Flagstaff's laid-back charms are countless, from its pedestrian-friendly historic downtown crammed with eclectic vernacular architecture and vintage neon, to its high-altitude pursuits like skiing and hiking. Buskers play bluegrass on street corners while bike culture flourishes. Locals are a happy, athletic bunch, skewing more toward granola than gunslinger. Northern Arizona University (NAU) gives Flag its college-town flavor, while its railroad history still figures firmly in the town's identity. Throw in a healthy appreciation for craft beer, freshly-roasted coffee beans and an all-around good time and you have the makings of a town you want to slow down and savor.
Approaching Flagstaff from the east, I-40 parallels Old Route 66. Their paths diverge at Enterprise Rd: I-40 veers southwest, while Old Route 66 curls northwest, hugging the railroad tracks, and is the main drag through the historic downtown. NAU sits between downtown and I-40. From downtown, I-17 heads south toward Phoenix, splitting off at Hwy 89A (also known as Alt 89), a spectacularly scenic winding road through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona. Hwy 180 is the most direct route northwest to Tusayan and the South Rim (80 miles), while Hwy 89 beelines north to Cameron (59 miles), where it meets Hwy 64 heading west to the canyon's East Entrance.