15 Best Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona - Updated 2024

Molly
Molly 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

Flagstaff, Arizona is the central location for some of the most beautiful desert and rock formations in the United States. A few days here will enable you to see some of the most unique and best things the West has to offer. Its historic downtown area alone offers delicious food options, popular activities, craft brews, and special events. There are also a number of museums with both temporary exhibits and permanent exhibits. Check out our list of the best things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona, and start planning your next trip!

1. The Museum of Northern Arizona

Interior of the Museum of Northern Arizona in 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomas Farley used under CC0

Nestled at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, The Museum of Northern Arizona offers colorful exhibits that let visitors experience the unique character of the region. Some of the exhibits feature archaeology, footprints of the past, and histories in clay. Southwestern jewelry is among the displayed items as well. The museum also houses artifacts showing Colorado Plateau from all the way back to 15,000 B.C.

Apart from ventures and custom tours, the museum also offers special events that allow visitors to marvel at cultural masterpieces and participate in hands-on activities. A gift shop with apparel, books, fine art, and other featured items is found on the property.

The Museum of Northern Arizona

Address: 3101 N Fort Valley Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, United States

Website: The Museum of Northern Arizona

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10am - 4pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 15 USD

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2. The North Pole Experience

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

If you’re in Flagstaff for the holidays, join the North Pole Experience to make the most of your vacation. It is a magical, interactive experience that lasts approximately 95 minutes and is spent entirely aboard the train traveling to the North Pole Village. Upon arrival, Santa comes aboard and greets the children with cocoa, a cookie, and a bell.

From working side-by-side with the elves to enjoying cookies and snowman soup in the bakery, the entire tour provides a bonding moment that is one for the books - not just for the kids but for the whole family as well. Participants also get to be inside Santa’s mailroom and “secret” hangar, where the mission control center is located. The adventure ends with a private family visit to Santa.

The North Pole Experience

Address: 2515 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, United States

Website: The North Pole Experience

Price: From 38 USD

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3. Mother Road Brewing Company

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

One of the independent craft brewers in Arizona, Mother Road Brewing Company provides a relaxed setting for groups and children with families to hang out. It also features a patio that welcomes well-behaved and leashed pets. The site is an original brewery with an intimate tasting room where visitors can enjoy a pint and engage in casual conversations over craft beers. There is also a small library as well as several board games for entertainment.

Mother Road Brewing Company support local charities and partner with organizations that protect wild spaces in the state.

Mother Road Brewing Company

Address: 7 S Mikes Pike St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, United States

Website: Mother Road Brewing Company

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 2pm - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 9pm

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4. Haunted Downtown Flagstaff Segway Tour (from USD 129.0)

Joining a haunted tour is already interesting enough, but experiencing it using a Segway just takes the whole adventure to a whole new level of fun. You also have the option of joining the tour on foot or bike. No matter which mode you prefer, fun is guaranteed as you’ll be going through the downtown core and hearing stories of ghost sightings and the history of the Wild West. You’ll also be provided with a headset so you can listen to the expert guide as they explain interesting facts and information about the city.

The tour starts from Thorpe Park and all the way through Northern Arizona University, the Historic Downtown, and, finally, the Lowell Observatory.

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Haunted Downtown Flagstaff Segway Tour

Duration: 2 hours

31 reviews

5. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Happy Thanksgiving! The staff at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park are so thankful for the support of the Riordan Family, our volunteers, and the community!

Posted by Riordan Mansion State Historic Park on Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Visit this stunning 1904 mansion, showcasing arts-and-crafts style architecture and exhibits from different times, diverse people, and historic events in Arizona. Visitors are allowed to see the interior of the mansion via a guided tour that starts every hour from 10am to 4pm.

You can also have fun at the property’s picnic area or explore the expansive grounds. Make sure to keep your eyes open to see some of the wildlife that frequents the area such as mountain chickadees and juncos.

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Address: 409 W Riordan Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, United States

Website: Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)

Entrance Fee: 2 USD; Free for kids below 6. Guided tour fee: 12 USD

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6. Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument 2015 026
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Peel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The highlight of Walnut Canyon is seeing the homes of the Sinagua people, a group that lived here from 1100 to 1250 CE. They were experts in conserving water, dealing with droughts, and trading with other groups as far away as Central America. When they mysteriously left in 1250 CE, they left behind around 80 cliff dwellings.

