Small city feel and beautiful outdoors
Every place depends on what you are looking for. So I will say a bit about me so you can assess where the review is coming from.
I am a professional, single, female in my 30s with a graduate degree. I make 80k. I am *not* a party person. I live a quiet life where I enjoy the outdoors and a coffee with friends. Before coming to Flagstaff I have lived in Southern California, Northern California, Saint Louis, Kansas City, and Hartford CT.
I moved here for work, and I was pretty hesitant to do so because I absolutely loved Orange County, CA. Much to my surprise, after two years I would put Flagstaff and Orange County as a tie for my favorite place to live.
What I love about it: it is a great city for those who don't like the craziness of a large city (pop 70k in Flag) but also don't want to be isolated in the country. The downtown area is very cute/unique with lots of great shops. There is a community feel to things that you don't get in a big city, but it is large enough to be anonymous if you want to be.
I love stepping out my door and having endless miles of trails for running and hiking. I especially like all the step hills and single track. I love that a great ski resort is a 20 minute drive and also a cross country ski park. I like the campus of NAU (as a college, a good choice for an average student, but not a good choose for those who are especially academically driven.) And the housing and apartments are cute and in my opinion, reasonably priced. That depends on where you are coming from though. Nationally, Flagstaff is right about in the 50% aisle for housing. During my time here, rent on west Flagstaff has gone done significantly because they overbuilt student housing. I go over rental and home prices below.
It is worth driving to williams on occasion. A smaller town about 20 minutes away that has a very old school feel and they have their own ski tiny resort that is worth trying out if you are a beginner.
The people I run into seem to have the same friendly attitude of those in California, but less superficialness. I will say I don't think people are quiet as casual here as Socal, but they are still fairly relaxed.
Oh, and I love the snow. I only wish it didn't melt so fast. If you hate snow then Flagstaff might not be for you. But keep in mind that even though it is one of the snowiest cities in the US, it melts very fast so there is less snow on the ground than you would think. As long as you . have 4 wheel drive there should rarely be problems getting out of your drive way or out and back to flag. They clear the roads quickly. The lows rarely get below 10F.
Despite the snow. Overall it is a very sunny city. I actually wish it wasn't that sunny, but most people like that During winter it is often sunny in the morning and gets cloudy around 3pm.
It is 7100 ft which is great for athletes. Most people get used to it quickly too.
As a single women living downtown I feel very safe. I left things on my porch without fear of things getting stolen. But that will depend on area, of course.
Even in downtown Flag parking isn't that bad with the exception of a few streets. It is nothing like bad parking situations in big cities.
Some thing people should think about.
The Flagstaff airport is expensive and hardly goes anywhere, so one down side is it is over 2 hours to a major airport. Also over 2 hours to a major metropolitan area.
If you want to buy a house they sell very quick, and a lot of people think it is expensive. So just check that out. I love that the houses here have a lot of unique chracter and aren't cookie cutter models.
West Flagstaff/downtown area has a lot of college kids.
There are poor not great looking areas of east Flagstaff, although the outdoors are still there. However there are nice parts of east flag too.
Rental averages: Studios/1bedroom 1100 (but if you search you can find some great ones for 700. You just have to know the area.) 2 bedroom 1300, 3 bedroom 1600. 4 bedroom 2200. Pay attention to utilities. They can very a lot according to the type of heating system and you will need it in the winter. If you want to buy that can very a lot more, but rough mid prices 2 bedroom condo 200k, 3 bedroom house 250-450k. Cheap coming from Cali lol.
Be aware for those heat sensitive very few places have ac. I think that's only an issue maybe 2 weeks in the summer when highs are high 80s.
The cleanliness varies a lot by neighborhood. Sadly some places have a lot of trash on the ground.
If you live in the NAU west Flag area you have to get used to train noise. But there are lots of options away from the train. I hate noise but surprisingly I adjusted to the train in a way I could never adjust to say, music or footsteps from neighbors.
Those that like the night life of NYC or downtown LA will probably find it boring. But I like that about this place. You are moving to a town of 70k, so remember that.
Socal is a 6 hour drive. Santa fe 4 hours. Denver area 10 hours. Salt lake city 7 hours. Grand canyon 90 minutes. Phx 2 -2.5
Flagstaff airport goes to Phx, Denver, Dallas Forth worth. Sadly they stopped the flights to los angeles. From denver it is easy to get direct flights to Europe.The airport is usually a bit more expensive but not awful. ANd it is tiny, no lines, very easy to fly in and out. I kind of think you are nuts to fly to phx since it is a 2 hour drive, but once and while the tickets are really cheap so even I did it once.
Traffic in the city is only bad during rush hour on weekdays in the NAU area (or with special events).If you want to drive to Phx plan carefully because Phx traffic is just awful. It runs from 230pm to 730pm on weekdays for the drive home.
Amanda | Flagstaff, AZ