A Trip to Arizona isn’t complete until you hit these Flagstaff spots.
Flagstaff Top Activities, Eats and Places to Stay.
I have created this helpful activity planning guide for those who want to spend a few productive days in Flagstaff.
Take a day, or maybe two, and explore all that this Arizona “Mountain Town” has to offer. The cooler climate and forest surrounding Flagstaff makes it an outdoor enthusiasts paradise with endless activities. Flagstaff is always bustling no matter the season, their outdoor events and unique shopping options bring people to the town year round. If you are heading to Flagstaff and want to soak in the culture and local food, I have your back. Follow along with me as I explain some of my tips for staying overnight in Flagstaff, and the kinds of accommodations you can expect.
Flagstaff is plentiful when it comes to activities, no matter the season!
In the Winter, Flagstaff is a hub for all things winter sports and activities. As a French Native who was missing the changing seasons, Flagstaff was an amazing surprise. Below are some of my top winter activities and things to do.
For the outdoor adventurers.
Don’t miss the slopes at AZ Snowbowl!
Grab your gear and head to Snowbowl for Skiing or Snowboarding. If you aren’t a ski pro, don’t worry. Snowbowl offers lessons for all ages and the coveted bunny hill for those who need to stretch their legs after a long summer off. Also located on the property is a small gift shop, a godsend if you forget any necessities like gloves or want to pick up a souvenir hat or sticker. Snowbowl offers a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year including live music.
*Tip: Rent your gear in town at Peace Surplus for the best deal, they also have any extra necessities you may have forgotten.
Sledding and tubing more your speed?
The Flagstaff Snow Park is a favorite for many reasons. This winter wonderland is located inside the Fort Tuthill Park and offers multiple different tubing options and activities for the whole family. Whether you have a little one, or a thrill seeker, the multiple different slide options provide something for everyone. When you need a break, grab a hot chocolate or snack and enjoy one of the fire pits. A day here costs between $14-$21 but for the added amenities and access to bathrooms it is worth it!
Tip: For a free day in the snow, you can drive over to Oak Hill Snow Play Area. This sledding spot is located about 16 miles from Flagstaff off of Historic Route 66!
If the only exercise you are looking for on this trip is walking downtown, this is for you.
Flagstaffs Downtown offers many unique shopping experiences you won’t want to miss. For those looking for a less adventurous activity, pop into the shops and explore. I once spent an entire day perusing the shops looking for gifts to send back to France, with much success!
First, start at The Old Town Shops, conveniently closeby to free parking. These shops are a great jumping off point for your day. Inside this little “mall” you will find a little bit of everything. My favorite stores to peruse:
Back Hound Gallerie
Right when you walk in and to the left, you will spot this funky little shop. Bobbleheads, retro 90’s clothing, and mugs line the store. You can spend an hour reading all the sassy socks and buttons.
Located across from the Black Hound, this store has all things “cute” and you are guaranteed to smile before you leave. Items include home decor, baby clothes and accessories that are locally made.
This pick is for the fashionista in your life. Head down to the basement for some style basics or gemstone accessories. Brittany loves this little spot, everything is priced for the average customer.
Next, as you head further into downtown you will come across many stores for the outdoor enthusiast in your life. Pop into Babbits Backcountry Outfitters or Peace Surplus to grab your next outdoor essential. The staff at these locations are also loaded with helpful tips and tricks for your Flagstaff hiking and activity needs.
Looking for a little something for the pampered princess in your life? Stop in any of the pleasant shops in historic downtown for antiques, accessories and art. Before crossing the railroad tracks to the visitor center, be sure to pop into Crystal Magic. This rock shop has one of the best selections of crystals and jewelry in the area! To finish your day downtown, head across the tracks for a quick photo opp with the Route 66 Sign at the train station.
Escape the summer heat in flagstaff.
During the summer months you’ll find many families, couples and solo adventurers escaping the valley heat and enjoying a day hiking, biking or strolling through Flagstaff. You can set out on any of the hundred trails that are located around this summer haven. With the temperature just right, activities in Flagstaff are easy to come by.
Check out these two spots if you have a thrill seeker in your midst.
Located inside Fort Tuthill, this zipline adventure will get your heart racing. Start high up in the trees as you zip through the forest, jump cargo nets and traverse wobbly bridges. This fun activity can be a half day or full day!
Home to the longest zipline in Flagstaff, Sunrise Park is open for recreation for both summer and winter seasons. During the winter it is a ski destination, but in the summer you can take a scenic chairlift ride and enjoy the view!
Summers in Flagstaff are also wildly popular for outdoor events and gatherings. You’ll find a farmers market or activity in the park almost every weekend! For an elevated outdoor event experience, plan your trip around one of the festivals below.
June – Hullabaloo
Possibly the biggest and best festival in Flagstaff, not only can you enjoy live music, food and vendors, but they also have a large kids play area for the little ones. Since 2010 Hullabaloo has raised over $100,000 for local nonprofits.
June – Blues and Brews Festival
This yearly festival is a local favorite, enjoy 10 live bands while sipping a brew and checking out local vendors.
June – Pride in the Pines
A family friendly event celebrating life and love! Spend the day watching live performances, enjoying the outdoor activities and sipping on a cold beverage while relaxing on the lawn.
July – Arizona Highland Celtic Festival
Learn about Celtic history while sampling foods, watching traditional dances and exploring art.
July – Art in the Park
Snag a gift for a loved one from one of the 70 artists, or just simply enjoy the live local music as you stroll around Wheeler Park.
My favorite way to end a day of outdoor adventure is with a well deserved beer or a bite to eat. Who’s with me?
