Flagstaff and Salt Lake City:

Opposing styles, different charms

By Sylvie Berthiaume

Two common denominators however:  Community and cleanliness. Crossed by the legendary Road 66, Flagstaff, Arizona, has virtually not changed since its hour of glory from the Beat Generation. And it is fine. The contrary would have undoubtedly displeased all the generations who have lived there or who have visited it since.

Cultural pilgrimage

A lot of fun in perspective... For younger people, it has a sense of kitsch; for older people, the nostalgia forgives several snags in good taste.

Vintage motels such as the L Motel, as well as the most recent motels respecting the same style. Bright illuminated signs flown high in the sky, as that of the one from Motel Du Beau.

Photos and music of the 1940-50-60’s era are omnipresent: In the company of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, etc.

Diner restaurants with their authentic decors: Counters covered with formica, stools and benches of false-red leather lined with aluminum, flashing juke-box, hard bubble gum vending machines… 

Decadent food menus, including at Galaxy, where the stars are certainly the 100 kinds of milk shakes, floaters and banana splits, among which the most gargantuan one is named Elvis: Over the three scoops of ice cream, the banana and  the cherries, nothing less than bacon and peanut butter!


Notice to those who might be interested-e-s: On Saturdays evenings, there are "swing" dancing lessons, on the beautiful black and white tiled floor.

Historical Center

In Flagstaff, Babbitt is a name that we often see and hear about. It is that of merchants who have played a central role since the foundation of the city. You should indeed enter the great general store of the Babbitt Brothers, which opened its doors in 1888: The old wooden displays and showcases are always there, but the goods are all current.

Across the street, the iconic Monte Vista Hotel: If you cannot manage to stay there, it also welcomes visitors in the common areas, such as the lounge and  the bar. Impeccably vintage!

But, slowly, nearby, independent cafés are opening to younger crowds, such as The Fire Creek.

Finally, everywhere in Flagstaff, you will have a beautiful view of the chain of mountains which encircles the city: The San Francisco Peaks, sheltering among others, superb Ponderosa pines. It is important to know that it is a sacred place for the indigenous populations of the State.

Organic and home goodies

Every Saturday, on the vast grass field adjacent to City Hall, dozens of animated kiosks by friendly vendors welcome an enthusiastic and relaxed crowd of all ages, including young people who are walking their exotic pet (even a snake).

Products are presented with pride: "Organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and homemade” which compete for originality, as beer, garlic or jalapeno jams, peanut butter with cinnamon or chocolate, emu eggs, honeys of all kinds, healthy cupcakes, etc.

Dogs for adoption

When we were in Flagstaff, there was a large recurring event to encourage the adoption of abandoned dogs. The swarming and touching atmosphere was punctuated by animations on training techniques, the characteristics of different races, veterinary advice, etc.

After the adoption, new parents can decide to participate in the "Dogs and Brew" event, to visit breweries where dogs are welcome…

Daily life and tourism costs in Flagstaff? Economic.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Here, for many, the trip is a real religious pilgrimage. Remember that it is the global headquarters of the Mormons. Their huge and luxurious white temple, which occupies 35 acres, is located precisely at the center of the city, called Temple Square. Absolutely fascinating, as a spiritual realization, that you adopt or not, and as huge real estate development.


In addition, all the East-West and North-South streets of the city are numbered according to the order of their remoteness from the Temple. Very easy, therefore, to find yourself in the city.

A grandiose event not to be missed in the Temple, is the spectacle of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, composed of 360 singers. You can attend almost every week, to a repetition or to a complete show, when the choir is not traveling on an international tour.

Just a few minutes by car from the center, the excursion to the mountain where it all began for the Mormons is worth the journey. 

Even if this religious aspect does not touch you directly personally, it remains that the magnitude of this presence and the history of courage and tenacity that supports it is of great interest to all the people visiting the city, in particular for history and culture fans.

Modernity in the heart and in the periphery

Salt Lake City is a surprising city under several other aspects. It is quiet, and its houses of one or two floors only are surrounded by elegant beauty.

Public art and modern urban furniture can be found both on the private properties and on the public domain. 

In walking down the streets of the center, we also discover a number of very attractive restaurants-terraces with their creative design and their delicious and trendy dishes including: The Copper Onion (international), Caffé Molise (Italian), Blue Iguana and Red Iguana (Mexican).

Daily life costs, particularly of the houses, in Salt Lake City? Very economic. 

Tourist activities costs: Average.

Must see not far from Salt Lake City

The Sundance Mountain Resort, property of Robert Redford, is already recognized for its international film festival that takes place there in January, every year. During winter, predominant activity is of course skiing. The other seasons are also conducive to an exalting stay, due to activities such as ziplining, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, rafting on the river and mountain bike.  

For a rejuvenating treatment, in full nature, the hot springs of Utah are to experiment. For instance, at the Homestead Crater, at the Diamond Fork Hot Springs, and at the CRYSTAL Hot Springs, which hold the greater concentration of minerals in the United States and who are open to the public since 1901.

In Cedar City, from June to October, you have plenty of amazing choices during the Utah Shakespeare Festival!

In these three cases, the only mode of transportation possible to get there is by car.

In all aspects, so different and so attractive.