Flagstaff is one of the great portals to the Grand Canyon for its close proximity, stunning alpine beauty, college-town conviviality, and Route 66 history. Located just 90 minutes from the South Rim, Flagstaff is where you want to stay overnight when visiting the Grand Canyon if you want a wide range of hotel, motel and lodging choices and something to do after the sun goes down. Unlike the quiet towns of Tusayan and Williams, Flagstaff offers dozens of familiar hotel and motel chains, restaurants, and shopping. And the city's Northern Arizona University student-friendly profile means that visitors, too, can enjoy the nightlife in a myriad of lively bars, casual breweries, and one-of-a-kind entertainment venues.
Look for tours that offer free hotel pickup and provide expert narration during a comfortable van tour to the South Rim, or those that combine a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon upon arrival at the South Rim. This ground/air combination allows Flagstaff visitors a chance to see the Grand Canyon from different perspectives in a half-day to full-day tour.