Updated August 17, 2023–Looking for the best things to do in Flagstaff Arizona? Here’s the top nine Flagstaff things to do, as recommended by Scott Talboom, a long-time resident and familiar face around town.
1. Lowell Observatory Tops the List for Best Things To See in Flagstaff, Arizona: Something for Everyone
Whether you are a science nerd, history buff or outdoor enthusiast, Lowell Observatory is one of the best things to see in Flagstaff. Perched high on “Mars Hill,” Lowell Observatory is filled with history and glimpses into the future. Famous for the discovery of Pluto, Lowell Observatory offers much more.
Here you will have an opportunity to let your imagination run wild, exploring the universe with multi-million-dollar telescopes. Learn about astronomy and Flagstaff’s role in the moon race while enjoying the campus’s natural setting and panoramic views.
Lowell remains one of the top attractions in Flagstaff.
Table of Contents
2. The Museum of Northern Arizona: One of the Most Popular Attractions in Flagstaff
Founded in 1928 by Harold S. Colton and Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton, the museum moved to the charming main exhibit building in 1935.
Weaving through exhibits, you will feel like you are transported back in time. Natural history, from volcanos to dinosaurs, gives way to the original inhabitants, the Anasazi and Sinagua people.
What they left behind provides clues to the harsh and symbiotic life with nature they endured.
The museum is one of the best things to see in Flagstaff. Learn about the past and experience contemporary Native American art exhibits and summer festivals.
3. Fort Tuthill County Park Provides Fun Things To Do in Flagstaff for the Entire Family
Fort Tuthill County Park has 633 acres of fun things to do, no matter what the season.
For me, it is a close getaway to strap on cross-country skis and explore the silence and beauty of a recent snowfall. In summer, I hike Soldiers Trail pausing to take in the Ponderosa pines’ smell or view the abundant wildlife.
Summer concerts and events fill the grounds with the music of big-name acts. The park is also home to the Coconino County Fair and several other festive events. The park is still one of the most fun things to do in Flagstaff Arizona.
4. Arizona Snowbowl: a Fun Thing To Do in Flagstaff for Skiers and Sightseers
Ascending the winding road to the Arizona Snowbowl, the landscape magically transforms. As you climb, Ponderosa pine forest transitions to Douglas fir, Aspen and lush ferns. Be alert—deer and elk are often seen on the road.
Just before the lodge entrance and ski lifts, stop and take in the awe-inspiring view of Hart Prairie. The surreal blue sky, sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. Behind you, the San Francisco Peaks loom with all the volcano’s power and grandeur responsible for their being.
Summer and Winter Fun
In winter, skiers and boarders enjoy challenging slopes. In summer, tourists glide silently up the lift. The view at the top and trip down offer some of the most stunning views in Arizona. Autumn Aspens display their glorious golden color.
Arizona Snowbowl is truly one of the best things to see in Flagstaff Arizona!
5. Put Flagstaff Brewing Company on Your List of Fun Things To Do in Flagstaff
Flagstaff Brewing Company is one of the original microbreweries in Flagstaff, opening in 1994. As I sipped my favorite beer, a chocolatey, creamy porter, I learned a lot about the brewery.
The building was in rough shape when Jeff Thorsett and his partner decided upon the location, meticulously restoring the historic building from the roof down.
Against everyone’s advice, the partners transformed a parking area into a charming outdoor patio. Here you’ll enjoy fair weather dining, sipping and live music. They also boast one of the largest selections of whiskey in all of Flagstaff.
It looks like FBC will weather the coronavirus storm, remaining as one the best things to do in Flagstaff Arizona. Check out other Flagstaff breweries here for more Flagstaff things to do.
6. What to do in Flagstaff? Discover Flagstaff roots with self-guided pioneer tours
Visit the Pioneer Museum and Riordan Mansion State Park to learn about Flagstaff pioneers.
View the magnificent Riordan Mansion, built by two brothers who were timbermen and community leaders. On your way to the Pioneer Museum, pop into Antelope Spring, aka Frances Short Pond. It is the very spot where the first explorers camped. Read the plaque describing how they named Flagstaff.
At the Pioneer Museum, you are free to roam the grounds at no cost. View pioneer cabins and the tools used to tame the land. Posing for photos in front of a steam locomotive used to haul timber is a typical Flagstaff thing to do.
Reflect upon the lives of Flagstaff pioneers as you continue to check off your list of things to do in Flagstaff Arizona.
7. Take a hike! One of the many things to do in Flagstaff AZ
With literally hundreds of miles of trails, you will find that hiking in Flagstaff is an easy getaway.
Hike the 2-mile loop in the brisk mountain air at Buffalo Park. The trail sits high on a mesa with breathtaking views. You’ll see lots of locals because hiking Buffalo Park is another typical Flagstaff thing to do.
Picture Canyon is a little more challenging. At the beginning of the hike, you’ll find a historic logging train trestle and waterfall. Bring binoculars to view wildlife, including an extraordinary variety of birds. About halfway, you’ll see ancient Sinagua petroglyphs near the trail.
Hiking is naturally one of the fun things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona. Grab your water bottle and take a hike!
8. One of the best things to do in Flagstaff – Loaf around downtown Flagstaff
As a local, just loafing around downtown is one of my favorite things to do in Flagstaff.
Start with the visitors’ center, a historic train station. Inside you will find literature facilitating your self-guided tour of historical places. There’s even a map and stories about Route 66 landmarks and another featuring haunted places!
Comb galleries for local art and visit quirky shops. You’ll enjoy Flagstaff’s favorite downtown restaurants, bars and shops. Downtown Flagstaff is bustling with happy tourists.
9. Evening shadows and ancient pueblos beckon – Flagstaff Afternoon Destination
I recommend visiting Wupatki National Monument for several reasons. First, it is an amazing glimpse into the lives of the ancient Puebloan people.
They lived, worked and played here nearly 1,000 years ago. Today, their structures and artifacts remain much like the day they left. The drive there is fascinating, too, with black cinder hills and ancient volcanic lava flows.
Evening is the best time to visit. Get there in time to go to the most significant ruin at the visitor center, and linger to view the sunset. The desert colors and shadows make for stunning photos.
Full moon nights are special, too, as the eerie glow provides enough light to view ruins at night. Conversely, Moonless nights make for dark skies, shooting stars, and stargazing beyond reproach.
Wupatki is truly one of the best things to do near Flagstaff in the late afternoon and after dark.
Scott Talboom is a long-time Flagstaff resident who loves the Arizona mountain town. Scott’s career in advertising, public relations and fundraising spanned four decades. In October 2019, he reinvented himself: trading ties and sport coats for blue jeans, khaki shorts, casual shirts and hiking boots. He is pursuing his many passions, including freelance writing, consulting, fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. He truly enjoys sharing his love for Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Stacey earns a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the costs of keeping this travel blog active.
Further, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for reading.
Enjoy this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Please share this article with the red- and blue-colored social media buttons.
To get more FREE travel tips and inspiration, simply subscribe below and updates will be delivered directly to your email inbox.