Looking for things to do in Flagstaff Arizona? Here’s what to do including Flagstaff restaurants, Flagstaff hikes, the Grand Canyon, and more.
We love international travel, and take opportunities to do so any chance we get. But after last year’s blow-out vacation to Greece and Italy, we realized we take living in the US for granted. It’s full of breathtaking scenery that rivals our favorite place on earth, so why not take more time to explore it? Alex’s brother lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, so we’ve been able to take a few trips out to Flagstaff and the surrounding area. Looking for things to do in Flagstaff? Here are all the things we recommend, including Flagstaff restaurants, Flagstaff hikes, and hiking near Flagstaff.
Hiking near Flagstaff: Sedona
When we go to Flagstaff to visit family, we typically fly into Phoenix and then try to make at least 1 stop in Sedona. Sedona is always warmer than Flagstaff (!) and has incredible red rocks. One of our favorite hikes in Sedona was a few years ago in Cathedral Rock. The warm, dry sun felt intoxicating after stepping off the plane from rainy Indiana. The hike was gorgeous and a bit scary, involving scrambling up and down rocks. It’s funny how an encounter with nature this grand gives a sense of exhilaration and purpose. Even though there was some scrambling involved, there were kids out on the trail too! So the difficulty level was moderate. Since this first visit, we’ve written a new post just on Sedona hikes — see below!
Related: 3 Best Sedona Hikes
Hiking near Flagstaff: The Grand Canyon
If you’re in Flagstaff, the best hiking near Flagstaff is…The Grand Canyon! The Grand Canyon is only a 1 1/2 hour drive from Flagstaff. On this trip, we went to the Grand Canyon with Alex’s brother, sister and brother-in-law. We took the South Kaibab Trail down into the canyon for quite a ways. It’s hard to explain how incredible it is to see the Grand Canyon in person. It’s truly massive.
Of course, the way back up and out of The Grand Canyon is totally intense! The South Kaibab Trail on the way up gave us searing pain in our legs, but a grand sense of accomplishment.
There are many options for great Flagstaff hikes. Here are a few of the Flagstaff hikes recommended by Alex’s brother who lives in Flagstaff.
- Mount Elden Lookout: The photos below are of this hike, which was moderate difficulty. As you can see, it gives incredibly beautiful views.
- Kachina Trail
- Walnut Canyon National Monument: This one’s a really easy hike and great for families. Inside the canyon are ancient cliff dwellings, which are fascinating to learn about as you stroll.
A major highlight of every visit to Flagstaff is going to Pizzicletta. If you go to one Flagstaff restaurant, go here! It’s a tiny joint serving up charred, authentic Italian pizza out of a tiled wood-fired oven. It’s hands down the most authentic pizza we’ve had outside of Italy. (Our best pizza experience in Italy was in Naples.) The owner, Caleb, is a former geology student who fell in love with Italy on a bike trip and changed careers to open the place, hence the name. PS We interviewed Pizzicletta’s owner Caleb on our podcast! Episode 8 All About Pizza
The crusts are extra thin and the toppings are simple and Italian, like mozzarella + garlic + pancetta + basil or poached lemon + micro arugula + smoked sea salt. There was a super delicious apple, balsamic and burrata salad. Oh and the gelato: I was whisked back to Rome with one scoop each of smoked almond and dark chocolate sea salt. We couldn’t recommend it more, and I know we’ll be stopping back each visit.
Related: Our homemade Margherita pizza recipe!
Shift has incredible, beautiful food in a trendy ambience, perfect for a night out. We got a lot of small plates and shared them: smoked olives, pretzel nugs with cheese whiz, pickled french fries and secret sauce (AMAZING), warm Brussels sprouts salad with blue cheese vinaigrette, and toasted five grain risotto. The dessert was some kind of chocolate cake with pomegranate gelato: mind blowing! Overall, we loved Shift and can’t wait to go back.
Root was a place we stopped for a drink, and it was great! We loved the trendy atmosphere, and the drinks were tasty. I also got a lentil soup as an appetizer and it was fabulous. Root has a great summer patio.
Other Night Out restaurants
Alex’s brother Andy is a local to Flagstaff. here are a few more Flagstaff restaurants he recommends for dinner:
- Criollo, Latin-inspired fusion food made with locally sourced ingredients
- The Cottage, a farmhouse French bistro
- Brix, seasonal farm to table fare, which has several good vegetarian options
Breakfast and lunch restaurants
We also asked Alex’s brother for some Flagstaff restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Here are a few that he enjoys:
- Macy’s European Coffeehouse and Bakery (all vegetarian or vegan)
- Tourist Home All Day Cafe
- Martanne’s Burrito Palace
There are many more things to do in Flagstaff Arizona, but these are our favorites so far! Have you been, or are you looking to go? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.