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Best Things To Do in Flagstaff

Many of the best things to do in Flagstaff occur outdoors. From exploring the dwellings of ancient peoples at several state parks and national monuments to hiking and skiing the nearby mountains – or simply relaxing alfresco with a craft beer at the Historic Downtown and Railroad District, Flagstaff is full of activities. Visitors looking to stretch their brains, as well as their legs, can also head to the Lowell Observatory for astronomy lectures or to the Museum of Northern Arizona for some lessons in regional culture and geology. There are also ample opportunities throughout the city for shopping and noshing.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Flagstaff

Free
Built along the railroad track – and what would become Route 66 – the Historic Downtown and Railroad District is a pedestrian-friendly area filled with historic 1900s-era buildings that have been converted to shops, restaurants, galleries, breweries and other watering holes. The district also plays hosts to regular events like a farmers market, a monthly art walk, movie nights and more.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Historic Downtown and Railroad District
Built along the railroad track – and what would become Route 66 – the Historic Downtown and Railroad District is a pedestrian-friendly area filled with historic 1900s-era buildings that have been converted to shops, restaurants, galleries, breweries and other watering holes. The district also plays hosts to regular events like a farmers market, a monthly art walk, movie nights and more.
... more

#2

#2 in Flagstaff

The 3,600-acre Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson to protect the ancient dwellings carved into the area's cliffs. Archaeologists believe that ancient people lived in the cliffs thousands of years ago and today, visitors can see these primitive homes while hiking the monument's Island Trail. Other options for experiencing the park include the 30-minute round-trip Rim Trail, which offers visitors stunning canyon overlooks.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Walnut Canyon National Monument
The 3,600-acre Walnut Canyon National Monument was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson to protect the ancient dwellings carved into the area's cliffs. Archaeologists believe that ancient people lived in the cliffs thousands of years ago and today, visitors can see these primitive homes while hiking the monument's Island Trail. Other options for experiencing the park include the 30-minute round-trip Rim Trail, which offers visitors stunning canyon overlooks.
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#3

#3 in Flagstaff

At the Lowell Observatory, visitors can conjure their inner-astronomer by peering through world-class telescopes and sitting in on lectures on topics like black holes and the history of Pluto. This observatory was founded in 1894 by the Harvard-graduated mathematician Percival Lowell. Throughout the years, the observatory has been credited with making a handful of important findings. In fact, researchers at the observatory were the first to discover Pluto.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Lowell Observatory
At the Lowell Observatory, visitors can conjure their inner-astronomer by peering through world-class telescopes and sitting in on lectures on topics like black holes and the history of Pluto. This observatory was founded in 1894 by the Harvard-graduated mathematician Percival Lowell. Throughout the years, the observatory has been credited with making a handful of important findings. In fact, researchers at the observatory were the first to discover Pluto.
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#4

#4 in Flagstaff

Flagstaff Extreme is an adventurous obstacle course in which participants ages 7 and older can test their limits on challenges like rope swings, scrambling walls and wobbly bridges, among dozens of other features, many of which are located at tree level. Each course starts out with a 30-minute safety and training session.  
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Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Flagstaff Extreme
Flagstaff Extreme is an adventurous obstacle course in which participants ages 7 and older can test their limits on challenges like rope swings, scrambling walls and wobbly bridges, among dozens of other features, many of which are located at tree level. Each course starts out with a 30-minute safety and training session.  
... more

#5

#5 in Flagstaff

Established in 1924, the Wupatki National Monument – part of a collective of Flagstaff Area National Monuments, including Sunset Crater Volcano and Walnut Canyon – is a nature and culture preserve. Ancient peoples once inhabited the area, leaving behind their pueblos, or villages, when they moved on. Today, travelers can hike through the park's red rocks, pausing at the village ruins along the way and learning about the day-to-day lives of the people who once called Wupatki home.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Wupatki National Monument
Established in 1924, the Wupatki National Monument – part of a collective of Flagstaff Area National Monuments, including Sunset Crater Volcano and Walnut Canyon – is a nature and culture preserve. Ancient peoples once inhabited the area, leaving behind their pueblos, or villages, when they moved on. Today, travelers can hike through the park's red rocks, pausing at the village ruins along the way and learning about the day-to-day lives of the people who once called Wupatki home.
... more

