Fall Into Flagstaff
A foodie, foliage, and fun lover’s paradise.
By Alison Bailin Batz
Photos courtesy Flagstaff Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
It will be well into October before the Valley has seen the last of its 100-degree days for the year. For those yearning for a true fall, this can be the most frustrating time of the year. But it need not be.
Less than two hours north of the Valley is Flagstaff, and while often assumed a college town given Northern Arizona University’s proximity, it is in reality a booming city boasting award-winning dining options, world-class attractions, and accommodations, and, wait for it, fall leaves.
Here are some can’t-miss things to see, do, and taste during a day or weekend jaunt.
ROOT PUBLIC HOUSE: More than simply calling itself farm-to-table cuisine to stay up with the trend, this gem-located in the bustling “Southside” neighborhood of Flagstaff-actually features true Northern Arizona ingredients throughout its always evolving seasonal menus, many with a hint of the actual South weaved into the flavors. Take, for example, its Southern fried Arizona hot chicken, a traditional hot chicken recipe from the south, they use only local poultry in all of their cooking. The drink menu is similarly a love of all things local bursting with Arizona-made spirits, produce native to the region, and tons of local beers and wines, some from just across the street. If a first-time guest, don’t miss the Root Down, which is made with local gin, carrot juice, lemon, jalapeno bitters, and a local IPA foam. Root also lets guests experience the actual seasons themselves while eating, offering the only true elevated rooftop dining experience in the city.
JOSEPHINE’S MODERN AMERICAN BISTRO: Similarly spectacular for dinner, but for those in the know, their weekend brunch is truly where it’s at when visiting Josephine’s. A few steps from the Historic Flagstaff district, the building that houses the venue is actually on the National Historic Register. If a chill is in the air, they offer cozy fireplaces inside, and if warmer, an expansive patio that often features guest performers including guitarists and soloists from the region. Don’t miss the zeppoles with vanilla pastry cream and house wild berry jam, baklava baked brie with pistachios and orange cardamom honey, or the southwest crab cake benedict.
LITTLE AMERICA HOTEL: Set amongst 5 00 acres of pristine Flagstaff forest, the award-winning hotel completed a 14,000-square-foot renovation in recent years. The enhancements include the addition of a modern, contemporary lobby with Southwestern flair and an impressive bar and restaurant called The Silver Pine. If a first-time visitor, trying to determine which hiking trails in the area are best (given there are hundreds), take advantage of the multiple trails exploding with fall colors accessible just steps from any of the rooms or suites. Also, if in need ofVlP accommodations or extra space for the family, book one of their gorgeous apartment-style, fireplace, wet bar, or presidential suites. They even have a suite with an in-house sauna.
CRAFT BEER HUB OFTHE SOUTHWEST: Flagstaff is home to seven craft breweries with award-winning ales that have been noticed on the global scale at the World Beer Championships and Great American Beer Festival. In fact, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently formally proclaimed Flagstaff as a leading craft beer city with a commendation. Don’t miss the chance to taste at all of them, including Dark Sky Brewing, Mother Road Brewery, Lumberyard Brewery, Historic Brewing’s Barrel &Bottle House, and Beaver Street Brewery.
FLG TERROIR: For those who prefer wine to beer, Flagstaff has you covered thanks to FLG Terroir. Formerly The Wine Loft, this dark and dreamy bar specializes in small boutique wines from throughout the world in all price categories, and its list is fast approaching 500 labels by the bottle.
PEPSI AMPHITHEATER: This hot spot, among the largest and most acoustically pleasing outdoor venues in the state, has hosted performers including Melissa Etheridge, Willie Nelson, and the Charlie Daniels Band in recent years. Developed in a natural forest bowl, the venue is also earning praise for its growing line-up of wine, food, and music festivals. In August and September, you can enjoy Gavin DeGraw, Phillip Phillips, and the Pickin’ in the Pines Bluegrass and Acoustic Festival at the space.
FLAGSTAFF EXTREME:Just steps from the Pepsi Amphitheatre, it’s not uncommon to see Flagstaff visitors flying from rope swings and zip lines. Why? An intricate obstacle course set among the trees-the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course-made its debut a few years ago. After a detailed safety program, guests are given the green light to brave five courses, each consisting of 10 to 17 obstacles high in the sky. Each course, much like with popular ski mountains, is color-coded to denote difficulty.
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