Hi, I’m Ian, This is what it is like living and working in Downtown Flagstaff
I think that living in downtown Flagstaff is great for a lot of certain aspects, but living in areas around Flagstaff such as Coconino Estates, Noho-North of the hospital, Cheshire, and McMillan Mesa still offer many of the perks that “living in downtown Flagstaff” have to offer, because they are still only a short bike ride away.
The Flagstaff Restaurant, Bar, and Foodie Scene:
The downtown area is of course the hub of activity for Northern Arizona. The downtown area hosts both music and art festivals, the farmers market, and also the Flagstaff flea market to name a few. If you like to eat out, there are so many great options to experience in and around downtown. Growing up here in Flagstaff I use the adage north or south of the train tracks, so that is how I will map out the culinary options one can have in Downtown.
As we start North of the tracks or north of Route 66, one has tons of options from Sushi, modern American, Mexican, to bar food classics. I’m partial to Pato Thai, so I will start there, they started in a small location in the Monte Vista Hotel building and expanded recently onto our Main street/Route 66. Pato offers great food, fast, if you need it to go or if you’re out and about. I would recommend the Kai Kua noodle with extra broccoli!
Next on the list all you need to do is walk about 30 to 40 yards west down route 66 to Karma sushi which on any given night is one of the most popular spots downtown…they are great for lunch as well, and I love the Hamachi Kama or in layman’s terms “the cheek of the yellowfin tuna.”
Looking for something quick and delicious? Look no further that Bigfoot BBQ underneath the old town shops, nothing better than throwing peanut shells on the floor while you wait to eat BBQ. The ribs of course are good, they couldn’t call themselves a BBQ place without good ribs..right? They also have great options for big and small groups via their catering menu… For a quick stop Pita Pit can cure any late-night ails you may have. I have not even touched on the fine-dining restaurants NORTH of the tracks i.e Shift & Brix. I would like to start with Shift, located on San Francisco just North of Babbit’s outdoor clothing store. This restaurant boasts incredible food, service, and gelato that is the best in town. Brix is another great restaurant located a few blocks north of downtown on San Francisco Street, they offer incredible food and a great outdoor dining environment. On San Francisco Street you also have the Lotus Lounge located in the Monte Vista Hotel building. They offer great sushi and many different options. Another great spot is Proper located on Route 66 in the old Grand Canyon Café spot they have locally sourced products from all over the state, and their pastrami sandwich is top notch. Kiddie corner from the Market you have the Weatherford Hotel which offers four different bars and all kinds of food options. Coming full circle, we end with a few bars and a downtown staple for Pizza, Alpine Pizza on Leroux which has been downtown for over 30 years. On the corner of Leroux and Route 66 you have the McMillan which has a great burger, specials on Mondays, and a great bar as well. I will finish out north of the tracks with Collins Irish Pub, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Majerle’s, and Famous Pizza all offer great pub fare and pizza before or after you consume a few beers.
As the culinary tour continues I move south of the tracks and start at Altitudes Bar and Grill located on the corner of Phoenix and Beaver Street. They offer a true Aspen ski vibe and train shot deals every time the train passes, drop in to see a true ski bar. Across the street from Altitudes, you find Nomads. They offer great food with smaller plates so you can share with the crew you came with. Nomads also has a great outdoor patio that is perfect for those summer nights. Walking down Phoenix Ave going west I run into a Flagstaff staple, Fratelli’s pizza. I always wondered if they named it after the bad guys from the movie Goonies? But ah well. They have great pizza, calzones and a good place to catch a game on TV. Continuing on you have Pizzicleta which is a more gourmet pizza establishment that offers delicious grub, and if you need a good beer go next door to Mother Road Brewing Company. For a great breakfast go across the street from Mother Road on Mike’s Pike and you have the Toasted Owl a fun unique place to grab that weekend breakfast or a post bike ride lunch. I venture back down Phoenix and turn right on Beaver St. to drop into Beaver Street Brewery which has great food, and a great billiards hall that is usually a very busy spot during the school year. I’m partial to the Enchanted Forest which is a must try pizza at Beaver Street Brewery, and I also love their lunch special drop in, if you haven’t tried it. If I wasn’t stuffed enough with food already I continue my march down Beaver St. and stop in at Macy’s a Flagstaff staple for coffee and delicious pastries, after a good cup of joe I head down to Brandy’s cafe formerly La Bellavia and get more food this is another breakfast mainstay in Downtown. Down across Beaver you come upon Nimarco’s pizza which like Fratelli’s is