#6

#6 in Flagstaff

Around 900 years ago, a volcano – which has come to be called Sunset Crater – erupted and transformed the encircling area. Geologic features like cinders, lava rock and lava flow compose this almost otherworldly topography, which is punctuated by ponderosa pines. Some of the more popular ways to experience the park include hiking the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail or climbing up to the Cinder Hills Overlook. Keep in mind that backcountry hiking is forbidden for preservation purposes.
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Monuments and Memorials Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Around 900 years ago, a volcano – which has come to be called Sunset Crater – erupted and transformed the encircling area. Geologic features like cinders, lava rock and lava flow compose this almost otherworldly topography, which is punctuated by ponderosa pines. Some of the more popular ways to experience the park include hiking the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail or climbing up to the Cinder Hills Overlook. Keep in mind that backcountry hiking is forbidden for preservation purposes.
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#7

#7 in Flagstaff

In 1904, brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan, members of a prominent Arizona family, commissioned two nearly identical mansions at the summit of Flagstaff's Kinlichi Knoll. Architect Charles Frederick Whittlesey, who is also credited with designing the Grand Canyon's El Tovar Hotel, designed the two homes, which are actually connected by a rendezvous room. Today, visitors can take guided tours of the 13,000-square-foot space to learn about the Riordan (pronounced Rear-don) family and the history of the property.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Riordan Mansion State Historic Park
In 1904, brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan, members of a prominent Arizona family, commissioned two nearly identical mansions at the summit of Flagstaff's Kinlichi Knoll. Architect Charles Frederick Whittlesey, who is also credited with designing the Grand Canyon's El Tovar Hotel, designed the two homes, which are actually connected by a rendezvous room. Today, visitors can take guided tours of the 13,000-square-foot space to learn about the Riordan (pronounced Rear-don) family and the history of the property.
... more

#8

#8 in Flagstaff

The Museum of Northern Arizona is an homage to the culture and nature of Northern Arizona's Colorado Plateau. Founded in 1928, the museum has permanent exhibits that range from the contemporary art of the Hopi Tribe to a gallery that delves into the geologic features of the 130,000 square miles that form the Colorado Plateau. A handful of temporary exhibits also pass through the museum.
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Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Museum of Northern Arizona
The Museum of Northern Arizona is an homage to the culture and nature of Northern Arizona's Colorado Plateau. Founded in 1928, the museum has permanent exhibits that range from the contemporary art of the Hopi Tribe to a gallery that delves into the geologic features of the 130,000 square miles that form the Colorado Plateau. A handful of temporary exhibits also pass through the museum.
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#9

#9 in Flagstaff

Nestled in the San Francisco Peaks at 9,500 feet, the Arizona Snowbowl is one of the state's best spots for skiing and snowboarding. The Snowbowl offers three different areas for a variety of skill levels: the Prairie Dawg Start Park, the Southern Belle intermediate parks and the Sunset Terrain Park, which is best suited for advance skiers. The Snowbowl also welcomes visitors to its slopes in the summer for hiking and a scenic chairlift ride. 
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Hiking Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Arizona Snowbowl
Nestled in the San Francisco Peaks at 9,500 feet, the Arizona Snowbowl is one of the state's best spots for skiing and snowboarding. The Snowbowl offers three different areas for a variety of skill levels: the Prairie Dawg Start Park, the Southern Belle intermediate parks and the Sunset Terrain Park, which is best suited for advance skiers. The Snowbowl also welcomes visitors to its slopes in the summer for hiking and a scenic chairlift ride. 
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