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History and culture in Flagstaff

Destination(s): Flagstaff

The population of Flagstaff is an eclectic brew of blue collar workers and forest service employees, easy going hippies, punks, and bike riders, and a huge native population. The origins of many of these cultures can be found in many places, from downtown Flagstaff to the Museum of Northern Arizona. This list provides visitors with the means for a comprehensive history of this beautiful and unique place. read more about History and culture in Flagstaff

Museum of Northern Arizona

Museum of Northern Arizona

  • 3101 N Fort Valley Rd
  • 3 miles north of downtown Flagstaff on U.S. 180
  • tel:+1 928 774 5213
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86001

A must-stop for anyone remotely interested in Native American culture or the geological history of the Colorado Plateau. The museum is home to over 600,000 artifacts of anthropological, geological, historical, and artistic interest, as well as extensive federal and tribal research collections. Not to be missed is the museum's permanent anthropology exhibit, "Native Peoples of the Colorado Plateau," which documents 12,000 years of occupation in the area. The Hopi Kiva Room and Jewelry Gallery showcase the singular beauty of native handcrafted jewelry, while the Ethnology Gallery provides an intriguing glimpse into the daily lives of local tribe members. Located three miles north of Flagstaff on US Highway 180, the museum is an easy stopping point on your way to, or from, the Grand Canyon.



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Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument

  • Flagstaff Areas
  • 2717 N. Steves Blvd. #3
  • tel:928 527-1246
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86002

Located about eight miles southeast of Flagstaff off I-40, Walnut Canyon National Monument offers a fascinating peek into the lives of the people anthropologists have named the Sinagua ("without water"). A strenuous, one-mile walk on the Island Trail gives you a front-row glimpse to the 700-year old cliff dwellings where the Sinagua lived and left their mark. Peer into the past as you take in the 25 cliff dwellings along the trail. You can see more dwellings across the canyon. Even if you are not transfixed by the mystery of the people who built this cliffside pueblo, the lush canyon is the perfect high desert backdrop for your Northern Arizona adventure. The canyon is a valuable habitat for many species of plants and animals, and a gorgeous backdrop for photographers of all stripes.


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Historic Downtown Flagstaff

Historic Downtown Flagstaff

  • One East Route 66
  • (Flagstaff Visitor Center)
  • tel:+1 928 774 9541 / +1 800 842 7293 (Tourist Information)
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86001-5530

Flagstaff has a long history as a railroad town and major resting point for travelers out west. You'll definitely want to spend some time poking around the historic downtown, where stately, turn of-the-century buildings still stand guard over this busy high desert city. Highlights include the Tudor-inspired Santa Fe Railroad station (which houses the Visitor Center, where you'll want to stop and pick up a map), the1888 Babbitt Brothers Trading Company building, the Hotel Monte Vista, and Hotel Weatherford. Remnants of Depression-era roadside Americana can still be found on Route 66, which bisects downtown, including hotels, auto shops, and the Museum Club, a historic road house that continues to welcome road-weary travelers.


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Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

  • 409 W. Riordan Rd
  • (Off South Milton Road at Bookmans Plaza)
  • tel:+1 928 779 4395
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86001

Get a glimpse of Flagstaff's logging town past with a visit to Riordan State Historic Park, located near the Northern Arizona University campus. Lumber baron brothers Michael and Timothy Riordan built the mansion in 1904, which was designed by Charles Whittlesley, also famous for building the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon. The 13,300 square foot mansion contains 40 rooms of log-and-stone,  many of which are furnished with Gustav Stickley furniture, known as the father of the American Arts and Crafts design movement. One of the most whimsical objects you'll see in the house are the "Paul Bunyan" shoes--a two-foot long pair of boots that Timothy Riordan built in his workshop. Everything in the mansion is original, making this a goldmine for history buffs everywhere.
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Arizona Pioneer Museum

Arizona Pioneer Museum

  • 2340 North Fort Valley Road
  • tel:+1 928 774 6272
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86001

The Arizona Pioneer Museum in Flagstaff, located on the former site of the Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent, preserves the ranching, logging, and railroad history of Flagstaff and celebrates the pioneer spirit of all who helped build the city into what it is today. The museum is a member of the Arizona State Historical Society and State of Arizona archives division, which means this is an important repository for one-of-a-kind, historically significant Arizona treasures. Popular exhibits include the "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" display, the Nurse's Room, Iron Lung Room, the Arizona Rough Riders displays, and an exhibit on Pioneer Kids. Stop by the Fort Valley Mercantile, also known as the gift shop, for handcrafted novelties and Southwestern gifts.
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Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra

Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra

  • 113-A East Aspen Avenue
  • tel:520 774 5107
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86002
Lowell Observatory

Lowell Observatory

  • 1400 W. Mars Hill Rd
  • tel:(928) 774-3358
  • Visit website
  • Flagstaff, 86001

Lowell Observatory, located atop Mars Hill Road just outside of downtown Flagstaff, is one of the leading astronomical research facilities in the United States, and one of the city's true must-see attractions. The observatory offers a compelling glimpse to universe--even bored teenagers will be amazed by what they see on the other side of the telescope. Day visitors are treated to guided tours, multimedia exhibits, and a viewing of the Sun with a specially equipped telescope. But the real action starts at dusk, when (weather permitting) the staff opens up the telescopes for viewings of Jupiter, the Moon, star clusters, and other incredible celestial sights. Rain or shine, visitors are also invited to experience the Observatory's interactive presentations at their portable planetarium, and tours of the Universe inside the 3-D movie theatre. If you happen to be looking for a great place to take a date, the Observatory, which is surrounded by walking trails and great  views of the dark skies over Flagstaff, is surprisingly romantic.


Multimedia Shows

Computer-generated imagery meets the exciting music of Mannheim Steamroller in our 30-minute widescreen show Heavy Astronomy: Marvels of the Cosmos.



Join us in the evenings for telescope viewing, widescreen multimedia shows, and tours of the Universe with our 3D space theatre – all while enjoying the clear mountain air and dark skies over Flagstaff.

 
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