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Flagstaff, Arizona is the perfect mid-summer escape from Phoenix. By July, temperatures in the Valley of the Sun are soaring well over the 100-degree mark and air conditioners have been running non-stop for months. Flagstaff – just 150 miles north of Phoenix – is an ideal mountain retreat. Whether going on a Flagstaff day trip or spending the weekend, there are numerous things to do in Flagstaff, AZ to beat the heat!
Road Trip To Flagstaff From Phoenix
There are flights to Flagstaff, AZ from Phoenix, but road-tripping is half the fun! There is always a sense of anticipation – adventure mixed with excitement – when driving north from the city. The trip is best completed with no time frame, good tunes and great friends. Halfway through the drive, desert landscapes give way to fields of pines – a sign that you can finally put the windows down and let the cool wind rush into the car.
Summertime Things To Do In Flagstaff, AZ
Wondering what to do in Flagstaff, AZ? We’ve got you covered with a few of our favorite Flagstaff, AZ things to do! Although it is fun to visit Flagstaff year-round, this list is specific to summer activities.
#1 Agassiz Peak Sky Ride
Cool mountain air combined with stunning scenery is the perfect antidote for hot desert days. Standing just north of Flagstaff at 12,360 feet, Agassiz Peak is part of the San Francisco Peaks range within the Coconino National Forest. Agassiz ranks as the second-tallest peak in Arizona – and is just south of the state’s tallest mountain, Humphreys Peak. Taking in the views from the mountain is one of the top Flagstaff things to do!
The Flagstaff Ski Resort, Arizona Snowbowl, is the place for Arizonans to go skiing in the winter, but many people are unaware that it’s also a popular warm-weather destination. During the summer and autumn, the main ski lift is renamed The Sky Ride and transports visitors to an Agassiz Peak lookout point. We eagerly hopped into one of the open-air chairs and ascended above the tree line to an elevation of 11,510 feet. From the mountaintop, we were granted sweeping views of the surrounding landscapes.
We lingered at the viewpoint, breathing in the fresh, crisp air as we watched wispy clouds swiftly move across the terrain. A park ranger was on site – and we listened in as he talked about this history of the land before we trekked up a short path to a second viewpoint. The only other ‘attractions’ at the top are a few tables where guests can rest or feast on a picnic lunch and the “Highest Toilets in Arizona.”
A ticket is required for a round trip lift on the Sky Ride (pricing information). Unfortunately, hiking up or down the mountainside is prohibited due to the endangered plants and fragile landscape. The ride takes about 30 minutes each way. Visitors should bring a coat – believe us, it’s cold at the top (I wished I had brought gloves and a hat, too!).
#2 Flagstaff Ale Trail Pub Crawl
The city’s local breweries have become so popular that they are now top Flagstaff attractions. Hoisting a pint or two of local craft beer is one of the fun things to do in Flagstaff – and the Flagstaff Ale Trail enhances the experience.
The Flagstaff Ale Trail ‘Beer Passport’ aids visitors in a self-guided discovery of the best craft beer in the city. While the official $6 passport isn’t required to enjoy the brews, we highly recommend purchasing one! Not only does it make a fun souvenir, but the card offers more than $25 in discounts – and it inspired us to visit a few places we might not have otherwise skipped. (And, if that is not enough reason, the proceeds benefit a local non-profit organization.)
Our Flagstaff Pub Crawl
With 10 bars and no timeline, the Flagstaff Ale Trail does not need to be completed as a pub crawl. However, we were up for a challenge and chose six spots for an evening bar hop. To ensure that we would see the end of the Flagstaff Ale Trail, we skipped beers with high ABV, often opted for half pints over full pints, ate a big meal at the start of our pub crawl and snacked at the bars along the way.
Our first stop was at Lumberyard Brewing Company, where we grabbed a table on the patio so that we could enjoy the cool breezes along with the cold beers. We love the food menu at Lumberyard, so it’s a great place to begin if you haven’t eaten yet! Next up was Beaver Street Brewery, the original brewery of the Lumberyard owners. We bellied up to the bar and ordered pints of Pinecone Pale Ale – one of our favs!
