Flagstaff: Our New Favorite Dog-Friendly Destination!
I adopted my Airedale Terrier, Bailey, in 2012, and we’ve been traveling together ever since.
In 2017, we hit the road for four months, seeking dog-friendly destinations around the Western U.S. Now that we live in Tucson, I’m writing an Arizona guidebook, so we spend a lot of time exploring this amazing state. When the folks at Visit Flagstaff invited us to come up for a few nights, we jumped at the chance. I had a hunch that Flagstaff was my kind of town, but I was blown away by how pet-friendly it is. Dogs are welcome just about anywhere in Flagstaff, which is refreshing as it can be hard to find restaurants and attractions that welcome dogs.
Dog-Friendly Attractions in Flagstaff
The first stop when you arrive in Flagstaff should be the Visitor Center. This is an underutilized resource in most towns, and the Flagstaff visitor’s center even has an incentive for well-traveled dogs. If you stop by and show proof of accommodation in Flagstaff, you’ll get a special gift for your traveling pup. The Visitor Center is located in the train depot on Route 66, an important part of Flagstaff’s history, and still a popular stop for Amtrak travelers today.
We had so much fun “trick or treating” in Historic Downtown Flagstaff. Nearly every store along the historic corridor welcomed Bailey with open treat jars. Several had water dishes out and most asked me “can your dog have a treat?” Bailey filled up on yummy treats while I emptied my wallet at cute boutiques. A few of our favorite dog-friendly stores:
BowWow Boutique - A brand new pet boutique that evolved from a farmer’s market stand. They sell everything from pet costumes to specialty oils. Bailey loved the all-natural, locally made Doggie Snaps, and I love the idea of supporting a local, woman-owned business!
Bright Side Bookshop - I love bookstores, especially those that welcome dogs! There’s a cozy nook in the front window, complete with water dish for your thirsty pup, and treats behind the counter. The shop has a fun selection of books, gifts and cards, plus a great lineup of special events.
Mountain Sports Flagstaff - Flagstaff is an outdoor lover’s mecca, so before you hit the trails, check out Mountain Sports to gear up. Whether you need trail maps, energy bars or a new Patagonia fleece for this weekend’s brewery crawl, Mountain Sports will hook you up. The best news is that Mountain Sports donates 1% of sales to local environmental and conservation organizations.
Old Town Shops - Ten locally owned shops and restaurants are all huddled into this cool space on Leroux, next to Heritage Square. I could have spent hours browsing through Sage Brush Trading Company, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying the cool vintage Flagstaff sweatshirt I was eyeing. P.J. Chilcottage has an awesome soap selection, plus lots of fun home goods, apparel and accessories. Budget fashionistas have to check out the Basement Marketplace with crazy good deals.
Flagstaff is all about the outdoors, and it’s a true mountain town with recreational opportunities at every turn. Whether you’re looking for a quick stroll or a strenuous hike with your pup, there are plenty of dog-friendly trails around Flagstaff.
Stroll the grounds of Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, located near the NAU campus. While dogs are not allowed inside the historic mansion, you can walk the interpretive trail giving some history of the home.
Buffalo Park - we loved this dog-friendly park on the north edge of town. The 2-mile loop trail was a perfect hike for a snowy day.
Lowell Observatory - dogs aren’t permitted inside the facilities at Lowell Observatory, but the setting on Mars Hill overlooking Flagstaff is a great place for a hike. Look for the trailhead in the northwest corner of the observatory parking lot.
Arizona Snowbowl - We saw a bit of everything from the Arizona Snowbowl. Fall colors, winter snow and distant views of the Grand Canyon! Stop at Aspen Corner on the road to the Snowbowl for aspen trees and hiking trails. Pets aren’t permitted on the chairlift at the Snowbowl, but they are welcome on the hiking trails in the area.
