18 of the Best Things to Do in Flagstaff (2024 Guide)

Trying to find great activities and attractions in the City of Seven Wonders? Our guide to the best things to do in Flagstaff is all you need to plan the perfect trip!

If you’re dreaming of a travel destination that offers a little bit of everything, then Flagstaff, Arizona, should be at the top of your list. Nestled amid the majestic ponderosa pines of the Coconino National Forest, this charming city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored.

In this post, we’re going to dive into the incredible things to do in Flagstaff, from stargazing at the Lowell Observatory to discovering the cultural wonders at the Museum of Northern Arizona. And if that’s not enough, we’ll also take you on a thrilling journey to the Arizona Snowbowl for some epic winter fun and venture to the awe-inspiring South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff’s unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural richness makes it a true gem in the heart of Arizona. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for some breathtaking scenery, Flagstaff has you covered.

So, let’s embark on this exciting journey together and discover the wonders that await in this enchanting corner of Arizona!

Read Next: Check out this post on the best things to do in Arizona!

The Best Things to Do in Flagstaff

These are 18 of our top-recommended Flagstaff activities to add to your itinerary.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

1. Hike in Coconino National Forest

Exploring Coconino National Forest, with a particular highlight being the hike up Humphreys Peak, provides travelers with a captivating outdoor adventure in Flagstaff. Rising to an elevation of 12,633 feet, Humphreys Peak stands as the highest point in Arizona and is a prominent feature of the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic mountain range just north of Flagstaff.

The hike to the summit offers not only a physical challenge but also stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, including the vast Coconino National Forest, the Painted Desert to the east, and even glimpses of the Grand Canyon on clear days. The trail varies from dense forests of ponderosa pine to alpine tundra as you ascend, providing a diverse and visually captivating hiking experience.

Hikers can also enjoy the thrill of conquering Arizona’s highest peak while taking in the remarkable natural beauty that the San Francisco Peaks region has to offer.

Coconino National Forest
Immerse yourself in nature in the vast and beautiful Coconino National Forest.

2. Explore Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument is a captivating historical and natural treasure that beckons travelers to explore its unique landscapes and ancient cliff dwellings.

Located just east of Flagstaff, this national monument offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area over 800 years ago. Visitors can follow well-maintained trails along the rim and venture down into the canyon to view the remarkably preserved Sinagua cliff dwellings, which are nestled within the narrow walls of the canyon.

These ancient homes provide a vivid testament to the resourcefulness and adaptability of the people who lived here, and the scenic beauty of Walnut Canyon itself adds to the allure of the experience.

For history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike, Walnut Canyon National Monument offers a memorable journey through time and the stunning landscapes of Northern Arizona.

3. Explore the Grand Canyon National Park

Visiting the Grand Canyon is an absolute must for travelers exploring Flagstaff and the surrounding region. This iconic natural wonder, situated just a few hours away, offers an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature’s grandeur.

As one of the world’s most famous and immense canyons, the Grand Canyon’s immense size, intricate geological formations, and breathtaking vistas make it an unforgettable destination.

Whether you’re admiring its vastness from the rim’s edge, embarking on a challenging hike down into its depths, or taking a leisurely mule ride along the trails, the Grand Canyon offers a myriad of ways to experience its beauty.

The play of light and shadows on the canyon’s walls creates an ever-changing tapestry, and sunset and sunrise moments at the rim are particularly enchanting. Visiting the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff provides an opportunity to witness the sheer power of nature and leaves an indelible mark on anyone fortunate enough to behold its splendor.

4. Challenge Yourself on the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course, situated amidst the lush pine forests of Flagstaff, provides an exhilarating and adrenaline-pumping experience for adventure seekers of all levels.

This treetop adventure park offers an array of challenging courses, including suspended bridges, swinging logs, and zip lines, all designed to test your agility and courage while immersed in the natural beauty of the Coconino National Forest.

Whether you’re conquering your fear of heights or seeking an outdoor thrill, the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course promises an unforgettable day of fun and adventure, making it a must-visit attraction for those looking to push their limits and create lasting memories in the heart of Arizona’s stunning wilderness.

Read Next: See where Flagstaff sits on our list of best places to visit in Arizona!

