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Flagstaff! Next week!
February 8, 2014 2:23 PM   Subscribe

We are hiking in the Grand Canyon next Friday/Saturday and will be back up on the rim Saturday night. We are considering hanging out in Flagstaff for Sunday and Monday before we head back to Vegas for our flight home. Where should we stay, and what's awesome in Flagstaff?

We like outdoorsy stuff but are doing some of that beforehand, obviously. We need recommendations for good places to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (with at lest one okay vegetarian option), and a few suggestions for any available fun indoor activities, and maybe one or two seasonally-appropriate outside suggestions in case we are feeling adventurous. Our travel plans have us spending enough time in the car already that I think we would prefer not to spend an hour each way going to Sedona unless there's really no other way to kill two days and have any fun at all. Ideas?
posted by charmedimsure to Travel & Transportation around Flagstaff, AZ (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
An evening star viewing with telescopes at Lowell Observatory (if weather permits). I saw Jupiter's moons for the first time ever there, it was amazing. I also seem to remember them saying Flagstaff has downwards-pointing streetlamps so as to reduce light pollution for the observatory.

Meteor Crater is 45min drive away. The museum is a little dated, but the crater itself is pretty cool -the Apollo astronauts trained there.

Many good brewery-pubs in Flagstaff! Just one of them

I stayed in Flagstaff one night on the way up to GC a few years ago now, I don't remember the place but I do remember the trains blowing their horns all through the night - be prepared!
posted by atlantica at 2:40 PM on February 8


The Orpheum is actually a pretty great venue to see music. If anything on the schedule looks appealing I recommend checking it out.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 2:42 PM on February 8


We've really enjoyed the Himalayan Grill - and lots of veggie options there. And definitely check out the Lowell Observatory - it's very cool.
posted by leslies at 3:16 PM on February 8


Came in to mention the Himalayan Grill. We passed through Flagstaff on our way to and from New Mexico a couple years ago and liked that place enough to go there on the way out and the way back.
posted by LionIndex at 3:23 PM on February 8


You will need beer after hiking, no? Even if you don't, the Beaver Street Brewery has tasty vittles and is open late (for Flag).
posted by nubianinthedesert at 4:27 PM on February 8


Best hotel to stay at is little america-but it isn't cheap. Their Sunday Brunch is awesome and well worth the cost. It is also kinda away from the train whistle, but nowhere in town is out of earshot and they get 100+ trains a day. There are lots of great places downtown to eat (and Beaver St is among the best). There are several good bars downtown and on Saturday night they will be full of college kids, regardless of the weather.

In case you don't know, the town (and the Grand Canyon) is at about 7000' feet in elevation and while the days are usually quite nice in the winter, the nights are cold, and it is very, very dry in general and the wind is always-a-l-w-a-y-s-blowing.

If the road is open US 180 through Kendrick Park is really pretty and scenic and the best way into town. If the weather is bad, stay off it and come through Williams and I-40.
posted by bartonlong at 5:46 PM on February 8


For breakfast, lunch, or just coffee, try Macy's near NAU - it's vegetarian and all around excellent. Salsa Brava is also a favorite place to eat. As mentioned by bartonlong, avoid hotels along the tracks, so, that mean's anything on Rt. 66 or Lucky Lane. Little America is peaceful and ideal for older folks and families. I usually stay at Springhill Suites. It's quiet at night and super convenient to NAU and the freeway.
posted by kbar1 at 6:32 PM on February 8


Go to MartAnne's Burrito Palace for breakfast, for sure.
posted by donajo at 7:30 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


profmiasma and I went to the Grand Canyon last year, traveling through Flagstaff on the way up from Phoenix. The transition from desert catcus-land to a piney forest was completely unexpected. We came across Wildflower Bread Company simply by chance. It's a local chain and kinda like if Panera Bread was infused with rainbows, fresh air, and beautiful yogis. Everyone was insanely nice in a very down-to-earth way. We were served by a gorgeous sixty-something year old woman who had clearly attained Zen but had been a wildchild in her earlier days. After getting over her ambient glow, we ordered Blackberry Orange Lemonade which bombarded our tastebuds with an assault so delightful we might have stayed there forever to delight in the nectar of the gods.

I highly recommend it, and you can sit outside if its not too cold and oversee whatever snow-capped mountain is right next door.
posted by miasma at 7:36 PM on February 8


You can't go wrong with Macy's and Beaver Street. Mmmmm.
posted by Chris4d at 7:43 PM on February 8


We at at MIX Flagstaff, and it had to have been one of the best breakfasts I've ever had, bar none.

Go to Bearizona!

Lots of friends who have stayed at Hotel Monte Vista (supposedly haunted) who have had good things to say. We stayed at a place that was pretty unremarkable (to the point that I don't even remember the name) last time.
posted by honeybee413 at 12:37 AM on February 9


I'm less of a Flag expert, but downtown definitely has some nice bars, walkable areas, and places to eat. It shouldn't be too horribly cold.

I'll second some of the suggestions you've gotten above! Himalayan Grill is great, and so are the suggestions to go to brewpubs like Flagstaff Brewery if you're beer fans.

If you can manage it and it isn't snowing, even though you say you don't want to drive more, the drive through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona really is very beautiful, and so is Sedona itself (even if it is the town that all Arizonans universally make fun of thanks to the UFOs and the crystal hippies). If you happen to take the drive to Sedona, Elote is a restaurant that lives up to the hype, and has a delicious modern take on Sonoran food.
posted by Old Man McKay at 4:47 PM on February 9


Flagstaff is great for vegetarians. Pretty much every restaurant that isn't a steakhouse will have a vegetarian option- even our burger joints serve grilled cheeses and locally made veggie burgers. I would recommend Pato Thai, as it has very good Thai food, and is located downtown. So are two of my favorite bars, Rendezvous and Hops on Birch- Rendezvous has some of the best cocktails in town and Hops the best beer selection.

Also nthing Macy's, which is completely vegetarian and has some great breakfast options. As for Martanne's, while they serve great food, be prepared to wait for an hour or more for your food if you go on a weekend. I like Criollo's brunch menu for times when I'm not willing to wait that long.

For indoor activities, the Museum of Northern Arizona can be pretty cool. They have a nice little nature trail that goes through a ravine and past a stream, too (water in AZ is always exciting- Flagstaff's "river" is usually dry all but twice a year, yet still known as a river.)

Just walking around downtown can be a fun way to spend time outdoors. We've been having some unseasonably warm weather lately- it was 55 degrees today- and downtown had a lot of little nice boutiques, outdoors stores, and historical building markers to look at if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by mollywas at 12:25 AM on February 10


Thanks! Ended up at the Little America for cheap, thanks to a blind Priceline deal. It was like staying in my grandma's dining room- super clean, fancy in a '50s kind of way and we enjoyed the gigantic rooms and the phones in the bathrooms.

Could not talk my group into the Observatory or Himalayan food, but did do Macy's (good coffee, carnivorous companions a little disappointed in the breakfast options), Mix (very good lunch), Rendezvous (solid mixed drinks, friendly bartenders), Beaver St. Brewery (very good dinner) and Mountain Oasis (good lunch). Also went to Sunset Crater National Monument, which was neat for my friends who hadn't spent any time in an area with volcanic activity before.

We really appreciated the bizarrely warm weather in the Grand Canyon and in Flagstaff this weekend- could not have asked for a nicer trip!
posted by charmedimsure at 11:08 AM on February 18


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