Flagstaff is “brewing” with possibilities. But really, it is! There are many breweries around Flagstaff that offer more than just your average Brew. Here are my top 2!
Dark Sky Brewing
Featuring many unique beers, Dark Sky has never let us down. With the recent addition of Pizzicletta they now offer some great eats to accompany your “Ry’ed Open Spaces”. A heated dog friendly patio seals the deal.
Lumberyard Brewing Co.
For a more family friendly lunch idea, stop at Lumberyard and enjoy their vast menu. Snag a table inside or choose any table on their expansive patio. With 5 kinds of Mc n Cheese on the menu.. It can’t disappoint.
For more Flagstaff Brews & where to get the best cup of coffee. Check out my blog on : Flagstaffs Best Brews
If you’re like me, food is always at the epicenter of my mind. Where am I eating dinner? What am I in the mood for?
Well, I’ve got you covered. After a long day of activities, whether you want pasta, bbq or a salad, Flagstaff has it all. See below for 5 local spots to dine at while in Flagstaff.
Did someone say Pizza? This local staple has been slinging pies for 40 years. And for good reason, the pizza here is top notch. Snag a toasted ravioli to share, you will not be disappointed.
Cornish Pasty Co.
This Arizona chain has nailed it. They are so niche and the food is so good, it actually works. All of their Pasty’s are pre-made daily, so no substitutions. However, with over 35 menu options everyone’s taste buds will be tingling.
Big Foot BBQ
Authentic, delicious and conveniently located. This tasty find is located in The Old Town Shops and is open Wednesday-Sunday. Choose from your standard bbq faire, or spice it up with their Smokin’ Bulldawg!
The Toasted Owl Cafe
2 locations, one amazing breakfast joint. The fun part is that everything in the cafe is for sale. Snag a piece of local art, or even the chair you are sitting on while sipping a $3 Mimosa.
This Chicago inspired Italian restaurant gets two thumbs up. “Legalize Marinara” is just one of the trendy catch phrases you will see on T shirts in this establishment. Snag the Lots O’ Broccoli’ on their “taste” menu, trust me.
Now that you have decided to come to Flagstaff, Are you staying the night?
You may just need to spend a few days to get through this list of activities! Catch a view of Humphreys Peak while staying at one of the numerous lodging options in the area. Below are a few accommodations for each kind of traveler.
Prefer to spend your time outdoors? Try these camping options:
Ft Tuthill Campground / County Park
Perfect spot if you want to spend the night in the trees, but don’t want to traverse too far off the beaten path. The park provides access to Disc Golf and over 5 hiking trails right outside your “door”. The park is also constantly having events with other fun activities to enjoy! A camp site here can cost you anywhere between $27-$31 a night.
Freidlein Prairie Dispersed Area
The US Forest service has created a few small “dispersed” campgrounds with about 10-15 spots at each, no fee! Located right by Humphrys peak, a quick walk and you can begin your summit!
General Dispersed Camping
Flagstaff has many dispersed options on forest service roads. Just be aware, the Forest Service has created some boundaries to prevent further disturbance to wildlife and natural resources. So always be careful when finding a fully dispersed space that you are allowed to be there.
Please Note: Always be aware of fire restrictions in the area and check the NF website for any updates on closures or emergency alerts.
So, you want to be in the forest.. But not in the forest?
If you are venturing out to AZ in the winter, or heading up to Flagstaff to ski with some buddies, you’ll need to keep warm. Try any of the amazing AirBnb or VRBO options in and around Flagstaff. Below are some benefits of booking a night at a rental home.
You can choose to stay on the Eastside on a Golf Course, or wake up and walk down to Biffs for a bagel downtown. Need a place right by NAU? Snag a cottage or cabin close to town and enjoy the ease of access.
AirBnB and VRBO are great options for families who want to have their own space, cook a meal and enjoy some time together. Many offer games, and outdoor play sets for children activities.
Find some quiet time on your own rental property. Whether you are in a house on the mountain or a little house downtown, you are less likely to be bothered.We stayed at the cutest little cottage with a group of friends last time we visited Flagstaff. The luxury of doing yoga and dancing around the backyard in private was essential to a fun weekend!
Bonus: Many rental homes in Flagstaff have amenities like a hot tub, outdoor gear, or fireplaces.
Or, do you prefer your room cleaned daily, and a continental breakfast?
Flagstaff has some great hotels, motels and inns due to the close proximity to NAU and Snow Bowl. If you are visiting in the winter and looking for a cozy and clean place to rest your head after a long day on the mountains, here are some options.
Hotel Monte Vista
A historical landmark located downtown. You won’t find the glass countertops or steam showers here. But, they do have some of the best cocktails at their inhouse bar!
Also located downtown, this hotel is also steeped in history. Here, you can watch shoppers below while sipping a Manhattan on the upstairs deck.
The La Quinta Inn, GreenTree Inn or the DoubleTree by Hilton.
Just outside of downtown are many of your favorite hotel chains. Free breakfast option, Pet friendly, and Free parking are some of the things you can expect from any of these hotels!
Writers pick: DoubleTree, due to the free cookies on arrival and the indoor jacuzzi!
So are you planning a trip yet?
Flagstaff has so many things to do I couldn’t possibly fit them into one blog. As it is.. This was a lengthy read. I hope you are walking away with a good grasp of the activities and fun that you can find when visiting. Don’t forget to grab an authentic pizza on your way out of town or a 6 pack from one of the local breweries. If you are like me and one day just isn’t enough, snag a campsite or airbnb and spend the night looking at the stars. So, now that you have your itinerary set, I’ll see you in Flagstaff!