5. Visit the Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona is a captivating institution that offers a deep dive into the rich natural and cultural history of the Flagstaff region and the broader Colorado Plateau.

Located amidst the stunning landscapes of Northern Arizona, the museum features an impressive collection of exhibits, artifacts, and artworks that highlight the geological wonders, indigenous cultures, and diverse ecosystems of the area.

Visitors can explore exhibits on topics ranging from geology and paleontology to Native American art and culture, providing a comprehensive understanding of the region’s heritage. Additionally, the museum hosts educational programs, special events, and temporary exhibitions that further enrich the visitor’s experience.

For those seeking a deeper appreciation of the unique character of Northern Arizona, the Museum of Northern Arizona is an educational and enriching destination in the heart of Flagstaff.

6. Head out on the Flagstaff Urban Trail System

The Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) offers a delightful opportunity for residents and visitors alike to explore the city’s natural beauty on foot, by bike, or while running. This extensive network of interconnected trails weaves through Flagstaff, providing access to lush forests, serene meadows, and scenic overlooks.

Whether you’re seeking a stroll along tree-lined paths, a heart-pumping bike ride through pine-scented air, or a challenging trail run at high altitudes, FUTS has something for everyone.

The system connects various parks, neighborhoods, and points of interest, making it a convenient and picturesque way to experience the city’s unique blend of outdoor recreation and mountain-town charm.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast looking for a workout or simply wish to soak in Flagstaff’s stunning natural surroundings at your own pace, FUTS offers an accessible and enjoyable way to connect with the great outdoors in this charming Northern Arizona city.

7. Visit Lowell Observatory

Whether you’re a dedicated space enthusiast or someone with a casual interest in the cosmos, Lowell Observatory offers an educational and awe-inspiring experience, making it a must-visit attraction in Flagstaff.

Lowell Observatory, situated in Flagstaff, Arizona, stands as a revered institution in the field of astronomy and an intriguing destination for curious minds. Founded in 1894, this historic observatory has made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe, including the discovery of Pluto in 1930.

Visitors to Lowell Observatory can engage in a range of captivating activities, from peering through powerful telescopes to attending informative presentations by astronomers. The observatory also hosts informative exhibits that showcase celestial wonders and the history of astronomical exploration.

8. Ski or Snowboard at Arizona Snowbowl

Arizona Snowbowl, one of the top attractions for things to do in Flagstaff, beckons outdoor enthusiasts to experience the thrill of winter sports amid the stunning landscapes of the San Francisco Peaks.

As Flagstaff’s premier ski resort, Snowbowl offers a plethora of activities for visitors. During the winter, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts can carve down the slopes, enjoying the crisp mountain air and breathtaking vistas. The resort caters to all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros, making it an inclusive destination for both families and adventure seekers.

Furthermore, Flagstaff itself boasts a wealth of attractions and experiences, from exploring the natural wonders of Coconino National Forest to indulging in the city’s vibrant cultural scene in downtown Flagstaff, making it an ideal base for a diverse range of activities year-round.

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast or simply looking for a dynamic Flagstaff adventure, Arizona Snowbowl offers an exhilarating addition to your list of things to do in this picturesque Arizona city.

Arizona Snowbowl
I bet you didn’t think you could find snow like this in Arizona!

9. Stroll through Historic Downtown Flagstaff

Historic downtown Flagstaff, a picturesque and inviting destination, exudes a distinctive charm that captivates visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and unique character.

Nestled against the backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks, this historic district invites exploration along its quaint streets lined with charming boutiques, eclectic shops, cozy cafes, and art galleries.

Meandering through this enchanting area, travelers can soak in the city’s rich history as they admire well-preserved Victorian-era architecture and historical landmarks, including the historic Weatherford Hotel.

Whether savoring a cup of coffee at a local café, browsing for artisanal goods, or indulging in regional cuisine at one of the many restaurants, downtown Flagstaff promises an immersive and delightful experience that embodies the essence of this captivating Arizona city.

10. Venture into the Lava River Cave

Visiting the Lava River Cave in Flagstaff promises a remarkable underground adventure like no other. This natural lava tube, formed by ancient volcanic activity, offers a unique glimpse into the Earth’s geological history.

