A Freshman's Guide to Downtown Flagstaff
It’s officially move in time for NAU and time to begin the school year. As I head into my final semester, I think back to when I first moved to Flagstaff. It was a time full of butterflies and nerves at the thought of leaving everyone I knew back in California, to come to a town that was completely new to me. One of my first stops after arriving in Flagstaff was Downtown. After walking around and picking up things for my apartment I was smitten. At the time, I loved the cute boutiques, unique restaurants and the buzz of community - and still do today! I knew this is where I wanted to live and now very fortunate to work. So here is my list of must stops for all those new or returning to Flagstaff so you can feel just at home here as I feel.
Once you’re done with unpacking, it will be more than time to grab some food. There is a wide range, even the pickiest of eaters can find something. A true NAU classic is Lumberyard Brewery. They serve a great burger and for all the moving men, I mean fathers, amazing beer that is brewed on site. If your feeling a little more upscale, try sushi at Lotus Lounge for dinner, they offer a laid back atmosphere with sophisticated asian fusion food. I love Latin food and Criollo is always a solid choice, especially with their happy hour menu. Finally if you’re craving some southern cooking that is to die for and won’t break the bank, check out Bigfoot BBQ! You can’t forget about dessert and this is when a stop to Sweet Shoppe is a must for everything from gelato to candied apples. There is always a new place to try out each trip downtown.
Now that everyone is full and busting at the seams, you can walk it off by shopping. For the cutest boutique clothing and accessories, Rainbow’s End and Shoes & Such are top notch. For the latest trends, head to Basement Marketplace in Old Town Shops. For the outdoor enthusiasts you have options galore; Mountain Sports, Peace Surplus, Babbitt’s Backcountry, and Aspen Sports. You can find gear to rent, equipment for all outdoor activities, and all the latest styles. I could go on for days but this is a good start.
Now there is always something missing to make your room absolutely perfect. You can find plenty of dorm room or apartment essentials downtown. PJ Chilcottage has the cutest decorative soaps and Salt + Peak carries candles that they hand made. Both shops also offer classes where you can make your own soaps and candles! If you love local art, downtown has you covered. Look to AZ Handmade Gallery, West of the Moon, Shane Knight Gallery, and Artists’ Gallery, just to name a few. Here you can find one of a kind pieces from local artists, everything from gift cards, jewelry, mugs, and so much more!
Coming to a new place and school can be scary but you will definitely make some of your best memories in Flagstaff. This is an exciting time, so make the most of it. Get out and explore what downtown has to offer. See a show at the Orpheum, visit the farmers market, do homework in one of the many coffee shops, or grab friends and take part in one of the scavenger hunts. Experience as much as you can in these four years and enjoy making Flagstaff your home.