51 Fun & Free (or Cheap) Things to do in Flagstaff, Arizona
40. Take a self guided tour of Route 66
The historic self guided Route 66 tour begins at the train station downtown. Along the way, you’ll pass various old motels and landmarks. For a route 66 walking map stop by the visitor’s center or print out a copy on the Flagstaff.gov website. Also be sure to check out the annual Route 66 Days Festival, a free celebration featuring a classic car show.
41. Explore Keyhole Sink
Keyhole Sink is a unique canyon in the Kalibab Forest. The keyhole like shape of the canyon is where the trail name comes from. A quick 15-20 minute drive outside of Flagstaff on Route 66 will take you to the trail head leading to this unique sight. Even more unique for the area is a seasonal waterfall, which is especially spectacular after heavy snow melt following a winter storm. Another interesting attribute of the hike is the presence of ancient petroglyphs along the canyon’s walls. But you need to look very carefully – they are very faint and can be easily missed.
The quiet refreshing walk through ponderosa pines and occasional wildlife sightings make the hike even more attractive. It’s a great little morning activity which costs absolutely nothing, and therefore, is definitely recommend for anyone looking for something unique to do.
42. Enjoy free annual art related events
Flagstaff boasts an impressive number of independent galleries despite its’ small size. During the 1st Friday Art Walk, you can explore downtown’s numerous art shops, while also enjoying special exhibitions and various freebies like snacks and wine. Another great art event is Art in the Park, held over 4th of July and Labor Day weekends. At these events, you can browse local photography, many featuring natural scenes from throughout Northern Arizona, as well as browse around for cute handmade knick knacks.
43. Take a quiet nature stroll or refreshing jog along the Campbell Mesa Trail system
The Campbell Mesa trails are a series of 11 miles of quiet, pine lined hiking trails. Because of the relatively easy terrain and short distances, they are a local favorite for trail runs, leisurely dog walks, and winter skiing and snowshoeing. The terrain is also fantastic for beginning mountain bikers looking for a bit of a challenge, but nothing completely off limits. The woodsy setting and occasional views of Mt. Elden give you some nice views to motivate you through your exercise session, whether it be walking, running, biking, skiing, or snowshoeing! No fee to park although on the downside the parking lot is often very muddy after storms.
44. Drive up to the Lowell Observatory to take in the beautiful night skies
Flagstaff is often regarded as one of the best places in the world for stargazing due to several attractive factors including low light pollution and a high number of clear nights. Most of the parks are great places to catch these star filled skies. However, the ultimate stargazing location is atop Lowell Observatory.
There are several pullouts along the way where you can enjoy the star filled skies, along with pretty views of the city. For a quiet, affordable, laid-back night activity that will cost you nothing, head up to the Lowell Observatory drive for some budget friendly stargazing. In my opinion, a visit to the observatory itself is not really worthy of the high admission tag. Therefore, if you are going to go I recommend purchasing a Groupon deal.
45. Explore ancient pictographs at Elden Pueblo
At this ancient Singua tribe village, a short 1/2 mile nature walk will take you around the historic pueblo ruins which date back from A.D. 1070 to 1275. The ruins are located near the foot of the Mt. Elden mountain range, hence the name. It is estimated that between 200-300 Singua occupied the 60-70 rooms. It’s very easy to get to as it’s located just off of Hwy 89 near the Flagstaff mall. No fees!
46. Take in stunning mountain views from the summit of Fat Man’s Loop
Fat Man’s Loop is, not surprisingly, the favorite trail of many local hikers. The convenient in-town location just across from the mall on Rt 66, the short distance, and many beautiful overlooks of the mountains, make it an attractive choice. No long drive required to get to this hike – it’s a hassle free experience with great views, which definitely earns it a spot on the list of must-do hikes in the area. Tip: Bring with a hiking stick for this one -you will need extra balance going downhill.