Flagstaff is a city of over 52,000 people near the San Francisco Peaks mountain range of northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon, USA. Lying at an altitude of 6990 feet, Flagstaff and much of the surrounding region are substantially cooler than the low desert that dominates the southern part of the state. Though still dry by east coast standards, enough rain and snow falls in the area to allow a forest of ponderosa pine trees to cover the landscape.
Flagstaff is at the intersection of Interstate 40, which runs west to California and east to New Mexico (following historic Route 66) and Interstate 17, which runs south to Phoenix.
Amtrak's daily Southwest Chief Chicago-Los Angeles line makes a stop in downtown Flagstaff. The westbound train arrives at 9:51PM and the eastbound train arrives at 6:06AM.
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (IATA: FLG)  has regular scheduled commercial airline service. USAirways provides service to Phoenix. There are also several air charter carriers.
The nearest major airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (IATA: PHX) . Driving time between Flagstaff and Sky Harbor is greater than the 150-mile separation would suggest; the airport is on the opposite side of Phoenix from Flagstaff, and traffic jams in Phoenix are a problem. Allow two and a half hours or more to get from one to the other by car.
Flagstaff is stretched out along historic Route 66, which runs roughly east-west. The fairly small (about 5 blocks square) downtown is on the western side of town, near the base of Mars Hill, the location of Lowell Observatory. Both I-40 and the BNSF railroad tracks run roughly parallel to Route 66. Northern Arizona University is located south of downtown and the tracks, but north of I-40. Here the north-south oriented Milton Road, which becomes I-17, is the main thoroughfare, with Route 66 heading west north of the railroad underpass.
The city is fairly bike-friendly, with many roads having bike lanes. In 2006 the Flagstaff was designated a "Bicycle-Friendly Community" by the League of American Bicyclists.  The Flagstaff Urban Trails System , or "FUTS" includes more than 50 miles of paved and unpaved trails that wind throughout the town and are used extensively for recreation and transportation. One well-traveled FUTS path runs along the south side of Route 66 from downtown to the east side of town.
The Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority operates The Mountain Line , fixed-route bus service that extends throughout Flagstaff and carries more than one million passengers per year.
Flagstaff's historic downtown
Lowell Observatory, 1400 West Mars Hill Rd., . An astronomical research center at which the dwarf planet Pluto was discovered, this historic institution is on a mesa overlooking the west side of town. The staff leads guided daytime tours, and visitors use the Observatory's 24" Clark telescope and smaller portable telescopes during regular evening programs (inquire). Open 9AM-5PM daily and from 5:30PM (regular evenings) except some holidays. An entrance fee is payable.
The Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd., +1 928 774-5213, . Daily 9AM-5PM except some holidays. On the north side of town, it has displays on Native American life and the natural history of the region. A good selection of American Indian folk art, particularly Navajo rugs, is available at the gift shop. An entrance fee is payable.
The Arboretum at Flagstaff, 4001 S. Woody Mountain Rd., +1 928 774-1442, . Daily 9AM-5PM, Apr-Oct. This 200-acre botanical garden, environmental research station, and nature center displays one of America's largest collections of high country wildflowers. Daily guided tours at 11AM and 1PM. Wild Birds of Prey programs at 12PM and 2PM, Fridays through Mondays. An entrance fee is payable.
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 409 W. Riordan Rd, +1 928 779-4395, . Daily 8:30AM-5PM May-Oct, 10:30AM-5PM Nov-Apr. This fine example of an Arts and Crafts style house was built in 1904 for a prominent local family. An entrance fee is payable.
Arizona Historical Society-Pioneer Museum, . This small state museum collects, preserves and exhibits artifacts, documents and photographs of the history of Flagstaff and northern Arizona. It also hosts a number of events throughout the year. Open from 9AM-5PM Monday through Saturday. An entrance fee is payable.
