One night in Flagstaff, AZ (visit #3)–Tucson for Christmas trip

We visited Flagstaff in December 2023 as part of our Tucson for Christmas trip. Read about our second visit in 2018 here, and our first in 2016 here.

dog-friendly patio at Mother Road Brewing
the dog-friendly patio at Mother Road Brewing

Flagstaff is one of our favorite stops. It’s a perfect size, with a convenient campground, a walkable downtown, lots of breweries, and hiking nearby. Plus, it sits on the dreaded-but-necessary I-40 corridor, 4.5 hours west of Albuquerque, and four hours southeast of Las Vegas (for geographical reference–that’s not our next destination… yet).

Downtown was crowded and Christmassy when we visited in mid-December, and we enjoyed walking Bugsy around and picking up a few Christmas gifts for the family we were meeting up with in Tucson. Flagstaff is a very dog-friendly town, and Bugsy was welcome in all the stores we popped into.

sunset in downtown Flagstaff

As you may have noticed, we were in a hurry to get to our westernmost destination, so we didn’t have time for many Flagstaff activities: no hiking, little beering, little exploring. Here’s what we did!

Campground

Black Bart's RV park in Flagstaff
Chilly morning at Black Bart’s

As always, we stayed at Black Bart’s. We briefly considered Woody Mountain Campground on the west side of downtown to try something new, but Black Bart’s has always been good to us and we landed there again. It’s close to downtown, and a new shopping center just down the road has a Whole Foods and interesting restaurant options. Also a consideration for us on this particular night: we wanted to set up our DirecTV dish to catch a UVA basketball game, and we knew we’d be able to do that at Black Bart’s. A campground with “woody” in the name might have more satellite-beam obstacles.

Eating and drinking

Here are some beer notes from J and food notes from me!

Downtown

Mother Road Brewing

smores stout at Mother Road Brewing

Our favorite brewery in Flagstaff is Mother Road Brewing Co. and this was our first stop after touring downtown Flagstaff. On our first Airstream trip to Flagstaff in 2016 we discovered Mother Road and their Tower IPA, which we now see all over the West. Now they have a New England IPA, Limited Visibility, to complement Tower; it was pretty tasty. They didn’t have a sour for L, but she did get to try a 5 ounce pour of their s’mores stout, which was garnished with a marshmallow, a piece of graham cracker and a rectangle of Hershey’s chocolate. Mostly, we just like the scene at Mother Road, despite having to brave the cold due to Bugsy being with us. And, while braving that cold we were surprised to be approached by a friend who moved out to Flagstaff a few years earlier.

Historic Brewing

cocktail and funny dog at Historic Brewing
Cocktail at a brewery? At Historic Brewing

After Mother Road, we went and sat under the heater outside at Historic Brewing Company. We’ve liked Historic a lot in the past, but neither of us was too fond of their beer this time. Luckily, they are attached to a cocktail lounge, their sister establishment; we liked their cocktails quite a bit.

East of downtown (close to home)

Wildflower

salmon salad from Wildflower Flagstaff
Seasonal salmon salad from Wildflower

Wanting a healthy dinner and not having a well-enough stocked refrigerator to cook it ourselves, we ordered carryout from Wildflower, a small Arizona chain serving all sorts of salads, grain bowls, veggies, and bakery items. We grabbed our healthy dinner, and were immediately sucked into the donut store next door…

BoSa Donuts

donuts for dessert from BoSa Donuts
Sorry Bugsy, no donuts for you

BoSa Donuts is another Arizona chain, and they claim to have Arizona’s best donuts. We haven’t (yet) completed my research to say if that’s true or not, but the donuts we took home for dessert were definitely yummy.

Single Speed Coffee

latte at Single Speed Coffee
Delicious latte, tiny workspace at Single Speed

Last time in Flagstaff, we hit Single Speed for coffee and wifi. It’s a cool spot close to home, so we returned, but this time the upstairs seating area was closed for construction, and downstairs seating is very limited (they do have outdoor tables, but it was toooo cold for that). We perched our computers on a narrow countertop for a bit with coffees, and J had a breakfast burrito, which he really enjoyed but it was very messy.

Whole Foods

Our last stop before leaving Flagstaff was the Whole Foods in the Sawmill shopping center just a few minutes from Black Bart’s. We had to stock the fridge in preparation for going off the grid for several days in Death Valley! Before Death Valley, we had one more night in civilization…

Next stop, Boulder City, home of Hoover Dam!

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