Cool mountain hikes, star-studded summer nights, and local brews have lured valley residents to Flagstaff for years. But sushi and shopping?
Suddenly Sedona's less stylish sister is turning heads. Town meets country here, and you can easily explore both in a day. While away an hour in a wildflower meadow at the arboretum (a short detour from town along Route 66) and window shop along downtown's bustling sidewalks before an early dinner. Then head to Heritage Square for live music and a movie under that starry, starry sky.
The Arboretum at Flagstaff. WHAT: Twelve native-themed gardens that are at their peak this month, in midmonsoon season. WHEN: 9-5 daily. HOW MUCH: $5, $2 ages 6-17, ages 5 and under free. WHERE: 4001 S. Woody Mountain Rd.; www.thearb.org or 928/774-1442.
Shoes & Such. WHAT: This tiny, copper-ceilinged shop is the closet you've always wanted, packed with flirty, handmade skirts, funky hats and purses, and sassy stilettos. WHEN: 11-9 daily. WHERE: 17 E. Aspen Ave.; 928/214-6355.
Basement Marketplace. WHAT: Edgy, underground shopping for cute tops and jeans, must-have perfume bottles (they double as daisy vases), even couches and candelabra. WHEN: 9:30-9 Mon-Sat, 10-8 Sun. WHERE: 120 N. Leroux St., in the Old Town Shops; 928/556-3081.
Kokopelli Winery Bistro. WHAT: Arizona wines and the Nosh Plate. The wines aren't grand cru material, but the patio is a prime perch for free concerts on Heritage Square (Thu-Fri from about 6 to dusk). WHEN: Lunch daily, dinner Tue-Sat. HOW MUCH: $$. WHERE: 6 E. Aspen Ave., Ste. 110; 928/226-9463.
Monsoon. WHAT: Cheap, crowd-pleasing Asian fusion. Try the fat, tempura shrimp-loaded Monsoon Roll and the spicy Iguana Roll with soft-shell crab. WHEN: Lunch and dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $$. WHERE: 6 E. Aspen Ave., Ste. 100; 928/226-8844.
Movies on the Square. WHAT: Family films in the great outdoors. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. WHEN: Fri evenings. Local bands kick things off around 6; flicks start at dusk. HOW MUCH: Free. WHERE: Heritage Square, 6 E. Aspen Ave.; www.flagdba.com or 928/774-9541. ―Melissa Castleman
INFO: Flagstaff is two hours north of Phoenix. For more information, contact the Flagstaff Visitor Center ( www.flagstaffarizona.org or 928/774-9541).