Yellow aspens and ponderosa pines partially cover a snow-capped mountain under a blue sky with clouds
Credit: Tom Alexander

25 Things to Do in Flagstaff

Consider this your definitive guide to Flagstaff—from stargazing to craft beer tasting, these are a few of our favorite must-do activities in this mountain town.

1. Downtown Flagstaff

Dusk on a busy downtown street in a small town. Neon signs are on, one advertising the Hotel Monte Vista.

San Francisco Street in Downtown Flagstaff (Credit: Kerrick James)

You can spend an entire day—and night—exploring the heart of Flagstaff. Browse the shops (bookstores, clothing boutiques, outdoor gear stores), attend an event in Heritage Square and grab a bite to eat in this walkable downtown. In the summer, purchase fresh produce at the Flagstaff Community Market.

2. Flagstaff Brewery Trail

Some of the best craft beers in Arizona are brewed in Flagstaff. Sample them on the Flagstaff Brewery Trail, collecting passport stamps at each stop to exchange for a neat souvenir—a commemorative pint glass.

3. Lowell Observatory

A man holds the controls of a large telescope, pointed toward the sky, as a father and son look on

Day or night, Lowell Observatory's telescope reveals wonders.

As an International Dark Sky City, Flagstaff's celestial sights are impressive. At Lowell Observatory, see the telescope Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto and marvel at the star-studded sky on a visit to Mars Hill. On your way up, pull over for views of Flagstaff below.

4. Museum of Northern Arizona

Woven baskets and traditional indigenous costumes are displayed in glass cases alongside other handcrafted goods and tools

Museum of Northern Arizona (Credit: An Pham)

Discover what makes the geography, geology and people of the Colorado Plateau so unique. Highlights of the Museum of Northern Arizona include a replica of a Hopi kiva and seasonal gardens featuring the diverse plants of the region.

5. Arizona Snowbowl

View of a chairlift as it descends into a grove of trees with a panoramic view of the mountains behind

Views from Arizona Snowbowl's chairlift go from snowy white to leafy green during the summer.

The state's premier destination for winter skiing and snowboarding is worth a visit in summer, too. From the gondola on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Grand Canyon. Come autumn, soak up the vibrant hues of the changing leaves.

6. Lava River Cave

A man stands in shadow, a light illuminating a cave system with two tunnels

Descending into Lava River Cave (Credit: Coleman Becker)

Step inside a mile-long lava tube formed by a volcanic eruption roughly 700,000 years ago. The temperature maintains a cool 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) even during the summer.

7. Wild West Traders

At this downtown Flagstaff store, shop for authentic American Indian jewelry as well as locally made dresses, jackets, purses and hats in Native-inspired patterns made from wool blankets.

8. Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

A man in a harness navigates a tricky wooden obstacle course set amongst pine trees

Navigate the obstacles at Flagstaff Extreme (Credit: An Pham)

Do as the locals do—get the adrenaline pumping on an outdoor adventure. At Flagstaff Extreme, you can tackle the largest zipline course in the western United States and an above-ground ropes adventure course set among the ponderosa pines.

9. Walnut Canyon National Monument

Visitors from around the country hike to this popular park in Coconino National Forest to view the 25 cliff dwellings inhabited more than 700 years ago by the Ancestral Puebloans—forbears of the Hopi. Other ruins include a partially reconstructed pithouse and pueblo.

10. Wupatki National Monument

Ancient indigenous ruins stand against a desert landscape

Ruins at Wupatki (Credit: Mark Skalny)

Take the easy, half-mile Wupatki Pueblo Trail to this 900-year-old 104-room pueblo and ball court located near the Sunset Crater Volcano (#11). Three other trails lead to even more Puebloan ruins. Most of the trails are partially accessible, and work is underway on an accessible path to the Lomaki and Box Canyon Pueblos.

11. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Apollo astronauts trained for the lunar landing at this otherworldly landscape created by a volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago. Walk among Ponderosa pines and across cinder fields with astonishing views of the crater. The more adventurous can access the Cinder Hills Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area less than 20 minutes away for some enduro-style dirt bike trails and ATV-friendly roads.

12. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

An Arts & Craft-style two-story mansion sits among a forest of pine trees.

Riordan Mansion

A prime example of Arts & Crafts-style architecture, the Riordan Mansion, operated by Arizona State Parks, is actually two identical homes built by the Riordan brothers in 1904 and connected by a common living space.

13. Arizona Trail

You can certainly hike, run or bike the Flagstaff portions of this 800-mile-long trail from Mexico to Utah. We suggest traversing it Old West-style: on a horse. Saddle up and ride the Arizona Trail's Equestrian Bypass; it runs from Fisher Point to Sandy Seep Trail, following the rim of Walnut Canyon (#9). Ride your own horse, or book a tour through a local stable. (If heading out on your own, be sure to check for trail closures, as these may occur due to wildfire activity or other restrictions.)

