15 Best Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona - Updated 2021

things to do in flagstaff
Haley
Haley
Updated

Explore the beautiful and historic city of Flagstaff when visiting Arizona. With plenty to do, including mountain adventures, Downtown exploration, and even a trip to the North Pole, you’ll never be bored when visiting Flagstaff. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona.

1. Elden Pueblo Archaeological Site

Elden Pueblo Ruins in Arizona
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Elden Pueblo Archaeological Site lets you learn about the ancient inhabitants of Elden Pueblo called the Sinagua people. This tribe lived in this area around the 11th to 13th century. Based on archeological evidence, including shell jewelry from California Coast and macaw skeletons from Mexico, Elden Pueblo was a major commercial hub in those days. There’s a trail amidst the spot’s pine trees to hike and explore this cultural treasure. Programs are also organized yearly for public learning, including practical excavation and tours.

Elden Pueblo Archaeological Site

Address: US-89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, United States

Website: Elden Pueblo Archaeological Site

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

2. The Arboretum At Flagstaff

The Arboretum at Flagstaff
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Whpq used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Arboretum At Flagstaff is a 200-acre (81-hectare) property, inhabiting plants native to northern Arizona’s high elevation. The arboretum, formerly the home of a philanthropist named Frances McAllister, is located in Coconino National Forest. Here, you will find more than 750 plant species and specimens thriving in a natural setting, including gardens and greenhouses. The green spaces make the place ideal for picnicking. In collaboration with Flagstaff Arts Council, the establishment organizes music concerts by local talents every Saturday, 5:30 pm during summer.

The Arboretum At Flagstaff

Address: 4001 S Woody Mountain Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, United States

Website: The Arboretum At Flagstaff

3. Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Packbj used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Lowell Observatory, one of the oldest observatories in the country, takes pride in being the place where Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto in 1894. Although Pluto is no longer considered a planet, other observations such as the nature of Pluto’s atmosphere, Uranus’ rings, and the universe’s expansion were also first discovered at Lowell Observatory. This venue features so many eye-opening programs and tours that cannot be missed, from seeing the Pluto Discovery Telescope to viewing the relics at Putnam Collection Center like the observatory’s media collections.

Lowell Observatory

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

Website: Lowell Observatory

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 6:30pm – 8:30pm (closed on Tue)

4. Pioneer Museum-Arizona Historical Society

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

Posted by Arizona Historical Society on Monday, January 25, 2021

Visit this museum to learn about Flagstaff’s great past, including the culture, transportation, logging, and ranching of the area’s pioneers. The building, initially a 20th-century hospital, was constructed from Mount Elden’s rocks in 1908. The spot features three permanent exhibitions that are invaluable. The grounds, housing important relics such as a caboose and an old locomotive. The Decade Rooms feature items from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, while the Hospital highlights a recovery room and an operating room.

Pioneer Museum-Arizona Historical Society

Address: 2340 N Fort Valley Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, United States

Website: Pioneer Museum-Arizona Historical Society

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

5. Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bobby Chin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take part in various outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking, as you admire the extensive wildlife and cultural ruins in the preserve. Aside from flora and fauna, the over 150 petroglyphs sculpted by the Northern Sinagua people is another major draw to this 478-acre (193-hectare) location. The venue is freely open to the public year-round. However, certain rules such as no dumping of trash and no movement of any object on the grounds are placed to protect the wild creatures and the cultural treasures.

Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

Address: Flagstaff, AZ 86004, United States

Website: Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

Opening hours: 5am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

6. Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Posted by Riordan Mansion State Historic Park on Thursday, 20 July 2017

If you visit El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon, you’ll love the duplex-style Riordan Mansion. As another amazing creation by Charles Whittlesey, the Riordan Mansion stands as a great example of American Arts and Crafts-style architecture. Built in 1904 with the most modern technology and design of the time, including indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, central heat, and electric lights, the Riordan Mansion was a modern wonder. Today it is a beautiful piece of history and state park waiting to be explored.

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Address: 409 W Riordan Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

7. North Pole Experience™

Spread some Christmas cheer and share with us your most cherished #Christmas memory! Are you looking to create new...

Posted by North Pole Experience on Monday, 20 October 2014

Surprise the kids when in Flagstaff by taking them to a magical world they’ll never forget. As the “Best Holiday Experience for Children” (Arizona Foothills Magazine), the North Pole Experience™ (NPX) is an exciting destination for young and old guests alike. You’ll begin your journey on a trolley ride in the middle of the forest that goes through a magical portal to Santa’s workshop.

In the workshop, you’ll find an all-around hands-on experience for children and parents alike. Working side-by-side with the elves, you can build toys, gain access to Santa’s main factory floor, attend Elf University, and learn all of Santa’s Workshop secrets. During your visit, be sure to chat with Mrs. Claus over cookies, and see where Santa gets his mail, checks the Naughty and Nice list, and loads his sleigh. And as the topper to your workshop experience, enjoy a private family visit with the man himself, Santa.

North Pole Experience™

Address: 2515 E Butler Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Website: North Pole Experience™

8. Arizona Snowbowl

Arizona Snowbowl Grand Canyon Express Ski Lift Opening Celebration (30795587303)
Source: Photo by user Coconino National... used under CC0

While “snow” is in the name, it doesn’t have to be snowing to enjoy the Arizona Snowbowl. That’s right, this fun winter ski destination becomes an escape from the desert heat during the summer. At the Snowbowl, temperatures only get to the low 80s and 70s (20-26 Celsius), making it the perfect place to enjoy live music and explore the outdoors. Take in a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous northern Arizona, spending a summer afternoon on a Scenic Chairlift ride. If you’re visiting Flagstaff during the winter, the Snowbowl is Arizona’s ultimate skiing and snowboarding destination.

