If you have an idea to visit Flagstaff, we’ll tell you the most attractive places in Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as the most interesting things you can do in there. Flagstaff has located an elevation of about 6,900 feet. It is surrounded by volcanoes, a ski hill, and ponderosa pines. The climate here during the winter season is cool and snow-covered. In the summer season, many people visit there to enjoy the outdoors, sightseeing, and hiking.
You can watch volcanic landscapes, and explore Native American archeological sites throughout the year. As well as you can learn about the history of the area by visiting some local museums and other attractions. There are dozens of places you can visit in Flagstaff. As well as there are dozens of things you can do that are hard to find in other areas of Arizona. Then, let’s start our tour of Flagstaff.
1. Walnut Canyon Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument is one of the most attractive places in Flagstaff. It is important for both scenery and culture. You can look out over the canyon from the Visitor Center. The best way to see the ruins and experience the area is by getting the one-mile Island Trail. It starts from the Visitor Center. If you like to walk below the overhanging walls and through a series of reconstructed ruins, you have to go down the canyon wall about 185 feet. The stairs will take you there. Also, you can see large ponderosa pines and Douglas fir trees along your way.
- Official website: https://www.nps.gov/waca/index.htm
2. Sunset Crater Volcano Monument
More than 600 volcanoes are dotting the landscape between Flagstaff and William. The youngest among them is the Sunset Crater Volcano Monument. You can see the cinder cone which looks like a huge black dune, with small grains of lava. Trails run along the base and some of them are paved and wide while others lead through natural areas. In some places, chunked lava fields cover the landscape but show no signs of living.
Also, you will able to see a collapsed lava tube that snakes its way through the field. If you do have not much time to travel to this area, we recommend walking the full outer rim of the Lava Flow Trail. This mile-easy trail is one of the best hiking experiences you can get in Arizona. If you go along the same road, you can visit the Wupatki National Monument which is beyond the Sunset Crater. You don’t have to get another admission to visit the Wupatki monument. Because the volcano admission also covers admission to Wupatki.
- Official website: https://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm
3. Wupatki Monument
Wupatki covers a large area of grassland on the Colorado Plateau north of Flagstaff. If you visit there you can see some well-preserved and fascinating American Indian ruins. You can also see a collection of pueblos that span 100 years from 1100 to 1200. There are many sites in this monument like Wupatki Pueblo, Lomaki Pueblo, Nalakihu, and Citadel Pueblo. Nalakihu and Citadel Pueblos is the first site you visit if you come from the north end of the monument.
If you visit the Citadel Pueblo, you will be able to experience 360-degree viewing from the top of the citadel. The Visitor Center is located in the middle of the Wupatki monument. If you come from the south, you will easily catch this Visitor Center. Many people visit there while visiting the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. You only need to get a national park interagency pass to see both areas.
Official website: https://www.nps.gov/wupa/index.htm
There are many ski resorts in Arizona. But Arizona Snowbowl is the best among them. This ski area’s elevation is 11,500 feet and it is set on the slope of an old volcano known as the San Francisco Peaks. Views from the top stretch out over the level plateau below to far-off cinder cones and beyond that, towards the Grand Canyon. In many cases, especially in the spring, you are looking out over a world of trees and grass rather than snow-covered fields.
Most of the hill is designed for beginner to intermediate skiers. If you are an intermediate to advanced skier or a boarder, you can go to the top of Snowbowl. The hill has significant snowmaking facilities and well-kept trails, so it can be used even when there are no storms. A perfect place to relax in an Adirondack chair while watching skiers down the slopes is the patio at the base of the Agassiz lift. Over the past few years, the resort has undergone significant modifications. New six-passenger chairs and eight-passenger gondola combinations have been installed to replace the outdated Agassiz lift. With the new lift, reaching the summit now only takes seven minutes for skiers.
- Official website: https://www.snowbowl.ski/
5. Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory is a popular place among the most attractive places in Flagstaff. It is located on a hill high above the main streets. If you visit there you can see and learn about the various celestial bodies. Also, you can join some short programs which take only 30 minutes to an hour-long held throughout the day and evening. They are based on a variety of subjects and it’s worth checking them before going. Lowell Observatory works as a Steele Visitor Center. Here, you can find many interesting displays relating to the universe. Putnam Collection Center displays items from Percival Lowell’s life. You have a chance to see his very first telescope as well as his 1911 Stevens-Duryea automobile.
- Official website: https://lowell.edu/
6. Flagstaff Museum of Northern Arizona
If you tour Flagstaff, don’t forget to visit this amazing place. It is another popular place among the most attractive places in Flagstaff. It was founded in 1928. The museum has a collection of more than five million items related to the Colorathe do Plateau and Northern Arizona. They range from Native American artifacts to fine art items and objects as well. There are five permanent exhibitions focused on the Colorado Plateau. It also includes the outdoor James Golightly courtyard, the Hopi Kiva Gallery, the Babbit Gallery, and the Geology Gallery. Flagstaff the museum of northern Arizona hosts special Heritage Festivals four times throughout the year. As well as it hosts special traveling exhibits.
- Visit: 3101 N Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Official website: https://musnaz.org/
7. Riordan Mansion State Park
The Riordan Mansion State Historic Park Park is located among large pines on the campus of Northern Arizona University. It is slightly hidden behind some buildings also. The building comes in 1904. It is a great example of Arts and crafts architecture. It features impressive structural elements such as volcanic stones.
The inside of this building has been restored with its original objects. If you visit there, you can see items dating from the turn of the century. Riordan Mansion is designed by Charles Whittlesey. He is the designer of the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon as well. The home is a massive 13,000 square feet. It has 40 rooms as well. You are only allowed to visit there with a guided tour.