Before embarking on your journey, ensure you’re well-prepared with sturdy footwear, warm clothing, and a reliable flashlight, as the cave can be dark, chilly, and uneven underfoot.

As you venture into its depths, you’ll be surrounded by fascinating lava formations, such as stalactites and flow marks, creating a surreal and awe-inspiring environment.

The narrow passages and winding tunnels add an element of excitement to the experience. Keep in mind that the cave is a sensitive environment, so it’s crucial to follow Leave No Trace principles, avoid touching formations, and leave the cave as pristine as you found it.

A visit to the Lava River Cave is a unique opportunity to explore the hidden wonders of Flagstaff’s geological past, making it a must-see attraction for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Related: Visit Flagstaff as part of an epic Arizona road trip!

11. Explore Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument is a captivating historical site located just north of Flagstaff, Arizona, where visitors can step back in time and explore the ruins of ancient Puebloan dwellings.

This monument preserves the remnants of several prehistoric Native American communities that thrived in the region over 800 years ago.

Wupatki boasts a unique architectural style, characterized by multi-story sandstone dwellings and a distinct red rock landscape that adds to the site’s visual allure. The visitor center provides informative exhibits and guided tours to help guests understand the history and significance of the ancient Puebloan people who once called this area home.

Moreover, the surrounding landscapes of Wupatki offer opportunities for scenic hikes and exploration, making it an ideal destination for those interested in both archaeology and the stunning natural beauty of Northern Arizona.

12. Follow the Flagstaff Brewery Trail

The Flagstaff Brewery Trail is a delightful excursion for beer enthusiasts and a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local craft beer culture of Flagstaff. Along this trail, you’ll encounter a diverse range of breweries, each offering its own unique brews and atmospheres.

A standout among these is the Mother Road Brewing Company, which pays homage to the historic Route 66, often referred to as the “Mother Road.”

This brewery not only serves up an enticing selection of craft beers but also offers a welcoming and nostalgic ambiance, making it a must-visit stop for travelers seeking a taste of both exceptional beer and the city’s rich history

13. Visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a unique and captivating destination for travelers near Flagstaff. This national monument preserves the remnants of a relatively young volcanic eruption that occurred nearly a thousand years ago.

Visitors can explore the otherworldly landscape of Sunset Crater, characterized by its black lava flows, cinder fields, and the iconic red and orange volcanic cone. Hiking trails wind through the area, allowing visitors to get up close to the volcanic features and experience the stark beauty of this dynamic geologic site.

The Lava Flow Trail, in particular, offers a fascinating journey through the hardened lava fields, providing insights into the powerful forces that shape the Earth’s surface.

For those interested in geology, history, or simply the marvels of the natural world, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is an engaging and visually striking destination just a short drive from Flagstaff.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Enjoy stunning views of Arizona’s landscape at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

14. Wander the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park in Flagstaff offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and heritage of the region. This beautifully preserved Arts and Crafts-style mansion was built in 1904 for the Riordan brothers, timber industry tycoons, and provides a captivating look into the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th century elite in northern Arizona.

Guided tours of the mansion take visitors through its well-appointed rooms, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and architectural details. The park also features lovely gardens and offers insights into the Riordan family’s contributions to the local community.

It’s a remarkable destination for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and anyone interested in understanding the cultural and economic history of Flagstaff and the American West.

15. Visit Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater, located just east of Flagstaff, is a geological marvel and a must-visit destination for those fascinated by the Earth’s history. Formed approximately 50,000 years ago when a meteorite struck the Earth’s surface, this immense crater, nearly a mile in circumference and over 550 feet deep, is one of the best-preserved impact sites in the world.

Visitors can explore the Meteor Crater Visitor Center, which offers informative exhibits, a viewing platform overlooking the crater, and guided tours for a deeper understanding of this cosmic collision.

It’s a humbling experience to stand on the edge of this colossal crater, appreciating the forces of nature and the significance of meteor impacts in shaping our planet’s geological evolution.

Read Next: Don’t pass up the chance to do these great activities in nearby Sedona!

