and crafts, from Native American art and jewelry to modern glass and paintings. You can easily grab a bite to eat at one of the many excellent restaurants.

Take full advantage of your visit to Flagstaff by enjoying a year-round variety of local entertainment and cultural events. If you’re in Flagstaff during the summer, you can attend the free outdoor entertainment series in Heritage Square. From starfests to winterfests, classical music to local jazz, and art gallery to museum celebrations showcasing the distinct history and cultural diversity of Northern Arizona, you will find an array of entertaining activities for every age and interest.