a Flagstaff staple with I believe three around town. This concludes my food march down beaver St, and I begin to trek over to South San Francisco St. I would have to say that San Francisco St. probably has the best group of restaurants on it than any other street in Flagstaff. I start my south San Francisco food journey at La Santisima which is a gourmet taco place with a great back patio and good tacos, the Al Pastor tacos are my personal favorite. Venturing back out onto San Francisco St I walk past Primo’s hot dogs which is the late night favorite for many a college student. Across the street from Primo’s you have Ewa Thai food which is a solid stop, just don’t order spicy #5 your taste buds might not like that. Around the corner from Ewa Thai is Historic Barrel + Bottle House that offers good food and great beer. I am now in the zig zag pattern going back and forth across San Francisco Street and head back to the westside of the street to go to Root Public House which offers great food and a rooftop area which no other bar/restaurant in town has to offer. As I finish my food journey I venture back across San Francisco and am in the home stretch. I pop into Tourist Home for a great breakfast or lunch with a great outdoor patio, they share this patio with the Annex. The Annex is an upscale bar with great food and a burger that is on the Monday special. You can also get gourmet drinks from the Annex, or pre-game before you head next door to the Tinderbox kitchen. Tinderbox is an upscale restaurant that offers delicious food with great service and has been a staple of downtown for over 10 years. Moving north towards the tracks you have the Cornish Pasty which is an Irish/British isles themed bar/restaurant that has good grub and drink specials. The next stop is Dara Thai on the corner of San Francisco and Phoenix Ave, which has been there a long time and offers great Thai food and a nice relaxed vibe. I walk now into my final stop on the downtown food journey at the Lumberyard Brewing Company. They offer good food and drinks and are the spot to drop into on Saturdays if you want to wear your cowboy boots and do some two-stepping. That concludes my food journey south of the tracks and I feel full just writing about these stops. Again if I forgot anyone feel free to reach out.
Downtown Flagstaff Activities and Festivals
From food to downtown activities, I will look at all the fun things one can do in and around downtown. With the Flagstaff community being a big bike community you are only a short ride to many attractions. You can venture up to Thorpe Park and ride the trails up to Mars Hill, or stay low and ride along the Frances short pond all the way out to the Museum of Northern Arizona on the Urban Trail if you wish. On top of Mars Hill we have Lowell Observatory which is where Percival Lowell discovered Pluto during years of research on Mars, hence the name Mars Hill. The observatory is a must see again and again for anyone wanting to star gaze and get a great view of town from the road up to the observatory. As I cruise down the hill from the observatory, I stop into the Flagstaff Public Library to enjoy some AC and check out a book or two. Right outside the library you have Wheeler Park, which is a hub for music festivals such as the Flagstaff Hullabaloo, and multiple art festivals throughout the year. We are lucky enough at Best Flagstaff Homes Reality to have our office directly across Humphreys from Wheeler park, so if we’re in the office on the weekend we can venture over and purchase some treasures, come say hi if you’re down there. Near the library across Aspen Street in the parking lot for City Hall, the Flagstaff Flea Market and the Farmers Market are hosted usually from May until the 1st of October. The Flagstaff Flea Market I think is one weekend a month hosted in the parking lot of City Hall and the many vendors offer multiple things from jewelry to clothing, and of course food. The Farmers Market is every Sunday from 8am to 12pm and this is where all the local farmers and vendors sell allot of their produce, and goods every Sunday. This is a great spot to be out on a walk with your dog or a bike ride on a Sunday morning before or after Church. Some of the must stops for me is a cheese maker usually on the back row at the market. There is also a great spot for some homemade tamales, I know I know, I talk to much about the food. One eye catching stop is High Style Flag, a mobile boutique that drives up every Sunday to sell up-cycled clothing and cool vintage items. There are some great drink stations with delicious teas, and lemonades, and of course I try and get as much produce as I can for any given week. I think the Farmers Market is one of the best things about Downtown Flagstaff, because it offers you a chance to get out, mingle, and get some great things during the beautiful spring and summers we have here in Flagstaff. Even for those who are just visiting, I believe the friendliness and welcoming personalities that people have at the Farmers market are indicative of Flagstaff in a whole. I appreciate you all following along with me on my whirlwind journey of Downtown Flagstaff both culinary and activity based.
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