Sapphire blue skies, mild temperatures, mountains on one side and dessert on the other. Flagstaff seems to have it all including a long strip of the original Route 66. From history, to dining, shopping and more, this travel snapshot offers the best of what to do in Flagstaff. First stop is the Flagstaff Visitor Center (One E. Route 66) to pick up a map of the historic down area. We also suggest the Flagstaff Historic Walk guide before you stroll through old downtown. It’s worth the seven bucks. And how cool to be at an old train depot right on Route 66. Life doesn’t get any better!
Where to Eat
There is no shortage of dining options in Flagstaff. The Tourist Home Cafe (52 So. San Francisco St.) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Despite the name, it’s a local favorite and offers healthy options and great desserts in vibrant setting. Solo travelers can grab a window seat at the counter and lounge for hours or grab and go. The parking lot opposite the restaurant is also a great muni lot to pay for the whole day. Set your GPS to Tourist Home Cafe and leave the car for a hassle-free day.
Flagstaff has a bunch of great food trucks with their own website to check the menus as well as everything from Mexican and Korean Restaurant to good ole barbecue, Italian and Thai.
Where to Shop
Some of our favorite shops include the esoteric and other-worldly Crystal Magic (1 N. San Francisco St.). If you have something that ails you, they’ll hook you up with the best crystal. If you just want a piece of great jewelry as a souvenir, they’ve got that too. Urban Homestead (109 No. Leroux St.) is just one of the town’s many home shops loaded with unique finds and Route 66 memorabilia. And the Flagstaff General Store sits happily on the corner offering up locals chalk paint for those home improvement projects and there’s no shortage again of Route 66 memorabilia.
What to Do
You can feel the old west ooze from every street corner and old hotel, whether it’s the kitschy neon of the 1950s and 60s or the grand saloons of the gold rush days.
For more than a hundred years, the stately Victorian Weatherford Hotel (23 N. Leroux St.) has kept watch at the corner. Literary Flagstaff had Zane Grey stay at The Weatherford while writing the Call of the Canyon. In fact the third-floor ballroom is named after Grey and opens periodically to allow you to grab a drink and sit on the porch and gaze over historic Flagstaff. Publishing giant William Randolph Hearst and rough-rider Teddy Roosevelt also hung their hats on the bar.
Flagstaff can mostly be seen in a day but do leave time for an evening visit to the Lowell Observatory (1400 W. Mars Hill Rd.). This is where Pluto was first discovered and you can take a peek through the same giant telescope that first laid eyes on the “non-planet.” We love, love, love the Lowell Observatory especially at night. Guides are everywhere to help stargazers reach to the heavens through telescopes scattered throughout the property. They hold free lectures and classes as well.
Grab a great hotel in Flagstaff now!