Alpine skiing. Arizona Snowbowl, , is one of only three ski resorts in the state of Arizona. Despite the surrounding desert, Flagstaff is a popular skiing destination for the Southwest due to the high elevation. Interestingly, the Snowbowl is one of the first ten ski resorts established in the United States. Snowbowl is in the San Francisco Mountains, which offer pleasant high-country hiking after the snow melts, including a trail to Humphreys Peak, highest mountain in Arizona. Access to some of the San Franciscos is restricted, as they're sacred to several of the area's Indian tribes.
Mountain biking, Hiking, and Rock Climbing. The area surrounding Flagstaff is a hotspot for such outdoor activities. Mount Elden is an excellent starting point, with numerous trails running up and alongside most sides of the mountain. One of the most popular Elden trails is Elden Lookout Trail, which scales all 2800 feet (855 metres) from base to summit, and has access to the lookout tower at the top which looks down on the entire city. Elden Lookout Trail can be accessed from Highway 89 across from the Flagstaff Mall and next to the Ranger Station. Many of the bicycle and outdoor sports stores in downtown Flagstaff carry "Favorite Hikes: Flagstaff and Sedona" and "Mountain Biking Arizona Guide: Fat Tire Tales and Trails", two excellent guidebooks written by local Flagstaff mountain bike enthusiast Cosmic Ray.
Northern Arizona Yoga Center, 113 S. San Francisco, ☎ +1 928 774-3144 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Northern Arizona Yoga Center is the largest yoga studio in town. This studio offers more than just yoga...they also host Salsa parties, Tango classes, Capoiera, Pilates, and Tai Chi. They are also a great supplier of yoga clothing and accessories. They are partners with the Vertical Relief Climbing Gym. Dual memberships are available.$15 drop in.
Skate at the city-owned Jay Lively Ice Arena 1650 N. Turquoise Drive, +1 928-774-1051, ), the only permanent indoor ice rink in the city.
Flagstaff Mall, Marketplace Drive & Highway 89, +1 928 526-4827. Anchored by Sears, JCPenney, and Dillard's.
August Moon, 1300 S. Milton Road. No frills, but excellent Chinese food and friendly service. Delivery too.
Hunan East, 1926 N. Fourth St. (East Side) Great Chinese food in a casual atmosphere.
Dara Thai, 14 S. San Francisco St. Downtown, centrally located serving decent Thai food. Get a seat by the window and view San Francisco Street while you dine.
Little Thai Kitchen, 1051 S. Milton Road. A Thai restaurant popular with locals.
Pato Thai, 104 N. San Francisco Street. Downtown, another popular one with locals
Pizzicletta, downtown location: 203 W. Phoenix Ave. A Neapolitan style pizza place.
Fratelli Pizza, downtown location: 119 W. Phoenix Ave. East side: 2120 N. Fourth St. A pizza place that is well-loved by the locals. They have cheese, pepperoni, and pesto slices, and many specialty pies. Their pizza is hand-tossed, thin crust, brick oven pizza, like what is found back east.
NiMarcos Pizza, 101 S. Beaver Street. Locally owned and operated in Flagstaff for years, NiMarcos offers semi-thick crust pizza, salads and soft-serve ice cream. Go in and order your own pie or just buy a slice. Local favorite.
New Jersey Pizza Company, 2224 E Cedar Ave. Excellent choice for those looking for an all organic menu or more exotic options than the typical pizza restaurant offers.
Martanne's Cafe, 10 N. San Francisco St. Mexican breakfast/brunch. Cash Only! Awesome food, huge portions at fairly reasonable prices.
El Charro, 409 S. San Francisco St. Located between the campus of Northern Arizona University and the downtown area, this an authentic Mexican food restaurant. The nachos are actually crisp and the enchilada sauce tastes how it should! Very affordable and very genuine.
La Fonda, 1900 N. Second St. (East Side). Same location since the 50s, this a well-loved Mexican restaurant with great salsa and authentic dishes. Is busy most times so expect to wait to be seated.
Kachina Downtown, 522 E. Route 66. Located on the eastern fringe of downtown, yet another great locally owned Mexican restaurant.
Casa Bonita Has great Mexican food and a great bar menu with afforable prices, though more expensive than some of the other local restaurants. A good family spot, but lacks authentic flavor. Located by the Wendy's on South Milton.
Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, 1900 S. Milton Rd., +1 928 779-1960. Solid food with a "Southwestern" (rather than "Tex-Mex" or "Old Mexican") flavor and comfortable service. Is an Arizona wide chain.
Macy's Coffeeshop, located on the south side of the tracks at 14 S. Beaver Street, they roast their own coffee and have lots of vegan foodstuffs. A favorite amongst the "hippies".
Horseman's Lodge located north of town on Highway 89 approximately 3 miles past the Flagstaff Mall. Open for dinner with a great salad bar. The place to go for a nice, tender steak! Decorated with a authentic ranch style atmosphere.
Brandy's Restaurant and Bakery, 1500 E. Cedar Ave. Breakfast features quiche of the day, seven grain french toast, specialty egg dishes, homemade pastries and many other quality items. Lunch features tons of tasty sandwiches and burgers. Dinner is slightly more upscale but definitely affordable ($10-$15 a plate) and features the wonderful creations of Chef Sherman Johnson. Tequila Lime Chicken and Garlic Stuffed Pork just to name a couple. Dinner is only served Tuesday thru Saturday. Breakfast served until 2:30PM on Sunday.
Buster's, 1800 S. Milton Rd. Casual fine dining with decent food. A good place, but may be a disappointment for those expecting the spectacular.
Western Gold Steakhouse, 2657 Gold Coast Highway, +1 928 779-7979,  The Western Gold Steakhouse is one of Flagstaff's most popular dining choices, American cuisine.
Bigfoot BBQ, 120 N. Leroux St. Located in the basement of downtown Flagstaff's Old Town Shops, this is the place to go if you have a hankering for a pulled pork sandwich or a batch of fried okra. They even serve gourmet hotdogs. Owned by a Georgia native turned Flagstaff resident, you won't want to miss out on this!
Diablo Burger, 120 N. Leroux Street (The address isn't much help; park somewhere near Heritage Square, then look for an oddly shaped circular building in the northern end of the Square next to an Italian restaurant with outdoor seating.), ☎ +1 928-774-3274, . 11AM-9PM. Mon-Wed, 11AM-11PM Thurs.-Sat., closed Sun. Although tricky to find and seating is rather limited, this place is one of those extraordinarily rewarding discoveries for the persistent traveler. Their burgers ($8-10) are made from range-raised beef from a ranch just north of Flagstaff, served on an English muffin with a boatload of Belgian-style fries. In fact, all of their ingredients are from local businesses whenever possible. They also offer a handful of good regional beers. Their commitment to doing good by staying local even extends to their billing practices: they don't accept credit cards. Bring cash - you'll be glad you did!
For beer fans, Flagstaff boasts two brewpubs and one microbrewery.
Beaver Street Brewery, 11 S. Beaver St., +1 520 779-0079, . Brewpub. Serves up a wide range of their own beers, as well as a good selection of reasonably priced and tasty German-style pub grub (sausages, mashed potatoes and the like).
Tiffany Tree Lounge, 2515 E Butler Ave., +1 928 779-7979. At the Little America Hotel (below).
Altitude's Bar and Grill, 2 S Beaver St # 200, +1 928 214-8218. Relaxed atmosphere, great outdoor seating and a cozy fireplace inside for the winter months.
Because of its proximity to the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff has a wide array of hotels and other lodging, with over 5,000 rooms available. Cheap rooms are available at older non-chain motels, but you get what you pay for, and prices may not be that much cheaper than discount chains. Be sure to shop around and bargin as proprietors are often willing to drop prices during the off-season.
Many motels of the older variety are located along Route 66 east of downtown. More older hotels and most newer motels are located south of downtown along Milton Road. There are a few historic hotels downtown, as well as two hostels. Various B&B establishments can be found near downtown in older neighborhoods. Campgrounds and RV parks can be found on the outskirts of town. Note that the BNSF rail line is very busy and in many hotels train horn noise is prominent (though not overwhelming as no facility is directly on the tracks). Sensitive sleepers should look to the Milton Road area for more quiet. Visible from the I-40 freeway off the Butler Ave. exit on Lucky Lane is a large selection of national chain economy class hotels including Econo Lodge, Motel 6, Quality Inn, Super 8 and Howard Johnson.
