Credit

Courtesy of Steve Smith/Getty Images

Why Go To Flagstaff

Compared to the desert-urban enclave of Phoenix and resort-filled Sedona, Flagstaff often gets written off as a pit stop – a place to pause on a long road trip to the Grand Canyon. But it shouldn't be dismissed so swiftly. This city of 69,000, in the shadows of the San Francisco Peaks and hemmed in by ponderosa pine forests, exudes a laid-back, outdoorsy charm. Locals, who bike, ski, hike – and enjoy a craft beer or two – infuse the city with life, and neighboring Northern Arizona University's college students lend the city some youthful energy, too.

For an easygoing vacation – 7,000 feet above sea level – complete with outdoor excursions, local eats (many of which are priced for college students), and a handful of unique natural attractions, including Walnut Canyon National Monument, Flagstaff should be your vacation destination, not just a stop along the way.

READ MORE 

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

FLIGHTS
HOTELS

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Rankings

The U.S. News & World Report travel rankings are based on analysis of expert and user opinions. Read more about how we rank vacation destinations.

Best of Flagstaff

Flagstaff Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Flagstaff is between September and November when the summer crowds have dispersed, the trees are alight with color and the weather is crisp and clear. The three months between December and February are popular among winter sports enthusiasts, but Flagstaff typically has very snowy winters, which can make travel difficult. In March, April and May, the city starts to thaw, but this time of year is also known for having high winds. June, July and August are high travel season when visitors descend on Flagstaff to take advantage of the beautiful 80-degree weather. 

Weather in Flagstaff

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
42.4
17.2
44.8
19.2
50.4
23.5
58.3
28.6
68.2
35.1
77.9
42
81.1
51
78.4
50.2
72.9
42.1
62.1
31.5
50.5
22.8
42.4
17
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
2.05
2.16
2.12
1.15
0.63
0.36
2.61
3.11
2.38
1.66
1.76
1.87
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit Flagstaff

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Dress in layers Arizona experiences drastic temperature fluctuations, so come prepared by packing layers.
  • Remember the altitude Flagstaff has a higher elevation than mile-high Denver. Fend off altitude sickness by drinking plenty of water and imbibing alcoholic drinks moderately.
  • Flagstaffians are friendly If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask a local. They're a friendly and helpful bunch, probably thanks to their constant release of endorphins (Flagstaffians are also very athletic). 

How to Save Money in Flagstaff

  • Visit two national monuments for the price of one Admission to Sunset Crater gets you into Wupatki for free – and vice versa – so you can experience both for one price.
  • Take advantage of the outdoors The hiking trails at Mount Humphreys and Mount Elden (both within an hour's drive of Flagstaff) won't cost you a thing to access, and parking at the mountain base is free as well.
  • Stare at the skies Flagstaff puts on a brilliant show every night for free. In fact, the city is one of the world's best places to stargaze, as designated by the International Dark Sky Association. 

What to Eat

The dining scene in Flagstaff is influenced, in part, by its college-student cohort. You'll find an array of budget-friendly pizza and burger restaurants scattered near campus, which is located in the center of the city. Students at Northern Arizona University keep a lot of these establishments busy, but travelers should try to drink in the ambiance and the coffee at Macy's European Coffeehouse & Bakery and grab a slice at Oregano's Pizza Bistro – two popular spots near NAU. Other nearby restaurants like Cottage Place, which serves filet mignon and sea scallops, and Coppa Café, which brings "a taste of Europe in Flagstaff," offer more of a fine dining experience. Other local favorites include Satchmo's for barbecue and Delhi Palace for Indian.

When it comes to drinks, craft beer is a big deal in Flagstaff. In fact, there's even a Flagstaff Ale Trail that guides travelers on a bike or chauffeured tour of a handful of the best breweries in the city, including the beloved Mother Road Brewing Company.  Wanderlust Brewing Company and Flagstaff Brewing Company are also popular among locals and travelers alike.  

READ MORE 
Explore restaurants

Getting Around Flagstaff

The best way to get around Flagstaff is by car. Although there is a public bus that makes regular routes throughout Greater Flagstaff, a personal vehicle will give you the most freedom to explore the best things to do and dining scene on your own time. Although there are pedestrian-friendly areas, such as the Historic Downtown and Railroad District, the city is too spread out to get around on foot alone.

The Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) is located about 5 miles south of downtown Flagstaff. The airport is small and only welcomes flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), which is the next closest airport about 150 miles south. You won't be able to book a nonstop trip directly to Flagstaff, unless you're coming from Arizona's capital. From the Flagstaff airport, visitors can take a taxi or rental car into the city. Amtrak and Greyhound also operate out of Flagstaff. 

Photos

Flagstaff1 of 15
Flagstaff2 of 15

In many ways, Flagstaff is an oasis of pine forests, prairies and mountains in a state covered in deserts. 

Flagstaff CVB

Explore More of Flagstaff

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The 16 Best Prague Tours

Take an informative journey through Prague's history, food and more on these trips.

John RodwanFebruary 25, 2020

The 10 Best Jamaica Tours

Enjoy the laid-back Jamaican lifestyle and the island's beauty on these immersive excursions.

Lyn MettlerFebruary 18, 2020

The 22 Best Scotland Tours

Explore castles, lakes, national parks and more on these top-rated excursions.

John RodwanFebruary 14, 2020

The 12 Best Travel Strollers for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel strollers, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerFebruary 13, 2020

The 14 Best New York City Food Tours

Take a bite out of the Big Apple on these foodie-focused NYC excursions.

Ann HensonFebruary 10, 2020

The 11 Best Swamp Tours in New Orleans

Experience the backyard of the Big Easy on one of these trips.

Marisa MéndezFebruary 6, 2020

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2020

U.S. News ranked 4,099 top properties for 2020. Check out the 50 best.

Mackenzie RocheFebruary 4, 2020

The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean 2020

Scenic settings, activities galore and delicious cuisine reign supreme at these hotels.

Erin ShieldsFebruary 4, 2020

The 15 Most Instagram-worthy Best Hotels

These 'grammable properties offer picture-perfect decor, settings and more.

Rachel CenterFebruary 4, 2020

10 Top Hotels for Solo Travelers

Reconnect with yourself this year with a stay at a solo-friendly property.

Nicola WoodFebruary 4, 2020