A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Flagstaff vs. Boulder for Hiking, Food, Families, and Backpackers

Should you visit Flagstaff or Boulder?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Flagstaff and Boulder can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.


Flagstaff is a active, adventurous , and picturesque city. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the food, hiking, and shopping.


Boulder is a nature-filled, biker-friendly, and outdoorsy city. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include nightlife, live music, and food.

Flagstaff and Boulder: Pros and Cons

  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights

Is there more to do in Flagstaff or Boulder?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Boulder than Flagstaff, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Boulder is more popular for its skiing and music, while Flagstaff is known for its museums, food, and hiking. Flagstaff is more touristy than Boulder and is popular for its nearby craters and volcanic caves as well as its location along the historic Route 66. Boulder is popular for its outdoor sports, biker-friendly downtown, vibrant downtown, and many local breweries. It is also home to The Flatirons.

How is Flagstaff different from Boulder?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Boulder and Flagstaff. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Skiing?


Boulder is a city with a few options for winter skiing. However, Flagstaff is not a skiing destination.

While in the area, visitors like to go to Boulder for snow skiing. The town offers access within an hour or two to several great ski resorts including Eldora Mountain, Vail, and Breckenridge.

Flagstaff is not a skiing destination.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Flagstaff or Boulder?


Flagstaff is a good destination for its historical sights. However, Boulder is not known for its sights and museums.

Flagstaff offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. Lowell Observatory is a highlight for many visitors, especially those who are fascinated by space. There's also the Museum of Northern Arizona, the Pioneer Museum, and Fort Tuthill Military History Museum.

Boulder offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. Most people visit Boulder for the outdoor activities more than the museums and sights. If have the time you can wander around the University of Colorado Boulder campus, visit the Museum of Boulder, or see the Leanin' Tree Museum of Western Art.

Is the Food Better in Flagstaff or Boulder? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?


Flagstaff is a great city for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Flagstaff has a huge number of terrific restaurants. The food scene is diverse and growing. There's a focus on local recipes and ingredients. You'll also find many casual and family-friendly restaurants. American cuisine is common, but you'll also find burritos, Indian curries, and frittatas.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Boulder area. This is an often overlooked foodie town, with great farmer's markets and restaurants to try. There are many casual places to eat as well as vegetarian and vegan friendly options everywhere.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Nightlife?


Party-goers will find similar levels of energy in Flagstaff and Boulder.

Flagstaff has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. You'll find a range of bars and cocktail lounges around town that come to life in the evening hours.

If you're looking for night time activities Boulder has a few options to choose from. The town has breweries, craft beer, and plenty to do in the evening. Live music is popular and many venues are smaller with a more personal atmosphere. Check out The Bitter Bar or License No. 1 for a local vibe.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Music?


Boulder is a city with good options for its music scene. However, Flagstaff is not a live music destination.

You'll find some good live music in Boulder. During the summer months there are often outdoor concerts. Head to Pearl Street for open air stages or see a concert at Boulder Theater.

Flagstaff is not a live music destination.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Hiking?


Flagstaff is an unbeatable place for hiking. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for the nearby hiking options.

Flagstaff is well-known for its hiking and trekking. Nearby you'll find world class hikes through surreal landscapes and diverse environments. The area is filled with desert landscapes and varied rock formations that are best explored on foot. Trails range in length and skill level, but whatever your ability, the hiking in the area is among the best.

Boulder is a popular spot for hiking. There are many accessible hikes in the area that take you through the mountains, by wildflowers, or up mountain peaks. Popular hikes that are nearby include the Bear Peak Summit Hike, the trails in Eldorado Canyon State Park, and Boulder Falls.

Is the Shopping Better in Flagstaff or Boulder?


Shopping is a popular activity in both Boulder and Flagstaff.

Many visitors go to Flagstaff to go shopping. Located along historic Route 66, you'll find many shops that capture the city's history, particularly in the Southside Historic District. The town also has farmer's markets as well as shopping centers and large malls.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Boulder. The downtown area has many local retailers where you can shop for clothing, art, or home goods. You can also pick up outdoor gear, camping equipment, and any other items you may need in town. Make sure you wander down the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Families?


Flagstaff is a great city for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Flagstaff is very family-friendly. The city is filled with outdoor activities for kids like ropes courses and adventure parks. Kids will also enjoy climbing around the Lava River Cave, visiting Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, or hiking through the many diverse landscapes in the area. There are also museums that educate visitors on the city's history as well as Lowell Observatory, which will intrigue all the space enthusiasts among us.

Boulder is a family-friendly place to visit. The city has parks, playgrounds, a planetarium, and climbing gyms that are fun for kids of all ages. There are plenty places to get outdoors with hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor recreational activities. Eldorado Canyon State Park is a great place to explore as well.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Couples?


Both Flagstaff and Boulder are good destinations for a couple's getaway.

Flagstaff is a good city for couples to visit. Hiking and outdoor adventure sports make this city a good destination for couples who enjoy active living. There are many parks that you can visit as well as hiking trails and unique natural settings.

Boulder is a nice destination for couples. This is a great city for couples who love outdoor adventures, hiking, rock climbing, and cycling. You can wander down Pearl Street or go for a bike ride. There are also great restaurants where you can enjoy a meal and then head to Panorama Point to take in the view.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?