Mother Road Brewing was the third stop on our Ale Trail, an industrial-style brew pub that was new to us. After a round, we headed to the north side of the train tracks to Flagstaff Brewery. Despite the evening crowd that was rolling in, we secured seats at the bar for a half-pint of Three-Pin Pale Ale.
After visiting four breweries, we wanted to check out a few local craft beer bars that are also included on the Flagstaff Ale Trail. Charly’s at The Weatherford Hotel (where we have stayed many times – check for rooms) has a few local beers on tap. Our final stop was Hops on Birch, which has 28 rotating craft taps and a community vibe.
The six stops on our pub crawl are within easy walking distance (the entire route from start to finish was just 1 mile), so there is no need for a designated driver! If completing the pub crawl, it’s best to stay in downtown Flagstaff (we include recommendations on where to stay at the end of the post!). Use this link to Google Maps for our Flagstaff Pub Crawl Route.
#3 Slide Rock In Oak Creek Canyon
Although there are many parks in Flagstaff, Slide Rock State Park is located just 23 miles south of Flagstaff on Highway 89A – and is not to be missed! The park centers on a shallow creek that flows and pools through a rock canyon. Most visitors come ready to swim – but we were content to just kick off our shoes and dip toes into the clear, chilly waters. The main attraction is ‘Slide Rock’, – an 80-foot-long water slide that is naturally cut into the rock. At the far end, the water flows into a deep pool where adventurous teenagers go cliff-jumping.
Spending a few hours at Slide Rock in Oak Creek Canyon is one of the top things to do near Flagstaff – and we are glad we made the detour to see it. The natural playground can be visited for an hour or an entire day. We watched as families and friends flocked to the park, bringing coolers and lawn chairs with them. Although it gets crowded, we found plenty of space to claim our own spot.
In addition to splashing in the water, visitors can go on a hike, pick apples in the orchard and learn about the historic Pendley Homestead. For opening hours and fees, visit the official website.
#4 Flagstaff Concerts and Events
In the summertime, Flagstaff hosts numerous events that attract visitors from around the state and beyond. Attending concerts is one of our favorite Flagstaff activities – and often the main reason for us to make the drive north from Phoenix. Many of the top Flagstaff events we have attended are hosted in two venues: The Orpheum Theatre and the Pepsi Amphitheater.
The Orpheum Theatre, which dates to 1911, is a classic venue that is in the center of historic Flagstaff. Musical acts – from acoustic guitarists to rock-and-roll bands – take the stage at the Orpheum Theatre year-round. The Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park, however, is an outdoor venue that comes to life in the summer and fall. The amphitheater hosts spectacular Flagstaff events, like the Taco Festival (autumn) and Made in the Shade Beer Fest (summer). Music concerts, like the Pickin’ In The Pines Bluegrass Fest, also take place at the park. Find information on concerts and other Flagstaff events on the city calendar.
Flagstaff, AZ Map
Use this link to Google Maps to access our Flagstaff Map online.
Places To Stay In Flagstaff, AZ
There are many options when it comes to Flagstaff Lodging – from Airbnb Apartments to resorts and hostels. We think the best places to stay in Flagstaff are the historic hotels, like Weatherford Hotel and Hotel Monte Vista.
The Weatherford Hotel
The iconic Weatherford Hotel is located in the heart of the Flagstaff historic district. Rooms feature old-fashioned decor (most do not have phones or televisions) and fit a range of budgets. Check now for prices and availability!
Hotel Monte Vista Flagstaff
The Hotel Monte Vista opened in 1927 and features a long list of famous guests (including a few ghosts that are still said to be haunting the halls!). The western-style rooms have varying layouts (some have shared bathrooms) and are equipped with TVs.
When looking for where to stay in Flagstaff, we recommend starting your search on Booking.com – like we do!
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of Things To Do in Flagstaff, AZ? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments below!
Visiting Other Top USA Destinations? See our Best Hikes In Phoenix, Weekend Itinerary for San Diego, Best Tips for NYC, A Weekend In San Francisco, Denver CO, Glacier National Park Montana and Exploring The California and Oregon Coast!
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