14. The Arboretum at Flagstaff

Self-guided and docent-led tours introduce you to the indigenous plants of the Colorado Plateau and northern Arizona at this 200-acre natural exhibit. Want to immerse yourself in even more nature? Join a bird or wildflower walk.

15. Pioneer Museum

Exhibits on early life in Flagstaff—including covered wagons, farm equipment, and an iron lung—make this museum operated by the Arizona Historical Society a fascinating stop for all ages. Check their calendar before your visit as the museum frequently hosts family-friendly events and activities.

16. Flagstaff Urban Trail System

Lace up your walking shoes to hit the 56 miles of shared-use, non-motorized pathways along Flagstaff streets, through riparian areas, across meadows and beyond. Half of the paths are paved surfaces, while the remaining half is made up of a hard-packed, aggregate surface such as crushed gravel.

17. Flagstaff's Rural Trails

A woman stands atop a rocky overlook, looking down into a valley of green and yellow foliage surrounded by mountains

Views from Humphreys Trail (Credit: Jordyn Walworth)

Countless trails cut through the thick forests surrounding Flagstaff. Explore a few. Wildflowers abound on the (slightly easy) Fatmans Loop and (moderate) Lockett Meadow trails while the strenuous Humphreys Peak Trail rewards with vistas from the highest peak in Arizona.

18. Green Book-approved Route 66

Experience the Mother Road in a new way on a self-guided tour of Flagstaff sites once listed in the "Negro Motorist Green Book," a guidebook created in the 1930s to give safe passage to Black Americans traveling the country. Motel Du Beau, Nackard Inn (today, the Grand Canyon International Youth Hostel) and Pearl Polk's Rooming House are easy to find.

19. Red Mountain

Ever wonder what it would be like to stand inside a volcanic cinder cone? You can do just that at Red Mountain, where its unusual U-shape creates a natural amphitheater filled with hoodoos.

20. Orpheum Theater

A large mural spans the length of a building's exterior wall. The image is a contemporary depiction of sound and performance.

"Sound of Flight" mural outside Orpheum Theater (Credit: Christina Barrueta)

Most major shows—including nationally known acts—in Flagstaff take the stage at this historic downtown theater where live performances date back to 1911. The mural on the theater's exterior wall is also a popular photo op.

21. Hotel Monte Vista

You don't have to stay overnight to soak in the ambiance of one of Flagstaff's oldest hotels, built during the 1920s—especially if you believe the ghostly tales of the hotel being haunted. Dine at the Lotus Lounge, sip coffee at Rendezvous or listen to live music in The Monte Vista Cocktail Lounge.

22. San Francisco Peaks Loop

Beautiful any time of the year, this nearly 50-mile scenic drive pops with autumnal color when the aspens begin to change in October. (A high-clearance vehicle is recommended.) From downtown, drive northwest on US 180 for 19 miles to FR 151. Turn right on FR 151, drive about 2 miles to FR 418. Turn left. Continue 11 miles to FR 552. Turn left on FR 552 and take US 89 for almost 2 miles. Turn right on US 89 and continue 16 miles back to Flagstaff.

23. Elden Pueblo Archaeological Site

Dig into the past—literally—on Public Archeology Days as you help excavate a Sinagua site with approximately 70 rooms dating back to AD 1070. The rest of the year, the pueblo is open for self-guided tours.

24. Coconino Center for the Arts

Just one mile from downtown, the Coconino Center for the Arts celebrates creativity with contemporary art displays in its galleries and concerts and live entertainment in its 200-seat theater and performance space.

25. Self-Guided Art Tours

Be the envy of social media when you download a Selfie Trail map and photograph yourself at the city's best places to pose. Need more content? Follow the self-guided Public Art Tour to more than 40 murals, mosaics and installations throughout Flagstaff.

About the Author

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Wine Enthusiast, and AAA publications. She is the author of two guidebooks and a contributor to Fodors Arizona & The Grand Canyon.

Recommended Partners

Family Activities

Lowell Observatory

Although recently demoted to a dwarf planet, the 9th planet Pluto was discovered at Lowell Observatory in 1930 by Clyde Tombaughs....

Galleries & Museums

Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is a private, nonprofit, educational institution founded in 1928 by a group of Flagstaff citizens to...

Winter Sports

Arizona Snowbowl Winter Resort

Perfect corduroy on bluebird days, untracked powder in the upper bowl, drinks on the deck of Agassiz Lodge, and epic views of the Grand...

Family Activities

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Flagstaff Extreme is a series of exciting physical challenges suspended in trees at various heights. Participants experience new thrills...

Galleries & Museums

Pioneer Museum

Discover history in the cool pines of Flagstaff. The former 1908 Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent is now the Arizona Historical...