16. Catch a Performance at the Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff is a historic gem that adds a touch of cultural richness to the city’s vibrant downtown. Originally opened in 1911, this beautifully restored venue hosts a diverse array of live performances, concerts, film screenings, and events throughout the year.

The Orpheum’s vintage charm, with its ornate architecture and elegant decor, creates a unique and intimate setting for art and entertainment enthusiasts.

Whether you’re attending a live music concert, catching a classic film screening, or enjoying a theatrical performance, the Orpheum Theater promises an enchanting experience that transports you back in time while offering a dynamic and contemporary cultural scene in the heart of Flagstaff.

It’s a must-visit destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the city’s artistic and entertainment offerings.

17. Visit the Pioneer Museum

The Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff, Arizona, stands as a captivating testament to the city’s rich heritage and the pioneering spirit that shaped its development. Housed in a beautifully restored 1908 hospital building, this museum offers an immersive journey through time, showcasing a diverse array of exhibits that detail Flagstaff’s history.

Visitors can explore the lives of early settlers, learn about the challenges they faced in the region’s rugged terrain, and gain insight into the growth of the community.

From antique artifacts to interactive displays, the Pioneer Museum provides an educational and engaging experience, shedding light on the cultural and historical tapestry of Flagstaff and the individuals who contributed to its growth and prosperity.

18. Take a Scenic Drive Along the Ruins Loop Scenic Drive

The Ruins Loop Scenic Drive near Flagstaff offers a captivating journey through both ancient history and stunning natural landscapes. This scenic drive encompasses two remarkable national monuments: Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

At Wupatki, you can explore the well-preserved ruins of Puebloan villages, providing a glimpse into the lives of Native Americans who inhabited the area over 800 years ago.

Continuing along the drive, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument reveals the dramatic impact of volcanic eruptions, with its striking volcanic landscapes and unique lava flows.

This route allows visitors to immerse themselves in the rich cultural and geological history of the region while enjoying panoramic vistas and photo opportunities.

Wupatki National Monument
There are some incredible sights along this scenic drive, such as Wupatki National Monument.

Where to Stay in Flagstaff

These are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Flagstaff.

Luxury Hotel: The Little America Hotel Flagstaff

The Little America Hotel is a luxurious retreat nestled within a sprawling 500-acre ponderosa pine forest. This high-end accommodation offers elegant rooms and suites, exceptional amenities, and breathtaking mountain views.

Guests can enjoy fine dining at the on-site restaurant, unwind by the outdoor heated pool, or take advantage of the fitness center and spa facilities. With its upscale ambiance and serene surroundings, The Little America Hotel provides a tranquil and indulgent escape.

Mid-Range Family Accommodation: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Flagstaff

Known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, this mid-range hotel offers spacious rooms and suites. Families can take advantage of the indoor pool, fitness center, and on-site restaurant. The hotel is conveniently located near downtown Flagstaff, making it easy to explore the city’s dining and shopping options.

Budget Hostel/Hotel: Super 8 by Wyndham Flagstaff

Super 8 offers affordable and comfortable accommodations with amenities like free breakfast, Wi-Fi, and parking. It’s a budget-friendly option for travelers looking for basic but clean and convenient lodging.

Wrapping Up

As we bid farewell to Flagstaff, we can’t help but reflect on the incredible adventures we’ve had in this remarkable destination. From wandering through the serene beauty of the Ponderosa pines in Coconino National Forest to delving into the rich cultural heritage at the Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff has left an indelible mark on our hearts. 

And, of course, the grand finale of our journey—the awe-inspiring South Rim of the Grand Canyon—reminded us of the sheer majesty of Mother Nature. This city truly offers a diverse range of experiences, making it a must-visit for any traveler.

So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking thrilling hikes and scenic drives or a history buff eager to uncover the stories of the past, Flagstaff is a destination that won’t disappoint. With its unique blend of natural wonders and cultural treasures, this city invites you to explore, discover, and create memories that will last a lifetime. 

So, pack your bags, embark on your own Flagstaff adventure, and let this incredible city captivate your spirit. As we say our farewells to this enchanting place, we carry with us the memories of Flagstaff’s beauty and the knowledge that there are always more things to do in Flagstaff than can fit into a single trip, making it a destination worth returning to again and again.

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

About the Author - Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Leave a comment