Today, lucky visitors can see 25 of these rooms via a 0.9 mile (1.4 km) loop trail, that descends 185 feet (56 m) into Walnut Canyon. Other things you might see on the trail include the 387 species of plants that live here or some of the native animal life.

Walnut Canyon National Monument

Address: 3 Walnut Canyon Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Website: Walnut Canyon

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7. Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki-1001
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Grahampurse used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Wupatki National Monument is famous for its rich Native American history and ruins. This protected land includes three buildings and 29 structures on 35,000 acres (14,164 hectares) of land. All the settlements here were built by the ancient Pueblo people, who lived here between 500 and 1225 CE. They harvested rainwater and produced maize and squash.

While Wupatki appears abandoned today, it is still cared for by the park service and the Hopi clans. They tell stories of their ancestors and believe that the people who lived and died here, remain as spiritual guardians.

Visitors today can hike on designated paths and see some of the ruins. If you time it right, you can enjoy a ranger-led hike to backcountry sites that are normally off-limits.

Wupatki National Monument

Address: 25137 N Wupatki Loop Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Website: Wupatki National Monument

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8. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Sunset Crater Volcano
Source: Photo by Flickr user jb10okie used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Around 1085 CE, a huge volcanic eruption shook this area. Lava spewed and flowed over 4 miles (6.4 km), and a blanket of ash and lapilli, or rock fragments, covered over 810 square miles (2,100 sq km) of land. Today, the volcano is extinct and partially re-vegetated, but the evidence of its violent past remains.

Visitors can get a great view of Sunset Crater and enjoy a spectacular hiking trail, found here. The trail is below the summit and goes around the Bonito Lava Flow. Admire the hardened black lava fields of Sunset Crater and imagine how devastating it was to the area in the past. There is a small lava tube, but it is now closed to the public. Hiking to the summit is also not permitted.

Sunset Crater Volcano

Address: Coconino County, Arizona, U.S.

Website: Sunset Crater

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9. Flagstaff Extreme

FLAGSTAFF EXTREME
Source: Photo by user Bill Morrow used under CC BY 2.0

Flagstaff Extreme is a popular attraction that features rope swings and tree-top suspended obstacle courses, for both kids and adults, at varying difficulty and experience levels. Come walk across ropes and wiggly bridges, swing through the treetops and enjoy an amazing view and outdoor adventure. Flagstaff Extreme is a great place to build confidence and enjoy popular activities.

Flagstaff Extreme

Address: Fort Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Flagstaff Extreme

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10. Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory 2009
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kaldari used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Established in 1894, the Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in the United States. In fact, it was here that Pluto was discovered, in 1930. It features a wide variety of telescopes. The original telescope used for this discovery is still in use today, for public education.

Lowell Observatory sees over 85,000 visitors per year, who come to take both day and nighttime guided tours, to see the dark sky and stars and learn about the galaxies above their heads. Apart from a visitor center, there are also various special programs such as “Meet an Astronomer,” and many events around astronomical phenomena, such as meteor showers or eclipses. The site offers regular events and annual events as well, including the Heart Pluto Festival. 

Lowell Observatory

Address: 1400 W Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Lowell Observatory

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11. Small group Grand Canyon day tour from Flagstaff (from USD 224.0)

Le Grand Canyon (5)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user PIERRE ANDRE LEC... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This tour is a great way to conveniently see the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff. You will be picked up from your hotel in the city and then proceed to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Here, you will stop between six and eight times and be given the opportunity to walk to some less visited outlooks.

Visitors will also get to see historic buildings, such as the El Tovar Lodge and Desert View Watchtower, as well as enjoy a picnic lunch at the Indian Ruins. Finally, the group will get to stop at one of the most famous Navajo Trading Posts in the United States before heading back to Flagstaff.