- Visit: 409 West Riordan Road, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Official website: https://azstateparks.com/riordan-mansion/
8. Pioneer Museum
The Pioneer Museum is homed in a former hospital which comes from 1908. It displays artifacts that are related to the early days of Flagstaff. If you like to learn about the history of the area and the development of Flagstaff from 1880 to 1960, the Pioneer Museum is a place you must visit. It displays rooms dedicated to each decade.
It’s not hard to find the Pioneer museum. It exhibits boxcars dating from 1929 out in front of the main building and it has a well-preserved steam engine. Therefore you can easily spot this place. Outside the main museum building, you can see a Fire Engine that saved nearby Riordan Mansion, a 1915 Model T Ford, and Ben Doney’s one-room cabin.
- Visit: 2340 N Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Official website: https://arizonahistoricalsociety.org/museum/pioneer-museum/
9. Extreme Adventures
If you like to have an adventurous experience, you should visit Extreme Adventures Flagstaff. You have the opportunity to sign up for a course. It is led by a qualified instructor as well. Do you like to go flying around on the largest zipline course in the Western United States? They also give that opportunity for you. It is a self-guided zipline. But they offer safety training before setting off on your own. You cannot get this zipline experience from any other traditional parks. You have to cross bridges and climb ladders. As well as you must have a reasonable level of fitness.
- Visit: Fort Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Official website: http://flagstaffextreme.com/
10. Historic Downtown
Historic Downtown Flagstaff is another great example of the most attractive places in Flagstaff. If you visit there, you can see a collection of historic buildings. The area is a 12-block area and it is walkable as well. You can find interesting tourist shops, restaurants, and boutiques. Many of these neon signs are lit up at night and have been refurbished. For example, towering Hotel Monte Vista and Orpheum Theater signs. You can look for the Orpheum Theater, Weatherford Hotel, Hotel Monte Vista, and Babbitt Brothers Building. The Flagstaff Visitor Center is located two blocks south. It is home to the refurbished and old train station. The train station is still used.
11. Lava River Cave
The Lava cave is one mile long. It is not a prettified tourist attraction. This is a real caving adventure you can only get from Flagstaff. You have to do it on your own and there is no guide. There you must be fully prepared before going in and down. You must bring multiple light sources as well. Because there is no lighting.
When you climb down inside the cave and walk a short, you can see stone icicles, as well as some other unique rock features. In some areas, the cave tube splits into two tubes that rejoin while in other areas the roof is 30 feet high. The rocks inside the cave are sharp and slippery. Also, you would have to face extremely cold, around 35 to 40 F. Therefore don’t forget to wear sturdy hiking boots.
- Official website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=55122&actid=102
12. The Arboretum
You can find typical high-altitude nature south of Flagstaff. Now this area is home to more than 750 different plants adapted to Flagstaff’s climate. The most attractive thing here is the variety of beardtongue plants, also called penstemon which grow up to 10 feet high. July is the peak blooming season. You can get a guided tour led by a knowledgeable guide. The admission fee is $5.00 per person and $3.00 for dogs. Arboretum hosts plant sales during the main growing season and you have a chance to buy plants if you need any.
- Visit: 4001 S. Woody Mountain Road, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Official website: https://thearb.org/
13. Red Mountain
If you like to have a fun family outing, we recommend going hiking in Red Mountain. It is short and packs many interesting things into a short distance. Elevation gain is minimal in the park. The park has installed a ladder at one steep section. You’ll come across interesting rock formations named hoodoos near the end.
Those are the most attractive places in Flagstaff, Arizona. If you plan to tour to Flagstaff, don’t forget to visit these places. You will be able to get an amazing experience in Flagstaff.
Hotels to stay in Flagstaff
If you visit Flagstaff, you can stay in the below highly rated hotels. They are close to the most attractive places in Flagstaff.
Luxury and Mid-Range
- Little America Hotel: spacious and thoughtfully decorated rooms, common areas and the lobby that have been designed using natural tones and wood
- The Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff: five-minute drive from the historic downtown area, luxurious common areas, large suites, an indoor pool and hot tub, welcome pets
- The Hilton Garden Inn: Near the Northern Arizona University, a restaurant, contemporary rooms, an indoor pool
- The Econo Lodge Flagstaff Route 66: A great location, basic rooms, welcome pets for an additional fee
- The Basecamp at Snowbowl(Ski Lift and Cabins): Located right near the road up to Arizona Snowbowl, less expensive
- The Highland Country Inn: Budget friendly, small, clean and comfortable rooms
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fame of Flagstaff, Arizona?
The San Francisco Peaks mountain range and the Grand Canyon are best accessed from Flagstaff, but it’s also worthwhile to take some time to explore the town’s rich history.
Is Flagstaff usually cold?
The summers in Flagstaff are pleasant and generally clear, but the winters there are bitterly cold, snowy, and partially cloudy. The average annual temperature ranges between 19°F and 81°F, with occasional exceptions when it falls below 4°F or rises over 88°F.
Why is it so dark at night in Flagstaff?
In 2001, Flagstaff was named the first International Dark Sky Place in the world. It also has modern lighting controls that reduce needless light pollution. In 1958, the city passed the first outdoor lighting regulation in history.
Is Flagstaff, Arizona, a nice place to call home?
There is so much to see and discover in Flagstaff, which is one of the greatest locations to live in Arizona. It is full of small-town charm and is renowned as a great area to live for raising a family.
Why do tourists travel to Flagstaff?
The famed Route 66 highway gave Flagstaff’s Historic Downtown and Railroad District its place in American history, but it is today better recognized as a busy center of shops, art galleries, pubs, and restaurants.