Flagstaff, located at the intersection of Interstate 17 and
I-40, is the largest city and is the regional center of northern Arizona.
It is the county seat for Coconino County, the second largest county
in the U.S., with 12 million acres. Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet, is one of
the highest U.S. cities and its breath-taking backdrop is even higher.
The community sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona's
highest point at 12,633 feet. Flagstaff is a year-round Mecca for visitors. Many Arizonans maintain second homes here. Summer temperatures average 20
degrees cooler than Phoenix, which is 146 miles south on Interstate
17. In winter there is skiing, ice skating and hunting.
Flagstaff has long been a transportation hub. Located along an
old wagon road to California, Flagstaff began after the railroad
arrived in 1881. Today the town links I-40 to I-17, Highway 89 to
Page and Utah, and Highway 180 to the Grand Canyon. Historic
Route 66 passes through Flagstaff.
Flagstaff's name comes from a tall pine tree made into a flagpole
in 1876 to celebrate the Declaration of Independence
Centennial. Flagstaff is a governmental, educational, transportation, cultural
and commercial center. Tourism is a major source of employment.
Traditional economic activities continue to employ people.
New scientific and high tech research and development industries
have located in Flagstaff. Approximately 16,000 students
attend Northern Arizona University. More than 100,000 people do
business in Flagstaff, both in the historic downtown area and at several
shopping centers. Most of Flagstaff is a designated Enterprise
Flagstaff and the surrounding area are abundant with attractions.
The Grand Canyon is the top area attraction with some 5 million visitors
annually. Other popular sites nearby are the dormant volcanoes at
Sunset Crater National Monument, the Indian ruins at Wupatki and
Walnut Canyon, Meteor Crater (the world's largest), Oak Creek's red
rock canyons and Monument Valley. The San Francisco Peaks attract
people all year. Aspen forests sport bright yellow colors in the fall and
wild flowers appear each spring. In winter, there is abundant snow.
Many recreational activities are found in the city itself. Lowell
Observatory, with both historic and modern telescopes, is open to the
public. The planet Pluto was discovered at the observatory.
The Museum of Northern Arizona features Native American displays.
Riordan State Park features a mansion built by two brothers prominent
in the lumber industry. Flagstaff’s locales also attract the film and still
photography industry. Flagstaff Winter fest is held annually to celebrate