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We have enjoyed hosting your friends and family, they’ve been here multiple times. If you’re planning your itinerary, let me share what our Angeleans like to do in our mountain town with all that fresh mountain air goodness. Read on...
1) The Grand Canyon. Yes, this place dominates regardless of season. Not just a one-time visit, and so similar to Flagstaff and its four seasons, this national park captivates at different geographical points and each season provides different experiences. The south rim is always open and is a scenic 81-mile drive – many refer to it as an easy “one cup of coffee” kinda drive. Be prepared for altitude and winter weather. Also note the north rim closes mid-October – mid- May. A host of 7 national monuments and 1 more national park – all within 2-hours or fewer driving time – and among the top reasons Californians visit Flagstaff.
2) Lowell Observatory and a citywide Lunar Legacy continue to gain momentum in the world’s first officially designated dark sky city. There’s a history of Flagstaff locals embracing a call-to-action to manage light pollution, so it’s no surprise the night skies allure Angeleans as they appreciate the world’s first dark city, they walk where the astronauts trained and continue to train, they peer through telescopes on the campus where astronomy greats did, too, including Clyde Tombaugh. Perhaps the real adventurer comes to see where Pluto was discovered and to experience the World’s Best Destination for Astrotourism.
3) The world’s best preserved meteor crater is only 43 miles from Flagstaff – it’s an impact site so large – approximately 150 feet wide – made by a meteorite weighing several hundred thousand tons with a force 150 times greater than an atomic bomb. It’s Meteor Crater receiving the well-deserved “ooooo’s and ahhh’s” as this giant bowl-shaped cavity measures 550 feet deep and almost a mile wide. Now’s the time we mention astronauts train here!
4) Four seasons and the great outdoors generates a lot of buzz and results in a lot of love for Flagstaff. The media is playing a role here, too, noting Flagstaff as a best Bike Friendly City, A Clean Air City and a city with a downtown worthy of day and evening strolls. We’re not even going to mention the gastropub scene that has people wiping the smile “on” their face! Angeleans are well aware Arizona is far more than cactus and dry arid desert. Flagstaff is nestled in the world’s largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest which has people describing the city as “oddly Arizona.” Think about this – Flagstaff is at an elevation of 7,000’, has four seasons, and receives an average 100” of annual snow accumulation in the heart of the city. So here we go... snow play aficionados, skiers and boarders – rejoice. Mountain bikers, trail runners, weekend warriors and aspiring athletes of all abilities and ages – rejoice. This is where we mention Angeleans visit often, too, because Flagstaff is located at a “perfect” 2100m elevation (sport science research says the most effective altitude training occurs between 2000-2500m), at which the desired physiological adaptations and subsequent increases in aerobic and anaerobic performance are most likely to occur. Proof is in the pudding – elite athletes who’ve done their altitude training in Flagstaff have won a total of 356 Olympic & Paralympic medals, and Flagstaff is the altitude training choice for world-class athletes from 49 countries.
5) Flagstaff is sustainable and offers free electric vehicle charging stations. With a city commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030, Angeleans are doing their part and pledging to keep our wild places wild to ensure Flagstaff’s trail assets are protected for future visits. Some of the favorite trails... well those are right here. Earlier there was a mention about media accolades for being a best bike friendly community. Public transportation vehicles offer bike racks which really makes getting from point A to point B, well, uber easy!
6) Arizona’s Winter Wonderland... yep, this is that 7,000’ elevation thing Los Angeleans are loving. Pack the car, bring the boots and parkas, don’t mind loading the equipment because there’s convenience with equipment rentals in Flagstaff... sometimes there’s a win for traveling light! We also have snow shoe rentals at Arizona Nordic Village, and the Flagstaff Snow Park has all the tubes!
7) And then there’s the Great Pine Cone Drop. You know it and we love it, too. That 70-pound giant pinecone lit up nice and bright, similar to the ball drop in New York City. Every New Year’s Eve, people are here to celebrate with us as the pinecone drops three times: Noon Year’s Eve festivities are for the little’s, 10 pm for the young at heart, and the traditional midnight celebration. The evening celebrations are topped off with a colorful fireworks display – all within our historic downtown. That of course means dining before the celebrations just became that much easier – park once OR leverage the city’s public transportation.
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Discover Flagstaff features travel information for visitors to Flagstaff, Arizona and regional attractions like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Navajo Nation and Route 66.