Discovering Flagstaff: Five Fun Facts!

Guest blog by The Jeep Girls.

Discover Flagstaff Mood Board

When people think of Arizona, they think H.O.T. Arizona has so much more offer! Within a quick two-hour drive from Phoenix, you can be in the high-country mountains where the temperatures are much cooler! It’s another world!  As soon as you reach Flagstaff, you will be greeted by the Ponderosa pine trees, blue skies, and maybe even snow! Depending on when you visit, you can experience every season when you discover Flagstaff!


From Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Flagstaff will take you approximately two hours and 21 minutes on road via the I-17 S, approximately 148 miles.


Discover Flg Infographic Top
Discover Flg Infographic

How to get there

This year Brittany and I really took our time and made the drive part of our adventure.  I met Brittany in Phoenix where we picked up our Jeep Wrangler JK before we headed to Northern Arizona. 
Oftentimes, we are crunched for time, but as we get older, we really try to enjoy all of the fun roadside stops and shopping opportunities along the way!  We’ve learned that things go much more smoothly when you don’t rush.

The nearest major city to Flagstaff is Phoenix, Arizona, located about two or three hours depending on traffic to the south. From Las Vegas, Flagstaff is about four hours away, and from Moab, Utah about six. Daily flights operate from Phoenix to Flagstaff.
To access the wealth of attractions that Flagstaff has to offer, we encourage you to rent or bring a car.


This year we had the opportunity to stay at The Sonesta Extended Stay Suitesin Flagstaff.  It is the perfect place to stay, if you are traveling with your pups!  On this adventure, we had Batman and Baxter with us.


While exploring downtown Flagstaff we discovered that many businesses welcome pets, including the Sonesta Extended Stay Suites. Baxter (L) Batman (R).

As soon as we checked into the hotel, they gave us the coolest packable water dishes for the pups.  These packable water dishes definitely came in handy during our entire trip! Select locations throughout Flagstaff are providing free limited edition eco-friendly packable water dishes for your dog, a quick visit to the Visitor’s Center will provide you with all the details.

Our rooms at the Sonesta ES were very spacious, with a full-sized refrigerator, oven, stove, dishwasher, and real plates and silverware to use!  Although we love trying new restaurants, it is always so nice and convenient to be able to cook in your own room!

The Sonesta ES participates in Flagstaff’s environmental initiatives, such as refillable dispensers for soap and shampoo, a linen reuse program, recycling, dark sky compliancy energy efficient lighting, water conservation and no Styrofoam or plastic for their eating utensils. More on eco-friendly Flagstaff in the Eco-friendly section below.

The Sonesta ES is a great destination for business and leisure travelers. Each room has ample space, fully equipped kitchens, free Wi-Fi, a gym and pool and is 15 minutes from downtown Flagstaff.

We loved the hotel’s wonderful complimentary breakfast, and evening social hour M-TH (the updated schedule is posted on the refrigerator in each room).

After settling in, we had the opportunity to catch up with Meg from Discover Flagstaff.  She is the ultimate tour guide! Her passion and authentic love for all Flagstaff has to offer was welcoming and contagious. Originally from Southern California, she went to college at Northern Arizona University, fell in love with the seasons, met her husband, and never left!


For everything you need to get the most of your trip to Flagstaff, request a free copy of the updated Visitors Guide.

We met at Macy’s European Coffeehouse & Bakery, which became our go-to meeting place every single morning during our trip! Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, it is definitely a go-to spot for locals for good reason!  Get there early, because it is always busy! The lattes and cappuccinos are delicious, beautiful, and creative!  


Macy's is one of the few all -vegetarian restaurants in Flagstaff. Their bakery items are homemade daily and different every single day! We even grabbed a few pastries to go for our afternoon hike! And best of all, their patio is pet-friendly, making it easy to bring the pups along for a morning stroll!


You will see happy smiling faces in Macy's, we've even seen people representing Macy's by hats around Phoenix. The best is that Macy's has a dog-friendly patio. For a complete listing of dog-friendly patios in Flagstaff, check out this growing list.

Meg took us to the Flagstaff Visitor’s Center, which is located in the historic train station on Route 66. It is a great resource, and always a perfect place to start any trip! 


The Flagstaff Visitor's Center is located on historic Route 66. In the parking lot, on the North side of the building, you will find a very large graphic to snap an Insta-worthy picture.

Jeep Girl Pup

The Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) is 55 miles long and a great way to get outdoors and spend time with your dog while visiting Flagstaff. There are maps available in the Flagstaff Visitor Center.


