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Flagstaff Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in FlagstaffWhere to Stay
Flagstaff has a wide array of lodging, from budget hotels to genuine southwestern bed and breakfasts. Though Flagstaff is a pet-friendly city, make sure to check ahead to see if your hotel accommodates pets (many do). Also note that Flagstaff is a bit more spread out than it may initially seem, so if you're in town for business, plan accordingly.
Take It or Leave It: Flagstaff generally doesn't get as hot as the rest of Arizona, which is good for those who don't like the heat.
What to Eat
Southwestern style doesn't get any better than Flagstaff. Sure, there are plenty of familiar chains, but do yourself a favor and sample some of the independent restaurants. Steak lovers will find an abundance of locally-raised beef served up in a variety of fashions, often with that zingy southwest kick. Don't overlook hotel restaurants. Some, such as the Little America, are outstanding.
Caution: Trying to finish a 48 oz, or gut busting 60 oz, steak is reserved only for the mightiest of gastrointestinal warriors. Be warned.
Be Sure to Sample: Local steak dish varieties, some that you cannot order anywhere else in the world.
Things to See
Skiing in Arizona? Indeed! The Snowbowl ski area opens annually when there is enough powder to cover its slopes. In the summer, you can also enjoy a modest hike to the summit of Humpreys Peak. the highest mountain in Arizona at 12,637 ft. In town, several museums offer a look at the history of Flagstaff including the Riordan Mansion, a cutting edge home (for the early 1900s). Wupatki National Monument is an amazing relic of native cultures and shouldn't be missed.
Hot Tips: The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff discovered the recently demoted ex-planet Pluto. There's a great view of the night sky in Flagstaff; don'f forget to check out the stars!
Places to Party
A college town with a creative vibe, the nightlife is equally as vibrant. Bars and pubs feature great live music and locals are friendly. The high energy scene is complemented by rustic décor, such as cozy fireplaces, stonework bars and southwestern artwork on the walls. Don't miss the Irish bars for a rollicking good time or head to Uptown Billiards for a more relaxed outing.
Avoid: The thrill of too much tequila.
Hot Tips: Check out the fusion of Native American and bluegrass bands unique to Flagstaff.
Where to Shop
Beautiful native artwork features desert pastels and trademark native American styles. Jewelry mastered by generations of native cultures is characterized by intricate designs highlighted by local ores like silver and the aqua-colored lapis-lazuli. There's also a lot of quirky and unique crafts available from less traditional local artists, all of whom infuse a bit of Flagstaff in their arts.
Hot Tips: The local artists in Flagstaff are incredible - many people visit just to see their handiwork. Don't miss checking them out.
Best Local Souvenir: Anything with silver and lapis-lazuli.
Under the watchful gaze of the San Francisco Peaks, famed Route 66 (a.k.a. the Ghost Highway) winds its way around northern Arizona's dramatic landscape, past Walnut Canyon, south of Sunset Crater and the Painted Desert, and right through the heart of downtown Flagstaff. According to local lore, this quiet, close-knit community, situated on land that was once settled by the powerful Navajo Nation, traces its roots to a July 4th celebration in 1876, when pioneers led by Thomas F. McMillan found a solitary pine tree, stripped it of its bark, and used it as a flagpole for Old Glory. For years afterwards, the staff stood as a marker for brave souls making the trip west. In 1886, the first permanent building, a post office, was constructed to serve the tent community that had begun to form. Since that time, Flagstaff has become a bustling town that, thanks to its location, enjoys a steady flow of year-round tourists. Wintertime thrill-seekers test their limits at the Arizona Snowbowl. Stargazers, via the same equipment used to discover Pluto in 1930, hope to catch a glimpse of the Great Unknown at the historic Lowell Observatory. Whitewater rafters push their skills on the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers. Hikers... Read more »