Arizona Snowbowl

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

Website: Arizona Snowbowl

9. Hike the San Francisco Peaks

San Francisco Peaks 01
Source: Photo by user Bernard Gagnon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Surrounding the caldera of a now extinct volcano, the San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff stand, attracting visitors from all over the world. More than just a skiing hub, the San Francisco Peaks offer challenging hikes, cozy campgrounds, disk-golf fields, and more, perfect for enjoying nature in its purest form.

San Francisco Peaks

Address: San Francisco Mountain, Arizona

Website: San Francisco Peaks

10. Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Still space available at FLG X this Saturday 1/7. Temps in the 40s. Try out our new Zips or the challenge of the Adventure Course. Book online! #flagstaffextreme #advzips #advcourse http://ift.tt/2hWFd0q

Posted by Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course & Adventure Zips on Thursday, 5 January 2017

Test your outdoor skills at Arizona’s only adventure and zipline course, Flagstaff Extreme (FLG X). This safe, fun, and physical outdoor experience is high in the Flagstaff pines, and offers a unique experience the whole family will love. When hanging out with FLG X, you will be challenged to push your limits and overcome fears in a friendly environment. Multiple large circuits are available, at Flagstaff Extreme within the Adult course. Each one contains about 10-17 different obstacles and ziplines. Of course, the kids won’t want to miss out on the adventure, and FLG X offers practice managing their own safety lines and movement—and a course to put it all to the test. At FLG X, you’re guaranteed a high-rising good-time.

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Address: Fort Tuthill County Park, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Website: Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

11. Lava River Cave

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

Explore the underworld when visiting Flagstaff at the Lava River Cave. As a part of the Coconino National Forest, this natural museum is outside and perfect for learning about history, biology, geology, and cave climates. While most museums have doors, the Lava River Cave’s entrance is merely a hole in the ground. When you enter, you’ll find a floor covered in large slippery boulders, and a mile-long (1.6 km) trek through darkness. Be sure to bring two or three light sources!

Thanks to the natural insulation of the cave, the internal temperature stays around 35-45⁰F (2-7⁰C), so be sure to dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes. Despite the roughness of the trek, the cave’s interior is decorated with beautiful lava features that tell the story of how the cave came to be. Truly worth exploring, the Lava River Cave is a must-visit when in Flagstaff.

Lava River Cave

Address: Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Website: Lava River Cave

12. Moenkopi River Works

Grand Canyon Helicopters, in partnership with Hualapai River Runners, has announced the launch of its newest tour “Heli ...

Posted by Grand Canyon West on Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Experience the Grand Canyon up close by floating down the Colorado River. With Moenkopi River Works, you don’t have to worry about travel. Everything you could possibly need, whether you’re going to be on the river for an hour, an afternoon, or all night, Moenkopi River Works has you covered. Moenkopi River Works provides not only boats, but kayaks, camping equipment, food, cooking supplies, a first aid kit, and more, promising you a fun, safe adventure down the Colorado River.

Moenkopi River Works

Address: 5355 N Dodge Ave, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Website: Moenkopi River Works

13. Sunset Crater National Monument

Sunset Crater National Monument SUCR2856
Source: Photo by user National Park Ser... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

See the geological wonder, the Sunset Crater National Monument, when visiting Flagstaff. The remains of a volcano that erupted around 1085 CE, this basin remains as a reminder of nature’s colossal capabilities. Trails line the rim and crisscross the volcano, perfect for hiking and exploring the mound. It takes about one hour to stop at the Visitor Center and hike the entire Lava Flow Trail. But if you have some additional time, check out the Lenox Crater Trail, the Aa Flow trail, or enjoy the spectacular view from the Cinder Hills Overlook. Each trail is unique, offering different adventures during future Flagstaff trips.

Sunset Crater National Monument

Address: Coconino County, Arizona

Website: Sunset Crater National Monument

14. Museum of Northern Arizona

Did you know that Flagstaff's beautiful San Francisco Peaks are really a large, dormant volcano? Find this out and more...

Posted by Museum of Northern Arizona on Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Featuring more than just exhibits, the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is an awesome destination for Flagstaff vacationers and curious travelers alike. The MNA campus is home to Native American collection facilities featuring more than five million Native American artifacts, natural science specimens, and fine art pieces. Not only a fun way to learn about the history of North America, MNA works to inspire its visitors to love the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau. By collecting, studying, interpreting, and preserving the works of native people, MNA does just that.

Museum of Northern Arizona

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

Website: Museum of Northern Arizona

15. Downtown Flagstaff and Train District

Flagstaff AZ - downtown hotel
Source: Photo by user SearchNet Media used under CC BY 2.0

Enjoy a stroll Downtown in Flagstaff’s historic 1900s era district. Not only home to great food and shopping opportunities, when you visit Downtown Flagstaff, you will learn about the lynching of outlaws, massive fires that destroyed entire blocks, friendly saloon owners, and the people that helped found one of Arizona’s most iconic cities. Tours and trains abound in this populated area, perfect for family vacations or a romantic date.

Downtown Flagstaff and Train District

Address: Downtown, Flagstaff, AZ

Website: Downtown Flagstaff and Train District

Visit Flagstaff!

As a beautiful piece of Arizona, Flagstaff brings culture, nature, and adventure together to make an excellent vacation destination. From museums, to river exploration, to mountain experiences, to a lively Downtown, Flagstaff just might be the perfect Arizona destination for you.

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Best Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona
Source: Trip101

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Haley has been writing stories since she was five, but did not decide to be a full-time writer until her college years. She studied English and Biology at Eastern New Mexico University and has...Read more

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