Amerisuites Extended Stay Hotel, 2455 S Beulah Rd, +1 928 774-8042, .
Best Western Kings House Motel, 1560 E Route 66, +1 928 774-7186. Toll-free: 1 888 577-7186, Fax: +1 928 774-7188, .
Best Western Pony Soldier Inn & Suites, 3030 E Route 66, +1 928 526-2388. Toll-free: 1 800 356-4143, Fax: +1 928 527-8329, .
Comfort Inn, 2355 S. Beulah Blvd, Phone: +1 928 774-2225, .
Conifer House Bed and Breakfast, 1701 West Stevanna Way, Flagstaff, Arizona (AZ) 86001, . checkin: 4 to 6PM; checkout: 11:00AM. This bed and breakfast features a 2-person jacuzzi and a gas fireplace in every room. It is also easily accessible from downtown Flagstaff.(35.224037,-111.657696)
Days Inn Flagstaff East near The Meteor Crater, 3601 East Lockett Road, Flagstaff, AZ. Toll-free: 1 800-261-0506,  Spacious lodging with comfortable king-size beds abounds at the pet-friendly Days Inn Flagstaff East, which also provides a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast and easy access to must-see Arizona attractions.
DuBeau Route 66 International Hostel, 19 West Phoenix Street, +1 928 774-6731. Toll free 1 800 398-7112, . Beds start at $17 per night, private rooms start at $36 per night.
England House Bed and Breakfast, 614 West Santa Fe Avenue, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001, ☎ +1 877-214-7350, . This well respected bed and breakfast is just four blocks from Flagstaff's historic downtown. England house was built in the early 1900s and is now furnished with antiques from the late 1800s. Breakfast is served on the bright sun porch.(35.199934,-111.65615)
Fairfield Inn Flagstaff, 2005 South Milton Road, +1 928 773-1300. Toll-free: 1 800 574-6395, Fax: +1 928 773-1462, .
Hampton Inn & Suites Flagstaff, 3501 East Lockett Road. Toll Free 1 888 308-5298, .
Holiday Inn Express Flagstaff, 2320 E. Lucky Lane, +1 928 714-1000, .
Grand Canyon International Hostel, 19½ South San Francisco Street, +1 928 779-9421. Toll free 1 888 442-2696, . Beds start at $19 per night.
Little America Hotel Flagstaff, 2515 E Butler Ave, +1 928 779-7979, . Antique, continental flair. One of the more unique hotel experiences that Flagstaff has to offer.
Quality Inn, 2000 S. Milton Rd, Phone: 928-774-8771, .
Quality Inn Lucky Lane, 2500 East Lucky Lane, Phone: +1 928 226-7111, .
Radaisson Woodlands Hotel, 1175 West Route 66, US Toll Free: 1 888 201-1718 . .
Residence Inn Flagstaff, 3440 N Country Club Drive (off I-40 east), +1 928 526-5555, Fax: +1 928 527-0328, . Comfortable hotel on the east side of town, featuring a seasonal pool and fireplaces in some rooms. Complimentary wifi and great breakfast spread. Doubles from $120, two-bedroom suites from $180.
Rodeway Inn & Suites, 2285 E. Butler Ave, Phone: +1 928 774-1821, .
Rodeway Inn Downtown, 122 West Route 66, Phone: +1 928 774-5081, .
Rodeway Inn Northern Arizona University, 121 South Milton Road, Phone: +1 928-774-8820, .
Sleep Inn, 2765 S. Woodlands Vil. Blvd, Phone: +1 928 556-3000, . 58 room hotel located near Northern Arizona University
Sled Dog Inn, 10155 Mountainaire Road (Exit 333 off I-17, 1.4 miles east), ☎ +1 928-525-6212, . checkin: 4:00; checkout: 11:00. A sexy hideaway with 10 rooms, 6 miles south of Flagstaff. Away from the train noise but close enough to enjoy all the region has to offer.$150. (35.088503,-111.667914)
Hotel Monte Vista, 100 N. San Francisco St., Flagstaff, Arizona, 86001, ☎ Toll Free 1 800 545-3068, . Stay at the same hotel that some scenes of Casablanca were shot at.
