Local Atmosphere

Flagstaff, AZ
Tuition (in-state)
$20,364 ($8,008)
Admission Difficulty
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5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: Flagstaff is such a great small town filled with college students. On the weekends downtown is very lively and a great place to dine and shop. The city offers great hiking trails and lots of out door activities, not to mention a renown ski resort Snow bowl, which fostered the 2014 Winter Olympic Snowboarding Coach who grew up at that resort and attended NAU.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Flagstaff is a beautiful area and there are plenty of things to do: shopping, hiking, parties, museums, tours, great restaurants, etc.

5 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Everyone in Flagstaff has a good attitude and is friendly. It is honestly an amazing place to live because it is so different from any city or town I have ever been to, in a good way.

5 people found this useful Report
3 College Student

Local Atmosphere: There's not much to do around here but it's tolerable.

4 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: There are tons of things to do in the Flagstaff area, lots of hiking and local events. I think Flagstaff is very charming, however some students I have meet think it is a terrible small town. There are bars, local art, music, and hiking places. Flagstaff seems to be a very very active place. Everyone hikes, bikes, practices yoga, and/or rock climbs. It feels pretty safe around here. As long as you are not wondering around in dark neighborhoods there is pretty much always an open store near by. I have not ever had a bad experience with Flagstaff natives. Everyone seems pretty friendly.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Audrey Hirschl
Tempe, AZ
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Due to its place alongside the historic Route 66, downtown Flagstaff is filled with all sorts of history and charm. Surrounded by miles and miles of nature in every direction, the city is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The world famous Grand Canyon is in the neighborhood, and Phoenix, the state's capital and one of the largest cities in the country, is a short drive down the freeway. Flagstaff has been able to really balance the additions of modern day while still retaining the old-school look and feel of its Route 66 past. Plus, there’s a ton of hippies. Awesome.

Downtown has plenty of quirky, hole-in-the-wall shops and stores that really add to the town's flavor. Incense, beads, international furniture—some of the items you'll find may surprise you. Flag is very laid-back and a very easy community to become comfortable living in. If you're a fan of outdoor sports, you are in luck: Snowbowl has a lot of great runs for both snowboarders and skiers. Also, give yourself the opportunity to drive around and see some of the great geologic beauties in the surrounding area. There are tons of fantastic picnic spots and plenty of picture opportunities, so you can send Mom and Dad proof that their money isn't going to waste. Because college students pretty much dominate the population, summertime is really when to explore and see what the area has to offer while everyone is away. Hiking is really nice to do until the snow hits, but there's always snowshoeing, right?

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. In 1996, Flagstaff was named the world's first international "Dark Sky City." Because of its altitude and influence in the astronomy community, Flagstaff limits light pollution so that the stars are always visible. This means that all the restaurants, bars, stores, etc., in Flag have to have a certain wattage on their lights so they don't light up the sky too much.
  2. In its May 2007 issue, Kiplinger's Personal Finance singled out Flagstaff as one of the "great college towns."
  3. In its September/October 2005 issue, Organic Style magazine named Flagstaff the eighth healthiest city in the nation.
  4. Men's Journal ranked Flagstaff second on its list of the top 50 places to live.
  5. The world-famous Lowell Observatory, located atop Mars Hill, is credited with first discovering the former planet Pluto.
Notable Natives
  • Bruce Babbitt - former governor of Arizona
  • Ted Danson - actor
Local Slang
  • 66: The historic Route 66 that runs straight through town and "down the hill," which is how Flagstaffers refer to the I-17 drive to Phoenix
  • The Flag: Endearing term for Flagstaff
  • Monty V: The historic Monte Vista Hotel
  • The Observatory: This doesn't define the actual Lowell Observatory itself, but an overlook right before entering it. Students like to hang out here and look at the city and stars at night.
  • Phoenicians: Locals from Phoenix
  • South of the Tracks: The notoriously shady neighborhood of Flag
  • The Valley: Term for the Phoenix area and the surrounding suburbs
Points of Interest
  • Arizona Snowbowl
  • The Grand Canyon
  • Grand Falls
  • Historic Downtown Flagstaff
  • Historic Route 66
  • Lava Tubes
  • Lowell Observatory
  • Meteor Crater
  • Monte Vista Hotel
  • Montezuma’s Castle
  • Monument Valley
  • Museum of Northern Arizona
  • Oak Creek Canyon
  • Red Rock State Park
  • Riordan Mansion
  • Sedona
  • Sunset Crater
  • Williams, AZ
  • Wupatki National Monument
Shopping Centers
  • Downtown Flagstaff
  • Flagstaff Mall
Movie Theaters
Harkins Theatres Flagstaff 11
1959 S. Woodlands Village Blvd.
(928) 774-4847
Major Sports Teams
  • Arizona Cardinals: NFL
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: NBL
  • Phoenix Coyotes: NHL
  • Phoenix Suns: NBA
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Las Vegas: : 4 hours
  • Phoenix: : 2 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 199 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 201 responses

  • 3% Painfully remote.
  • 3% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 29% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 61% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 4% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 200 responses

  • 58% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 18% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 23% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 200 responses

  • 28% No way.
  • 56% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 16% Totally.



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