Each year, Flagstaff Blues & Brews Festival spreads across a grassy lawn at the Continental Driving Range for a day-long celebration of music. An eclectic lineup of blues performers entertain guests until the sun begins to set. Meanwhile, tented outdoor beer gardens provide fuel for the celebration in the form of craft brews and food while benefiting local school music programs. To accommodate guests of all ages, there's also a children's area filled with bounce houses and games; kids 12 and under are admitted to the festival for free.
Just south of the gateway to the Grand Canyon stands Bearizona, a drive-thru wildlife exhibit that regales creature-seeking carpools with bison, mountain goats, and other animals from the comfort of their own automobile. The 3-mile drive takes guests through sprawling enclosures, where they can peer in on packs of cuddly arctic wolves or ask black bears for directions to the nearest stocked cooler. After traversing the park’s drive-thru section, visitors can stroll through the forested Fort Bearizona enclosure, which houses exhibits of smaller animals and Bearizona Barnyard, an interactive petting zoo.
The public sought exciting new entertainment in the Roaring Twenties, and as the storytellers of the Golden Age of Hollywood labored at myth making, theaters for the newfangled moving pictures were popping up across the nation. It was in this spirit that the Orpheum Theatre opened in 1929, though the Spanish Medieval– and Baroque-style building was one of the city's last major projects before the great stock-market crash. Regardless of its less-than-auspicious beginnings—not to mention nearly a century of hardships to follow—the theater avoided the wrecking ball. In the '60s, the Orpheum introduced Broadway theater to the city and staged such productions as Annie, Caberet, and Barefoot in the Park. Decades later, the theater was renovated and reopened once more, its majestic interior landscapes restored to their former glory.
The highly trained guides at Canyon Rio Rafting spearhead half-, full-, and multi-day expeditions down the Salt River, Rio Chama, and San Juan River. Certified in first aid and versed in advanced wilderness medical and rescue training, they ensure that trips run as smoothly over Class II–IV rapids as a mustache over the foam of a cappuccino. Following romps on oar rafts, paddle rafts, and inflatable kayaks, guides nourish excursionists with gourmet meals.
Alternatively, Canyon Rio Rafting's certified instructors help foster future whitewater navigation by staging courses for guides, rescue technicians, and kayakers.
In 1906, after studying disruptions in the orbit of Uranus, Percival Lowell began to suspect the existence of a planet beyond Neptune. He referred to it as Planet X, and he scanned the night sky from his Flagstaff observatory until his death in 1916. More than two decades passed after the initial conjecture before Lowell astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh sat down in the very same observatory and confirmed the existence of the dwarf planet Pluto.
Though Lowell and Tombaugh's planet was kicked out of the solar club in 2006, their discovery led to several decades of essential research at Lowell Observatory. The observatory’s astronomers have since discovered evidence of the expanding universe and have also provided exhaustive measurements of the motions and basic properties of stars. In 2012, the nonprofit observatory became home to the Discovery Channel Telescope—the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States and currently the only one capable of observing the astronauts stranded on Neptune.
One of the oldest continually operated ski areas in the U.S., Arizona Snowbowl turns over a new leaf from late May through mid October. During this time, one of the resort's ski lifts remains open to whisk visitors to the top of an 11,500-foot-tall peak, where they take in views of land features up to 70 miles away and get a rare chance to see the Kokopelli shape that the Grand Canyon makes from above. The bustling summer season is also when area experts host interpretive talks and hikers trek through the Kachina Peaks wilderness on high-altitude trails. Of course, Arizona Snowbowl is also open for winter recreation from mid-December through April.
After a day of outdoor activities, adventurers can sip cocktails, scoop up green-chili chicken stew, and munch sandwiches at the Agassiz Lodge ?featuring live music on the weekends?, located at the base of the scenic chairlift where guests can also shop for souvenirs and clothing.