Best Places to Live

Flagstaff, AZ

Population: 75,038

With thriving industries like renewable energy, medical devices and bioscience, Flagstaff’s future looks bright. This mountain town, located 7,000 feet above sea level, offers its 71,000 residents an impressive quality of life, complete with gorgeous natural beauty, mild weather, tons of arts and entertainment options and a supportive business community. Flagstaff is also home to Northern Arizona University, whose faculty, staff and students add a constant stream of innovation and energy to the community.

Top Industries and Employers: Some of the largest employers in Flagstaff are Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff Medical Center, U.S. Forest Service and Nestle Purina.

Best Coffee Shop: Late for the Train, a locally owned coffee shop with several locations around town.

Best Local Beer/Brewery: The Tower Station IPA from Mother Road Brewery. Their downtown taproom is family-friendly and located right along a lost portion of Route 66.

Must-Have Meal: JB’s Volcano at MartAnne’s Burrito Palace, a dish the restaurant describes as a “mini mountain” of chilaquiles topped with pork green chile, chorizo, sourcream and an over-medium egg.

Best Co-Working Space: Click Co+Work, an airy, modern space located inside a renovated historic building downtown. There’s even an outdoor patio here.

Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Annex Cocktail Lounge, where professionals can sip hand-crafted cocktails while listening to live music in this speakeasy-style spot.

Creative Hub: Feeling artsy? Check out the calendar for Creative Spirits, which hosts painting classes and events around town taught by different local artists.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Hiking, biking or walking the Flagstaff Urban Trail (aka FUTS — pronounced “foots”), which spans 56 miles through Flagstaff’s varied habitats. You’ll explore grasslands, forests, meadows, canyons and more, right out your backdoor.

Free Way to Have Fun: Movies on the Square, held Saturdays throughout the summer on Heritage Square. People gather starting at 4 p.m. for pizza, ice cream and popcorn, followed by a family-friendly movie that starts around 7:30 p.m.

Local Dream Job: Astronomer at Lowell Observatory, which has been around for 125 years and is where Pluto was first discovered.

Read More: 
Stellar Cities: How Flagstaff Takes Stargazing Seriously 
The 5 Most Affordable Cities in Arizona
Why College Towns Usually Rebound Quickly (And 5 Great Ones to Check Out)

- Sarah Kuta

"People should relocate to Flagstaff because we offer opportunity, activity and resources that you can’t get in other cities. Where else in Arizona can you experience four seasons, commute to your job by riding your mountain bike, take a lunch break by walking on one of our 56 miles of urban trails, receive a quality education with hands-on faculty assistance, and raise your family in a community that knows your name and cares about your success?  There’s just one place, and that’s Flagstaff.”


Heidi Hansen
City of Flagstaff Economic Vitality Director

Flagstaff, AZ Ranking Data