It's just a two-hour drive north of the massive desert metropolis of Phoenix, but Flagstaff feels a world away. This rugged, high-elevation gateway city to the Grand Canyon, with a sizable population of college students who attend Northern Arizona University, is nestled amid the ponderosa-pine forests in the shadows of the state highest mountain, Humphreys Peak (elevation 12,633). Flagstaff isn't exactly a gay mecca, but in recent years it's become an increasingly popular place to live and visit among GLBT travelers, in part because so many gays and lesbians now lived in Phoenix. Flagstaff is also less than an hour from New Age-y and gay-friendly Sedona, and it's a popular midway stop for travelers venturing across the Southwest between Los Angeles and Albuquerque on I-40 (a colorful stretch of old Route 66 passes right through downtown).
The city of about 68,000 is for the most part fairly liberal as Arizona goes, and its gay and lesbian community continues to grow. Each June, the city celebrates Gay Pride, officially known as Pride in the Pines. This year Flagstaff's Gay Pride celebration is the weekend of June 28-29, 2014. Headlining Gay Pride in Flagstaff last year were Grammy winner Keb Mo, American Idol Kimberly Caldwell, Adam Tyler, Pandora Boxx, Tyrone Wells, Catie Curtis, and more.
The festivities take place on the west side of charming historic downtown, at Thorpe Park (191 N. Thorpe Rd., at W. Aspen Ave.).
Additionally, numerous bars as well as gay-friendly restaurants, hotels and B&Bs, and shops buzz with festivity throughout Pride Weekend. Check Arizona gay papers, such as Echo Magazine, for more on the region's gay scene, as well as the handy AZ Gay Pride Guide, GoGayArizona.com. Also take a look at the excellent visitor site produced by the city's official tourism organization, the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau.