Local Adventure Series: Flagstaff, AZ

Travel Foodie Mom - Local Adventure Flagstaff

Flagstaff Arizona has been a Northern Arizona capital for pretty much ever. Located right off Route 66, road trippers around the country have been strolling through this hipster’s paradise since it’s inception in 1926. The cultural history surrounding Route 66, downtown Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University, and the city as a whole is astounding.

Here’s everything I did on my local adventure into Flagstaff and where you can stay for less than $300 a weekend. The drive up whether it’s day or night is pleasant (minus when it’s windy) and for two and a half hours it’s a great time to explore a playlist of music you and your co-pilot put together. Check out my playlist here.

Weekend Trip Essentials
Here are my weekend must- haves. What are yours?

There’s never a dull moment in Flagstaff. Roam the gorgeous campus which weaves in and out of the woods and if you’re like me, take your lover for a drive and reflect on your life on campus before you met them.

Sharing vulnerable pieces of yourself during a roadtrip is a great way to open your heart.

If you’re not a campus stroller check out the downtown scene. My boyfriend and I happened to breeze in town the same weekend as Hop’s on Birch‘s anniversary. Hop’s is a local brewery located in the downtown and hosts live music Thursday through Saturday, do expect a little more country music than you would as it’s all a little more twangy feeling up north.

Not in the mood for a stroll or drinking? The food in Flag is phenomenal and you could pretty much spend an entire weekend going out for every single meal (and snack, and second meal) Friday through Sunday. We hit up The Toasted Owl for brunch Saturday morning and had the most fantastic french toast ever. Served with a side of fresh fruit, this soft, moist, cinnamon-ish food bomb exploded with flavor in my mouth and went down nicely with a refreshing mimosa.

Those who listen to Monday Morning Mimosas know how particular I am about the orange juice to champagne ratio. Toasted Owl knocked it out of the park then blew my mind with their Spanish Omelette. I don’t even think you could call what we ate an omelette, actually. Covered (obviously) by thick walls of perfectly cooked egg they’ve shoved chorizo and a medley of vegetables unlike any godly-egg creation on Earth. Once we washed breakfast down with a few cups of locally roasted coffee, we headed out and back to our airbnb for an early morning nap sesh.

We stayed in this great garage loft just five minutes drive outside of the downtown area. Complete with rustic vibes and a french press that could keep me caffeinated all day long, this loft was the perfect place to say; Especially so at $125 per night. Click here to check out this loft and hook yourself up with the amazingness that’s awaiting. Our airbnb host was really great, waited up for our late night arrival (9 PM, but I’m on mom-time so it’s late), and walked us up to the loft to show us around and ensure we understood how some of the tech and fireplace in the loft worked.

I’ll admit, it was my very first time staying in an airbnb, but I would 100% do it again and stay in the garage loft. The great thing about Flagstaff are the various options available to visitors. You can save a few hundred dollars with non-hotel options, or you can bounce and reach for something a little more regal or reserve a cabin in a more secluded area. Prices for a weekend stay in Flagstaff will run you anywhere from $250 for two nights to $580. Choose wisely, my friend.

Without last night approach after brunch we hit up a few bars in downtown, and I loved Hops on Birch like I mentioned above. We completed our day drinking with an attempt to satisfy our craving for Mexican/Latin food and found ourselves buzzing into Criollo Latin Kitchen. Nothing spells disappointment more than the tacos we opted for. It wasn’t a matter of “let’s buy the cheapest thing on the menu” but more of a, “if you can make a solid taco, I’ll come back for more.”

The Latin fusion kitchen sucked. I wish I could put it in a more positive light but the food was just awful and what’s worse are the pork belly tacos being dry and tossed together with cabbage and cold beans and rice. If I could give a few stars the most I’d give would be two and that’s only because the waitstaff were on point.

I feel like our waiter knew we hated our food.

He brought over hot sauce which I’m convinced was Cholula. Dousing the tacos in it made no difference. It was a disappointing meal.

Knowing though, our final adventure for the weekend would take us to Lowell Observatory, we opted for a small hit of coffee from Firecreek Coffee and ended out foodie adventure on a high note. Something to take note of while in Flagstaff during the early months of spring: It gets cold. Bring a jacket. Bring warm clothes. Especially if you’re used to 90-degree weather in April.

The cool, fresh mountain air was incredible though still. With a light breeze brushing my cheeks and flirting with my hair I felt unlike I ever had down in the valley on a cold night. Driving up to Lowell know you’ll need your brights on and it’s best to drive up right before it becomes completely dark.

Upon your arrival head to the main entrance and check out their programming. Also, donate and make Pluto a planet, small guys gotta stick together! We enjoyed a lecture provided by a super casual and cool astronomer who entranced his audience with factual information and light joking regarding the massive size of the audience and our relative size to it.

View of downtown Flagstaff
View from the top of Lowell Observatory at Night. Flagstaff, AZ

Worry not, you won’t feel tiny and insignificant after this lecture. He ends on a high note and a super motivational speech on going out into the world and making a difference. I’m telling you, this guy was too legit to quit. On a clear night you and whoever you bring along with you to the observatory will gaze upon stars millions and billions of miles away through stationary and portable telescopes. Each staff member is incredibly knowledgeable regarding our universe and beyond. It’s an educational and romantic night based activity that involves more handle holding than hair holding.

As the stars began to burst through the daylight in the sky we observed with our naked eye the twinkling lights above us and became dizzy with the anticipation in knowing how far away each cluster was from us.

We packed up Sunday and rolled on out of town and back into the heat of the valley. The weekend was the perfect getaway for couples just beginning to date and explore how one another functions and for the seasoned couple. Regarding affordability, the most expensive thing we purchased over the weekend was gas for my Jeep. We each spent less than $40 for our meals together, and less than $15 at each more for drinks, beer flights, and OG french fries.

Flagstaff has so much more to discover. From lava tubes and hiking to incredible sushi and more local breweries than you could dream of in a five square mile radius.

Want some tips on where to go and what to eat while you’re there? Hit Sarah up in the comments below and she’ll happily chime in her favorite suggestions. Side note: she lived there for a short time so knows some sweet places to eat.

Happy adventuring.

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Sarah is the co-founder of Travel Foodie Mom, The Blonde Spot, and podcast host for Monday Morning Mimosas and Nerd Biscuit (coming soon). She believes life is better when you can embrace and she does just that.

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