Flagstaff has plenty to offer, both indoors and outdoors—especially in the fall.
Visiting Flagstaff in the fall is almost guaranteed to be a great experience. The aspen leaves are seemingly aglow in a bright yellow color, and the air in this Northern Arizona college town is crisp.
The moderate temperatures and stunning leaves make it a great time to visit, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. Plus, there’s plenty to do in this town. From its hiking trails to craft breweries, Flagstaff also has plenty to offer visitors.
Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, here are six of the best things to do the next time you’re in Flagstaff.
1. Visit the Arizona Snowbowl
Flagstaff is an outdoor recreation haven, and Arizona Snowbowl is the city’s unofficial recreational headquarters.
This time of year, consider taking the scenic gondola to the top of Mount Humphreys—the highest point in all of Arizona. For the next few weeks, you can enjoy seeing fall colors as you glide up the mountain. Take time to enjoy sweeping views of Northern Arizona—on clear days, you can see all the way to the Grand Canyon—before you head back down. Snowbowl is also home to plenty of hiking trails like the perfect-for-fall-leaf-peeping Kachina Trail.
In just a few more months, Snowbowl will live up to its name and serve as a winter destination for skiers and snowboarders.
2. Dine Out at Flagstaff’s Newest Restaurant, Teatro Italian Food & Wine
Flagstaff has become quite the dining destination and is home to many stellar restaurants. One of its newest spots? Teatro Italian Food & Wine, which is slated to open on Oct. 28.
Teatro shows a lot of promise. For starters, this restaurant is from the Projects Hospitality Group, the folks behind popular places like Tinderbox Kitchen, Annex Cocktail Lounge, and Tourist Home Café. Located in downtown Flagstaff, Teatro will serve handmade Italian cuisine alongside craft cocktails.
Other new-ish options include Atria, French bistro Foret and Oeno Wine Lounge. Read more about great Flagstaff restaurants here.
3. Visit a Brewery on the Flagstaff Brewery Trail
Flagstaff is a craft brewery haven. So much so that the city even has a Flagstaff Brewery Trail. Visit craftbeerflg.com to print out a brewery map. A total of eight breweries are on the trail.
One stop on the trail includes the Mother Road Brewing Company. Named after Route 66, which runs through Flagstaff, this brewery is renowned for its Tower Station IPA, an Indian Pale Ale with hints of tangerine and pineapple. Dark Sky Brewing—which nods to Flagstaff’s status as an International Dark Sky city—specializes in constantly rotating and creative suds like Biggie S’mores and Weedy’s Rad Idea, an IPA milkshake.
If you visit a least five breweries, visit one of the two Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau locations and trade in that passport for a Nordic-style pint glass as a souvenir.
4. Enjoy Nightlife at the Monte Vista Hotel
Downtown Flagstaff is home to plenty of historic hotels, but Monte Vista is arguably the most storied of them all.
The Monte V—as it’s known to locals—opened in 1927 and was partially funded by noted novelist Zane Grey. The hotel has been featured in iconic films like “Casablanca” and “Forrest Gump.” In the 1940s and 1950s, many films were being shot in nearby Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. As a result of this, the likes of Janes Russell, Gary Cooper, and John Wayne have all stayed here.
Today, Monte Vista is home to three different restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for nightlife, you’ll find it here. The Lotus Lounge is open until 2 a.m. At the Lotus Lounge, find Asian-inspired cuisines like an Old Bay crab bao bun, a poke bowl, sushi, and ramen. Find craft cocktails at both Lotus Lounge and Rendezvous. The Monte Vista Cocktail Lounge is a lively space that features live music three days per week.
The Monte V is also a great place to visit around Halloween. Rumor has it that the Monte V has a few spirits hanging around like the phantom bellboy and the baby in the basement.
5. See Live Theater at Theatrikos
Theatrikos Theatre Company has been in Flagstaff for 50 years. That’s a long time to stay in business, and there’s usually a good reason why a theater company lasts that long.
The nonprofit group produces six main-stage shows annually. From Oct. 7 to 23, catch performances by the Cemetery Club. This show is about three friends who meet for tea weekly and then visit their husband’s graves. Their dynamic is changed when one of them meets a potential love interest at the cemetery.
From Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, see the holiday show “Miracle on 34th Street.” Masks are encouraged, but not required except on Sundays.
Theatrikos also offers an educational program for adults and kids.
6. Check Out National Monument Sunset Crater
6082 Sunset Crater Road
About 1,000 years ago, a volcano erupted and created Sunset Crater—one of Flagstaff’s most popular attractions. The monument somehow managed to survive the Tunnel Fire that swept through the area in the spring of 2022.
We put this place on this list since it’s been closed for months and just reopened on Oct. 1. The best thing about this monument? It’s very easy to access. Strollers and wheelchairs can access these trails.
See remnants of the Bonito Lava Flow up close if you hike these relatively easy trails. Keep in mind that two of the national monument’s trails are still closed. The visitor center is also open to visitors. Plus, the views from here are stupendous.