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10 Pros and Cons of Living in Flagstaff, AZ

10 Pros and Cons of Living in Flagstaff AZ Written by Adam Berns

Considering moving to Flagstaff, Arizona? Let’s talk about the good and the bad.

Like any other city, there are both benefits and drawbacks to calling Flagstaff home. With amazing weather and a lovely natural environment, you might think this city is just perfect for you. But there are a few cons to look out for, and you sure wouldn’t be expecting some of them. Let’s talk about 10 pros and cons of living in Flagstaff, Arizona, and then you can decide for yourself if the city is a suitable fit.

Pros of Living in Flagstaff, AZ

A vibrant cultural scene

For a small city, Flagstaff has quite an impressive cultural scene. Northern Arizona University is located in this city, and because there are many students in the area, one can find all sorts of exciting events, from concerts to sporting competitions. 

The university’s presence comes with many advantages, despite the fact that some locals may be displeased by the huge number of young adults who tend to constitute a nuisance in the area. It offers a wide range of benefits, including access to a wealth of extracurricular, cultural, entertainment, athletic, and educational opportunities.

Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College both host lectures, music and arts performances, and plays. Festivals are conducted all year long, and they typically feature free activities like movies, concerts, and dancing in the town square.

Lots of community parks

Flagstaff has numerous public parks, so you don’t have to travel outside the city in search of a park where you can unwind, enjoy a picnic, and have fun with the rest of the family. 

One of the most popular parks in Flagstaff is Ft. Tuthill, with 413 acres of land, a camping site, and sports facilities. 

There’s also Buffalo Park, where you can get a view of the San Francisco Peaks. Ponderosa Trails Park, Thorpe and Wheeler Parks, and Bushmaster and Fox Glenn Parks are some other smaller parks in the city.

And if you decide to go outside of the city, the Grand Circle is not too far away. Living in Flagstaff puts you within a 90-minute drive of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, where you can indulge in your passion for hiking, photography, painting, or simply gazing at this natural wonder.

You get to enjoy all 4 seasons

If you think Arizona is all warm and hot, think again. The weather might be occasionally hot, but cities like Flagstaff also get a fair share of their snowy and cold days too. 

Flagstaff enjoys four different seasons, including periods when there is a lot of snow. Although the winters might be brutally cold, this city is often rewarded with beautiful blue skies in between snowstorms.

When the temperature in Phoenix soars above 100 degrees, many Phoenix residents head “up the hill” to the cooler climate of Flagstaff, where the summers are warm but rarely scorching.

An amazing food scene

If you love to eat out, there’s no place you’d rather be than Flagstaff. With lots of restaurants offering a wide variety of dishes, you’ll always find one thing or the other to satisfy your cravings. There are some fantastic Mexican, Greek, Chinese, and Mediterranean dishes in this area, and you can even dine in a Himalayan-themed restaurant.

There are also numerous chain restaurants nearby for those who enjoy them, lots of pizza joints, and well-known eateries like Olive Garden, Chili’s, and Red Lobster. 

If you’re in the mood for some dessert, just head to one of the many ice cream and frozen yogurt shops around. And since Flagstaff is a relatively small town, everything is conveniently located a few miles away from one another, so it’ll be really easy to get something to eat.

A breathtaking natural community

One of the best things about Flagstaff is its stunningly beautiful natural environment. A buffer zone separates the town from the rest of the world, and there are several places around to explore. 

Flagstaff isn’t called Mountain Town for nothing;  Humphreys Peak, Elden Mountain, Fremont Peak, and Agassiz Peak are just some of the stunning mountains in this town. Don’t miss out on hiking or skiing on one of these beauties.

Since you are right in the middle of the 1.86-million-acre Coconino National Forest, which is a part of the world’s largest Ponderosa pine forest, you will have no trouble finding places to fish, camp, hunt, camp, or hike. There is always somewhere to go in Flagstaff if you need some peace and quiet.

Cons of Living in Flagstaff, AZ

Getting used to the air might take a while

The air isn’t polluted or anything, but you might notice that you constantly need to catch your breath when you first move to Flagstaff. 

Since you’re at an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level, the air is significantly thinner, therefore it will take you around two months to adjust to the new atmosphere. It might be so bad that taking a short trip down the hall would be a challenge at first.

Also, the likelihood of getting a sunburn is really high here, even in the winter, so sunscreen is a must all year round. We’re pretty sure one painful sunburn on a day with 40° temperature would teach you that lesson.

High housing and living costs 

A major con here; Housing is ridiculously expensive, and the cost of living is so sky high, it’s almost unbelievable. The median home price is $668,845, and with an index of 117.0, Flagstaff’s cost of living is 26% higher than the national average. 

Despite the fact that the take-home pay is barely enough, living expenses remain high regardless. The housing shortage in the city can be attributed to a number of reasons, but the most basic one is a lack of available homes combined with high demand.

It’s kinda hard to get a job here

Flagstaff has a population of around 70,000, but it’s very remote location makes it difficult for some professions to find work there. The tourism and hospitality industry is the town’s major employer.

You can get seasonal work thanks to the area’s many ski areas and other tourist attractions, but the wages are quite low. 

Traffic is a problem

Traffic is heavy in spite of Flagstaff’s relatively modest size. If you live in this city, you’re right where interstates 40 and 17 meet. And because it’s such a popular route for tourists to take, it often leads to congestion. 

Getting around the city might be a hassle because the streets are constantly crowded with people, and the traffic jams are also worsened by numerous trains that travel through the city.

It could get really isolated

Due to its forested setting, Flagstaff occasionally feels cut off from the rest of the world. There will be times when you need to go out of your way and drive down to Phoenix, whether for medical care or shopping.

 If you would rather live in a bustling environment where you can get lots of things done, this city might not be right for you, because it’s really easy to start feeling isolated and alone. And since the closest city is almost two hours away, Flagstaff really does feel like the middle of nowhere.

To sum it all up

So, should you move to Flagstaff? You’ll have to consider these pros and cons first. The great weather and cultural scene make it a great place to live in, but the cost of living and low job opportunities are major drawbacks. Therefore, moving to this town should be dependent on your priorities and preferences.

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