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Flagstaff is a very western town surrounded by forests and mountains

The Arboretum at Flagstaff spreads over 200 acres of gardens
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Flagstaff is the perfect place to discover and explore Northern Arizona. It offers access to the Grand Canyon, about two hours away, but also to other natural features and Native American sites too. It also has a handful of museums and other attractions, ideal for families and for understanding the past of this part of Arizona.

 

Your first stop should be the Museum of Northern Arizona, to the north of Flagstaff on the road that takes you to the Grand Canyon. It has nine different galleries showing different aspects of the area's past. One covers 12,000 years of the history of the Hopi, Navajo, and other Native American tribes, while others cover geology, wildlife, and the fine arts of the region.

 

Flagstaff developed in the late 19th century, and this aspect of its history is displayed in the Pioneer Museum, one mile south of the Museum of Northern Arizona. This has displays showing the logging, farming and railroad industries which helped the city develop, as well as a new interactive display showing what life was like for the children of those early pioneers who came here to settle the west. There's also a display about Route 66.

 

Route 66 still runs through the city and at the Flagstaff CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) visitor centre you can get a map which will lead you on a historic walking tour around Flagstaff, taking in the old hotels, motels, and other buildings that have a distinctive 'Route 66' look. You can stop off for a drink at the Museum Club, where they have entertainment most nights of the week, from karaoke to country singers.

 

The Arboretum at Flagstaff is on 200 acres within the Coconino National Forest and is home to 2,500 species of plants in greenhouses, in planted gardens, or in natural habitat. On certain days of the year there are wildflower walks, bird walks, and Arboretum tours, and note that the Arboretum is only open from May to October.

 

Arizona is one of the best places in the world for observatories, thanks to its clear skies, and to the north of Flagstaff is one of the most important in the USA: the Lowell Observatory. It was established in 1894, and it was here that the planet Pluto was first discovered. The Observatory is open almost every day of the year for tours.

 

43 Miles (69 km) east of Flagstaff, near Winslow, is the Meteor Crater. The crater was made when a meteor crashed into the earth about 50,000 years ago, and you can visit the site to see this unusual feature.

 

One of the most important Native American sites near Flagstaff is the Wupatki National Monument, about an hour's drive north of the center. Here the ancient Pueblo People first settled in about 500AD. A visitor center explains their lifestyle and you can see the many buildings which still survive.

 

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