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Grand Canyon from Flagstaff Small Group Day Tour with Guide

Duration: 8 hours

478 reviews

12. Lava River Cave in Coconino National Forest

Lava River Cave
Source: Photo by Flickr user Coconino National... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

700,000 years ago, molten lava erupted from a volcanic vent in Hart Prairie. The top, sides, and bottom of the vent cooled and solidified first, allowing the rest of the lava to continue flowing through the ground and create the cave.

Visitors can visit this mile-long (1.6 km), huge cavern, year-round, with no fees. They can also take a self-guided tour to look at the stone icicles hanging from the ceiling, a fascinating Y-shaped intersection, and pillars of light pouring through holes in the ceiling. Be sure to bring light sources and plenty of water. Dress warmly – temperatures in the cave are around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 Celcius), even in the summer.

Lava River Cave in Coconino National Forest

Address: 171B Forest Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Lava River Cave

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13. Arizona Snowbowl

Arizona Snowbowl Grand Canyon Express Ski Lift Opening Celebration
Source: Photo by Flickr user Coconino National... used under CC0

While you might not associate Arizona with a mountainous landscape, you can find snowy peaks and pine trees at around 9,500 feet (2895.6 meters) above sea level, here at the Arizona Snowbowl. Come and enjoy snowboarding and skiing, during the winter and for an escape from the intense heat and the fun of a scenic chair lift, during the summer.

Arizona Snowbowl

Address: 9300 N Snow Bowl Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Arizona Snowbowl

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14. Grand Falls Arizona

<div class="fn">
Grand Falls Leupp Arizona United States Landscape Photography</div>
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Giuseppe Milo used under CC BY 3.0

Thousands of years ago, lava flowed from the Merriam Crater into the Little Colorado River, creating a lava dam. This formed the Grand Falls of Arizona. At 185 feet (56 meters) tall, this waterfall is taller than Niagara Falls but much more unpredictable. Heavy rains and snowfall will cause torrents of water to pour over the dam, while at other times of the year, there will be barely a trickle. The water is known for being extremely muddy and has been likened to the chocolate waterfalls in Willy Wonka.

This formation is a little difficult to get to, requiring a four-wheel drive vehicle, a hiking permit from the Navajo, and a hiking trail that is a little over a mile (1.6 km) long, but adventurers will be rewarded with a beautiful natural formation, that most others miss.

Grand Falls Arizona

Website: Grand Falls AZ

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15. Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour (from USD 299.0)

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone due to flash flooding. The water swirled and churned through the canyon, forming stunning curves along the walls. Because of the danger of flash floods, especially in the late summer months, access to this canyon is granted only to approved tour companies.

Upon your arrival, a guide from the Navajo Nation, who own the canyon lands, will help you explore the depths of this natural wonder. Next, the group will proceed to an amazing view of Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River. You will be hiking around 2 miles (3.2 km) on these excursions, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Tip from Content Creator

Horseshoe Bend Horseshoe Bend

Photos of Horseshoe Bend shared by content creator from the US, Jamie.

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Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Flagstaff

Duration: 9 hours

635 reviews

Flagstaff - The adventure of a lifetime

These excursions are just what you need to get in touch with nature, history, and thrill – are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? If so, start packing your bags and plan a trip to Flagstaff, today!

Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona


  • What are the top attractions to visit in Flagstaff?

    If you’re planning to have a holiday in Flagstaff and looking for its top attractions to visit, then you should visit Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and Lowell Observatory.

  • What are the best outdoor activities in Flagstaff?

    There are plenty of activities to choose from here in Flagstaff, including hiking at the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, trying exciting obstacle courses at Flagstaff Extreme, and skiing at Arizona Snowbowl.

  • What are the best day trips from Flagstaff?

    In case you’re in search of the best day trips you can take from Flagstaff, then you should travel your way to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon. For other day trip options, you can also visit Sedona, Williams, and Prescott.

  • What are the most popular things to do in Flagstaff with kids?

    Flagstaff boasts many things to do, but if you’re after the most popular kid-friendly activity, then you should explore the Flagstaff Extreme. It has numerous obstacle courses suited for many ages.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Molly is a technology marketing and sales professional. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Baylor University and has been writing for many years. Currently, she is a contributor at trip101.com...Read more

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