Flagstaff is a great city for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Boulder is not as popular, but is still a nice city for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Flagstaff. There are campgrounds nearby as well as tons of nature parks and countless hiking trails in the area.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Boulder. There are a number of backcountry areas in the region that are perfect for backpackers. The city also has a young population and several affordable places to stay.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Students?


Boulder is well known for students. However, Flagstaff is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Boulder. With the University of Colorado, Boulder in town, this city is a popular spot for students. It's an outdoor enthusiast's perfect base with many outdoor recreational activities in the area.

Flagstaff is not popular with students.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?


You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Flagstaff and Boulder.

Public transit is generally limited in Flagstaff. The Mountain Line offers eight routes through town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Boulder. There are buses that run around town, but you really need a car to fully experience everything that the city has to offer.

Is Flagstaff or Boulder a more walkable city?


Flagstaff and Boulder both are good when exploring on foot.

Flagstaff is a somewhat walkable city. The downtown is compact and walkable, but you'll really want to have a car to explore the nearby hiking trails and natural areas.

Boulder is somewhat walkable. The city has some nice walkable areas and it is very bike-friendly.

For even more information, also check out Is Flagstaff Worth Visiting? and Is Boulder Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Boulder or Flagstaff?

How long in Flagstaff or Boulder?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Flagstaff and Boulder. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Flagstaff than in Boulder. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Flagstaff, and 2-3 days is enough time in Boulder.

Families should spend more time in Flagstaff than Boulder. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Flagstaff, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Flagstaff than Boulder. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Flagstaff that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Flagstaff than Boulder if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Flagstaff.

  • How many days in Flagstaff or Boulder? Ideal Length of Stay
    Flagstaff 2-4 
    Boulder 2-3

One day in Flagstaff or Boulder?

In Flagstaff, you'll find nightlife and food. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. This city offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

You'll find food and shopping around the city of Boulder. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Flagstaff or Boulder?

In Flagstaff, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Flagstaff has to offer.

You'll find shopping and nightlife around the biker-friendly destination of Boulder. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Flagstaff or Boulder?

Flagstaff is a great place to explore. Hikers are also drawn to this area. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and live music when visiting the nature-filled city of Boulder. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

A week in Flagstaff or Boulder?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Flagstaff. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Flagstaff. One reason most visitors come is for the hiking. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.

Boulder is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to United States of America, The Best G Adventures Tours to United States of America, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Las Vegas, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Anchorage.

Which place is cheaper, Boulder or Flagstaff?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Flagstaff is $166, while the average daily cost in Boulder is $191. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Flagstaff and Boulder in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Flagstaff $86
    Boulder $102
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Flagstaff $172
    Boulder $204
Compare Hotels in Flagstaff and Boulder

Looking for a hotel in Flagstaff or Boulder? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Flagstaff

Hotels in Boulder

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Flagstaff Hotel Prices and Boulder Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Flagstaff $37
    Boulder $51

Is it cheaper to fly into Flagstaff or Boulder?

Prices for flights to both Boulder and Flagstaff change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Flagstaff $55
    Boulder $54

Typical Food Prices in Boulder

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Boulder:

  • 2 Coffees
  • Nice Dinner for Two

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Flagstaff $28
    Boulder $33

Tours and Activities in Flagstaff

Here are a few actual costs in Flagstaff for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hours Private E-Bike Tours In Northern Arizona: $75
  • All-day Grand Canyon • Indian Ruins • Volcano • Christian Tour: $199
  • Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Flagstaff: $299
  • Antelope Slot Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Flagstaff: $285
  • Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park Tour with Lunch & Pickup: $245
  • Comprehensive Grand Canyon Tour from Flagstaff w/Lunch: $208
  • Downtown Flagstaff Haunted History Tour: $28
  • Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course-Adult Course: $65
  • Flagstaff Ghosts Tour By Us Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Flagstaff Segway Tour: $129
  • Flagstaff, AZ: Murder Mystery Detective Experience: $15
  • Adults-Only Haunted Walking Tour: $35

Tours and Activities in Boulder

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Boulder.

  • Smartphone Driving Tour between Boulder and Vail / Breckenridge: $9.99
  • Boulder, CO: Murder Mystery Detective Experience: $15
  • Murder Mystery Detective Experience Boulder, CO: $15
  • Boulder Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour and Game: $25
  • Smartphone Scavenger Hunt Tour with Remote Guide: $25
  • Downtown Boulder Mural Walking Tour: $30
  • Boulder Ghost Tour: $33
  • Boulder Puzzling Adventure: $35
  • Amazing Boulder Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • Astronomy Tour: $45
  • Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt Walking Tour: $49
  • "Boulder Peaks & Wilderness Tours: Mallory Cave Trail": $65

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Flagstaff $29
    Boulder $27

Sample the Local Flavors in Flagstaff

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Flagstaff:

  • Spirits With The Spirits, Haunted Pub Crawl Of Downtown Flagstaff: $50
  • Haunted Pub Crawl with Guide: $50

When comparing the travel costs between Flagstaff and Boulder, we can see that Boulder is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Flagstaff Expensive? and Is Boulder Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Flagstaff or Boulder?

Boulder has a larger population, and is about 59% larger than the population of Flagstaff. When comparing the sizes of Flagstaff and Boulder, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.