Flagstaff is one of the world’s first international dark sky cities! October 24th, 2001, Flagstaff became the world's first "International Dark Sky City," by the Dark Sky Association. What this means is that Flagstaff has an ongoing commitment to low light pollution and enforcing stargazing through city-wide lighting restrictions. In 1989, lighting codes were developed for Coconino County that minimized artificial light glow and were innovative by national standards.  In such a fun and vibrant city, you can still see the stars at night!  It also has the world’s largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest!

Citywide, Flagstaff has made a commitment to reducing the waste we humans add to the environment. In the spirit of Flagstaff’s Ecotourism, Sonesta ES Suites has a linen reuse program and will wash your linens and towels on demand, a great recycling program, they are dark sky compliant, they use energy efficient LED lights throughout the hotel, and the shower has shampoo, body wash, and a conditioner dispenser.  It was so nice to use the dispensers on the wall, rather than the small bottles that always run out.

We love that Flagstaff really makes a positive effort to be eco and environmentally conscious!


2019 is the 50th Anniversary since Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.  Flagstaff has served as a training ground for astronauts and scientists for every mission to the moon.
In celebration of one of humankind’s greatest achievements, restaurants have special lunar-themed menu items, there are lunar-themed art exhibits, and there are special tours at The Lowell Observatory, United States Geological Survey, and cinder field training sites.

You can also take your photo in the astronaut suit at the Visitors Center to celebrate Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy!


After Meg showed us around downtown Flagstaff, we jumped in our Jeep Wrangler and headed to Buffalo Park for a quick dog walk. It used to be a private wildlife park. After the pups got tired, Brittany and I visited the US Geological Survey’s Flagstaff Science Center to see Grover, the geological rover that was used as a lunar rover trainer for the astronauts.



Flagstaff always has something fun and exciting going on!  They have a variety of fun festivals from Spring to Fall!  After we had lunch back in our room, we headed to Overland Expo West at the Tuthill County Park.   

Over the years, the event has grown significantly. 2019 marked the 10th anniversary of this event and a record number of over 22,000 attendees. It is the premier Overlanding event where you can attend travel and camping related sessions and seminars and find the best adventure gear to get you ready for your next adventure!e industry’s thought leaders, sharing their impact on the off-road community.

Pluto was discovered in Flagstaff at the LOWELL OBSERVATORY

After our visit at Overland Expo, we headed to Lowell Observatory!  It is such a cool place!  Located right outside the downtown, you drive up a scenic road lined with Ponderosa pine trees.  Before you reach Lowell Observatory, you can look down and see all incredible views of Flagstaff. This vantage point is also a great way to view the dark sky efforts that Flagstaff has implemented that keep the sky ideal for viewing the stars.

This year, Lowell Observatory is celebrating its 125 year anniversary.  In 1894, Percival Lowell came to Flagstaff to build an observatory to study planet Mars.  Over the years, Lowell Observatory has discovered many things, such as Pluto, moon mapping for the Apollo program to the moon, the rings of Uranus.

We were so inspired by every single employee at Lowell Observatory!  Every single person we interacted with was so excited, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable, even at 10PM when they close!  Dr. Danielle Adams showed us the Pluto telescope and her new Arabian Star Tour in the night’s sky. 

For information on special events and the best time to visit during all four seasons in Flagstaff, Arizona, you can join our Travel Like A Local Resource List below.

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Thank you so much Discover Flagstaff for making our visit so incredible!

If you want even more of Flagstaff, check out this great overview video by Discover Flagstaff below -Flagstaff General Video-Caption: video compliments of Discover Flagstaff.To get more information:

Where we stayed:

Our favorite cafe:

Choose your own adventure:

Other suggested activities during your visit:

  • Museum of Northern Arizona: 3101 N. Fort Valley Road
  • Hike the Lava Flow Trail at Sunset Crater National Monument: 6400 U.S. 89
  • Explore Wupatki National Monument: 6400 U.S. 89
  • Discover Walnut Canyon National Monument: 3 Walnut Canyon Rd
  • Visit the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort: 9300 N Snow Bowl Rd
  • Enjoy the Flagstaff Brewery Trail: Passport in Welcome Box
  • Riordan Mansion State Historic Park: 409 W. Riordan Rd.

Social posts will link to:

Twitter: @DiscoverFlg

Instagram: @DiscoverFlagstaff 


The main Flagstaff visitor website  -

Lunar Legacy posts add #Flglunarlegacy

Learn more about Discover Flagstaff at

About the Author

Ashley & Brittany

The Jeep Girls

The Jeep Girls highlight off the beaten path destinations for the sophisticated traveler for the travel lifestyle community dedicated to making informed decisions and living outdoors with the goal to transcend the story into motivation. We’ll talk about how to find the best one-stop spots for an all-inclusive experience for your weekends off and the best tools to get you on the road.

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