Starlight Pines Bed & Breakfast, 3380 E Lockett Rd (exit 201 off Interstate 40, left on to 89, right on Fanning, left on Lockett), ☎ 1 800 752-1912 or +1 928-527-1912, . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 11AM. 1912 Victorian style B/B. Four guest rooms with private baths, Lily with private balcony overlooking Mount Elden, Dragonfly with wood-burning fireplace.From $129. (35.219898,111.59521)
Flagstaff Rental Cabin, 453 Shonto Ovi, Flagstaff AZ 86001, ☎ +1 602 628 3500, . checkin: 3:30pm; checkout: 11:00am. 3Br Cabin with two king size fully adjustable beds with massage upstairs and two queen beds downstairs. Ralph Lauren bedding throughout. 55" 3D TV and fireplace in the great room.
Black Barts RV Park; Steakhouse & Saloon, 2760 E Butler Ave., Flagstaff, AZ 86004, ☎ +1 928 774-1912, . Full Hookup with 50 amp service.
You can camp anywhere in the surrounding forest which abuts town in many places (i.e Thorpe Park, Mt Elden) as forest service land is everywhere. Some of the choice camp sites are on the San Francisco peaks and inner basin where a breathtaking aspen color changes happen every fall.
Being a smaller city, Flagstaff does not have a huge crime problem, but there are certain areas that should be avoided, mainly at night.
Sunnyside, one of Flagstaff's larger neighborhoods, is on the east side of town (bordered by Cedar Ave. on the north, 4th St. on the east, Izabel St. and Cedar Hill on the west and Route 66 on the south). Sunnyside is an incredibly diverse and interesting neighborhood but is also one of the most poverty stricken neighborhoods in the city. Most points of interest are restaurants located on the edge of the neighborhood in the business districts which are generally safe any time of day. The area has been inflicted with some gang activity, mostly in the very center of the neighborhood. Just don't walk the neighborhood at night or hang out in an area that seems unsafe.
The other area that becomes unsafe at night is some areas of what locals call the "South Side". South of the railroad tracks, west of Lone Tree Road, east of Milton and north of the NAU campus is the general designation of this area. The exception being most of the areas along South Beaver St. and South San Francisco St., which are safe even at night because the night-time music, restaurant and bar scene that takes place along these streets. Areas closer to campus and on side streets such as South O'Leary and South Fontaine should be avoided at night. Though a lot of college students inhabit the area, so do drug addicts and transients along with some gang activity.
Walnut Canyon National Monument contains a number of Native American cliff dwellings built in a narrow canyon. Two trails allow good views of the ruins and the canyon. Fee $5, good for 7 days; Park Pass applies.
Wupatki National Monument contains a collection of Native American ruins scattered along a circular drive that also passes by Sunset Crater (an extinct volcano). Probably some of the finest outside of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Plan on spending most of the day on this loop drive. Fee $5, good for 7 days at both Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments; Park Pass applies.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument At the southern end of the loop drive that connects it to Wupatki National Monument, this monument contains a relatively new volcano. The main eruption around 1064 C.E. built most of the cinder cone, with the last eruption in 1260 C.E. adding the spectacular to the cone's top. Fee $5, good for 7 days at both Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments; Park Pass applies.
The Barringer Crater
Barringer Meteor Crater off of Interstate 40 east of Flagstaff offers another unique experience. This is an exceptionally well preserved meteor (impact) crater, although not the largest in the world as sometimes claimed. It is on private land, but the owners have done a good job of developing a visitor center that is informative, conservation-oriented and generally well done, in contrast to the many "tourist traps" along Route 66. See Winslow (Arizona) for details & fees.
Montezuma Castle National Monument (cliff dwelling), located near Camp Verde, Arizona is on I17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area famous for its Rainbow Bridge (Natural Bridge) National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
The detour through Sedona on the way South to Phoenix offers a scenic route west of the freeway.
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