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Flagstaff named as a top 'second city' destination by MarketWatch

Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 10:33:27-04

FLAGSTAFF, AZ — The mountain views, the smell of pine trees, the laid-back vibe -- it's no wonder people are seeking out Flagstaff as a top "second city" destination.

According to a recent article, Flagstaff is a great second city escape for living in other cities in Arizona.

But what exactly is a second city destination?

Second cities are usually smaller, maybe less populated, not as well-known metropolitan areas - and they're experiencing a travel boom right now.

Debbie Johnson with the Arizona Office of Tourism says she's not surprised Flagstaff is being put into the second city spotlight.

"I love driving up there, going through the ponderosa pines," she explained. "It is such a different experience. You forget you're in Arizona."

And it could also be great news for small businesses like the historic Weatherford Hotel in downtown Flagstaff, home of the annual New Year's Eve Pinecone Drop.

"It's been our life," said owner, Sam Green.

Green's husband purchased The Weatherford back in 1975 and since then, he and Sam have been restoring its Victorian beauty room by room. Sam says she's thrilled to see her town becoming even more popular.

"It's been good for me. I love Flagstaff, especially being from Cleveland/Akron area and being out here. There are no mosquitoes and not a lot of humidity."

Sam also points to the number of things to do in and around Flagstaff like Walnut Canyon, the Lowell Observatory, and Arizona Snowbowl.

The Arizona Office of Tourism says it's not just Flagstaff; other Arizona cities have experienced a travel boom, even in 2020 with many places closed down or with limited capacity.

The Office tells ABC15, Lake Havasu City saw more visitors in 2020 and Gila County, east of the Valley, saw a 30% spike in travel in 2020.