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Winter in Flagstaff, Arizona

In winter, the northern Arizona town—known for glorious art and good food—adds snow play to the mix.

Snowshoers explore Arizona Nordic Village.

Kerri Irwin

Most college towns empty out over winter break. Not Flagstaff. With bluebird skies and impressive snowfall, it draws winter sports lovers when the flakes fly. After the lifts close, downtown beckons with vibrant art and superb restaurants.

Arizona Snowbowl’s six-person chairlift isn’t called the Grand Canyon Express for nothing. On a clear day, it affords a view of something that’s not visible from any other ski area: the Big Ditch itself. If you’re lucky, you might also spot the resort’s furry staff member, Ava, a working dog. Looking for something more grounded? Nearby, Arizona Nordic Village boasts over 30 miles of groomed trails for cross- country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking; Flagstaff Snow Park lures thrill seekers with snow tubing.

a happy couple sits outside Macy's European Coffee House & Bakery in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Warm up and fuel up at Macy’s European Coffee House & Bakery.

Jill Richards

Locals warm up at Macy’s European Coffee House & Bakery, an OG shop that has been roasting its own beans for 40 years. Grab a chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie or the Macy’s Special, a smooth blend of espresso and hot chocolate.

Over the past decade, local artists have enlivened downtown buildings and alleys with murals depicting everything from a surreal cyclist to a portal to a parallel universe. Don’t miss The Sound of Flight outside the Orpheum Theater. In it, a riot of birds explode from a piano midsong, winging past Michelangelo’s David and over the Grand Canyon.

winter weekend in flagstaff, arizona, pinterest photo