Bailey likes to be the alpha dog, so we stick to hikes where leashes are required. If your dog is more social, Flagstaff has two excellent bark parks in town. Thorpe Park and Bushmaster Park give your pup a chance to burn off some energy.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Flagstaff
This is where Flagstaff really stands out as a dog-friendly destination and a foodie haven! We had more than enough dog-friendly options for a four-day visit. Being an outdoors kind of town, most Flagstaff restaurants have patios or sidewalk seating. The general rule of thumb is that if there is outdoor seating, dogs are welcome. It’s always good to call ahead, though, just in case. If you see dog bowls scattered around the patio, it’s a dead giveaway that you and your pup are welcome! Here are a few of the spots we loved, and a few more that we can’t wait to try!
Diablo Burger - located in the Old Town Shops, with a nice patio on Heritage Square, Diablo Burger was my favorite place to eat in Flagstaff. With a heavy emphasis on local and sustainable beef, every burger is made from 6 oz of 100% local, open range, antibiotic-free beef. I had “The Blake” with Hatch chile mayo, roasted green chiles and sharp cheddar. The seasoned fries here are to die for! How stoked am I to find out there’s a Diablo burger in Tucson?!
Historic Brewing Company - Flagstaff has become Arizona’s craft brew city, thanks to spots like Historic Brewing Company. With two dog-friendly Flagstaff locations, 20 beers on tap and a delicious pub menu, Historic Brewing Company is a great place to spend an evening. The downtown patio is open year-round with space heaters to keep you warm.
Macy’s European Coffeehouse & Bakery - for breakfast in Flagstaff, head to Macy’s European Coffeehouse. Don’t wait until you’re hungry; this place is popular so expect a short wait! Not only is Macy’s locally owned and operated (for 30 years!) but they are one of Flagstaff’s only all-vegetarian restaurants. This is also a great stop to pick up some sweet baked goods to bring on a hike!
Toasted Owl Cafe - Another locally owned gem of Flagstaff. We visited the east-side location near our hotel, but both locations (downtown and east side) have dog-friendly patios. They serve breakfast all day, and the menu is expansive. We’ll definitely be back to try more menu items on our next visit to Flagstaff.
The Oakmont - located in the clubhouse at the Continental Golf Club, but way less pretentious than that sounds. There’s a cozy dining room with a fireplace and big-screen TV’s, plus a dog-friendly covered patio for warmer nights. I had the best chicken pot pie of my life at the Oakmont! I can only imagine how good everything else on the menu is.
Dog-friendly Flagstaff restaurants we look forward to trying on our next visit:
Tourist Home All Day Cafe - I actually stopped here first in town, but the brunch line was long and I was starving, so this cute downtown cafe will have to wait until next time.
Carmels Flagstaff - a newer spot in the Flagstaff foodie scene, Carmels is known for “big breakfast” and spirits.
Dog-Friendly Lodging in Flagstaff
Well traveled dogs will have no problem finding suitable accommodations in and around Flagstaff, regardless of your human’s budget! From budget accommodations, to luxurious lodging, dogs and their owners have several options of where to stay in Flagstaff.
Sonesta ES Suites - we spent four nights at this dog-friendly extended stay hotel on the east side of Flagstaff. I love the extra room of extended stay hotels, and this location was perfect for pet owners. There’s lots of ground to explore, including an adjacent park and walking trail. Well-mannered dogs, cats, birds and fish are welcome. There is a non-refundable pet fee of $75 for stays of 1-2 nights, and $150 for three or more nights.
On a previous visit to Flagstaff, we stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, which also welcomes up to one pet per room for a $75 non-refundable fee.
On our next visit, I would love to stay at the Residence Inn Flagstaff, which is pet-friendly and located in the heart of the historic downtown area. I love when I can park my car for a few days and explore on foot!
About the Author
Leigh Wilson is an Illinois native who moved to Tucson in 2017. Leigh writes about outdoor adventure travel and dog-friendly destinations at her travel blog, CampfiresAndConcierges.com. She also writes for other online publications, including GoPetFriendly.com and CampingTipsForEveryone.com. Leigh’s first guide book, Arizona Day Trips by Theme, will be published by AdventureKeen publishers in the Spring of 2020. You can find Leigh and her Airedale Terrier, Bailey, exploring the hidden corners of Arizona for the foreseeable future.